CNN: Harbinger of the Apocalypse
I just got done reading an article that literally killed my brain cells as I read it. I don't know why I read the article, I don't know why I clicked on the article. I feel ashamed that I even know what a "Beauty Blogger" is.
There was a short circuit in my brain and I couldn't even fathom how the story was news, let alone a lead story on CNN. During my inability to process the information presented to me, my mind kept thinking of a society where there was no good or evil only likes or dislikes.....
Because my brain was temporarily broken, it took a few minutes for it to reboot. When it whirled back to processing speed, I realized that Seth McFarlane was a prophet.
All the way back in the Fall of 2017, there was a new series on Fox called The Orville. It hearkened back to the spirit of the original Star Trek with all the biting humor McFarlane is known for on Family Guy. The Orville didn't re-invent the wheel, but it was definitely better at being Star Trek than CBS's Star Trek: Discovery.
About half way through the first season of Fox's effort, Seth McFarlane wrote an episode called Majority Rule. The crew of the Orville found itself on the surface of a planet who's laws were based on whether or not society viewed your behavior to be acceptable. If your behavior was viewed by the all-seeing cameras and got 10,000,000 down votes, you got yourself a reprogrammed brain. There were hints of 1984 in the subtext.
I mean that's the long and the short of it because McFarlane understands that the best sci-fi has elements of social commentary underneath the story.
The problem is, a society based on likes and dislikes erodes the moral fibers of its foundation. The whims of the many can change based on the herd mentality. McFarlane uses the guise of visiting another planet as a parable of a potential Future Earth.
Don't get me wrong, Seth McFarlane is not a Modern-Day George Orwell, yet the writing was layered in symbolism.
Which brings us back to the James Charles example. His popularity should be based on content, not unlike a TV show or a Movie. YouTube Subscribers are a very unreliable metric to base your career off of. You can do it, but the attention spans of 14 year olds are notoriously short. Only 2 years after the Orville episode, we are partially living in the world McFarlane warned against.
You could argue that the Charles story is just that, a short blurb on CNN, but like it or not, CNN is a bellwether News Site in the world. If we are going to start basing news off of likes and dislikes, subscriptions and unsubscriptions, it's a short leap to a dystopian society where even the minutiae of culture is deemed newsworthy not based on content but by numbers of people displeased with your subject matter.