You have free speech. But don’t use any racial slurs. But some slurs are okay. But not the N-word. But blacks are allowed to use it to refer to themselves or each other. But whites using the word cracker sounds idiotic, rather than cultured or ‘urban’, whatever that means. Also, make sure to loudly and angrily decry those who use derogatory language when referring to blacks and Jews, and periodically Asians, Native Americans, Indians, and Arabs, but don’t worry about Eskimos, Slavs, Mediterraneans, Nordics, or Anglos. If you aren’t signaling that you find certain euphemisms offensive enough, the SJW defenestration guard may not be able to tell the difference when they start trying to get racists like you fired.
And yes, this is apparently headline news. The internet community must sit back and reflect on how they feel about a twenty-seven year old Swede who got insanely rich by making videos of his reactions playing video games for the last decade, and whether it’s internet trollery or genuine racism when he drops a few N-words during a livestream. If this is shocking, you haven’t spent much time on the internet gaming scene, PewDiePie’s defenders claim, and they’re right. And yet it’s gotten a good chunk of the Western media blown up into a constipated mess. Meanwhile Irma’s flooded several major cities in Florida and North Korea has again fired off a few missiles for fun. And there was a major earthquake that hit the southwest of Mexico, but you probably didn’t hear much about that.
But let’s sit back for a second. The N-word has only tangential history of usage on the European continent, and even less so in Scandinavian countries. It’s not a word Sweden is particularly known for being deeply acquainted with like America can claim. Sweden’s relationship with racism, slavery, and the colonial period is little more than a footnote in the history of Western foreign relations in the third world. A Swede, in Sweden, calling someone the N-word over an internet stream, cannot be taken as anything other than a blurted out insult intended to cause a bit of shock. You couldn’t even make the case that there was a racist motive behind the exclamation since he didn’t even know the race of the player he was insulting.
So we’ve at least acknowledged, here, that the word carries different connotations depending on who uses it and where they’re from. It’s worth bearing in mind that the Left agrees in principle with this—after all, there are accepted segments of the American black population who claim to use it as a word of empowerment, unless of course it’s being used as an insult against them by whites. By their logic, apparently, the word doesn’t actually have any power either way; rather, it’s just a matter of the identity of the person using it. Insults are still insults, and words of comradery are still empowering; it makes little difference how those words just happen to be spelled.
That said, the millennial e-celeb’s behavior isn’t excusable on the grounds of taste, but no upstanding post-Enlightenment liberal would agree that poor taste is deserving of being denied a platform to speak. After all, he knew it was an inflammatory insult before he said it, and he probably uttered the word just to stir the pot for some attention again. And it worked. But such crass vulgarity indicates a generally uncultured lack of taste in both literacy and the art of the insult—something to be expected among the youth in general, but particularly among the modern youth who have matured in an era of nearly unprecedented celebration for the depraved and the hideous. It’s only natural that the internet, where anonymity is at least imagined to exist, became a bastion for the uncouth language that we’ve spent decades telling people is too harmful to be heard. And with the politically correct culture of today, it’s only gotten worse. Attempting to control speech is tantamount to attempting to control a person’s will; try holding a beach ball underwater with just the tip of a needle—you’ll have about as much luck.
And yet, for all of its alleged toxicity, the only people who were genuinely hurt by vitriolic internet provocateurs were people already emotionally unbalanced by real-world factors—victims of harsh bullying at school, domestically abused children, or psychotic school shooters-in-waiting, for instance. If any of these individuals were radicalized, they weren’t radicalized by insults. Radicalization requires propaganda, which requires information with a distinct ideological spin. Calling someone a little bitch on an internet form for having a stupid idea doesn’t fall into that category. And screaming the N-word at your computer screen because you just got blasted in Counter Strike fits it even less.
So, PewDiePie: tasteless, certainly. Racist? Probably not. Ah, but the Left claims, it doesn’t really matter with what intention he used the word, it’s the fact that he’s so popular that is the problem! Think of the children! These are the same people who wanted to revise American classics to expunge the word from the very history which gave it such a loathsome power. Perhaps words really do have meanings, but if that’s the case, then it’s all the more reason that the words should be remembered. And if an entire trolling internet culture of teenage gamers are inadvertently working to remove the most negative connotations of the word by reducing it to a common insult, wouldn’t that help ease the burden of its historical baggage? It might, but I’m not really sure. It doesn’t really matter in this case, anyway. The Left’s argument for de-platforming PewDiePie ostensibly comes down to the fact that he’s using tasteless rhetoric while serving a predominantly young-adult and teenage audience, presumably exposing that audience to the vile words indicative of white supremacy and institutionalized racism.
But we know the real reason they’re targeting him. It’s not because he used the n-word while he’s famous. There’s an entire genre of popular music founded on doing that. It’s because he doesn’t tow the Lefty line. It’s because he’s got some fifty-seven million subscribers and is one of the most popular celebrities of the internet video platform. It’s because he’s amassed enough wealth to be close to untouchable by smear campaigns, and because his audience is the same audience unaffected by the Alinksyan tactics that worked so well against the last couple generations. And meanwhile, he’s an a-political troll that literally doesn’t care about them or their narrative. He has particular no bone to pick. He’s no ideological leader. He’s certainly not an alt-right figurehead.
He’s just some Swede with a funny voice that got rich playing video games—an icon of the decadent Western post-capitalist experiment, certainly, but a dangerous and subversive radical whose plan is to brainwash our children into being neo-Nazis? Use your brain.