And no, it has nothing to do with Japan

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Dear Jake Paul’s Brother,

I’m in a very strange demographic of your viewership. I’m a straight male, 4 years older than you, and legitimately respect a lot of things about you. Let me elaborate before moving on to the heart of my letter:

I think you’re incredibly funny and entertaining — it’s not hard to see why you gained one of the biggest followings in the world, and I’m happy you have. Your videos regularly crack me up and keep me watching to the end.

I think you’re much more intelligent than you let on — you often play the dumb guy for the sake of a joke — and I really respect your work ethic. We’re all trying to find the balance of work, productivity, love, friends, family, et al., and you’re forced to find that balance on a public stage.

I think you really love a lot of people well, from your friends to your fans; you seem to have a lot of respect for humans in the world.

Now, I actually started following you a few months after the Japan video. I heard all the buzz and knew nothing about you, so I decided to watch one of your most popular videos (it was something about you stealing your brother’s girlfriend?), and I got hooked. You were goofy, energetic and inspiring. I even watched the Japan video, and while it was admittedly a misstep, I actually thought you got a lot more hate than was warranted.

With all that said, I want to admonish you with something new. A few months ago, when you got your vlogging back into full swing, you said something along the lines of, ‘Kid Logan is gone…from now on my videos will be mature and I’m growing up. Viewer discretion is advised.’ Something like that.

You stopped censoring your language (which had made me laugh every time before), and started featuring much more sexually explicit content. You showed parties with naked women, drinking, and drugs, and highlighted porn stars on your channel.

The problem with your idea of ‘maturity’ is that it isn’t really that mature at all; it reveals a lack of restraint rather than the more mature approach of controlling what you expose your young and impressionable audience to.

Think about a good father wrestling his 3-year-old son: Does the father show his strength by unleashing his full power on his son and destroying him? Or does a good father demonstrate real strength by restraining himself, making his son feel empowered?

Real maturity is demonstrated when someone could show their life of porn stars and hook-ups, but chooses not to in order to protect their audience. I mean, let’s be real…how many young viewers are really going to turn the video off just because you put a content warning at the beginning? If anything, that only makes it more enticing. Don’t just do what Dobrik is doing — going all-in with porn stars, drugs, alcohol, partying, and hook-ups — because his style is his and, in my opinion, is immeasurably destructive to the lives of his viewers. I speak as a former youth pastor and middle school teacher who saw firsthand the effects his videos have on teens.

You are maturing, but I think you’re ‘maturing’ in the wrong direction. You’re a leader and 20 million people look up to you. Where are you leading them? Into lives of (meaningless at best; abusive at worst) sex with strangers? Pornography, alcohol, or substance addictions? Or are you leading them into lives of joy, productivity, healthy relationships, and meaning?

So here’s my encouragement to you: I do want to see you grow up and mature in the creative content you’re making. I know you’re wise enough to do it, and creative enough to make it appealing. But becoming more mature doesn’t mean becoming more sexual, careless and explicit. Real men don’t become more crass as they mature, they become more restrained, encouraging those around them, leading them into full lives.

You can do it and I’m excited to see where you go in the future!

e

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Read 400+ posts of mine at ethanrenoe.com!

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