The Success of Shane Dawson
Written by Joscelyn Ervin
“The Mind of Jake Paul” isn’t just about the Paul family and sociopaths - it’s about the evolution of the culture of YouTube and how it affects young generations. If you haven’t heard, Shane Dawson is the reigning King of Youtube (not as an official title, but almost everyone would agree). He has gotten ahead of the game, in terms of content, by releasing multiple documentary series that have gotten over 15 million, some reaching almost 23 million, views per episode. In his most recent project, “The Mind of Jake Paul,” Dawson unintentionally highlights the changing landscape of YouTube and the influence these changes have on younger generations.
Instead of beginning his series like some of the previous others, that feature the likes of Jeffree Star or Tana Mongeau, Shane doesn’t even introduce discussion with his subject, Jake Paul, until the last 3 episodes. He decides to focus on “research” and conversation about Jake being a sociopath. This topic analysis of sociopathic traits dominates most of the series. While he does include some short interviews with Jake’s previous friends or coworkers, this content doesn’t live up to the hype until the premiere of the last episode - especially during his conversation and interview with Jake himself. This conversation is where everything, kind-of, gets wrapped up, and where Shane attempts to ask the important questions and address Jake’s past behavior.
During the last episode, “Inside The Mind of Jake Paul,” Dawson sits down with Jake in his house and addresses all the questions the audience had been waiting for. This conversation had been long awaited by viewers, but instead of more sociopath discussion, Shane took the heart-to-heart in a slightly different direction. While they’re talking, Shane unintentionally and briefly addresses how Jake’s actions are affecting his young viewers. As obvious as it may seem, Jake didn’t act like he knew what Shane was really addressing at first; he still defended himself about specific examples from his past that Shane tried to explain were wrong.
This opened my eyes to another interesting subject while I was watching. I know I’d thought about this topic previously, but it amazed me to watch Shane directly tell Jake that his actions were affecting kids, and have Jake not really comprehend the implications of his behavior. Growing up with two of the Paul’s fans a few years ago, my little brother and sister, I saw these effects up close and personal. They were like so many other young kids at the time - blind and slightly obsessed. Throughout each and every controversy for about two years, my brother kept defending Logan and Jake’s immature and irresponsible behavior. It was clear he didn’t understand why any of it was wrong at the time either. Since then, both of my siblings have stopped watching the Paul brothers, but their audience doesn’t look like it has changed too much overall.
Ultimately, I don’t think “The Mind of Jake Paul” really did what I thought it was going to do. Especially since Shane decided to start the whole series off focusing on sociopaths, I didn’t think I was going to be very impressed. Even though this is the case, and I still wasn’t amazed with the series as a whole, the topics discussed while Shane is talking to Jake alone are the highlight of the discussion for me. The fast-paced evolution of YouTube, and social media as a whole, is a very fascinating topic. Since I was part of one of the first generations to grow up with the platform, and watch it evolve over the past decade or so, I’ve really gotten to see these changes first-hand.