I don’t really consider myself an eceleb, but I can understand why some might. I have a “verified” check on Twitter, I derive most of my income through online activities, and I write almost daily here on this very website. I have been cited in major publications across the world, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. I make appearances on podcasts and help other people spread their work. I prefer to be known as a writer, or commentator, though. I don’t think the “celeb” bit of it is in any way accurate. PewDiePie is an eceleb. KSI is an eceleb. Even Lauren Southern or Paul Joseph Watson might be considered an eceleb. Some of these Snapchat and Instagram people who I can’t even really name are ecelebs.
I don’t see myself as qualifying for the label. Still, I witness a lot of bitching about ecelebs all the time and I wanted to weigh-in.
Much of this criticism, when it comes from people without a platform or from folks with little-to-no influence, can be boiled down to this:
“Eceleb A is not doing X right. They should do it like this. Why won’t they listen to me and run their operation the way I tell them to?”
“Eceleb B is really a degenerate. They’re partaking in X behavior when I would never do such a thing (even though my life is full of other sorts of, by my own definition, degeneracy).”
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of ecelebs or near-ecelebs that I do not like. I’ve talked about some of them on this very site. There are also plenty of behaviors and practices that I consider to be deplorable/degenerate. Anyone should be free to criticize prominent figures who put themselves up for public comment, which is where I, and many others, have placed ourselves. And as you know, I have taken my fair share of punishment in this regard. Do I see a lot of it as unfair? Sure I do! But I don’t expect it to ever go away. This is the price of attempting to be a public figure. Your photos are put up for mockery, your private life is there to be ripped on, even loved ones and friends are considered to be fair game by many.
Is this right? I don’t know. It is how things are, though. I couldn’t very well cry about the state of play with the kinds of things I’ve written here. Still, I stick to the truth with my commentary and admit when things turn out to be untrue or misleading. The same can’t be said for much (although not all) of the arrows lobbed in my direction.
But one of the main motivating factors throughout the “I hate ecelebs” strain of thought seems to me to just be jealousy. A lot of the people who make the most fuss about hating ecelebs are either themselves wannabe ecelebs, low-tier ecelebs (fitting many of their own definitions for ecelebrity status), or just people who are bitter that they don’t have the cache they think they deserve. By the way, maybe they really do deserve it. Who am I to say? I remember when getting 100 visitors to this site was a real achievement. I vividly recall no one giving a shit what I said one way or the other. Even now, I can sometimes get envious of the reach bigger commentators have. It’s hard not to.
But the answer isn’t to spend too much time wallowing in those feelings.
Improve your own standing through hard work and determination. Wasting your valuable time crying about the “cult of ecelebrity” is not only counterproductive, it’s also completely stupid. There will always be people who are listened to, justly or unjustly. There will always be figures with more readers than you, more attention than you, and yes, more money than you. It’s just how humans work, whether on the internet or elsewhere. Attacking the concept of celebrity, whether through it’s internet form or it’s regular form, is like attacking the concept of roads or bridges. Ever since there has been civilization there has been celebrity. The only way it will disappear is if civilization itself disappears.
This rant doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel free to mock anyone, myself included. You absolutely should. But the anti-eceleb absolutism you see from some quarters is best described as counterproductive autism. Not only is it often intellectually dishonest, but it’s also just a waste of time in general.