by Baylie Clevenger The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte's editorial board. After three weeks of releasing enthralling hour-long videos, Shane Dawson’s “The Mind of Jake Paul” series has finally come to a close. From the beginning, this series has raised an overwhelming amount of controversy and, now that it is over, the controversy has not ceased. About three parts into the series, I made some predictions about what I thought Dawson’s goals were with “The Mind of Jake Paul.” Some of my expectations were upheld and some of them were not.
What was upheld?The series upheld my expectation of understanding why Jake Paul acts the way he does. The audience gains an understanding of his upbringing, his family situation, and his relationships with other people. While none of this excuses his past actions, at least it helps understand why they happened or what other events led up to them. I also presumed that Dawson would interview a few people before Paul was even brought into the series at all. Part one featured iNabber, a YouTube creator that focuses mostly on drama and controversy within the YouTube community. Part Two features more research as Dawson interviews Kati Morton, a licensed therapist. Part three features Dawson doing more of his own research and watching some of the YouTube videos that have been uploaded by the Paul family, and Part four was an interview with Nick Crompton, an estranged friend of Paul’s. This established an less biased understanding of Paul’s world. Looking at these events through an outsider's point of view allows the audience to see multiple sides of the various controversies.
What was not upheld?I expected Dawson to cold-heartedly take on Paul and call him out for all of the things he has done. While he did talk to him about why some of his actions were/are not okay, Dawson also stated that he has a soft spot for Paul and he took it too easy on him. I also did not expect Paul to be humanized, which did happen and I stand corrected. For example, Dawson states at one point that he has a soft spot for Paul, and he says they are alike in many ways. Since Dawson is such a loved YouTube personality, allowing comparison between the two opens viewers up to the idea that Paul is a human with emotions. Overall, I think that Dawson has a kind heart and wants to extend understanding to anyone he can. While this can make a lot of people angry, I also think that this is just his attempt at being a good person and creating content that he feels passionate about. Even though it was not his goal to humanize Paul, comments were flooded with support for Paul. Even though there was this overwhelming amount of support, Paul's channel has only jumped from about 17.1 million subscribers to 17.4 million subscribers since the release of Dawson’s entire series. This rate of growth appears to be about normal for Paul’s channel, so Dawson’s series has appeared to have little to no impact on Paul’s subscriber count.
Overall thoughtsThere were some unexpected turns of events throughout this series. There is a little more humanity brought to Jake Paul’s character, but I still do not support him and, looking at his subscriber count, there is an abundance of people who are in the same boat. I was very pleased with this series because Dawson digs deep for the truth. He displays it from all perspectives and does his best to represent every voice in the same way. I truly applaud how much his content has matured since he joined YouTube in 2005. On the other hand, I think that there is some content that could have been handled differently. Particularly, I think that the term “sociopath” was flung around very haphazardly and there could have been a better way to describe some of the members of the Paul family and their actions. This series delivered some fresh ideas on why Paul acts the way he does, but there were also shortcomings.
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