Read to the end for a good cooking fact
Relatively few YouTubers make it to the level of popularity that they make enough to make a living for themselves, but it's nice to see when that happens. When they then grow to a level where they can earn a decent living for themselves and maybe even afford to employ a team and pay that team good wages, even better. And I don't hate every YouTuber who grows their fame by investing some of their channel's earnings into doing good for others, because a lot of good is being done that way.
But how that's done does matter, and the fact that good is being done does not make everything okay. The Christian missionary organisations' "educational" (read: marketing) materials in my elementary school made me believe I was a good child doing good by putting coins in the box every week, but they also raised me with a mistaken sense of superiority over others; as a child I didn't know better, looking back I feel uncomfortable at the spoon-fed white-saviourism of it. There a different ways to "do good" and I'm not sure I like MrBeast's M.O. —perhaps because it's too reminiscent of those missionary charity collections in my elementary school days.
It doesn't matter what I feel, no one notices and even fewer will care. But every time I see anyone with an audience daring to express even the slightest of doubt or discomfort, for whatever reason, they get faced with Jimmy's bruised ego* and a fan army of "How dare you! He does so much good!" justifiers.
*I don't know if Jimmy's ego is actually bruised when that happens or whether it's just an act, but I do know that he sure as heck knows the toxic fan mob behaviour he actively taps into when, after another YouTube video of his is about to garner a gazillion views, he takes to Twitter/X with variations on "I am going to get cancelled for [trying to do good] <sad face>" and that's fully and squarely on him (and whoever else posts on his behalf). That's deliberate, malicious, and inexcusable.
No amount of charity work he does makes that okay.
I don't think anything MrBeast posts to a platform with an engagement loop/algorithm should be taken at face value. Everything he posts to YouTube is designed to maximise impressions, click-through, and session time. I wouldn't be surprised if everything he posts to X is optimised for the equivalent.
His podcast appearances give me the impression that he's a hard worker and very detail-oriented, but that he doesn't seem to think too deeply about things. His entire adult life has been focused on building his brand. He's had effectively unlimited resources since he was 19. What need does he have for a nuanced worldview, and how would he have ever been able to form one?
The viral charity ick thing is interesting, and I think has its roots in religion. I think that's why it's hard to pin down exactly what feels wrong about it - it's an ick that's been baked into human culture for thousands of years. Something like: if you go out of your way to show me that you're doing something good, that suggests that you want me to think of you as a person who does good things, and there are no virtuous motivations for that desire in our cultural traditions.
There's a utilitarian view that these videos are a net positive for everyone involved, so what's the issue? I question that, primarily because I'm not sure what the long-term outcomes of MrBeast's philanthropic acts are. I've seen enough monkey's paw outcomes from well-intentioned charity to know that helping people is actually pretty complex.
I work for a charity that raises funds for water projects exactly like those in Mr Beasts video. I can assure you that filming and sharing about this kind of philanthropic work is essential to be able to continue to raise funds. And I am totally jealous of the tools he has at his disposal as the videos we have been able to produce look like amateur dogshit compared to this.
But yeah Mr Beast has a weird, empty behind the eyes vibe for sure and I feel very weird about him contributing to a cause I work for, too. It is good. He’s done alot of these communities and he didnt even need to do it. But its just... odd. I guess I wish he’d just openly financially back these local entrepeneurs he speaks of instead of taking cool drone shots in the middle of extremely poor communities? It still feels like clickbait no matter how great the cause. I am very conflicted.
I will hear no such slander of zip-off shorts!!
"Bored Ape Yacht Club members" seems to be the hip way to say "incels" now.
The 1000 play minimum is shitty on Spotify's part, but the spam is a real problem. Pretty much every week there is a song on my release radar by a spam artist (the song is usually a generic trap beat) with a fake "feature" by an artist I actually follow. Seems like that's the current meta to game your way into accidental plays from people who just turn on their release radar and let it play. Since spotify got rid of the dislike button there really isn't even a way to remove them from the playlist.
"Because traffic is all he seems to want or care about. If he truly cared about philanthropy, for instance, why not just do it and never film it? Well, that’s because philanthropy is just another type of viral content for him."
If Mr. Beast wants to donate time, money, and energy into a project, then having his own monetary stream is important. A basic 9-5 job isn't going to fund these projects, or at least not at the pace and magnitude that are being completed at. I don't mind that he is making money off of the help he gives, because it's being reinvested back into future projects. The real question to be asked is Mr. Beast doing more good than harm with these projects? If the projects are only making short term positive impacts, but leaving major problems down the road, then that would be an issue. Creating wells? How long is that infrastructure going to last? Who fixes it later as people become dependent on it?
I feel like "What the fuck is up, Exxon?" doesn't quite have the same staying power... but it's still mad. More DIY pop-up hardcore gigs in dumb places.
I think it's a little disingenuous to suggest he is only after making viral content. I understand that is what he does, but I think Jimmy realises that to give as much money away as possible, he needs to make as much money as possible. I do believe that he wants to help people as much as he can, but he can only continue to do that as long as people watch his videos. He probably understands the system better than anyone and uses this to help in his philanthropy goals.
I’m curious to see if Mr. Beast’s “feastables” line of cookies and candy is actually selling in the real world. The manufacturer is certainly putting a lot of money into getting them great placement and visibility, but does anyone buy this stuff? It was incredibly unnerving coming across a Mr. Beast display in my local Safeway--like hearing your mom quote a meme that you thought was just popular in your friend group.
Wouldnt you think that MrBeast is rich enough to simply fund his own non-hollywood stuff? I would buy that so many years of gaming the youtube algorithm has broken his brain.
1) be rich
2) pivot to serious
2a) make something not shitty
3) achieve Hollywoods definition of legitimacy
No such defamation of zip-off shorts will reach my ears!
I came across your blog and was about to subscribe, until I read this post.
I don’t care for Mr. Beast’s content and have honestly watched one, maybe two of his videos in my life. It is very uninteresting to me, and the guy himself is at best, awkward.
But to insist that he is a “sociopath” because his job is to make viral content that is specifically designed to help people is such a low effort, pathetic attack on someone that has had a more positive effect on the world than pretty much every other content creator - especially you with your little newsletter here.
I think you need to get some perspective.
I'd agree that "[m]ostly likely because at this point we all know that making purely viral content and chasing audience-agnostic mass appeal, as MrBeast does, requires, in some sense, being a complete sociopath with no concept of what it means to artistically or creatively express something", but that's also true about TV and movie execs. It's kinda baffling that no serious attempt at a MrBeast netflix special or w/e has been made.
So I think he Beast does care bc he could prob just do more contest videos for views w/o traveling anywhere. But let's say he doesn't (which I think untrue). Does it even matter? Honestly I'm interested in how we could make algos turn everyone into altruists for views, sounds good to me tbh