YouTube channel SourceFed, created by early YouTuber Phillip De Franco (@phillyd), appears to have created their most controversial video by; and I think I get what this is about, insulting Richard Dawkins’ atheist beliefs. The highly successful channel about ‘news-y type stuff’, and other things that they think we viewers will be interested in, has achieved an almost fifty-fifty balance on likes and dislikes for this particular video; at the time of writing its Likes: 6,470 and Dislikes: 5,798.
The story in question concerns a tweet made by Richard Dawkins after a flight where he had a small pot of honey confiscated by airport security. Dawkins tweeted that Osama Bin Laden had won because he wasn’t able to fly with his little pot of nectar. Admittedly, this is a non-story, except that it features a man whose work in evolution means he’s recognized as one of the most famous atheists. The video continues to sarcastically sympathize, playing with the atheism by praying for Dawkins, and then discussing Dawkins’ own controversy recently when he queried whether it was fair to judge someone for actions done at a time when laws and rules were different.
It seems straightforward enough, the two hosts Elliott Morgan (@elliottcmorgan) and Joe Bereta (@joebereta) enlist some horrible English accents, and they know it, while talking of how anyone might be frustrated with the high levels of airport security. However, they don’t agree that you can really complain about the enforcement of a clear rule. I share the sentiment, if you don’t want to follow their rules then don’t fly on their planes. If Richard Dawkins really wanted to take whatever he wanted onto a plane, surely he could afford to have a private plane? (Note – I’m assuming his success has granted him some lucrative opportunities, furthermore I am not familiar with the specifics of his beliefs on private planes or reasons for transporting tiny honey.)
The first time, and the second actually, watching this video, I laughed from the start. The mockney accents were funny, the script was sarcastic (it really was) and the points made seemed logical for both alternative opinion and humorous purposes. I thought nothing of it until the weekend. While SourceFed aim for five news stories per day during the week, the weekend has only a few, movie reviews and ‘Comment Commentary’.It was while watching the latter that I scrolled down to the comments to find some very irate comments complaining about how the hosts hadn’t commented on their most offensive video to date. I couldn’t even recall an offensive video!
Going back to the original video, once I’d scrolled and scrolled to find a link to it, I read comment after comment back and forth about how disgusting SourceFed was for making fun of atheism and the British people, slandering their good name with factless and ‘PAINFULLY unfunny’ remarks. While angry people both sides of the pond barked back and forth about how absurdly patriotic most Brits are, how amazing Dawkins is (they didn’t say he wasn’t) and how this or that connotation meant this or that, there were glimmers of hope as a few commenters pointed out that it was sarcasm and that maybe we should all calm down.
Further irritation; pages and pages down, was caused, it turned out, from the fact that Dawkins’ original tweet was intended to spark discussion of these seemingly absurd rules. As an atheist and a person who has been on a plane post 9/11, I don’t see that the hosts were targeting Atheists but merely seeing the silliness in making a mountain out of a mole hill, after all can’t you buy honey everywhere anyway?
The hosts didn’t comment on these comments in their Comment Commentary video but I’m confident that that’s because ill will was never intended. As they even pointed out in the video itself, if it’d been about a priest tweeting the same thing they would have had the same reaction.
Enjoy (or not) the video for yourself and see what you think:
p.s. How did the British people not get the sarcasm?