adults gave them to me
when i was small.
too small to understand.
and so i thought they were mine.
i deserved this gift,
asked for it,
they belonged to me
and I to them.
i must feed,
shelter and obey.
not of my making.
who adopted me.
followed me into the world.
their puppet on strings.
i cut them
Look Beyond the Veil
I absolutely hate when awful people manipulate the minds of the public. I have been raging about Shane Dawson for at least six months now. If you don’t know, he was a famous YouTuber that was on the platform since 2006 who was a pioneer in vlogs and skit comedy. He did so by being extremely creepy towards children, constantly doing yellow, brown, and blackface, and sexually molesting animals. He’s a true empath. However, what’s important is that he slowly rebranded himself into being a documentarian who vlogs with his fiance and a few of his friends, and became known for “turning himself around” and going from being a racist piece of trash to a reputable documentarian.
I would like to preface this by saying that I didn’t know about him. I was into Jenna Marbles, Epic Rap Battle of History, and Lilly Singh for the most part of my childhood on YouTube. Though I did watch stuff like him. Nothing as extreme as half of the awfully gross stuff he’s done, but I was very into the Dave Chappelle Show and cringy cartoons like The Oblongs and Family Guy. That edgy, slightly sickening humor shaped my childhood and my frame of reference as a child. I think that’s why what happened makes me so disgusted.
There’s a clear difference between someone that is making edgy humor and just being a gross human being. Someone like YourFavoriteMartian made edgy humor. Their songs like “May I Whip Your Kids”, “Santa Hates the Poor Kids”, and “FriendZone” did not have positive messages and could make you extremely uncomfortable, but none of the guys were bad people (from what I can tell). Bo Burnham made bad jokes but you could tell they were jokes. There was no grey area. Hell, even someone that is generally creepy like Bill Cosby never came off as creepy on camera. He was seen as an amazing father figure for years despite his continued instances of sexual assault.
I get the same feeling when watching Shane Dawson videos that I do listening to R. Kelly’s music. I was also alive during R. Kelly’s music career, but except for “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Bump and Grind”, I had not listened to him. I remembered a lot of videos and commentary about him, most notably the Dave Chappelle sketches, but I still get shocked about the facts surrounding his existence in the public eye. People bought copies of his sex tape with a fifteen-year-old girl who says she’s fifteen and were defending that pervert. People still listen to his music despite him being a general creep and every one of his love songs being sung to fourteen-year-olds. It’s just frustrating.
But Shane Dawson is different still. Now, remember, I’m comparing the nature surrounding their crime, not the crime. There’s nothing prosecutable about a twenty-one-year-old guy kissing a twelve-year-old girl or humping a puppy, though there should be, and none of those things mean that he’s committed sexual acts against animals or children. However, I don’t know how people don’t get uncomfortable when talking about that and really don’t know how people can still support him. If someone wrote out all the acts that are just of material circulating, from being an asshole friend to the zoophilia, I feel like very few people would choose to follow that individual. So, I was wondering why people don’t denounce him for what he is.
For one, it’s the nature of how all these allegations came out. Shane Dawson helped Jeffree Star and Tati Westbrook falsely accuse James Charles of predatory behavior towards straight men. In attempting to expose James for something that is widely believed to be false and then trying to distance himself, Shane opened himself up to his deep, monetized history of being a generally awful person. Videos of blackface, asking his uncomfortable cousin about sexual acts on camera, pretending to masturbate to a poster of eleven-year-old Willow Smith, talking about cumming on his cat, and calling a six-year-old sexy among other things spread like wildfire, and he got harsh backlash. So he left the internet.
Now, obviously, anyone else would have been dropped like a hot plate, but Shane wasn’t. You see, he has a way of evoking people’s pity and getting people to excuse his behaviour. For one, he often cites his struggle with self-image and bulimia. This came out immediately after his 2018 scandal where he’d been called out for doing blackface. He also talks about his struggles with his being poor and not having his dad in his life, which came after he began to delete his racist skits due to backlash. These are all convenient, right? Also, his good judy Jeffree Star did a similar bait and switch with Shane Dawson’s first documentary where got pardoned for his racist past, by immediately posting a video about how the person he claimed was his mom was actually his aunt because his mom kicked him out when he was in high school. He did it again when he was asked about how he flip-flopped between calling out a proven pedophile in 2011 then working with him again in 2012 by redirecting to a voice note that implicates James Charles as a sexual predator. Odd, right?
Not really. You see, I have a theory that these people do this because they know how to get sympathy. This can be seen as early as elementary school You know those God-awful bullying seminars where we learn that bullies are just misunderstood people on the fringes of society who need friends? That is teaching us to empathize early on. Now there’s nothing wrong with that. As a person who was a bully, I can say that personally, feeling like an outcast is a part of being a bully. However, saying that the person is just misunderstood and needs more understanding enables some manipulative people to use that empathy and understanding to their advantage. Now, of course, that’s not everyone does that, but I think we need to accept that some people will.
There are symptoms to this. I’m not just saying call every person who opens up to you about their troubled past a liar and question them. I’m saying be aware of when it is someone getting closer to you and when it is someone that is trying to sway you into staying. For one, they will pull this out like their trump card. For example, if every time they cheated on you, they bring up how their mom left them outside as a child and never came back and that’s why they cheat constantly, they’re probably using that past trauma to get you to pull your guard down. They’ll also bring up their emotional issues to other people when talking about how they hurt someone. For example, I’ve noticed many of these people constantly reference their trauma in situations that don’t warrant it, which later helps bolster their credibility in fights. Thirdly, they will try to flip situations on their head to get back into public favor. For example, if they get caught cheating, they’ll probably try to flip it on the person for forcing them to do what they don’t want to or possibly you for pushing them away or being distant when they clearly need someone.
I know that’s hard to understand and that there are a lot of instances where there’s a thin line between manipulation and genuine emotional sharing, so I’ll give a domestic example. I watch a show called Little Women: LA which is about women with various forms of dwarfism and how they lead their lives. One of the participants, Briana, got in a relationship with a man named Matt in season two and their relationship lasted for four seasons before they got a divorce after leaving the show. Matt was a serial cheater and had a lot of weird fetishes (which is worrisome since she is a little person). However, Briana would never leave him. They got married less than a year after they met despite the red flags and had a baby shortly thereafter, all the while he was cheating.
He gave off a bad vibe from the beginning. At first, it seemed like he’d empower her. He’d say she wore the pants in the relationship and she controls him. Then, whenever they’d get in a fight about him cheating, he’d say he’s sick and talk about his hard past and cry. In one of the most climactic parts of the series, there was a mini-special about their relationship struggles after she found out he was cheating again after she’d forgiven him twice. It was intriguing because he talks about how she’s his everything, yet when asked why he loves her, the first thing he says is she’s crazy like he is, which he said a lot. It could be a successful drinking game for how many times they’d say their love is crazy and she’s crazy and their relationship is crazy. She’d also always try to resolve everything by going to therapy. Not to mention her family cut her off after running a background check on him and seeing he had a record. I think the most intriguing part of it is that she’s fed up with him and his bullshit through most of the special, and yet, they stay together.
I think Matt and Briana are a good way to see the emotional manipulation used to get sympathy and keep someone around. For one, he talks about when he was molested as a child, which is upsetting and I’d never wish that on anyone. However, I found it strange when she’d been saying for several seasons that he had a bad past and a weird way of thinking about relationships, but he tells the therapist he sees he’s never told anyone that before. He also constantly changes the narrative when they talk. Keep in mind, they broke up because him cheating, but he calls her and when she says, “I saw you were out partying, are you even taking this seriously” he immediately tells her he sees her bank charges too and that he’s taking it as seriously as she is taking it. He then says that this situation is her fault and she’s the reason he’s not there and she’s the reason for the deterioration of their relationship.
I think the most damning issue I saw was towards the end of the special, she breaks down and says that she doesn’t want to go through a second divorce because she didn’t try hard enough or she didn’t try to make it work. I think that was the thing that tipped me off that she’d stay, but also that he had chosen someone vulnerable and got with her. She’d been on the show for two seasons before him and there’s a marked difference. She was sweet and soft-spoken and a good mom to her older daughter, but she was also a free spirit and had constantly expressed fear of not finding anyone after she got divorced. They also say that they fell in love after five hours of chatting online (which I’ve done before with disastrous results, but I understand) and hitting a new note of understanding. Yet, he manipulated her trust every step of the way. Needless to say, they got divorced and his disgusting interest in animals and children, including one of his own children, came out which led to a case to be opened by a former victim of his. Meanwhile, she moved on to a third marriage and seems happier.
So how does Shane come into play here? Shane displays that bait and switch mentality that we should pick up on more as a society. One minute he’s Shenaynay spouting the N-word like a leaky faucet and the next, minute he’s making videos about the truth behind his staged thumbnails. One minute he’s being a total twat to his friends and the next, he’s making series about confronting people in his past and getting close to them again. One minute he’s making super creepy videos about kids, and the next, he’s bailing out these problematic friends of his that he cares about so much. Balancing these elements help make our minds try to focus on the positive. I think we focus on the negative, but we use the positive to explain the negative. So, yes he’s done racist things but his past was so rough that it’s understandable that no one taught him how to not be racist. Yes, he was mean to his friends but he was a lonely kid in high school. Yes, he did weird stuff about kids but he was just doing jokes to get clicks as he did for his outrageous food videos and his funny vlogs.
It’s clear that I don’t like Shane Dawson and it will take a lot for me to believe he’s truly changed rather than trying to get a redemption arc. However, I think we all need to look at the big picture. Shane Dawson is a famous version of at least a thousand men, women, and other that are doing the same thing. People who are “just making edgy jokes” about pedophilia and are manipulating their significant others into staying by recounting that time when they got shot at in order to justify their cheating or abuse. Just know that if you notice you’re being emotionally manipulated like this, you have every right to say that that isn’t relevant to what happened. You have every right to still separate yourself from that person even if they say they’ll kill themselves or they tell you you’ll be just like their dad who’s been getting milk for thirty years. I really think we need to talk more about this, and I am outraged that no one ever prepared me for people using their emotional past to keep people close to them.
Some people compare rage to a volcano
explosions hiding under the surface,
ready to spew ash and level cities
But rage is a pond at thirty degrees,
just barely frozen,
a pool of thin ice.
It looks beautiful from afar,
you take pictures of the frozen surface,
you admire the way the ice
traces patterns on the water.
But if you step on that ice,
a trigger so subtle that some may not even notice,
the ice cracks and collapses,
plunging your feet into cold muddy water,
the mud and cold creeps up your body
rips into your bones,
like sinking into memory foam,
and sometimes hard and fast,
like running into a pole
on the playground.
Rage has many forms,
and my rage
is a half-frozen pond,
coated in a layer
of thin ice.
My heart was never at war with yours until you prevented a daughter from loving her father in the ways he deserves.
I close my eyes and open them again wishing it was a nightmare but I not.
I keep hearing my dad's voice replay what he always use to say that it just me and him against the world, but now I feel those words losing their worth.
Since you came around, with your children I felt our father and daughter connection weaken. Crazy how things turn out since I was born I always had his love, but now I don’t even know where it went. I just hear his wife pout my home isn’t where I belong or am welcome.
Rage is hornets coming out of your stomach in the form of black bile. It is crying and lamenting fate, when you have put yourself in the cross fire and held the pen for the next chapter. Rage is the waiter that forgets the appetizer, the dog that won't stop barking. Perhaps we've set an alarm and it doesn't go off, yet we still have to wake up and function like adults.
Sisters that hate you, a disgust that forms in spinal fluid. Mental disability, tattoos that criss cross my back, never to be seen again. Birds that disperse and a waiting to feel fine, they ask: how are you? Just fine. I am blowing up inside.
Rage is looking yourself in the eye, unable to blink for the horror that stares you in the face. It is always your fault, has always been your fault. Lying awake at night and counting stars that will be alive longer than your sorry self.
Hating the self: for what? I count the reasons why. Sitting at the dinner table, getting up to leave and then not being invited back. Perhaps this is how it is meant to be. Perhaps I am selfish, living for the moment: hedonistic, never failing to disappoint the masses.
Rage is looking in a pond's reflection and being unable to reflect, shattering waters that didn't exist to please you, but to inform. You have failed, and your legacy will be one of screaming into traffic, never right, just sad and hostile and alone.
i know that it's all i've been posting about ever since i got back online, but i never thought it would be this hard. loving someone with that special love, the one you see in movies, between a lovely old couple.
i'm still young and everyone says i have plenty of time, and i believe them. i just don't like being alone in that sense. i focus on school a lot, and so does he. we aren't dating (cause our immigrant parents would decapitate us if they found out), but we are closer than friends.
it's nice when it's nice, and it's lonely when he wants to be alone. as an extrovert, my social battery rarely runs out, and his always does. sometimes it's his depression, and sometimes, he just wants to be alone. i don't experience either of those things, so it's really frustrating when i have to busy myself with other things instead of talk to him.