On December 31, Logan Paul published a video of a guy hanging in Aokigahara Forest, aka, “Suicide Woods.” And the interworld went nuts.
Here’s what I mean: “How dare you (Paul)! You disgust me. I can’t believe that so many young people look up to you. So sad. Hopefully, this latest video woke them up. You are pure trash. Plain and simple. Suicide is not a joke. Go rot in hell.” – Sincerely, like all of Twitter.
If you’re late to the party or just don’t spend your days sucking down Youtube content like a gamer with a Mountain Dew addiction, then you should know that 22-year-old Logan Paul is a big-time vlogger. Yup, somehow the dude gets paid for doing dumb shit on Youtube. And when I say dumb shit, I mean total asshat antics that make me vomit a little when I think about it. I assume that at least part of the fascination is more morbid, like watching a mindless zombie that has somehow figured out how to use a knife and fork to eat brains. That, and I think a lot of folks are curious to see how a human can be worthless and successful at the same time.
Let me make one thing painfully clear; I can’t stand the guy or the bullshit content he puts out. And I didn’t even see the video and I don’t care to. But I’ve read it about it several times, and all I can think is wow! This is news? And then, damn, isn’t the backlash a little much? I mean the kid is 22 freakin’ years old. If I had a camera with me all the time, an inflated sense of self-worth and an entire group of followers called ‘The Logang” named after me, I’d do some dumb shit too.
But I tell you what I most likely would not have done as quickly and often as Paul did; apologized. That’s right, Paul fucked up and said he was sorry. Twice. And we still can’t let it go.
Whether or not we think Paul’s video was despicable, offensive, in poor taste, artsy or otherwise, is irrelevant. The fact still remains, he said he was sorry. And it should’ve ended there. If your feelings changed for the guy, then good for you, unsubscribe to his channel and leave him alone. Even if you think he was just paying lip with his apathetic apology, the point is, he made one and who are we to judge?
It’s gotta be the suicide thing, right? Self-inflicted death is a hot button and always has been. A taboo subject we mostly tiptoe around. But why? Is it horrible that some people feel so alone and lost they end their own existence? Sure. But how is that any different than an alcoholic numbing themselves one drink at a time, ending it all a bit more slowly? Because the alcoholic at least has a chance at redemption? Really? Does the definitiveness of suicide really make it off limits, or does it’s very absolutism just scare the shit out of us? Or have so many of us secretly contemplated it at one time or another, that now we’re scared of bringing it back into the light?
I’m trying to think of any other topic Paul could’ve filmed that would’ve been better received and I can’t. And that’s another problem. EVERYTHING IS OFF LIMITS NOW! Unless you talk about it in a way that doesn’t damage our fragile sensibilities, you might as well shut the hell up and tow the line. Just look at the comedy genre and you’ll see. It’s been dying a slow death for years now, comedians too afraid to tell a joke that might go viral and end their career. Advertising and movies are screwed too. You can’t just make a commercial or a film that says the one thing you want it to say, without offending some special interest group somewhere.
And is it just me, or does it feel like the reason so many of us watch celebrities so closely today is just so we can attack them when they make a mistake tomorrow? Like bringing them down a peg makes our lives seem better. Paul is just the latest in an endless chain of hostility magnets. He’s this week’s target and we’re all hitting his bullseye.
The problem isn’t Paul. It’s not his lack of empathy either, or the droves of humans hypnotized by him ( it does suck though) and others like him. It’s the world’s unwillingness to forgive. So many of us are so stiff with judgemental, self-righteous indignation, that we sit behind our Twitter feeds and wait for the next target to form. Our attacks are brutal. We fight millions against one while demanding public and loud justice for everything from sexual harassment to police brutality, and now this — a kid who made a stupid video. That he apologized for!
Are we really that bored? What do we hope to accomplish by flexing on someone until they break? Why are we so weak we must attack others for their mistakes? Have we no mistakes of our own? Or are we just trying to make society so scared of “wrongdoing” that we all just stop “doing” altogether?
I get it, we place those who make the biggest mistakes on the biggest pedestals. We say “if you act like this, you’ll get the same!” We forget that we’re all human, we all fuck up, and it’s just a matter of time before judgment comes our way. When it does, will you be glad you’ve been merciful, or fearful for your vengeance?
In a recent Netflix special, “Bird Revelation,” with Dave Chappelle, the comedian said, “Fear does not make lasting peace. Just ask black people.” He goes on to say, “forgive the weaker ones among us … support those brave enough to rebel.”
Paul is weak. That means everyone picking on him now is nothing more than a bully. How does it feel, big man, beating the crippled kid who can’t fight back? How does winning feel when it’s a million against one?
Dave Chappelle, again, is the only sane dude in a sea of crazy. Yes, people in the public eye fuck up. And so does everyone else. You, me, your mom and your dad. And when that happens, even the faithless pray for forgiveness. So why can’t we forgive Paul and others like him? Why can’t we educate instead of condemn?
What if Paul was your brother? Or your son or best friend? Would you change your story?
I don’t know Logan Paul and I don’t want to. Maybe he’s a super douche and maybe tomorrow we’ll learn about a closet of skeletons much worse than this one. And so what. The problem isn’t Paul, he’s just a stand-in for the real issue plaguing mankind today; complete and utter lack of forgiveness.
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