Just pour the Bailey’s in your coffee now. This is going to be a lot to take in.
There are two Paul brothers on YouTube: Logan, 22, and Jake, 20. They are both obnoxious dickbutts. Jake was recently in the news after KTLA did a piece on his neighbors’ complaints about the “influencer” and his negative impact on their neighborhood. Ha, probably a bunch of uptight rich people who don’t like the kids with their loud music, hula hoops, Zima and Pac-Man videogames, right? Yeah, no, the younger doucher shares the address of his rental house with his millions of followers, who swarm the home on a routine basis. He also lit a big bonfire in his pool, which is assuredly no issue for LA, as it is famously fireproof.
When KTLA reported the story, expected things happened.
While filming the news clip, Paul climbed on top of KTLA’s fancy news van and appeared confused when the reporter asked him to get off.
When confronted with the news that Paul’s neighbors were not happy with his presence, he feigned shock. Later, he gave a half-assed excuse and attempted to make fun of the reporter with a two-year-old meme.
“It’s terrible, it’s a bad situation,” Paul said. “I feel bad for them. For sure. There’s nothing we can do though, the Jake Paulers are the strongest army out there. Dab.”
He then dabbed.
Fuckin’ christ. Anyway, that’s not even the Paul we’re here to talk about today. Logan Paul, Doucher the Elder, is presently in the news for something far more disturbing than pool fires and dabs.
Because this individual filmed himself and his compatriots in Aokigahara, better known as Japan’s Suicide Forest, where it is estimated 50 to 100 people take their lives each year. And while there, the group found a recently dead body hanging from a tree. They filmed it, edited that video, uploaded it to YouTube and posted it with the title “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest.”
He also hyped it on Twitter the day prior.
tomorrow’s vlog will be the craziest and most real video I’ve ever uploaded— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) December 31, 2017
The video has been taken down, and I have not personally viewed it. For context, below is a tweet including the Paul group’s reactions, with no footage of the person found hanging.
Logan Paul and his friends laughing and smiling after discovering a dead body pic.twitter.com/azY7EAiuC4— JhbTeam (@JhbTeam) January 2, 2018
Paul and his friends are seen in the above video laughing and making jokes. They appear to be shocked by what they’ve seen, yes, but while shock might explain any number of immediate physical reactions like laughter, it cannot explain the subsequent acts of going back to his computer, uploading the footage, editing it, promoting it on Twitter, uploading it to YouTube, selecting a thumbnail and titling that video and posting it for his millions of followers, most of whom are children and teenagers, and the next day posting a new video titled “REAL LIFE POKÉMON GO IN TOKYO! (catching strangers).”
When a video of white American tourists being insufferable in another country and mocking its culture is a welcome respite from socially promoted suicide videos, there is a problem.
Japan has a significantly high suicide rate, with an estimated 70 people dying by suicide each day. While the overall number of deaths by suicide has decreased in recent years—thanks in part to government efforts geared toward adult males, statistically the most at-risk demographic in the country—the number has increased among children 10 to 19. This is also the age range of Paul’s fanbase.
Since this story broke I’ve been thinking a lot about the 1987 film River’s Edge, a movie centered on teen apathy even in the face of viewing a dead body of another teenager. Thirty years later, we have a real-life sequel, only instead of apathy we witness gleeful attempts at self-promotion, a grab for attention so lacking in empathy it could create suction. For years, TV and film have posited the idea of moronic social media-obsessed youth, so self-obsessed that something like this could be possible, and it felt so out of touch, such an overblown expectation and distrust of youth culture to be offensive. And then it happened.
How do we even come back from that? And is this just the beginning?