In the run-up to the relaunch, I’ve done a bit of work on the site. Mostly minor cosmetic adjustments, since we’ve ditched the comfy basement pastiche in favor of something a little closer to my own personal aesthetic. But that’s not all!
I’ve added the original scripts to the episodes under their respective videos where possible. In the case of videos without scripts, there isn’t much to be done, but one thing that flummoxes me is my inability to find the scripts for the former Jolene’s Transition Vlog, now renamed Jolene’s Trans Vlog. They’re the most recent videos I’ve made for this channel. That they’d be the scripts I’d somehow *misplace,* digitally, on a Google drive is perplexing to say the least.
In any case, the rest are there now. I’ve also added a jump function so said scripts, or longer articles, don’t clog up the site’s navigation. So, for instance, when you click a year under the Episodes button, instead of scrolling through pages and pages of scripts, you can click “read more” after a post to see them, as you did to read this post.
Keep in mind, these are the original shooting scripts, so they’ll contain content I cut either in editing or never shot to begin with because I thought better of something I’d written.
Which brings me to my next point.
I started developing this show in 2014 and even shot episode 2 — which was the first episode we ever shot. I just thought PCU made for a better mission statement — that same year. But my father was diagnosed with cancer and later passed, and since I was still in college, grieving and schoolwork were all I could manage. So I delayed the launch to 2015.
Seven years is an awfully long time. And in that time, I’ve learned quite a lot, and our culture has changed dramatically. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t turn my critical gaze on myself as much as I do pieces of media, and some of these mistakes are ones I definitely should’ve known better at the time, but somehow still missed, or deluded myself into thinking were necessary.
In one Armchair Philosophy, for instance, I dropped the F-slur casually in a context that was probably meant to be shockingly educational or some other damned fool notion, and it got me thinking about the mission statement of the show and its intended audience.
When I launched, I still had, in my life, a few friends who were still on the fence about all this “social justice” business. My moonshot was to try to make a show that could appeal to two kinds of people who seemed to me, at the time, to be closer to each other than they realized:
A.) People like myself, who love video essays and long form media discussions, but who want those things to be more socially conscious, and
B.) People like my former self. Well-meaning, but not up on why certain ideas, jokes, tropes, or executions of same might be harmful to others or why.
Luckily for all of us, other Youtubers came along to do the former splendidly. Some were rocking it long before this show was a glimmer in my eye and it was so encouraging that a better world was seemingly coming to be. Unluckily for all of us, however, many folks from the latter of those groups have since been radicalized by right wing propaganda from social media and message boards all the way up to Fox News, who in the intervening years went fully mask off and now read white supremacist talking points to everybody’s grandmother between ads hocking reverse mortgages instead of hiding all of them behind coded language and dog whistling.
And those people are lost now.
I wanted to make the show that I could show those former friends I mentioned — and they are, well and truly, former friends at this point — where all of the irreverent humor they’re used to would be intact, but that would aim ire at deserving targets instead of punching down.
I believed, perhaps naively, that the biggest problem decency has these days is branding.
Maybe, I thought, if you dress up conversations about social issues properly, people like my former self would listen. Hence all the cursing and the lack of trigger warnings. I feared using them would instantly alienate the very people I was attempting to reach.
But when you ask somebody radicalized by bizarre pizza conspiracies, for instance, to describe what a trigger warning even is, or a safe space, or a social justice warrior, or political correctness, they paint you a word picture of a straw person when they can be bothered to not just vomit up mad libs about triggered snowflakes.
I no longer hold out hope that these people can be reached, nor do I care about their plight. We’ve all picked our sides by now, and it was a breach of trust for me to yadda yadda past the needs of certain potential viewers in the hopes of building a bigger tent, and I firmly believe that even if I had produced content more consistently and attracted an audience, that this approach still never would have worked. Maybe somebody can pull it off, but it ain’t gonna’ be me. I’m done.
So what’s the channel going to be now? Well, not a lot is going to change. The Sofa Justice Warriors episodes will still be either video essays or discussions about pieces of media, Armchair Philosophy will still be my perspective on social issues, and Jolene’s Trans Vlog will be where I speak about my life as a trans woman and all things queer.
What will change is I’ll aim to give proper content warnings in each video, and will never again, in a misguided attempt to win them to my side, make a creative decision that’s meant to appeal to those who would see me legislated out of existence.
Oh, and gay. The show will be super gay.
Happy to be back!