DISSECTING AND LAUGHING AT THE WEB STARS. Young media critics skewer popular Internet celebrities creating a new industry.

Gary Vaynerchuk has been an internet celebrity for so long that it's hard to know when an era's terminology to use to describe him. He was among YouTube's earliest stars, crafting videos first for his father's wine business and then about media and technology companies; later he started his own media company.

He has been a self-help guru, publishing books about how fans could ''Crush It'' in their own businesses and also something more extreme, adopting an almost televangelist persona as ''Gary Vee.''

Most recently, nonfungible tokens or NFTs, have turned out to be natural fit for him: He re-entered the zeitgeist last year with his sown NFT projects, exhorting his young audience to join the club, lest they end up among the ''losers'' he spends so much time denouncing.

But something interesting popped up in response : videos of young adults looking plaintively into their own cameras and explaining why they considered Vaynerchuk's content dangerous. 

A man named Nick Green, curly-haired and baby-faced, lampooned Vaynerchuk's business advice, exhortations like ''be aware'' and ''do it''. 

Georgie Taylor, blond and British and posting under the screen name munecat, made a video calling Vaynerchuk '' the youth pastor of capitalism,'' picking apart his tendency to inflate his entrepreneurship origin story [being hired into a family business]-

Into an epic personal mythology and highlighting how his emphasis on positivity can include a strange viciousness toward anyone  struggling with challenges beyond their individual control.

Importantly, those commentators were not professional journalists, concerned experts or onlookers from outside the YouTube world. They, and their audiences, come from the same demographics Vaynerchuk targets : young and more engaged with Internet video and social media than with traditional commentary.

YouTube, in other words, has spawned its own media critics. Taylor, for instance, peering through cat eye glasses and clutching a drink, offers in-depth video that's nearly an hour long and as neatly structured as a ''Dateline'' expose.

Marshalling video evidence from Vaynerchuk's own output, she accuses him of feeding on youths, selling Gen-Z and millennial audiences a dream of wealth while using their attention to line his own pockets.

Over the past few years, this type of commentary - internet-video figures dissecting the output of other, more popular internet-video figures - has become its own small ecosystem.

The people doing the commenting often appear on one another's channel, where they discuss the absurdities of influencers and social media culture. Their level of earnestness varies, but they are, generally, trying to be funny; even withering takedowns like Taylor's are laced with quips.

Their commentary has become one of YouTube's more popular genres, appearing among trending videos like Jimmy Fallon clips and James Corden's ''Carpool Karaoke.''

There is, perhaps, a threatening inevitability to all this : Even in a world with no gatekeepers and limited moderation, a certain savvy will assert itself.

YouTube has its equivalent of in tabloids and trade publications, covering salacious online drama or niche interests. But it's the commentary YouTubers in particular who have become, in some cases as popular as the stars they react to, leading to strange conflicts between fame and critical integrity - plus literal run-ins in the influencer infested studios of Los Angeles.

In 2019, the loutish influencer Jake Paul posted a video titled ''confronting Internet bully cody ko,''in which he tracked down Cody Kolodziejzyk, a commentary YouTuber who often discussed his work.

Visibly enraged and complaining that anyone could be so full of hatred instead of spreading positivity. Paul recorded himself ambushing his critic - in a video he would monetize.

The Essay Publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks author Adlan Jackson.


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