If You Haven't Heard Of Elsagate It's About Time You Knew

If You Haven't Heard Of Elsagate It's About Time You Knew

The dark underbelly of YouTube geared specifically towards children is on the rise.
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The internet is a commodity that many of us use every day and, at times, may even take for granted. In the relatively short span of time that it has existed the internet has become a never-ending pool of videos, blogposts, articles, and various other ideological outputs. Many of us use it casually, whether it be for posting our favorite Redbone remixes on YouTube or even viewing the latest Hollywood celebrity scandal. However, as much good as there is on the worldwide web a bad and much darker side has emerged on YouTube in recent years.

This strange phenomenon, known as Elsagate, involves hundreds if not thousands of videos that have underlying tones of fetish behavior. What makes these videos stand out, however, is the fact that they are seemingly geared towards children. The name "Elsagate" comes from the fact that many of these videos often contain live-action or crudely animated iterations of popular characters such as Spider-Man, The Joker, Mickey Mouse, and, of course, Elsa.

Oddly enough, many of the most popular videos in this unfortunate subcategory focus on themes such as fascinations with dangerous situations, violence, and overtly sexual acts. Again, these videos are aimed at and made for young children yet present to the subject matter which is completely inappropriate for their age. In some instances, children themselves are even used as the main actors. This, of course, has raised suspicion as to whether child abuse may be at play as many of these children do not appear to enjoy or even be compliant in their roles.

Although this phenomenon has likely been going on for several years, media attention was only brought to the subject in 2016. In 2017, after several major YouTubers made videos exploring and exposing the oddity that is Elsagate, many major mainstream media outlets ran with the story. Despite this, the videos and channels involved in this conspiracy continue to post content and amass millions of views in extremely short amounts of time.

The massive and unnerving success of such videos on the platform begs the question of just how this kind of content can gain so much traction; especially when YouTube claims there are safeguards and algorithms put in place to protect against this kind of thing.

In today's internet age the popular app YouTube Kids is one such tool many parents use to make sure their young children cannot stumble upon inappropriate videos. The app works by filtering content aimed at older audiences away from the catalog so that there isn't even a remote possibility for children to see anything they shouldn't. It appears that these videos are somehow bypassing the algorithm that is responsible for this filtering by disguising themselves with bright colors and playful characters often associated with children's videos and shows.

Regardless of whether or not YouTube is simply lazy or their algorithm for separating videos is broken, why these videos are being made and what purpose they entertain is a question many parents, as well as the internet community, are asking to this day. Naturally, due to their nature, communities have sprung up around these videos claiming that they serve as a means to brainwash and indoctrinate children. Although there have yet to be any scientific studies conducted on the subject, many parents claim to have seen aberrant behavior amongst their children after viewing such videos. Whether any of these claims have any validity to them, only time will tell.

Although YouTube's recent response to these videos has purportedly lessened the output of such content due to demonetization, it will be interesting to see whether or not this will actually affect their production. Nonetheless, regardless of their intentions or upload rate, the videos and channels involved in Elsagate are something that everyone, especially parents, should be aware of and ready to protect their children against.

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Dear Shondaland, You Made A Mistake Because April Kepner Deserves Better

"April Kepner... you're not average"
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I'll admit from the first time we were introduced to April in Season 6, I didn't like her so much. I mean we hated the "Mercy Westers" in the first place, so how could we see the potential in the annoying, know-it-all resident that was trying to compete with our beloved Lexie Grey.

But then, we saw her come face-to-face with a killer and thought maybe she had potential.


We then saw her surprise everyone when she proved to be the next trauma surgeon in the making and we were intrigued.

Notice how none of these stories had anything to do with Jackson Avery. Not that we didn't love her with Jackson, but for whatever reason you've chosen to end their very popular relationship. Suddenly, you think that April is not worth further exploration but you've forgotten one simple thing. We fell in love with her before "Japril" was ever in the picture.

We love her because her story was unlike the others and she had one of the best character developments on the show. She wasn't damaged like Meredith Grey or Alex Karev who have been on their journey to become all whole and healed, but she still had to fight hard to be taken seriously. Her story has so much potential for future development, but you've decided to throw it all away for "creative reasons."

I'm sorry, but there's nothing creative about doing the exact same thing you've done to all the other characters who have left the show. We've endured the loss of many beloved characters when you chose to write off George, Henry, Mark, and Lexie. We even took it when you did the unthinkable and wrote McDreamy out of the show - killing off one half of the leading couple. (WHO DOES THAT???)

But April Kepner? Are you kidding me?

She may no longer be with Jackson, but she was so much more than half of Japril. While most of us hate that Jackson and April are over, we probably could have dealt with it if April was still on the show. Now they're done and you think there aren't any more stories to tell about her character. Why? Because she'll just get in the way of Jackson and Maggie?

How could you not see that she was way more than Jackson's love interest?

She's so much more than you imagined her to be. April is the headstrong, talented trauma surgeon no one saw coming. The farmer's daughter started off an ugly duckling who became a soldier because she needed to be one and turned into one big beautiful swan who constantly has to fight for her coworkers and family to see her as such.

She's proven to be a soldier and swan on many occasions. Just take giving birth to her daughter in a storm on a kitchen table during an emergency c-section without any numbing or pain medication as an example. If she wasn't a soldier or a swan before, how could she not be after that?

Yet, you - the ones who created her - still see her as the ugly duckling of a character because she always had to take the backseat to everyone else's story and was never allowed to really be seen.

But we see her.

She's the youngest of her sisters who still think of her as the embarrassing little Ducky no matter how much she's grown.

This swan of a resident got fired for one mistake but came back fighting to prove she belongs. Not only did April Kepner belong there, but it was her talent, her kindness, her strength that made her Chief Resident. This simply wasn't enough for Dr. Bailey or her other residents so she fought harder.

She endured the pressure but always ended up being a joke to the others. When she was fired yet again, your girl came back a little shaken. She doubted herself, but how could she not when everyone was against her.

Despite everyone telling her she couldn't, she did rise and no one saw her coming because she remained in the background. She went off to Jordan broken and came back a pretty risky trauma surgeon.

We've watched for years as she was handed promising stories that we never got to see fully develop because she was in the background. We never got to see her rise. We get the beginning and the end, but hardly ever the middle.

I thought we were finally going to have an amazing story arc in season 11 when she loses Samuel, but what did we really get? Two or three episodes of her coming to terms with the loss of her baby and then April's disappearance from the show while she's grieving off screen so that Dr. Amelia Shepherd can shine her first season on the show. Where is April's life-changing surgeries? What does April get? She's background music.

Now what?

It's season 14 and we finally get the story we've been waiting 9 years for! We get Dark April and her crisis of faith. A story arc all Christians can appreciate. Here's the chance for real character development in the foreground, but wait...

Before her story is even wrapped up, you announce that this season will be her last. So we're forced to realize that the only reason we're getting this story now is that you're writing her off.

No matter how you end it, it's not going to do her story justice. If you kill her off to end her crisis of faith story, you're not reaching the many Christians who watch the show. If you have her leaving Seattle and taking Harriet with her, you didn't know April. If you have her leaving Seattle and abandoning Harriet, you really didn't know April. So anyway you choose to end her story, you lost out on one great character.

You messed up.

Both April Kepner and Sarah Drew deserved better.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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The Gaslight Anthem Is Getting Back Together, At Least Temporarily

After being on hiatus for nearly 3 years, the New Jersey punk rock band is reuniting for a summer tour.
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In 2005, four edgy Garden State-based musicians collaborated to form The Gaslight Anthem. The following year, The Gaslight Anthem had its first gig at a small collectibles store in Somerville, New Jersey, performing mainly covers and unmastered originals.

Despite failing to gain notoriety during its first two years of existence, The Gaslight Anthem weathered the storm, hoping that its first full-length album, “Sink or Swim", would capture the attention of punk fanatics and critics alike.

“Sink or Swim” served as the band’s breakthrough in New Jersey’s highly competitive punk rock scene. Independent music critics embraced “Sink or Swim” for its gritty lyrics and unwavering fluidity. Drawing comparisons to Hot Water Music frontman Chuck Ragan and legendary rock and roll icon Bruce Springsteen, TGA lead-guitarist Brian Fallon exhibits maturity on this album, showcasing boundless energy track in and track out.

Unfortunately, I was only eight years old when “Sink or Swim” was released. Even worse, I didn’t find out about The Gaslight Anthem until SIX YEARS LATER.

Yup. I remember playing NHL 13 on the XBOX 360 for the first time and coming across a catchy, fast-paced tune as part of the game’s soundtrack that I couldn’t help but bob my head to. “Hey, turn the record over. Hey, I’ll see you on the flip side.” The singer’s voice was grizzled yet melodic, dark yet optimistic.

After falling in love with “45", I decided to delve into some of Gaslight’s older projects. “Sink or Swim” is a rollercoaster ride saturated with emphatic backing vocals and strumming guitars, while “The ‘59 Sound” allows listeners to view adolescence from Fallon’s perspective as he reminisces through a series of nostalgia-induced tracks.

It didn’t take long for these guys to become my favorite band.

The first and only time I ever saw The Gaslight Anthem live in concert was at the PNC Bank Arts Center in September 2014. I’m not exaggerating when I say that was one of the best nights of my life. Headlining one of the largest venues in New Jersey for the first time, TGA did not disappoint.

I am forever grateful for Brian Fallon who, in front of his hometown fans, went above and beyond in his performance. It was like I was stuck in time; I never wanted that concert to end.

Nearly a year later, however, TGA announced its indefinite hiatus. I hate to say it, but I kind of saw it coming. “Get Hurt", the band’s most recent studio album, lacks crucial elements that previous albums contain. The songs on “Get Hurt” are slow and do not possess the lyrical content necessary to make up for their sluggishness.

Nevertheless, I was devastated by this news. My favorite band, EVER, was breaking up. This was a nightmare I’d never wake up from.

As time progressed, I gave up any hope on a potential TGA reunion. Each member of the band was off working on other projects, and none of them seemed determined to get the band back together in the near future.

Then something happened.

It was early January of this year. I was home for winter break and had slept until 2 PM, which seems about normal for me. I read through the notifications on my phone in a groggy daze. Hmmmmm. My brother mentioned me in a Facebook post. What could it be?

OH, MY GOD!

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM IS PERFORMING AT GOVERNOR’S BALL!

I couldn’t contain my excitement. I was like a little kid on Christmas morning. The Gaslight Anthem, the Dimestore Saints, Bruce Springsteen’s children. They’ve returned!

Days later, TGA also announced that it would be conducting a summer tour to celebrate the ten year anniversary of “The ‘59 Sound”. Miracles do come true.

As I sit at my laptop writing these words, all I can think about is Brian Fallon and his love for Maria and classic cars and movie screens.

Don’t bother me on June 2, 2018. I’ll be too busy basking in the presence of tattoed punk deities, also known as The Gaslight Freaking Anthem.

Cover Image Credit: bdcwire.com

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