The Slow Rise of Leftist YouTube


#66

The neo-Nazis and other White Supremacists (that core “alt-Right” block of online content) also have access to significant funding from established hate groups that brand themselves “think tanks” with names like the National Policy Institute.

While snark-based stuff like Chapo can get significant crowd-funding, it’s fair to say that the voices promoting viewpoints compatible with the racist, misogynistic capitalism we live within have a significantly easier time accessing funding to ensure their hate speech can get out there. That then leads them to fabricate anti-Semitic supposition about how every tiny Leftist groups is “secretly funded by Soros” etc as they assume that they’re in some symmetric system (or “really the Right is the underdog”) and so clearly anyone who might stand up is paid to do so (because that is the game plan for many of them) - devolving into “crisis actors” supposition (which mirrors the actual fabrication tactics used by the far-Right).


#67

Appreciate the insight. I find it incredibly helpful that all the debate is so public for left wingers. Having fairly easy access to the actual discourse is pretty helpful.


#68

I agree, I think that it’s actually a great strength of the current crop of pop-left youtube stuff. In 2018 the right wing pop culturey youtube stuff is all very samey. They’ve got a much higher volume but they’re all very similar and all very surface level and for all their talk about freeze peach they’re super into stifling internal dissent - they’re like a digital 2 minute hate and George Soros is their Emmanuel Goldstein. Left wing youtube by comparison comes across as a big and very very earnest conversation.


#69

I think you grossly overstate Something Awful’s leftward turn.
Some counterpoints:

  • You’re still allowed to say slurs and disparage minorities if its funny and aimed at “the right people” (and that’s if you’re not in GBS/FYAD where you can do that with even less restrictions).

  • Enforcement of the Nazi rule has fallen off big time and now being a Nazi weirdo mostly gets you a probation or a mean title.

  • You’re not allowed to say anything bad about the Democrats anywhere in the forum except in a singular thread.

  • Lowtax is not a leftist by any stretch and still flexes his online muscles in gross ways on the website, to much acclaim generally.

  • Their staunch support for anyone with similar humor as them, including the “much worse than chapo” CumTown (in their own words: “I don’t understand anyone who doesn’t like CumTown. We made those same kind of jokes just a few years ago” -a mod).

  • Their habit of spreading and co-opting right wing imaging if its funny enough (for example, they went nuts over the Git Er Done ISIS style flag that was on the pipe bombs just sent to a bunch of politicians).

Individual users may be more or less leftist than the site culture, but that matters very little in the grand scheme of things. By their own admission they are a comedy website first and foremost. Their abandoning of libertarianism isn’t due to some great awakening, it’s because libertarianism is now the joke. SA has to style itself as the Most Correct and Funny while maintaining some kind of moral edge. It is difficult to pretend the far-right has any kind of moral edge, and any flavor of center-right is now the collective joke. So they pick center-leftism with ironic far leftism elements (“shut the fuck up liberal” image macros and things of that ilk). They are so coached in irony as a collective that actually doing useful things is too much for them. That’s not very far left at all.


#70

edit: also 69th comment nice

So since a lot of people have mentioned Oliver Thorn (PhilosophyTube), I think it would be relevant to look at the intro to a video he just uploaded, called “Witchcraft, Gender, and Marxism”, which you can watch here. Here’s what he says:

When I was about 19, I was a hardline “New Atheist”. I read Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion multiple times. I consumed hours and hours of Christopher Hitchens debates online. I watched YouTubers like Thunderf00t and Sargon of Akkad take on creationists and wipe the floor with them. I felt clever. Enlightened. Modern… And then I read a book by Sam Harris called The End of Faith. I was expecting it to be another weapon in my arsenal of non-belief. But as I got further into it, to the parts where he talks about racial profiling, about Islam, about torture and foreign policy… I realized that I was being sold on something more. I was being asked not just to reject the supernatural, but to take up a particular view of the natural.

And then he begins to recite the witches’ chant Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It’s a great video, and I recommend watching it all! And while Olly is going somewhere else with this, I also think it’s kind of relevant to the discussion around the “slow rise of Leftist YouTube”. I was, in my younger and more vulnerable years, also somewhat engaged with New Atheism. But as the years went by and I saw that more and more of the skeptic and atheist community had veered into a logical positivist, libertarian, even anti-feminist and racist worldview, well… I don’t like that stuff much at all.

So for people like me, who both still identify as skeptics, atheists, etc., but don’t align with the Right Wing ideologies that it often falls into, Leftist YouTube often offers something that had been pretty hard to find for a while.


#71

About the closest I found was The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which actually did help me a LOT during my teen years. My family is fairly right wing but not to absurd levels, so the arguments on the show made a lot of sense to me since they all came down to basic human decency (unlike the version running today that can safely be described as a centralist nightmare).


#72

Shout out to donoteat’s latest video reviewing the industries expansion to Cities Skylines. It reminded me what I really like about his videos, in that he approaches leftist thought through the lens of engineering and infrastructure. He picks apart the seems of the game to show the hows and whys of our current society and governance, and this video is a prime example of that. For me, my attraction to a larger welfare state and social safety nets is not only driven by a moral imperative, but also because that is the only way society’s math adds up. To ensure a sustainable and steady future, we must invest in infrastructure, people, and the environment, full stop, and a basic analysis of our underlying infrastructure and social structure makes that quite apparent. Donoteat scratches that itch for me, plus his dry humor is great.


#73

I’d like to proposition that thepedanticromantic is definitely a needed creator in the landscape of anime, this video on animes sexual harassment problem literally relates to my complaints about a lot of the issues with hisomaso I made in an earlier thread

#74

It does seem like a decent portion of this Youtube leftist crowd (I don’t watch Olly, but I think this is true of HBomberguy, Shaun, etc.) came in that way. I certainly watched some internet skeptic stuff when I was younger and it seemed very important to argue in circles with creationists, but I checked out fairly quickly. I find it fairly interesting that some people came out of that space onto the left and others started yelling about Anita Sarkeesian.


#75

Definitely I feel like that it would be much better to recommend Three Arrows or Folding Ideas, I feel that they are more conductive to raising debate and conversation. The shock jock nature of the hosts of Chapo, reduces my engagement with them in line with what Buggle raises.


#76

Shaun Is good , old school British left in many ways (but a bit more polite ) .As for the Chapo guys they have improved there discourse …a bit . However I see them more as a terminal irony podcast .


#77

They have a tendency to be almost soul crushingly cynical from what I’ve gathered, and I while there can be entertainment to find in that I agree with other people on here that it can definitely get pretty old pretty quick.


#78

The only thing I really know about Chapo is the clips that do the rounds (like the recent bit about how Proud Boys aren’t real fascists, they’re just Rose Emoji twitter boogiemen (?!) ). Which… makes me not that interested in listening to the show even if I wasn’t kinda done with the pure-snark stuff and aware of them as “that show whose fans are really into defending using the r slur”.


#79

Innuendo Studios just uploaded a new video about how the current Democratic ideology is a fool’s errand and only gives Republicans what they want. If the Democrats win big come Tuesday, be sure to call them frequently and yell at them to get results, not just play by the rules that have been broken and manipulated by the Republicans.


#80

I am a non passing trans woman and I found ContraPoint’s The Aesthetic to be well done and I didn’t find it cringe or anti non passing. I felt it was describing the trans female experience and the confusion of navigating it quite well.


#81


#82

I don’t know all of what that thread is talking about but he has covered the fake girlfriend stuff from his perspective in this video for those that are curious on his side:

I don’t have a lot of strong feelings on it myself but I figure someone might want the context


#83

Not willing to believe any of that video because I still remember when he showed his whole ass during gamergate - and the worst part is that very useful posted twitter thread doesn’t even list the thing I vaguely remember him doing then (the fake girlfriend thing is a bell ringer but I remember something else shitty he did at the time).

Dude’s an egotistical scumbag abuser.


#84

there are literal online receipts for peter coffin dating back Years i don’t give a flying fuck what he said in his defense in a video. dude is a repeat offender for this shit and online people give him a pass because he wags his finger at sargon or whatever


#85

My suggestions, which come with the caveat (which I feel compelled to include after reading this thread just so someone doesn’t try to take my metaphorical arm off and beat me with it) that these people should not form your entire world view and may not be perfect so you should investigate that shit. I don’t endorse the people. I don’t know them. They could be LeftDiePie, I have no idea, decide for yourself which opinions work for you.

I feel like this should be a given. It’s the video equivalent of opinion pieces, no person can have all perspectives or time necessary to perfectly articulate something. This is a nascent area of culture creation, we don’t know enough about the vast majority of people, some of them will invariably turn out to be shitty people. Some of them will make solid points despite having been, or maybe still being, shitty people. Some of them will be shitty in well defined and universal ways, some will be shitty in ways that aren’t relevant to a lot of people. The concept of “left” covers so much fucking ground that it’s basically not even worth trying to boil down, and it’s also way too broad for me personally to feel comfortable throwing shade.

These are my suggestions that you check out, not my suggestions for you to blindly support.

Peter Coffin: I don’t know enough about Peter personally or his past (but twitter drama I wasn’t around to see presented by people I don’t know seems as suspect as Peter’s own input on account of how easy that shit is to falsify). He has some things worth saying, I’m not convinced that will remain the case with how contentious he is. Don’t get attached, he seems generally incendiary but has not done anything in my short personal experience that would prevent me from suggesting you watch what he puts on YouTube. Watch and see if there’s anything worthwhile there for you.

I’ll also add in here that, as this is an evolving space, I would hesitate to suggest you write them off completely and in perpetuity if you don’t agree with their viewpoints or they way they act, barring they haven’t convinced you they’re not someone you want to support. They may change, for better or worse. I feel like that’s worth keeping in mind.

Contrapoints: I am not an expert. Listen to trans people about what is done wrong and right here. I will say as a cis straight white guy with a black trans friend who is going through her (and yes I am gendering her according to her preference) transition semi-publicly, the channel has done a lot to help me address and self analyze my own internalized transphobia simply through exposure. I think Natalie makes a good point in one of her videos that a lot of the discomfort people experience is due to lack of exposure - and I personally found Contrapoints and worthwhile counter to that sense of unfamiliarity. That was, for me, at least important because I know my friend’s life is considerably more dangerous now, and I needed to deal with me in a way I was incapable of doing at the time, so I could be a better friend to her. I will continue to defer to trans people I actually know as my first point of reference for knowledge on these issues, and continue to not argue the finer points of the trans experience I have not, and will never, have.

Chapo’s a podcast so I’ll leave that out as a recommendation. I listen regularly, but I don’t recall the last time they said the r word - though I know they have before. I’m not always a super attentive listener. Take that as you will.

Shaun: Is good, a nice level headed response channel that occasionally does some culture adjacent stuff. Inconsistent uploader but very thorough.

NonCompete: an interesting channel that leans anarchist. Again, don’t know enough about the person behind it but there’s some interesting stuff there.

donoteat: I love this channel, it’s more history than lefty, but it’s a history of lefty things and that’s always useful. This is the channel I would most whole-heartedly recommend from this list.

Thought Slime: basically repeat Non-Compete’s description here. There’s good stuff. No idea about the person behind it but worth a look.

The Majority Report: A week-daily left leaning radio show broadcast live on YouTube. More news, a bit of dunking. Like if you combined Chapo with a more traditional news show. Has a call in segment that I never listen to, so idk about that shit. The style will likely throw a lot of people. Many find the host annoying, I largely do not. This one’s a “dip your toe in” sort of thing. Closer to The Young Turks than to a critical theory video, but still in the fold.

Innuendo Studios: The best critique of Peter Coffin is probably that Innuendo Studios does what he does but better.

H. Bomberguy: Has his issues, but is a generally fun and weird channel that leans politically left and makes a good bit of video game content. If you don’t like strong opinions on games, then probably not the channel for you. He does some “you’re playing it wrong” critiques that I don’t like in the middle of stuff I otherwise like, but he has a lot of good insights too.

Step Back History: Similar to donoteat, in fact I found this channel from donoteat’s videos. Mostly history with some left politics. This is the channel I would recommend next after donoteat. It’s also the channel on this list that most deserves more attention than it currently has, in my opinion.