The Agent on The Unforgivably Poor Judgement of Logan Paul

“Gaze in wonder at my ignorance and immaturity!”
Source: Kotaku

Well, this is a hell of a way to start off the New Year…

For those blissfully not-in-the-know, Logan Paul is a YouTube personality who is most well-known for his vlogs and rap tracks who fancies himself to be a rebel (you know, like every OTHER YouTuber that I don’t give two s***s about until they f*** up).

Though, starting this year, he’ll be known for something far worse.

Logan had just gotten finished with a set of vlogs of his tour through Japan in which he does just about everything in his power to make an absolute ass of himself (and, by extension, fellow Americans) in a foreign land. He plays up Japanese stereotypes in public and pesters and annoys strangers just trying to go about their day in a multitude of ways.

But, probably most egregious of all, Logan filmed himself in the infamous Aokigahara “Suicide Forest” where many good people have ended their own lives. He then proceeded to film and post the video containing the ACTUAL body of a man who hung himself to death.

Let’s be clear about something here; Part of why this is so terrible is that Logan would have been hated and ostracised for all of these actions IN HIS OWN COUNTRY. The fact that he thought he could get away with this behavior in a foreign land – in someone else’s home – displays a horrifying level cultural insensitivity and lack of basic social etiquette.

But the fact that Logan did do this in another country makes matters SO much worse. Whether you like to admit it or not, most people HATE Americans; they see us a rude, boorish, uneducated, clod-hoppers that care only about themselves. Hell, even OTHER AMERICANS hate Americans.

The second you set foot outside of your territory, you become an involuntary representative of your country. To that end, it behooves you to understand the laws and customs of the land and respect them and the people who follow them. By doing otherwise, Logan has made it so that those that were sickened by his antics – which is most, if not all, of Japan – now have their views of Americans tarnished, making opening a meaningful dialog between the two of us even more difficult to the chagrin of those who’ve been working towards open exchange all their lives. Don’t believe me? Just look at fellow YouTuber Gaijin Goombah, who spent YEARS living with a Japanese family with the goal of cultural exchange, get nearly tear-jerkingly wrathful at how Logan acted.

Of course, it’s not just cultural sensitivity that’s on the plate; it’s also making light of suicide. Take it from Boogie2988 who has actually struggled with suicidal depression. Hell, take it from ME who has shared his own experience on the subject multiple times.

Logan has apologized for his actions and the Aokigahara footage has been removed, but the fact that his other Japan vlogs still remain seems to show that he doesn’t truly grasp just how far he stepped over the line. So, I want to conclude by shifting gears from an only semi-serious rant to a VERY serious open letter to Logan Paul about what he did.

Logan – Mister Paul. What you have done not only made you and your fellow Americans look like even bigger laughing stocks but hurt countless others around the world. I truly want to believe that you meant no harm, but your history and choice of words and actions refuse to let me believe that you were actually thinking about the greater good when you made those videos. You have made life infinitely more difficult for those coping with suicide and suicidal depression, for our friends in other countries, for those of us looking to connect with and aid both of them, and for your fellow YouTube Personalities.

I know you’re taking time off from your vlogs to reflect on all this and I hope you can find some form understanding in that time. If you need to reach out to someone to discuss this, I hope you find the courage to do so because some of us want to see you get through this and become a better person for your experiences. I hope you understand that being a celebrity of sorts – even a minor one as compared to those outside of YouTube – comes with an obligation to use your charisma and cult of personality to unite people and guide them towards a better future together.

Please don’t let this be the end, Logan; prove to this world that you can learn from and rise above your mistakes.

The Philosophy of Fighting Depression (Or “How One Man Proved That Suicide Is NEVER The Answer”)

Sorry, no jokes this week. This is serious business.

You may recall how I took a light break from writing last week due to stress. Well, part of the reason for that stress was that this topic was on my mind and I needed a break from outside interference to prepare for it.

You see, I’ve suffered with depression and social anxiety for some time. I often lose interest in the things I enjoy, I can’t stand noisy environments, and I panic when faced with even small crowds.

At my absolute lowest points – between 5th grade and junior high – I frequently had the uncomfortable talk with parents and teachers about suicidal thoughts; thoughts not helped by the fact that I had to deal with the news of one friend actually committing it at the time.

My thoughts have turned to this unpleasant topic because I’m currently seeing a new doctor in the hopes of dealing with these problems. In the past, I’ve been prescribed medications with little to no effect at best and even more negative effects appearing at worst.

Still, I think I may have found someone else to help me hold on to hope and happiness in the meantime and I want to share his teachings with you.

Albert Camus was a French-Algerian philosopher in the school of Absurdism who is celebrated as a Nobel Prize winning author. Despite his distaste for being labeled an Existentialist, his essay The Myth of Sisyphus tackles one of the most challenging existential problems in philosophy; the problem of suicide.

According to Camus’ philosophy, life is absurd and lacks much in the way of meaning. The problem with suicide (and depression by extension) occurs when a sudden event strikes a person during a moment of lucidity that makes them realize the absurdity of their situation and consider the idea that this is the fate they are resigned to.

But, Camus made it clear that suicide is a non-option. He didn’t consider it a solution because a solution is designed to solve a problem. Killing yourself doesn’t solve your problems; it merely negates them and possibly hands them off to others depending on the nature of the problem.

Camus also advised against the practice of Transcendence, the idea that our absurdity is a part of god’s will and that there is a greater world awaiting us should we succeed in outlasting it – the “this too shall pass” technique as I call it. He argued that it was a less than ideal answer because the vision of a different life threatens to distract us from the real world around us.

So, if transcendence is potentially dishonest and death is a non-option, how do people like us deal with the crap-sack world around us?

Camus came up with, in my mind, the most brilliant concept in philosophy; The Absurd Hero – one who, instead of being defeated by absurdity, embraced it and used it as a motivator to create art and work that expressed the nature of their condition.

Camus explains this in The Myth of Sisyphus by recreating the famous Greek myth of the man forced to roll a massive stone up a mountain for all eternity. In Camus’ interpretation, he asks us to imagine Sisyphus happy to perform this task. In doing so, he rebels against his punishment in the only way he can.

I try to define my life by my own absurdity every week with all of you by writing for this blog. All of you who read this are witnessing the end product of me taking all of the nagging thoughts and absurd challenges that assail me. I encourage you to do the same. Find some form of public expression be it, painting, photography, writing, music, construction, dance – LITERALLY any socially acceptable form. Share your view of the human condition that you may give your life meaning and help others find their own meaning.

In short, the guys from The Script had it right; the secret to fighting depression is, “[turning] the pain into power.”