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Monmouth Reacts to YouTuber Logan Paul’s Video

Logan PaulWhile the national discourse is able to influence many, the bounds with which social media is confined are nearly limitless. Logan Paul is an infamous YouTuber with over 16 million subscribers and over 5 million video views daily with a fanbase reaching an audience ranging from 6-20 years old.

Paul uploaded a video reacting to a man who had just committed suicide in Aokigahara, also known as the Sea of Trees, located in Japan’s Mount Fuji. The forest is also known as the “Suicide Forest” to a lesser degree.

In the video that was taken down 24 hours after it was originally uploaded on 31 Dec. in 2017, Paul decided to travel to Japan to ring in the new year in a ‘non-traditional’ way by visiting what he called ‘the Japanese Suicide Forest.’

The video featured a feeble attempt at blurring a suicide victim that they stumbled upon in the forest as well as numerous opportunities for Paul to discontinue filming. Other than the weak attempt at telling his followers to ‘reach out if you need help,’ Paul continued laughing and cracking jokes.

“First off, when it comes to his ‘disrespect’ of the Japanese culture: I find this to be part of a much larger issue at hand and that revolves around the idea of American ethnocentrism. Simply based on the fact that citizens of the United States often have expectations of other people and places compared the culture and lifestyle of America, the words that come out of his mouth shouldn’t be entirely surprising. Our population, from what I’ve personally observed during my own travels and through my reading, is generally disconnected from the idea that (wait for it.... it’s shocking) other countries are not the United States in historic or contemporary fashion!” Nicholas Messina, an instructor of communication, said.

Messina continued, “Building on this idea, I think to one degree or another, we’re talking about a young, white male from (what I can only assume) a financially well-off background. White privilege is alive and well. His clear lack of cognizance to this phenomenon is riddled throughout the video. For crying out loud, he’s in Japan for New Years Eve trying to ‘disconnect’ from the image of an American version which is characterized by glamour and excess - what is more excessive than filming your trip from across the world to throngs of followers and subscribers on the Internet to highlight your attempts at being ‘woke?’ Frankly, it’s pathetic and his ‘Gucci jacket’ is tacky.”

To put this into context, the throngs of young viewers who are flocking to these videos is unthinkable. Children have been seen in videos crying because they are unable to really grasp the fact that suicide is real, all because 22 year old Paul uploaded this video. Messina said, “...there is definitely the possibility to make an argument that he is being disrespectful to Japanese culture, however what I find even more disturbing is the lack of respect to the dead or to the idea of suicide. One does not make the decision to take their own life calmly or quickly or without a considerable amount of thought, let along pain and anguish. His attempts to mention that suicide and depression are not jokes are weak at best considering it is coming long after all the joking was going on.”

Hayley Gasparine, a junior communication student, said, “The level of disrespect that Logan Paul has brought to both the cultures of Italy and Japan is disgusting. He should not be a role model for the youth on YouTuber.”

But it doesn’t end there, even adults, the same age as Paul are just as appalled at his actions, “I guess it’s just disappointing to see someone my age being so disrespectful to another culture after growing up learning to be respectful to others,” Freddi Lake commented, a junior English and education student.

Eleanor Novek, Ph.D., professor of communication said, “For the sake of views, Logan Paul and his peers contribute to a pretty heartless Internet culture that relies heavily on pranks, mockery, and cultural disrespect. While many people are weighing in on his distasteful video of the Japanese suicide forest, I think his viewers and followers are also responsible, and so are the advertisers and media companies making advertisers and media companies making money from his vlogs. If people weren’t willing to see and share this kind of content, it would peter out for lack of interest. Instead, Paul’s fame has only increased.”

Although the video was taken down as well as demonetized in that 24 hours ago, only a few days ago, had YouTube issued a statement saying they were no longer continuing their partnership with Paul.

“The fact that this kept going on and on is infuriating and this Logan Paul deserves every piece of criticism thrown his way,” Messina added.

IMAGEN TAKEN from nymag.com