It’s still hard to grasp the cult of social media celebrity

‘Ironic’ communities have always been breeding grounds and recruiting platforms for sincere extremism

19th February, 2017
Felix Kjellberg, who goes by the name of PewDiePie Pic: Getty

Whenever I try to understand the phenomenon of amateur YouTube celebrities, I hear my words in my dad’s voice, describing punk rock music. “Listen to that melody,” he’d say, “and really catchy, too”. He was too old and boring to understand that the naive earnestness was more important than whether you could hum it in the shower.

“You don’t dislike it because it’s bad,” I’d say, “It’s...

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