YouTuber Shaun—AKA Skull-Boy—Is the Antidote to "Intellectual" Bigotry
Equal parts hilarious and insightful, YouTuber Shaun has made it his mission to expose how intellectually lazy bigotry really is.
There are two kinds of bigotry in the world.
There's the kind based on instinctual xenophobia and irrational hatred reinforced by cultural messages and the kind that is exactly the same but thinly veiled behind a patina of "rational" justifications and phony intellectualism. Recent years have seen a decline in the popularity of "just because" bigotry, but the emergence of so-called intellectual figures like Stefan Molyneux, Lauren Southern, and Steven Crowder has gone a long way toward propping up those same awful ideas to poison a new generation of minds with hate.
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Thanks to this new renaissance of awfulness, "intellectual" bigots are thriving and can devote all their time and passion to absorbing "facts" and "logic" to support their beliefs that Islam is bad, that black people deserve to be oppressed, and that women are actually 23% more fulfilled when they are barefoot, pregnant, and baking pies for their mediocre husbands. For you and me, this second form of bigotry is even more irritating than the first, because—while it begs to be refuted in a way that more primitive forms of hate never did—we don't have the time or the energy to counter their "gish gallop" of patriarchal white-supremacy.
These people invest way too much energy in propping up their bad ideas with distorted "facts" and cherry-picked statistics that would take hours to unravel and correct. It's insidious, and people like us are not really equipped to fight it. Thankfully though, there is an antidote—or at least a treatment—that you can find on YouTube in the guise of a cartoon skull in sunglasses.
Going by the mononym Shaun—@shaun_vids, shaunfromyoutube, Skull-boy—this mysterious Englishman hides behind a dry wit and a lipless grin to take on the flimsy arguments of white supremacists, anti-feminists, transphobes, and the British monarchy—also occasionally those of the movie review channel CinemaSins (who might honestly be the worst offenders of all). While you and I may not be willing to waste precious hours researching and dissecting the flimsy arguments of the likes of Sargon of Akkad or the truly abhorrent Black Pigeon Speaks, Shaun isn't like us—there might be something wrong with him...
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While not as performative as "BreadTubers" like Contrapoints or Philosophy Tube, Shaun is the best of the lot in terms of his actual arguments. When he sets about debunking "intellectual" bigotry, he doesn't half-ass it. He not only does his research, he recommends that his viewers do some—opening his reaction videos with a suggestion that you watch the content he's responding to first "just so you can be sure [he's] not misrepresenting [their] arguments." As far-fetched as that suggestion may be—there's no way I'm going to subject myself to a Paul Joseph Watson video (even if YouTube lets me listen at 2X and, according to Shaun, "he sounds rather funny sped up")—it represents more intellectual rigor in the first minute of a Shaun video than most of the people he's responding to put into their entire careers.
And that's ultimately the point of Shaun's content. While he's frequently hilarious—in an off-hand way that will catch you off guard and make the whole experience of engaging with bigotry 1000% more tolerable—what he really does best is to meet the "intellectual" bigots on their home turf and humiliate them. He takes their arguments seriously enough to really analyze them and reveal how foolish/nonsensical/deceptive they are. He doesn't make emotional appeals or register his offense at some guy from PragerU spouting a disgusting adoration of colonialism—because "intellectual" bigots don't care about your feelings—he just notes that they're horrible, then very calmly explains why they're also completely baseless and intellectually lazy.
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What makes Shaun particularly good at fighting these ideas is that he used to subscribe to some of them himself. Once upon a time he was a teenage "edgelord." He understands the temptation to reject nice, polite progressive ideas we're encouraged to accept without a lot of explanation—particularly if those ideas require you to acknowledge your own privileges and advantages when life seems hard enough already. But Shaun has come out the other end a thoughtful, serious ally of social justice causes–and also a really good follow on Twitter—and he carries the tools to help others follow that path.
Of particular interest given current events are his videos "The Killing of Trayvon Martin," "What Is White Supremacy: A Response to Steven Crowder," and "A Response to Roaming Millennial's 'People of Color, You Are Not Oppressed," but all his videos are entertaining and well-done. If you've ever heard someone complaining about "white genocide," the collapse of gender roles, or racial differences in IQ—or claiming that anti-fascists (Antifa) are just as bad as fascists—Shaun has a video debunking their nonsense. Approaching each topic with the dispassionate scholarship that is the only form of thought people like Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern claim to respect, he methodically exposes them as fraudulent hypocrites—led by irrational beliefs as much as anyone they criticize.
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So if there's a (probably cishet white male) person in your life who thinks they're too smart for all the politically correct "acceptance" and "equality" people are pushing these days, find the Shaun video that pulls apart their favorite form of bigotry or their "intellectual" idol, and you might just take them one step closer to draining that poison from their heads. Even if it doesn't cure them, you can make them feel stupid for somewhere between 15 minutes and two-and-a-half hours (you can't say he isn't thorough...). And in the end, isn't making bigots feel stupid its own reward?