Let me, for a second, defend anti-Semitism.
I’m talking, of course, about YouTuber PewDiePie, who hired two illiterate Indian prostitutes to perform a dance and hold up a sign reading, “Death to all Jews.”
Well, you know what happened next: The forces of political correctness were unleashed on the video star, who lost a deal with Disney as a result of his supposedly offensive, supposedly anti-Jewish prank.
Except here’s the problem: It wasn’t anti-Semitic. It wasn’t offensive. It was brilliant.
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Here’s a little backstory before I also get fired: None of you knows who PewDiePie is, even though his videos have been watched more times than the Pope’s, Pizza Rat and pretty much every cute-dog video combined. In short: PewDiePie is YouTube’s singular sensation. The 27-year-old Swede — real name, Felix Kjellberg — has made hundreds of videos, many of which feature him just playing video games and making snarky comments as his characters get killed or kill others.
You’re old. This is a thing. Believe me. I have a 9-year-old. Kjellberg’s videos have 53 million subscribers and been viewed more than 14 billion times. (Reminder: There are only 7 billion humans.)
Now, a few of the videos pushed what some believe are the limits of free speech. A since-deleted video from January apparently featured a man dressed as Jesus Christ saying, “Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong.” And his biggest crime occurred in a similarly deleted Jan. 11 video in which the two hired stooges did a silly dance and unfurled a banner reading, “Death to all Jews.”
All the Jews, huh? Even me, I suppose. So why am I defending Kjellberg?
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Because it’s all a big joke. The two men in the “Death to all Jews” video are not co-conspirators in an anti-Semitic hate crime — they’re victims themselves. Calling themselves the Fiverr Funny Guys, the pair of uneducated Indians joined an online service called Fiverr, which allows anyone in the world to ask anyone else in the world to do pretty much anything for as little as $5.
Before becoming poster children for anti-Semitism, the Fiverr Funny Guys also posted such videos as, "I will sing Happy Birthday as jungle boy in the Jungle funny guys," "I will sing Christmas song and Dance as Santa Workers,” and "I will find your message in the Treasure Pot and Dance crazy funny guys.”
Truth be told, all of those services cost $10, not $5. But that’s no matter. Sensing that these guys would do anything for a buck, Kjellberg hired them to deliver the horrible anti-Semitic message.
It’s genius, when you think about it. Don’t be willfully ignorant, people (and folks at Disney): This is satire. The silly millionaire Swede is saying that our current system of rich people hiring very poor people to do whatever the rich people want is untenable. If you can literally exploit a poor Indian guy into saying the worst sentence in human history, you can basically get him and others like him to do anything.
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And that’s what we need to be offended by.
Instead, Kjellberg and the Funny Guys were subject to the predictable and ignorant backlash. The two Indians were blocked from Fiverr (until Kjellberg got them reinstated).
And Kjellberg lost his Disney deal. “He clearly went too far in this case,” a spokeswoman for the Disney company told the Wall Street Journal. “The videos were inappropriate."
No, I’m with Kjellberg over Disney (irony alert: Disney was once famously anti-Semitic itself — for real, not satire). His explanation was clear, concise and dead-on:
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“I was trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online,” he posted on Tumblr. "I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes. … To anyone unsure on my standpoint regarding hate-based groups: No, I don’t support these people in any way.”Send a Letter to the Editor