The Logan Paul Problem

The “secret” is out. Logan Paul is an obnoxious idiot. For those of us who frequented Vine way back when, this is not news. The overgrown manchild made a name for himself like so many other viners did: by acting like a rude, undisciplined ten-year-old.  

Like many of his compatriots, Logan migrated to YouTube and its monetized videos, leaving Vine to die an early death. This allowed him to continue his asinine stunts without time limits. Unfortunately for him, his latest escapades in Japan have now landed him in the crosshairs of society’s disapproval.  

While filming a video filled with his usual fair of causing a ruckus and annoying passersby, Logan traipsed through Japan’s famous suicide forest. At the base of Mount Fuji, the suicide forest is rumored to be haunted, but the real horror is the staggering amount of suicides that have given the area its foreboding name. 

Paul and his so-called friends ventured into the woods, hopeful to get some good gags out of the experience. Instead, they stumbled upon a dead body hanging from a tree. Rather than do the sane thing (stop filming, call the police, don’t post a video about it), Logan and his friends continued filming and proceeded to make disgusting jokes about the deceased person. Logan then uploaded it to YouTube, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Many are calling for the removal of Paul’s YouTube channel in its entirety. This would effectively put the final nail in the coffin of his world-wide reign of obnoxiousness. But as tempting as it may be to want to censor Paul, there are a few problems with this plan.

For one, censorship is a dangerous path to walk down, no matter where it begins. Some would also argue that we should forgive Logan Paul and make the personal choice to not view his videos. After all, he removed the outrageous video and uploaded an apology video to his channel.

Even if Logan Paul’s channel is deleted and he never makes another appearance on any video or platform for the rest of his life, these sort of shenanigans wouldn’t end. For one, we still have plenty of morons immediately able to take his place, his brother Jake Paul among them. We also have millions of little “Logangers” and “Jake Paulers” who would give just about anything to have the kind of success their favorite Youtubers do. The problem, unfortunately, does not lie in one single human being. The problem lies in the way we have idolized fame by any means necessary.

For the better part of two decades, children have been raised on entertainment that highlights the desirability of fame. As reality television came into its own, shows like American Idol and America’s Got Talent told the world that anyone can be a megastar. Sitcoms like Hannah Montana, iCarly, and Victorious taught kids that pursuing fame was a worthwhile goal, no matter how young you are. Reality shows like Keeping Up with Kardashians, Dance Moms, and Sixteen and Pregnant said that you didn’t even need to be talented, well-behaved, or even remotely decent to be famous. All you needed to achieve fame was a spirit willing to do whatever it takes. The rise of platforms like YouTube and Vine made this sort of fame-seeking possible for everyone. Becoming a national sensation (or disgrace) has never been easier or more accessible.

This is not a “society made me do it” argument. Everyone, including Logan Paul, is responsible for their own actions and poor decisions. But we have not only tolerated people for their bad behavior for the past couple of decades, we have rewarded them with our time, attention, money, and adoration. 

Logan Paul and his stupid antics are just a symptom of the disease. It’s doubtful that this will be enough to wake up the masses to it, but here it is anyway: we need to stop rewarding bad behavior. Stop watching garbage television. Stop giving famous delinquents your time and money. Stop letting your children do the same. Teach your children that this kind of behavior is unacceptable and foolish and they shouldn’t idolize morons who participate in such foolish stunts.

This problem didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t be fixed overnight. Like so many issues in the entertainment industry, it is deeply ingrained and hard to remove. This wake-up call won’t be the last. Perhaps next time we’ll actually wake up to the real problem.

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