“I don’t agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” -Voltaire
Would it be redundant at this point to summarize the events of Nicole Arbour’s YouTube channel? Perhaps, but for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past week (or more likely, those of you who have a life), YouTube celebrity(?) Nicole Arbour uploaded a video titled “Dear Fat People,” and it went about as well as anything with such a headline possibly could. People were outraged, attacked Nicole Arbour, her views, and this controversy lead to YouTube shutting her channel down.
I’m not gonna lead everybody on and pretend this is somehow in defense of Nicole Arbour’s views on obesity, health, or comedy. I watched the video before YouTube took her channel down, and while it didn’t particularly offend me (I’ve seen much, much more insulting videos of the same ilk.), I didn’t find it entertaining or enlightening in any way, either. I used to hold the opinion that mocking people in the way she does could fuel ambition to improve themselves, and indirectly help them. Then I thought about all the times I’ve been made fun of in my life. Did I reconsider myself? Heck no, I just got angry at the person saying such things. This type of comedy is only beneficial to comedy, the joke-teller, and the audience. It certainly serves no greater social function. To me, she came off as a poor (wo)man’s Jenna Marbles, who I’m also not a fan of. But hey, that’s her shtick. What I’m here to defend is her right to express herself, regardless of what her views might be.
Let’s be real, we’ve all put our feet in our mouths before, some of us more than others. We’ve all spoken out of line, and maybe our actions were met with backlash or vitriol, but it happens. Everyone does it. To me, it doesn’t matter if I agree with what somebody has to say; the important thing is to listen. Don’t people like Jenna Ma-Nicole Arbour have a place in our Internet world? If nothing else, as someone to cite as an example of how not to be? I realize that Arbour hasn’t been banned from the Internet, but if YouTube can silence her, then who else will they mute out? In a bizarro world operating under similar logic, they could have shut down a “body-positive” channel just as easily.
Now, you can argue that one is promoting confidence and the other could be read as hateful or cruel, but I don’t know that it would change anything. So long as it isn’t directly threatening somebody, we should be able to say whatever we want, regardless of who agrees with it or how stupid it makes us look. Even if we don’t support Arbour’s channel or video (I for one have no intention of giving her any more views.), but we should support the fact that she has the right to express herself. Isn’t that the liberal thing to do? I don’t like Nicole Arbour’s video, but I would defend her right to publish it to the death.