Music vlogger The Needle Drop's side gig as an alt-right edgelord
October 4, 2017 7:16 AM   Subscribe

Music vlogger Anthony Fantano's outspoken opinions and early support for acts like Death Grips have brought his YouTube channel The Needle Drop a staggering 260,000,000 views. It turns out that until yesterday, Fantano had another booming YouTube channel, this one offering videos like “pepe the frog triggers hillary clinton,” “I CHANGED MY GENDER CUZ DONALD TRUMP,” and “MEGA-CUCK SAYS POKEMON GO IS LIKE DOGFIGHTING.” The Fader has the story.
posted by DirtyOldTown (103 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yeah, I smelled a whiff of chan culture on him a while ago, and promptly fucked off. This is not surprising.
posted by _Synesthesia_ at 7:18 AM on October 4 [3 favorites]


"assuming that people who like the same music you like are cool" should be on those lists of cognitive biases
posted by thelonius at 7:24 AM on October 4 [59 favorites]


Why am I not surprised? /mu/ got infiltrated by /pol/ years ago.
posted by SansPoint at 7:25 AM on October 4 [6 favorites]


At this point, I think it's safe to assume all large youtubers are alt-right unless proven otherwise.
posted by perplexion at 7:35 AM on October 4 [24 favorites]


perplexion: If CGP Grey and Stuart Ashens are revealed as alt-right, I might never go to YouTube again.
posted by SansPoint at 7:36 AM on October 4 [1 favorite]


Fuuuuck. I watched a bunch of his reviews over the years, but never delved deeper into the fandom. The last five years should have basically taught me that all of my nerd hobbies and interests are basically infected with some level of racist/sexist/etc alt-right bullshit, but for some reason I keep getting blindsided and subsequently nauseated by this stuff.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:39 AM on October 4 [15 favorites]


I don't know what to do with myself anymore. This shit is everywhere now--it's like having roaches. I can't go anywhere on the internet without wanting to tell perfect strangers to fuck off (present company excepted) and coming away with my stomach clenched up for the rest of the day. Half the time I just try not to see anything, but then I feel like if there's no pushback the roaches just take over the kitchen. "I just won't use YouTube anymore." Boy, that'll show 'em. Seriously, what the fuck does one do?
posted by Sing Or Swim at 7:47 AM on October 4 [31 favorites]


Color me a little skeptical but how come Fader only published this now after most of the videos on that YouTube channel have been removed? Yet, somehow, the article has multiple screenshots of the removed video content? It looks like they were aware of the channel for some time but only published the story after the videos were taken down leaving us no choice but to take Fader's word for what they contained and what their tone was.

I'm not saying that the Fader article is inaccurate. What I am saying is we have no way to confirm any of this on our own. And this leaves the troubling question - if Fader knew of all this and had enough time to watch multiple videos and screenshot a large portion, why wait for the channel to be pretty much deactivated before publishing this article?
posted by enamon at 7:52 AM on October 4 [1 favorite]


Uh, it's in the subheading? "He deleted the entire channel when we asked for comment about why it was so bad."
posted by perplexion at 7:53 AM on October 4 [45 favorites]


It probably should have been obvious that centralizing content on a few massive, poorly managed platforms would attract the worst of the worst, and that they'd be wildly successful in exploiting these platforms.
posted by COD at 7:53 AM on October 4 [4 favorites]


At this point, I think it's safe to assume all large youtubers are alt-right unless proven otherwise.

I don't know if he's big any more but I hope this isn't true of Joe Hills.
posted by drezdn at 7:55 AM on October 4


I've read that the more porn a person consumes, the more likely they are to end up watching extreme/graphic/disturbing/legally-dubious porn. I wonder if people who submerge themselves entirely in internet culture are similarly more like to end up absorbed into 4chan, the gutter end of Reddit, etc.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:56 AM on October 4 [16 favorites]


Always screenshot when dealing with one of these fuckers.
posted by Artw at 7:56 AM on October 4 [15 favorites]


Color me a little skeptical but how come Fader only published this now after most of the videos on that YouTube channel have been removed?

Maybe because they contacted him for comment prior to publishing they article and he decided to nuke everything. It doesn't feel like a big conspiracy, it feels like exactly what someone would do if they have a bunch of embarrassing shit on youtube that was about to be exposed.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 8:03 AM on October 4 [18 favorites]


What I am saying is we have no way to confirm any of this on our own.

Dude, there are a few archive.org links right in the article so you can do exactly that. Get out of here with this conspiracy nonsense.
posted by Dysk at 8:09 AM on October 4 [55 favorites]


DirtyOldTown: I’m an ex-channer, mostly on the music board, and as soon as I realized how toxic it was getting, I bailed. This might be because I’m an older-school Internet user who had his time in a toxic internet community back in the IRC days.

It really was no surprise to me, when I reconnected with some of those IRC folks as an adult, many of them had become 4channers as well.
posted by SansPoint at 8:13 AM on October 4 [1 favorite]


What I am saying is we have no way to confirm any of this on our own.

And here we go: weaponized skepticism.
posted by elwoodwiles at 8:13 AM on October 4 [47 favorites]


Pretty weak and gross to earn your money as a critic and reviewer of excellent black artists while simultaneously running a side-channel where you engage in edgelordy klan-esque mockery of them. May this end his fucking career.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:15 AM on October 4 [26 favorites]


What I am saying is we have no way to confirm any of this on our own. And this leaves the troubling question - if Fader knew of all this and had enough time to watch multiple videos and screenshot a large portion, why wait for the channel to be pretty much deactivated before publishing this article?

This is like a more articulate version of the immediate Twitter reaction from all the alt-right pepe accounts hollering about satire and Fader trying to earn money and clicks by ambushing poor ol' Needledrop. Just asking questions, man
posted by Existential Dread at 8:16 AM on October 4 [18 favorites]


May this end his fucking career.

Narrator: It didn’t.

though I wish it would, too.
posted by SansPoint at 8:17 AM on October 4 [2 favorites]


Narrator: It didn’t.

I dunno... Sam Hyde isn't really doing anything any more. I've got my fingers crossed.
posted by codacorolla at 8:21 AM on October 4 [3 favorites]


This guy was always really shitty as a music critic. No idea how he got so popular! Guess there's no accounting for taste.
posted by naju at 8:22 AM on October 4 [5 favorites]


Shocking to discover that the annoying dude who shouted his half-formed opinions at YouTube for a living is actually a gigantic racist asshole. If nothing else, I'm delighted to have my irrational dislike of this guy confirmed as, in fact, wholly rational.

Hey, maybe Australia's SBS News knew something we didn't when they mistakenly used a photo of Fantano to identify Chris Harper Mercer, the Umpqua Community College shooter.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:25 AM on October 4 [1 favorite]


Remember the kid in the polo shirt in Charlottesville? The one who took off the shirt and was all "I'm just in it for the lulz" as soon as an antifa was actually going to hit him?

It doesn't surprise me at all that this guy was trying to have it both ways, because there's a substantial strain of "it doesn't count and nobody should get upset if 1. I am just in it for the money or 2. I am just trolling". White people really do believe that no matter how shitty we are, if we either had business reasons or "didn't mean it" in some deep spiritually-committed way we should just be allowed to fade back into the crowd.
posted by Frowner at 8:26 AM on October 4 [49 favorites]


Even the "It was just a joke" defense is pure nonsense. A good joke about racism/Nazism directs the humor against the racists/Nazis. (For example, the classic Mitchell and Webb sketch, "Are we the baddies?")

Just going "Hey! Racist shit!" is not a joke, and it's not satire. It just normalizes that shit.
posted by SansPoint at 8:32 AM on October 4 [28 favorites]


I've watched a few of his reviews. I think it became more like hate-watching. I know he reviews hip-hop, but he seems more like one of those "Oh, no I like _all_ types of music." Because he sure as shit didn't know what he was talking about on most of the time. My wife saw one of his videos and said something like "i wonder how many people copy his opinions just because he talks like an authority."

I'm not gonna link it, but the one that stands out is his review of Chance's Acid Rap, which I think he gave a good score to, overall, but on Paranoia he describes chance's narrative as being gangsta, which is like ... wow, dude you missed the ENTIRE point of the song.

Anyway, he made well produced videos with lousy opinions, so I'm not really surprised that he made more on a different channel.
posted by lkc at 8:32 AM on October 4 [2 favorites]


This leaves just one question. Deep down, what does Fantano actually want?
Really? That's the question we are left with at the end of this story?
posted by sockermom at 8:34 AM on October 4 [6 favorites]


naju: This guy was always really shitty as a music critic. No idea how he got so popular!

As lkc noted, "he talks like an authority," and he posts a fooking ton of reviews, touting himself as the internet's busiest reviewer, so there's a good chance he's reviewed that new album you're thinking about checking out, so you might watch that review, then fall down the rabbit hole of watching other reviews.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:35 AM on October 4 [2 favorites]


I don't think this'll completely end his career. I do think he'll be harder hit than PewDiePie, JonTron, and their ilk, whose audience was primarily people who if anything enjoyed "edgy" content. (Though PewDiePie, for one, definitely would have been better off keeping his mouth shut.) A substantial portion of Fantano's fanbase is the same, but he also caters to a more mainstream, intellectual audience. In the end though, he'll be fine.

My own breaking point with youtube was when the creator of a new small channel I really liked turned out to have treated his ex-girlfriend so badly that she had to be hospitalized for weeks, and literally no one believed her or cared. In fact, I saw one of his videos posted on MeFi a couple days ago.

The only youtubers I still watch consistently are feminist women who have consistently shown in actions and not just words that they are anti-racist, pro-LGBTQ, etc. Even that's not necessarily a guarantee of anything, but, at least I know their audiences aren't leading them into the alt-right.
posted by perplexion at 8:38 AM on October 4


Seriously, what the fuck does one do?

Can anyone recommend thoughtful music-related channels on YouTube, especially those run by women, POC, or other marginalized groups? The article claims other online outlets often already have a socially-conscious slant, but I'd suppose there must be good things happening on YouTube, though they may need more visibility.
posted by Wobbuffet at 8:38 AM on October 4 [2 favorites]


Being a supporter of GamerGate tracks almost 100% to being a right-wing fuckhead.

This dude supported GamerGate.
posted by anem0ne at 8:39 AM on October 4 [42 favorites]


This is making me glad that most of what I watch on YouTube is art tutorials.

Though I'm sure that's not enough to make me safe from this.
posted by bile and syntax at 8:43 AM on October 4 [2 favorites]


I dunno... Sam Hyde isn't really doing anything any more. I've got my fingers crossed.

Not-coincidentally he interviewed Sam a while back. I do hope he's reduced to Hyde-status (losing job and income, growing a gross beard, apparently abandoning hygiene).
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:02 AM on October 4


Woobuffet, it's not youtube, but bandcamp has a weekly tuesday podcast, that, while not usually hosted by PoC or women (Though it happens once in a while), will check many marks. It's not a music criticism channel, but they're often wonderfully curated.
posted by _Synesthesia_ at 9:06 AM on October 4 [3 favorites]


So I don't watch youtube video blogs but was aware of the alt-right and "new atheist" channels, but I've been doing some really deep diving into white supremacist/alt-right accounts and spaces, and it's extremely disturbing how pervasive edge-lordism is and how easily it accepts, promotes, and absorbs members of traditional white supremacist organizations. I don't want to get into the whole "Nazis: ignore them and they'll go away, don't give them attention and they can't recruit/grow" argument, but:

Some months back in many of the political threads (and certainly in the run-up to the election) a lot of people, myself included, were rejoicing in the fact that the fox viewers and old white republicans would soon be aging out of power/percentages. But what I'm seeing when I really start looking at all these groups, and how they overlap, and how they interact, is horrifying. They are young, there are a ton of them, they vote, and this is a lifestyle and identity for them in the same way that being a Klan member is for a Klansmen. But they also have the added incentive of those clicks, likes, affirmation. Rather than being made grand wizard they are shooting for edgelord supreme, for recognition by their peers. And they are always trying to outdo each other because that's what social media programs people to do. That's what builds engagement. And these people are nothing if not fully engaged in going full fascist even if they are in it for "teh lulz". Because racial and ethnic and gender hatred is what's getting all the laughs in the spaces they consider community among the people they admire and their peers.

They are racist, they are anti-feminist, anti-LGBT, anti-Semitic, Islamaphobic, etc. But at the core they are anti-empathy and nihilistic. They aren't being persecuted for their beliefs and actions, they are being rewarded. They don't hold deep convictions or adhere to any moral or ethical framework. This is easy for them, and it's *fun* for them, and a lot of the people deeply involved i shaping these communities are frankly anti-social psychopaths.
posted by stagewhisper at 9:14 AM on October 4 [51 favorites]


"assuming that people who like the same music you like are cool" should be on those lists of cognitive biases

the five years of my life immediately after high school are high and mighty testimony to this FACT (of my life anyway). The good news (and if this was a movie*, it's how it would end) was that once I fell in with a crowd who didn't mind arguing with me (oft passionately) about what was "the shit" (versus was was merely shit) -- I'd found people who'd be my friends for life.

* the movie would be a comedy, by the way. I'd be the idiot who kept making the same mistake, getting my face all bruised, like the proverbial dog chasing parked cars. But I'm smarter now.
posted by philip-random at 9:18 AM on October 4 [4 favorites]


YouTube and Facebook and Twitter need to pull their freaking heads out of the sand, acknowledge that this wouldn't be happening if they weren't providing freaking Nazis with a freaking propaganda platform, and FIX THE FREAKING PROBLEM. Voluntarily or by force of law--whichever we the people who suffer from the propaganda, not they the people who profit from it, decide.
posted by Lyme Drop at 9:19 AM on October 4 [11 favorites]


stagewhisper: a lot of the people deeply involved i shaping these communities are frankly anti-social psychopaths.

Ding-ding-ding! Just look at how Biz Stone has been reaction to people calling him and Jack Dorsey out on letting obvious Nazi content stay up on Twitter. They don't fucking care that people are being hurt, that they're enabling a neo-fascist resurgence, or even that it makes their platform look like shit. They're self-absorbed psychopaths. (Which ties back into the Just Mayo thread from yesterday. Silicon Valley and VCs select for this nonsense.)
posted by SansPoint at 9:20 AM on October 4 [10 favorites]


At the very least, because I do understand the slippery slope arguments of removing political speech or speech that's critical of religions or governments, twitter Should Not Be Rewarding Nazis And White Supremacists With Blue Checkmarks. Those blue checkmarks more than anything else promote and VALIDATE hate speech. It's just completely indefensible.
posted by stagewhisper at 9:35 AM on October 4 [4 favorites]


As lkc noted, "he talks like an authority,"

True enough! Lord save us from mediocre white men who talk like authorities.
posted by naju at 9:44 AM on October 4 [20 favorites]


Someone on twitter is telling me that the channel was "reviewing memes" for a bit, and the videos were criticizing, not endorsing the stuff in the screencaps. And that the Fader piece is a hit piece and there's no way Fantano is alt-right. Seems questionable but might as well throw that alternate take out there. Apparently Fantano is going to respond in a forthcoming video.
posted by naju at 9:49 AM on October 4


Lord save us from mediocre white men who talk like authorities.

or just anyone who does this really (talk like an authority, that is; who's mediocre, that is)
posted by philip-random at 9:56 AM on October 4 [1 favorite]


Anyone, yep, but white men who do this become "the most famous music critic on Earth" (per The Fader's opening sentence)
posted by naju at 9:58 AM on October 4 [5 favorites]


Someone on twitter is telling me that the channel was "reviewing memes" for a bit, and the videos were criticizing, not endorsing the stuff in the screencaps. And that the Fader piece is a hit piece and there's no way Fantano is alt-right. Seems questionable but might as well throw that alternate take out there. Apparently Fantano is going to respond in a forthcoming video.

Given his pro-Gamer Gate stance, his fawning interviews with alt-right knuckleheads, and some of his tweets, this falls somewhere in the "Honestly doc: I fell on it in the shower and it went right up my butthole" level of plausibility where excuses are concerned.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:04 AM on October 4 [46 favorites]


"assuming that people who like the same music you like are cool" should be on those lists of cognitive biases

I got over this in a big way a few years ago. I used to live next door to a neo-nazi crackhead who lacked both volume control and the ability to open a window while smoking. His musical selections were divided between horrifyingly racist folk music and stuff like Ministry and the Butthole Surfers. He seemed to have about ten mp3s and would cycle through them while smoking whatever terrifying substance he was smoking that week.

I love Ministry, but really really hated having to listen to this guy's music, ever. It would be so loud I couldn't even watch tv. My only recourse was playing De La Soul at top volume, and my top volume was not as loud as his. There's something awful about knowing you have overlapping taste with an actual nazi, even if it's something basic and fairly universal.

Thankfully he never spoke to me or tried to kill me, and after a few months the landlord kicked him out.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:29 AM on October 4 [4 favorites]


Someone on twitter is telling me that the channel was "reviewing memes" for a bit, and the videos were criticizing, not endorsing the stuff in the screencaps.

Yeah, sure, which is why he pulled all the videos that would have exonerated him.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:51 AM on October 4 [28 favorites]


Sam Hyde isn't really doing anything any more.

For that matter, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck have fallen off the face of the earth, too.

I realize that Beck has The Blaze, but it's preaching to the choir. He's not pulling in randos who stumble across him on a major cable TV network. And that's as good thing.
posted by msalt at 11:02 AM on October 4


I have never heard of this individual and I don't understand a lot of what's going on in this article (violent fantasies, exhorting people to drink bleach) but somehow it feels like that's it. I'm disconnecting the internet. It has just become utterly ridiculous and deeply unpleasant.
posted by winterhill at 1:01 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]




(The videos above contain Pepe, "Fuck her right in the pussy!" soundbites, sneering mockery of trigger warnings, and most of all, a screeching, yelling jackass style that combines all of the shitty dumbassery of 4chan with the stylistic choices you'd expect from a disturbed teenager who just torrented his first copy of Final Cut.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:13 PM on October 4 [3 favorites]


jfc. Offensive would've at least meant hitting some kind of target, presumably. Instead these are just cringingly lame and unwatchable. Why does every alt-right idiot opt for a "Tim & Eric but completely inept and that's the point, maaaan, you don't get it" aesthetic?
posted by naju at 2:19 PM on October 4 [10 favorites]


I know I've watched at least 2 of his videos that were reviews of recently released music, but like others, never was a fan. I can't say I'm surprised only because I never really developed some kind of deeper than surface level impression of him. But this is really shitty.
posted by cashman at 2:27 PM on October 4


Can anyone recommend thoughtful music-related channels on YouTube, especially those run by women, POC, or other marginalized groups

You might want to check out Consequence of Sound's Listening Party videos. (Not sure if it's still a going concern, though)
posted by naju at 2:57 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


I've always hated, nay despised, his reviews. I feel vindicated somehow.
posted by cell divide at 3:11 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]


For that matter, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck have fallen off the face of the earth, too.

Published Monday: Bill O'Reilly: Las Vegas shooting 'the price of freedom'
Published yesterday: Vegas Killer's Dad Was 'Psychopathic,' Now Glenn Beck Asks Tough Question On Gun Control

Funny how they still seem to have platforms and be getting attention despite having "fallen off the face of the earth".
posted by Lexica at 3:35 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


YouTube and Facebook and Twitter need to pull their freaking heads out of the sand

Their heads aren't in the sand on this. They know what's going on. They also know that guys like this are some of their most popular assets (in the case of PewDiePie, the most popular), and that a good chunk of their subscribers either explicitly backs these people or are inclined to support them.

Really going after this trash and cleaning house would likely mean seriously harming their income, and so it will never happen. Maybe half-hearted token efforts.

So I don't watch youtube video blogs but was aware of the alt-right and "new atheist" channels, but I've been doing some really deep diving into white supremacist/alt-right accounts and spaces, and it's extremely disturbing how pervasive edge-lordism is and how easily it accepts, promotes, and absorbs members of traditional white supremacist organizations.

I don't have the link handy, but you have the causation backwards. There was a MeFi FPP a while ago about studies done on these movements, and they found that traditional white supremacist sites intentionally used edgy humor and "memes" as a vector to get a foothold in spaces like 4chan. It helped them get their message out but without the immediately off-putting edge because it was softened by humor, so people who might reject outright Nazi ideology can be drawn in because it's all just a joke.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:47 PM on October 4 [12 favorites]


naju: Why does every alt-right idiot opt for a "Tim & Eric but completely inept and that's the point, maaaan, you don't get it" aesthetic?

I suspect the Tim & Eric style aesthetic is because it's an extremely easy aesthetic to do, in that it takes very little effort to make something look cheap and inept. (Though I am not a Tim & Eric fan, I do give them credit for putting a lot of effort into their shitty aesthetic—enough to make it look easy, at least.)
posted by SansPoint at 4:01 PM on October 4 [4 favorites]


See also Vox Days attempt at a superhero, which is inept badly drawn garbage.
posted by Artw at 4:11 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]


I'm struggling to phrase a Milkshakethany Ducktano joke
posted by postcommunism at 5:15 PM on October 4


Funny how they still seem to have platforms and be getting attention despite having "fallen off the face of the earth".

They have different platforms which are much less prominent.

I literally only know about the Beck article because of the comment you just posted. I saw one person tweet something about O'Reilly's column, quickly followed by an "ignore him" response.

When you're dependent on your enemies to amplify you via social media outrage comments, that is 1/100th the platform that a daily TV show ona a major cable network gives you.
posted by msalt at 5:33 PM on October 4


That said, I'm curious to hear his response. You know how things can be shocking but not surprising? This is the opposite, if that makes any sense. Surprising but not shocking.

Surprising because I knew him mostly as the dude who's opinion /mu/ was always citing or deriding, but who seemed to mostly do fairly sincere music reviews and the occasional cute bit like a valentine's day love song ranking with his GF.

Not shocking because his fanbase was /mu/ heavy -- if fanbase is the right word for the combination of obsessive interest that's 50/50 notice-me-sempai/kill-urself-sempai -- and because he understood vernacular and was well within the orbit of the board. (/mu/ even appears in a few of his videos, like this one about NMH.)

If you had asked me this morning I wouldn't have pegged him as an edgelord.
posted by postcommunism at 5:35 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]


I'll give The Needle Drop credit for introducing me to artists like Susanne Sundfør, Weyes Blood, Iglooghost, Ash Koosha, Olga Bell, Guerilla Toss and Kirin J. Callinan.

I don't know if I'll unsubscribe from the channel or not. If Fantano is a racist and a sexist then he's done a pretty good job of keeping the racism and the sexism out of his main channel. (The comments section is awful, though.)
posted by WalkingAround at 8:58 AM on October 5


I'll give The Needle Drop credit for introducing me to artists like Susanne Sundfør, Weyes Blood, Iglooghost, Ash Koosha, Olga Bell, Guerilla Toss and Kirin J. Callinan.

Yeah, I like several of those artists, Sundfør and Weyes Blood in particular. But I can usually read a review and then be off to listen to the music under review in less time than I can watch Fantano mug for the camera. That goes for nearly every "video reviewer" I've ever encountered on YouTube. Possibly that's a generational preference, but I held that against Fantano long before I suspected him of anything more than being annoying.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:29 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


I can usually read a review and then be off to listen to the music under review in less time than I can watch Fantano mug for the camera. That goes for nearly every "video reviewer" I've ever encountered on YouTube. Possibly that's a generational preference...

I've never watched this person, but I do watch a fair number of reviews of electronic music gear. If a reviewer starts by introducing themselves, I turn them off immediately now. Reviewers who start with the subject and keep things relevant, I'll watch the whole thing and likely the rest of their videos, and come to know them and respect/trust their opinions more than others.
posted by Foosnark at 10:59 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


Yes, I can imagine circumstances where a video review provides valuable added information. I can see where watching a description of something mechanical, or physical, or visual would tell me more than would a written description. I've watched The Kalm Report enjoyably and informatively precisely because it gives me a better feel for the art and galleries he describes than I'd get just from a written review. But next to books, music seems least suited to video reviews. Not saying it can't be done, but it takes more than just talking at a camera.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:56 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


I've read that the more porn a person consumes, the more likely they are to end up watching extreme/graphic/disturbing/legally-dubious porn. I wonder if people who submerge themselves entirely in internet culture are similarly more like to end up absorbed into 4chan, the gutter end of Reddit, etc.

There's definitely something to trying to out-shock, out-snark, out-argue each other. On the internet, everyone's got an axe to grind and everyone's trying to show they're smarter than anyone else, more cool, more calm, less caring, etc. So given that kind of environment, you get these incredibly decadently ironic subcultures, reveling in absurdity and mockery, and at some point some of these subcultures get connected to the far right. Because sure some of these trolls are toxic masculinist white nationalists, or others are angry keyboards who radicalized because they found a home, but yet others still are just trolls trollin', because it gets the laughs and likes not because the joke is funny, but hey the funniest, most fucked up, most transgressive one wins. He who trolls, triumphs. Couple that with the possibly inherently neurotic nature of web forums, and these subcultures flourish.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:53 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: The possibly inherently neurotic nature of web forums.
posted by WalkingAround at 9:12 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


the possibly inherently neurotic nature of web forums

I like how that author says "Don't be neurotic on the web" and then follows that with "Please follow me on twitter."
posted by octobersurprise at 10:37 AM on October 6 [2 favorites]


I don't know if I'll unsubscribe from the channel or not. If Fantano is a racist and a sexist then he's done a pretty good job of keeping the racism and the sexism out of his main channel. (The comments section is awful, though.)

wow yeah heaven forfend you should not support a fucking racist. jesus christ! in this day and age! shame on you!
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 12:20 PM on October 6 [9 favorites]




Some months back in many of the political threads (and certainly in the run-up to the election) a lot of people, myself included, were rejoicing in the fact that the fox viewers and old white republicans would soon be aging out of power/percentages. But what I'm seeing when I really start looking at all these groups, and how they overlap, and how they interact, is horrifying. They are young, there are a ton of them, they vote, and this is a lifestyle and identity for them in the same way that being a Klan member is for a Klansmen.

I have a theory (always). I think the faith that this generation is going to save us is entirely misplaced. This comment is part of it. The other part is that things are probably going to be shitty for quite a while, and this is a generation that grew being taught that security is one of the most important things is life, and they're not getting that. Seems like a terrible combination to me.

But I can usually read a review and then be off to listen to the music under review in less time than I can watch Fantano mug for the camera. That goes for nearly every "video reviewer" I've ever encountered on YouTube. Possibly that's a generational preference,

There are definitely people who seem to have a much higher tolerance for long, rambling, and uninformed videos than I do these days. I don't get it.

If a reviewer starts by introducing themselves, I turn them off immediately now.

If a video has a logo bumper that is longer than 1-3 seconds I turn it off. They are obviously going to waste my time.
posted by bongo_x at 11:01 PM on October 6


I get that I'm an old but there are very few YouTube videos I can sit through, and most are home repair how-to's where the medium has obvious advantages.

If it's anyone's opinion on anything, I just want to yell USE YOUR WORDS. If you can edit 100 jump cuts while trying to look adorable, you can polish a couple of drafts and say a lot more, in a format where I can control playback speed.
posted by msalt at 12:39 AM on October 7 [6 favorites]


Can anyone summarize the response video? I have no intention of watching it.
posted by SansPoint at 8:06 PM on October 7


First half: "Those videos were based off of meme culture and had nothing to do with the alt-right, if you would just look at the context. I've made other videos that indicate that I am obviously left wing, mostly when it comes to healthcare. You just don't understand humor." Basically, the PewDiePie defense.

Second half: "Sargon of Akkad and the Amazing Atheist have explicitly disavowed the alt-right, so obviously I'm not alt-right for hanging out with them. Of course Sam Hyde's rant about Lena Dunham was awful, but if you actually listen to the tape, I told him it was probably a bad idea to say stuff like that on a public podcast. I've tweeted some anti-Trump stuff once or twice. (also I think SJWs are bad)"

Even taking every single line in his rebuttal at his word, this is a dude whose pro-Gamergate stance is pretty clear. That's enough for me on its own, frankly.
posted by perplexion at 9:20 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


First half: "Those videos were based off of meme culture and had nothing to do with the alt-right, if you would just look at the context. I've made other videos that indicate that I am obviously left wing, mostly when it comes to healthcare. You just don't understand humor." Basically, the PewDiePie defense.

So a couple points based on my experience monitoring members of a large and very well-funded white supremacist organization that's an umbrella for lots of neo-nazi and crypto-fascist groups:

The umbrella organization and many of the affiliated groups actually support some form of national healthcare, at least in theory. That's no nazi litmus test. Many of the key organizational members also openly support Israel. (This is only because they want to be able to expel Jews from the U.S. to there when they are in power, which they *don't* publicly state for the most part)
posted by stagewhisper at 7:25 AM on October 8 [2 favorites]


I've tweeted some anti-Trump stuff once or twice. (also I think SJWs are bad)" also LMAO nazis tweet anti-Trump stuff all the time when they feel he's not being supportive enough of their shared agenda.
posted by stagewhisper at 7:29 AM on October 8 [3 favorites]


but if you actually listen to the tape, I told him it was probably a bad idea to say stuff like that on a public podcast

Emphasis mine. He doesn't say it's a shitty thing to say, just that it's not a good idea to go public with it.

Stay crypto.
posted by Dysk at 7:52 AM on October 8 [6 favorites]


Thanks for the summary! Fuck Fantano.
posted by SansPoint at 9:00 AM on October 8


I told him it was probably a bad idea to say stuff like that on a public podcast

I feel like this is two-thirds disingenuity and maybe one-third being too fucking stupid to distinguish between recording something and broadcasting it.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:41 AM on October 8 [1 favorite]


With shits like Fantano and Hyde, it's not "I'm sorry I'm a fascist," or "I'm sorry I got caught," it's "I'm sorry that I overplayed my hand, and the tolerance level for out-and-out fascism isn't quite where I thought it was for my next big career move." They're putting this shit out in the open - it's not a secret.
posted by codacorolla at 10:11 AM on October 8 [4 favorites]


My reaction to the response vid is that Fantano is an extremely online lefty bro (with all that entails), and that Fader is off base.

> Stay crypto.

I don't think so. He says that for context it was a weird, difficult interview and plays a clip where it's clear that Hyde is trying to intimidate and disturb Fantano himself.

Unlike the folks we saw in the Buzzfeed article, I don't think that Fantano's been disingenuous. I'm willing to have my mind changed, but he seems about like he always has, probably with a bit more of a left-bro background than I was aware of. Rewind to 2012 and Fantano's that dude you know who's pretty good on racial justice but also feels beleaguered by "SJWs".

(Of course, that 2012 dude complaining about SJWs is also part of the current alt-right's target market, and if you head over to the /r/videos thread you can see the evangelical alt-right doing their thing.)

This is not to excuse e.g. giving a platform to Sargon of Akkad (and in that vein, Fantando saying that he interviewed Sargon only after GG died out is blinkered on two levels), but to say that Fantano's representing himself much more accurately than Fader is.
posted by postcommunism at 5:16 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


I guess part of what's bugging me about the Fader article now that I've thought about it is that a) it's not accurate but also that b) that the problems Fantano shows (whether he realizes it or not -- for the record, I'd guess that he sincerely believes he's a pretty progressive guy) are not all just things the alt-right does or can be criticized on. For example: complaining about "SJWs" is not just an alt-right thing. That's a red-flag you see among progressives too, and you can't just hide it behind Pepe.
posted by postcommunism at 6:03 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


"Benefit of the oubt" and "irony" both victims of the ongoing situation.
posted by Artw at 8:17 PM on October 8 [2 favorites]


Fantano's representing himself much more accurately than Fader is.

As you've said, he most likely thinks of himself as a pretty progressive guy. So he's representing this image of himself more convincingly than what The Fader criticizes Fantano of actually being. The Fader assumes calculated malice, whereas Fantano may (in part) "just" be ignorant. This, however, is just no excuse. Not anymore, not in 2017. He's a product of his "for-the-lolz" social sphere at 4chan and elsewhere, and reproduces their insidious beliefs that being progressive means e.g. attacking religious cultures (via New Atheism) or doxing women for applying gender theory to video games. (His argument that Anita Sarkeesian is not a "real gamer" (TM) completely misses the point of what she has been doing in the Tropes series.)

Again, he may not be acting in bad faith, but even ignorance is excusable only for so long. Especially when you're an Internet celebrity with 1.1 million followers.

My personal conclusion (as a long-time, and now former, viewer of his reviews) is to echo what many in this thread have said before: fuck this guy.
posted by bigendian at 10:48 PM on October 8 [3 favorites]


Here's a little pointer for 2017 that you apparently haven't figured out yet: pretending to be on the left while hating "SJWs" doesn't make you not a fascist.
posted by codacorolla at 10:50 PM on October 8 [8 favorites]


Yeah, all those pepes be was using just came from "meme culture" he said, completely ignoring the fact that that's a racist culture. It's like parroting tea party talking points and then claiming not to be racist, it's just US right wing talk radio culture.
posted by Dysk at 12:52 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


You know who else thinks they're leftbro progressive?

Pretty much all of Reddit. The same reddit that has an enormous misogyny, transphobia, and racism problem.

You know who else thinks they're left-progressive?

Pretty much all of MetaFilter. The same MetaFilter that has a nasty and persistent undercurrent of white dudes denying sexism, transphobia, racism...

In other words even if you view yourself as "leftist" that doesn't mean you don't hold some nasty, bigoted views. Indeed, it probably makes you even more blind to them.
posted by anem0ne at 9:59 AM on October 9 [5 favorites]


You know someone's beliefs are extremely serious, strongly felt, and indicative of personal action to realize them in offline spaces when they get discarded the instant a chance to hang out with minor Internet celebrities is presented. I mean, who can blame him, not just anyone gets to pal around to someone as blisteringly compelling as Sargon of Akkad or Sam Hyde, just like you wouldn't blame Antony for rending heaven and earth to remain by Cleopatra's side.
posted by Copronymus at 10:54 AM on October 9


You know who else thinks they're leftbro progressive? Pretty much all of Reddit. The same reddit that has an enormous misogyny, transphobia, and racism problem. Pretty much all of Reddit.

Reddit has currently 234 million unique users per month (3% of humanity). What is the point of making sweeping dismissals of all of them and generalizing that they're "pretty much" all the same?
posted by msalt at 12:32 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Source: have visited reddit.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:46 PM on October 9 [5 favorites]


All 700,000 subreddits? Wow.
posted by msalt at 1:11 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


I may perhaps have missed visiting a few of the revenge porn ones that the admins merely hid instead of actually banning.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:35 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Just take a representative sample of.... DON'T CLICK THE ONES ON THE FRONT PAGE!
posted by Artw at 3:24 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


> In other words even if you view yourself as "leftist" that doesn't mean you don't hold some nasty, bigoted views. Indeed, it probably makes you even more blind to them.

That's part of what I mean by "extremely online lefty bro.

> Pretty much all of Reddit.

Speaking of Reddit, the site's culture is evolving in some interesting ways. For a while, the dynamic was of core Redditors who called each other liberals but who also thought the hate sub network was just jokes, saw Violentacrez as a cool internet uncle, and talked about SRS like the boogeyman. Stereotypical young libertarian dudes, at least for the time. That's the Reddit of Ron Paul, legal weed, and the fappening.

Reddit after The_Donald is more balkanized. The overall cultural inertia is still socially conservative in a a bro-ish American way (see /r/pics), but you also have more active communist meme subs and various anarchist subs yelling "splitters!" at each other, alongside newer subs that are openly right-wing authoritarian. You don't see KIA on the frontpage anymore, but you do see more general subs like CringeAnarchy, DankMemes, and SJWhate.

Interestingly, the role that SRS played, with their "rape jokes are bad and /r/blackfathers isn't funny" stance that so deeply offended core Reddit, is pretty much gone (or drowned out). Instead, you have a larger liberal/left crowd focused on economics in subs like LateStageCapitalism.

There's also some evidence that the hate sub purge helped (pdf). From that paper:
the effectiveness of banning as a moderation approach remains unclear: banning might diminish hateful behavior, or it may relocate such behavior to different parts of the site. We study the ban of r/fatpeoplehate and r/CoonTown in terms of its effect on both participating users and affected subreddits. Working from over 100M Reddit posts and comments, we generate hate speech lexicons to examine variations in hate speech usage via causal inference methods. We find that the ban worked for Reddit. More accounts than expected discontinued using the site; those that stayed drastically decreased their hate speech usage—by at least 80%
So no-platforming the worst elements worked at least a little bit, for at least a little while.
posted by postcommunism at 7:34 PM on October 9 [4 favorites]


Balkanized into the Donald bro misogynists, the commie bro misogynists, and the ironic bro misogynists. What an improvement.
posted by Dysk at 5:41 AM on October 10 [4 favorites]


had i known that my comment would have led to a #notallredditors derail... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by anem0ne at 9:49 AM on October 10 [5 favorites]


It's interesting hearing different takes on what Fantano might have thought he was doing.

But in the end, I'll just quote KV:
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:40 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


I may perhaps have missed visiting a few of the revenge porn ones that the admins merely hid instead of actually banning.

Let me avoid Reddit-style sideways snark then and be more direct.

This is rank, ignorant prejudice and elitism. You're judging 3% of all humanity with a few throw-away jokes.

/r/politics, with 3.5 million subscribers, is a generally progressive place with a wide range of center-left to lefty opinions that are not by any means all focused on LateStageCapitalism. I'm sure it's all very kicky and insider-feeling to talk about SJWHate (40,000 subscribers) but it has barely 1% of the readers.

If you want to look for ugliness, sure, it's a great place to find it. Or you could look for subs of people you want to talk to. Your choice, but don't pretend you know what Reddit writ large is like, or that anyone even can. It's not Metafilter, it doesn't scale like that.
posted by msalt at 10:27 PM on October 10 [1 favorite]


You know not every single person on reddit has to be an arsehole for the statement "people on reddit are arseholes" to be broadly true. Sub in "misogynist" in place of "arsehole" and that should be utterly uncontroversial. Sure there will be pockets of people thinking otherwise, but on the whole, it's broadly true.
posted by Dysk at 1:55 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


Like, just glancing at /r/politics, it may be left leaning, but there's also a whole bunch of casual misogyny and "triggered" jokes. It cannot escape reddit'wider culture. Maybe a smaller sub could, but /r/politics sure doesn't.
posted by Dysk at 2:00 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


[Since we have literally hundreds of discussions that have devolved into What Reddit Is Like, with exactly the same arguments repeated over and over and over, maybe we can put a cap on this one?]
posted by taz at 2:30 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


wow yeah heaven forfend you should not support a fucking racist. jesus christ! in this day and age! shame on you!

So every person with a subscription to The Needle Drop is a supporter of racism? That's pretty harsh.
posted by WalkingAround at 11:29 AM on October 21


I mean, financially, yes? Inadvertently or otherwise - do what you will with that information.
posted by Artw at 11:33 AM on October 21 [6 favorites]


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