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Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez and the Youtuber generation Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez and the Youtuber generation
by Joseph Gatt
2019-05-24 07:15:06
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“Parfois la politique c'est le diner de cons.” That's what the French say, which roughly translates to “sometimes politics is a dinner where fools are guests.” Le diner de cons is a French movie where rich people decide to invite the “stupidest” person they can find for dinner, so they can make fun of their guests' stupidity afterwards. In the movie, the “stupid” guy who was invited ends up messing up the evening, almost landing the rich guy in jail.

When I was 18, I always thought to myself that if I lived to be 60, I would still hang out with 18 year- olds and praise 18 year-olds. I am now 35, and I must admit I have trouble with what I like to call the “Youtuber” generation.

occa_400Youtubers are people who make money on Youtube out of creating channels where they discuss their complex identities and their private lives, dating history, fashion tastes, one night stands, personal experiences and personal traumas, or who engage in punditry when they probably have never read a book or a serious article about politics.

Youtubers sing and dance on camera, make cheesy jokes, and seem not to put boundaries between what's for fun and what's serious. Youtubers also tend not to put a line between public and private life, public issues and private matters. They discuss public issues by chipping in their own personal background and their personal thoughts on the subject.

In my days high school essays were something along the lines of “you are Jean Valjean's lawyer, plead his case” or “should work always be constraining?” The Youtuber generation had to write high school essays along the lines of “list 10 things you love about yourself” or “what will you do when you become a leader.”

Recently I was at an education fair where a young girl of the Youtuber generation had to give a presentation on the school she worked for. The goal of the talk was to get as many prospective students to register. The young school administrator spent half an hour discussing, in Youtube fashion, why she had chosen to be a school administrator. Her speech was something along the lines of “I majored in business in college and never thought I would work for a school, actually I wanted to major in anthropology but my father suggested I major in business, and I ended up majoring in business because professor X told me I could work for a large company, but then I chose a school because I love learning, but my father is angry at me because he wants me to work for a business yada yada yada.”

That's probably not the best way to get students to register for the school, but that's how the Youtuber generation was raised.

The thing about the Youtuber generation is they are (almost) always the victims, never the culprits. They are victims of bullying, victims of harassment, victims of discrimination, victims of ugly bosses, victims of colonialism, victims of closed-mindedness.

The Youtuber generation also produces edits and writes for their shows, and there are no rules on what they are allowed or not allowed to discuss. They can discuss their diseases, their illness, how they got kicked out of school, their brief sexual encounters, that time they slept with a prostitute, nothing is off-limits.

So Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are products of the Youtuber generation. They have no filter when they discuss their private lives, they feed the trolls, and they make sure a video is uploaded discussing their person (not their policies) almost every day. The more we talk about them, the more their egos are fed. And they think they are always right. 

Since Youtubers are about getting a lot of views and a lot of clicks, they issue provocative statements, the kind that can garner lots of views on Youtube. Ilhan Omar said AIPAC was about “the benjamins” while Ocasio-Cortez uploaded a video of her dancing, while Rashida Tlaib makes the outlandish claim that Palestinians saved the Jews from the Holocaust, giving up their Palestinian land in the process.

Those three will still work on getting as many views as they can, and as many subscribers as they can. At this point in time all I can say is this is a warning sign for the times to come in politics. We need to train a generation of politicians who does not think in terms of subscribers, page views and likes, but in terms of serious policy and defending their constituents. And I'm done feeding those trolls.

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