How are we still giving internet vlogger ‘pranksters’ enough attention to exist?
They make us all look bad
People often use the phrase “it’s 2016” to justify archaic, unfunny, cringe aspects of life that they wish were gone. It’s become a bit overused honestly. But if there was ever a time to use “it’s 2016, and this thing shouldn’t exist”, it’s to talk about prankster vloggers.
Their “work” comes in ebbs and flows. You’ll think the craze of shouting at strangers in the street or spiking their “girlfriend’s” tampons with chilli has moved on – then suddenly a video of someone struggling to explain Brexit to a haha-so-hilariously-stupid woman will go viral and people you used to go to school with are sharing it on their timeline with 12 crying-laughing emojis (the emoji marker of an idiot).
Yesterday we were back in the realm of the unfunny and somehow still noteworthy internet prankster when some prick picked up Gigi Hadid out of nowhere while she was working at Milan Fashion Week.
Vitalii Sediuk, a Ukrainian “media personality” has made a career out of lazy, boring, offensive stunts like these; his career highlights include shoving Kim Kardashian, trying to punch Brad Pitt and kissing Miranda Kerr. He’s now the target of a social media campaign to have him arrested and trialled for assault.
After his most recent gag Gigi defended herself on Twitter, writing: “I am a HUMAN BEING and had EVERY RIGHT to defend myself. How dare that idiot think he has a right to man handle a complete stranger. He ran quick tho.”
Of course, Gigi is totally right. Of course she had every right to defend herself and of course the whole thing is abhorrent and of course the tabloids handled it incorrectly – The Sun seriously misjudged the vibe of the situation, calling her defence against the unprovoked assault “not model behaviour” – and of course this guy should be universally reviled.
But the real shocking thing isn’t the attack on Gigi, it’s the fact that as an audience, enough people out there are still stupid and gullible enough to buy into these pranks and give prankster vloggers enough life force to continue to exist.
This feels like an obvious point to make, but here it is: Sediuk’s prank was real (unfunny, poorly judged, but real). But the ones we see on Facebook – people throwing flour on their girlfriends and this girl who always gets wheeled out to comment on every British political event and is “loooooool so uninformed” – are obviously not.
The Wotsit-fingered village idiots that produce these videos are obviously not going out with these women, who sleep in thongs and scream theatrically when they throw spiders in their bed, or giggle magnanimously when they’re interrupted putting on flawless make-up (still wearing underwear) by good-natured shoves into water or slaps in the face.
They are not social media power couples, they’re desperate losers who team up to degrade each other in poorly acted videos for views and shares and inspire countless lazy thinkpieces on what it means for feminism, modern dating and social media.
And it’s easy to get angry about them – they are after all, all working on the same old-fashioned joke, the offensive assumption that women are fucking stupid and easy to fuck with – but the more you comment on them, complain about them, violently shake the people who believe they’re real or funny or want to imitate them to be one of the lads, the more ammunition you give them to continue.
Fundamentally these videos make us look bad. Every time one of them “goes viral” we’re somehow collectively responsible for that stupidity. They’re the lowest cultural common denominator. Can we all just agree that they’re ridiculously unbelievable and collectively stop watching? Just don’t look.
That would be great.