Remember earlier in the year when Pewdiepie was in Serious Internet Hot Water for his dumb Nazi jokes? Yeah me too. It sucked, because all anyone was talking about was Pewdiepie for like two weeks. Anyway, dude was under serious fire for being a public figure, generally successful, and courting a huge audience of young people who thought it was a hoot to constantly drop Nazi imagery all over his videos. People who aren’t jaded Internet users finally found out about it and, to make a long story short, he lost his Disney hook-up.
Turns out, and let me say if you’re surprised about this you might want to clean your ears out by removing your entire head from the pile of sand it’s buried in, Nazis are still around! They aren’t just cartoon bad guys from video games and boring history videos your middle school teacher forces you to watch since teaching you was too much effort. They’re called Neo-Nazis, and they’ve been around for decades doing things like trying to ruin punk music in the 80's and inhabit creepy Internet forums and subreddits.
The breaking news of Neo-Nazis being a thing hit a bunch of people recently when a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia brought tons of them out in public, in sunlight, like a bunch of Scooby-Doo vampires that discovered comically high-grade sunscreen for the first time. There was a lot of marching, literal Nazi chants from like the 1940's and actual violence. Somebody died. Many were injured. It was a wake up moment for a lot of people, hopefully. Including Pewdiepie.
Dude published a video on August 16, a few days removed from the stuff that went down in Charlottesville, not long after Donald Trump caused even his big group of bumbling yes-men to distance themselves a little after his series of embarrassing press briefings concerning the rally. The video is titled, “I guess this needed to be said.” It’s a small vlog, four minutes long, and is all about Pewdiepie making the whole thing about him.
He talks about how he doesn’t support white supremacy, wants nothing to do with Nazis and, most tellingly, talks about how he didn’t realize Actual Nazis existed out there and his jokes were seen as fair game because he thought the whole culture was a ghost of the past. It’s a bunch of “I's,” I went through a bunch of this in February. I don’t want to give these guys the benefit. I’m not one of these people. I’m going to stop making jokes. They’re old memes anyway.
This, after instead of just acknowledging something was off in the first place, maybe going outside or reading a book, or Googling “why are Nazi jokes dumb,” Pewdiepie dug his heels in and made more of an ass of himself as usual. Early 2017 was all about Pewdiepie going to bat with professional journalists, causing all kinds of Internet drama and things like doxing and harassment. Why? Because of what amounted to ego, a refusal to back down from tasteless jokes we see far too often in comedy.
I live in Charlottesville; this stuff went down in my backyard. People I know were hurt, scared for their lives, or both. Then I got to sit and watch a bunch of morons argue about the whole thing as if maybe moral debate is the appropriate response to literal Nazis literally killing people in broad daylight. Nazis, the subject of countless video games about shooting them with lots of bullets. You’d think people would know better. Like, come on. Wolfenstein is still a thing. Pewdiepie should just keep his mouth shut about things that aren’t streaming video games. Instead, he makes a transparently self-congratulatory video about his great revelation that he shouldn’t make Nazi jokes. Give me a break.