Jake Paul doesn’t need Dis­ney — YouTube al­ready gives him an army

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - ABBY OHLHEISER The Wash­ing­ton Post

It didn’t mat­ter whether Jake Paul was a ter­ri­ble rap­per in real life or whether he just played one for the YouTube views.

What did mat­ter is that he had 75 mil­lion views on “It’s ev­ery­day bro,” a mu­sic video cen­tred on one of the catch­phrases from his daily YouTube vlogs.

So what if it felt like al­most every YouTu­ber, in­clud­ing his own brother, made videos roast­ing the song? So what if clas­sic lines, such as “Eng­land is my city,” “Dis­ney chan­nel flow” and “I just dropped some new merch and it’s sell­ing like a god church,” all be­came mock­ing YouTube memes?

Paul’s merch now in­cludes a “like a god church” hoodie.

So what if a lo­cal news story re­vealed last week that the YouTube star is an ex­tremely bad neigh­bour — com­plete with burn­ing fur­ni­ture and the hordes of young tween fans who wait out­side his home every day (some­times with their par­ents in tow) to catch a glimpse of their idol? The seg­ment went vi­ral, and now you know who he is. Maybe some of you even like him.

“The Jake Paulers are the strong­est army out there. Dab,” he said to the news crew, dab­bing. It was child­ish, and the “Jake Paulers” loved it: The dab was for them. In each of his vlogs, Paul tells his fans to “dab on them haters.” It’s an­other catch­phrase of his.

Af­ter the news story went vi­ral, Paul abruptly left his role on a Dis­ney chan­nel show where he played a so­cial me­dia star, a move that he treated as no more than a blip on his in­evitable rise to the top.

“I have out­grown the chan­nel,” he said in a tweeted state­ment, a ver­sion of which he also vlogged a cou­ple days later.

In other words, it was Dis­ney that was hold­ing him back. He might not be wrong about that: two days af­ter leav­ing Dis­ney, Paul chal­lenged his fans to get him to 12 mil­lion sub­scribers in 12 months, a goal that he could re­al­is­ti­cally ac­com­plish — he al­ready has 9 mil­lion sub­scribers, and gains tens of thou­sands of new ones each day.

In the same vlog where he is­sued that chal­lenge, Paul films him­self get­ting kicked out of a pool area for film­ing with­out a per­mit, and get­ting yelled at in a Nike store for us­ing its equip­ment with­out sign­ing a waiver.

The Jake Paulers are Paul’s army, and they ex­pect Paul to act like this. His fans are young — tweens, teens and 7-year-olds. And they’re de­voted. YouTu­bers who speak ill of their man will see their Twit­ter men­tions and com­ments fill up with de­fences and in­sults.

The in­ten­sity of the “Jake Paulers’ de­vo­tion to their man has be­come a YouTube meme it­self. Jake Paul could do the worst pos­si­ble thing you could imag­ine — join ISIS maybe, or shoot some­one while stand­ing in the mid­dle of Fifth Av­enue, the meme goes, and his fans would cheer it on as ‘sav­age.’”

The in­ter­net loves celebrities who are open and authen­tic, and Paul’s daily vlogging style plays into that, fol­low­ing him through the course of a day from morn­ing to night. But his ac­tual con­tent is a vac­uum for any­one look­ing to make real mean­ing — it is, es­sen­tially, a vlog about hav­ing a suc­cess­ful vlog.

His house­mates, by the way, are all so­cial me­dia personalities too, al­beit with smaller fol­low­ings than Paul. They’re part of his in­flu­encer net­work, Team 10, and they’re there to learn from him.

Paul is ba­si­cally the so­cial-me­dia-stare­quiv­a­lent of a pros­per­ity gospel preacher: his own vi­ral suc­cess is an ex­am­ple for oth­ers, his chan­nel a tes­ti­mony. Fol­low Paul, act as he acts, join his move­ment, and the YouTube al­go­rithm will re­ward you with some of the worldly goods he dis­plays ev­ery­day in his videos. Noth­ing is fully ironic or earnest in Paul’s world. It is sim­ply con­tent.

The con­tro­versy that fol­lowed Paul for the past week has since be­come part of that tes­ti­mony, some­thing he’ll turn into con­tent, too. Paul posted a video re­cently ti­tled “I Jake Paul ac­tu­ally got ar­rested ...,” which he ad­ver­tised with a still im­age that ap­peared to show him be­ing ar­rested by uni­formed of­fi­cers. It went up at the height of the fall­out from that vi­ral lo­cal news story, when it felt like all of YouTube was wait­ing for a con­se­quence, some­thing to knock a bit of hu­mil­ity into the young and ris­ing star. But the joke was on them. The “ar­rest” was a prank, the po­lice were act­ing.

The rea­son, he said, was to teach viewers a les­son about au­then­tic­ity.

“That was just kind of a les­son to teach you guys that not ev­ery­thing you see in the me­dia on a day-to-day ba­sis is real, and that you can ba­si­cally fake ev­ery­thing and twist any­thing the way you want,” he said.

Later, he added, “don’t be­lieve the fake me­dia.”

As Paul spoke, his Team 10ers stood around and lis­tened. Who knows whether Paul au­then­ti­cally be­lieves what he is say­ing or not, and who cares?

What mat­ters: Paul is the master at this sort of thing. Watch and learn.

The video has nearly 9 mil­lion views.

TAY­LOR JEWELL/INVISION/AP

In this Jan. 22 file photo, Jake Paul poses for a por­trait at the Mu­sic Lodge dur­ing the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val in Park City, Utah.

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