BreadTube v. PragerU

Uhhhh, correction! leftists and conservatives have one thing in common. They both enjoy dunking on libs! Am I right?!!?! hahahahahha

BUT THAT’S IT. Don’t you DARE talk to those Nazis otherwise. You hear me!? If I find out you were talking to conservative NAZI Trumpers, I swear to god i will DEPLATFORM YOU SO FAST.

Whoa, whoa, let’s slow down here. What are we actually talking about here?

Prager University, a heavily-funded right-wing propaganda channel that calls itself a “free online university” (very clever, PU, appealing to the basic human right to education. I see you boo.😘) and a Prominent BreadTuber™, Shaun the skull man, are agreeing on, what seems to be, a very simple political formula.

“Liberals and conservatives have many things in common.”

Ok, yeah, I can’t argue with that. If we made a venn diagram, it might looks something like this:

The things Liberals and Conservatives have in common would be like:

  • Capitalism
  • Free markets
  • Pro-business
  • Free enterprise
  • Pro-capitalism
  • Business-friendly
  • Buying stuff is cool
  • Private property
  • Private ownership

Where they diverge is based largely on whether or not they allow gay people.

The second part of the tweet is:

“Leftists and conservatives have nothing in common.”

Well, ok, then i guess our venn would look like this. There’s no overlap, leftoids are just floating out in space.

What do you mean “the concept of gay doesn’t exist”?

I mean, we have to deduct that if the only difference between liberals and conservatives is if they allow gay people or not, and if Leftists and conservatives have nothing in common, then we have to assume that leftists just don’t even acknowledge the existence of gays.

But wait, he said there’s nothing in common between conservatives and leftists, he didn’t say anything about liberals and leftists! They overlap about gays! Ummmmm ah doyyyyy

Ok, maybe this is closer to what they had in mind:

Leftists are just a fringe group that has some gay-friendly overlap with liberals.

UMM NO. YOU ARE STILL WRONG. There are conservative gays. Please do not erase Milo Yannnooppoppulous? Also, what about all the closeted gay republicans?? What about the poor closet gays? Would someone please think of the closet gays?!?!

Milo Yannnooppoppulous

Ok look, in the year of our lord 2020, can we all just agree that gays exist, and they are literally fucking everywhere.

Yes, even conservatives have the gays.

Ok, now do the transsssss.

Fuck that, we cannot go there yet. TOO SOON.

Yanno, it’s funny that PragerU brands themselves as a “free online university” where you are “free to learn”. That sounds vaguely left-wing, I feel like I’ve heard that before…

Um, excuse me. There’s a big difference. PragerU is full of shit. They are calling it “free education” as a marketing ploy. You can see it says so right on their website.

Right, totally. So the original assertion is that leftists have nothing in common with conservatives. And by deduction, they must have some stuff in common with liberals, right? Or are they just floating out in space with nothing in common with either liberals or conservatives? No, no, they have some overlap with liberals on the gay stuff… but also conservatives have some gay stuff too…

Ok, so then how is it possible that liberals have a lot in common with conservatives, but leftists have nothing in common with them?

Or, wait! Wait a minute, I’ve got it. What if two sets of conservatives exist????

What if there are people who are culturally conservative, but politically, more amiable to left-wing socio-economic principles? Yanno, like the ones PU advertises all their FREE SHIT to?

Maybe there are poor, working class people who are amiable to socio-economic left principles, are kinda more “conservative” seeming in their cultural attitude?

What if—now hear me out— it was in the best interest of the top diagram people to keep the bottom diagram people separated, not recognizing they had any overlap, instead, keep them focusing on their cultural differences.

Focusing on the cultural divide of the political landscape very successfully keeps these two subgroups from recognizing their shared goals and interests. The two groups become nothing more than a niche subgroup of their dominant group. I call them: THE ANGRY ONES.

Wow, this sounds eerily similar to fandom culture. Yeah, that’s because it’s the same damn thing. It is fandom culture, it’s hopeless devotion to always being a fringe, niche group.

And it’s almost as if the top YouTube channels are incentivized to make sure their fandom sub groups feel like an exclusive club, eschewing solidarity.

And this might be why a famous BreadTuber like Shaun would make this tweet. Because he DOES have something in common with PragerU; What Shaun and PragerU have in common is social capital. Shaun is in the top .5% of all YouTube channels in terms of subscriber count. PragerU is the top .005%, but they’re also fully funded, with a staff of writers, designers, actors, etc. For a single person, Shaun has a serious amount of market share when it comes to YouTube.

And Shaun has built his channel dunking on PragerU. His top video, with 1.7 million views is “How PragerU Lied to You”. Shaun’s social capital is largely derived from the existence of PragerU.

In fact, let’s take a look at the PragerU tweet that Shaun quote-tweeted. Poor Dennis didn’t do numbers like Shaun, but let’s see what he has to say about our political equation:

“in fact, leftists and liberals have almost nothing in common, but liberals won’t acknowledge it”

And PragerU isnt stupid either. Their #2 most popular video is about how Liberals are great and Leftists are bad. They know the difference. If there’s one thing liberals can agree on, it’s that the free market that gave them all their capital is great! And the people who suffer for this equation better stay mad at each other, so they don’t get wise to the grift.

And if we view YouTube as a liberal, capitalist platform, like a microcosm of the real, material world, we can see that Shaun and PragerU are reproducing this dynamic.

Oh, well aren’t you doing the same thing you accuse Shaun of doing? Aren’t you just syphoning social capital from a channel that is bigger than yours by DUNKING ON IT?!?!

Look, i’m not trying to talk a bunch of shit on Shaun, or imply that he’s an evil capitalist, or pretend that he has any ownership over the means of production. (he doesn’t). But would shaun have 360k subscribers if there weren’t a PragerU for him to dunk on? Well, that’s the thing, there will always be A PragerU in some form, because there is a market for it, and new markets create more new markets in reaction.

Constant, perpetual reactionary marketplaces.

And people, like Shaun, or whoever, who gain success in these marketplaces are incentivized to perpetuate this cycle in order to maintain their market share. But what’s more important, maintaining exclusive clubs based on culture or finding common ground with political allies?

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