I’ve spent the last 3 weeks of my life working, booking jabs for diseases I’d barely even heard of until I was told I could catch them in certain countries, Japanese Encephalitis anyone?, watching YouTube vids of attractive Thai women telling me how to speak basic Thai and explaining that if I use the incorrect level of tone I could find myself calling her ‘unlucky’ rather than ‘beautiful’ and reading travel blogs about the top 10 things to see and do in Chiang Mai. These events have been interspersed with a trip to Cardiff for my aunties 50th birthday party, part of which I spent with my head in the clouds wondering how the hell she got so damn popular; seriously there were like 150 people there, and a continuous viewing of the Lord of the Rings trilogy which is worth mentioning because it takes about as much commitment as most modern day couples put into a marriage! I’m excited, I’m terrified but most of all I’m excited…and I’m terrified…
I feel that the above does a relatively decent job of justifying why I’m a little late to the party on my subject of choice for this week. In-between phone calls to the Thai Embassy in New Zealand at 11pm, which is their 11am, and meetings with bank staff to beg them to review their foreign spending charges I stumbled upon a YouTube video. The title of this video was Dear Fat People by the always controversial, or so I’m told, Nicole Arbour. Personally after viewing this vid and scrolling through a few others I found her to be more obnoxious than controversial but I use the phrase ‘so I’m told’ as before seeing this video I’d honestly never heard of her. This is fine; she’d never heard of me either and this makes her no less credible but in all honesty I was not that impressed.
In my personal opinion Arbour has potential to be funny as her delivery is often fairly sharp and she has an expressive and active persona but by God she needs to get a writer or at least a mentor to sharpen what she’s delivering and express her persona in a more likeable manner.
I was not surprised when this video received the backlash that it did. A good looking, obnoxious white girl is standing in front of a camera trying to right an issue that she perceives as wrong with no prior knowledge or understanding and most importantly no sensitivity towards the issue itself; this p*ssed people off! Video responses have featured other YouTubers labelling her as attention-seeking, vulgar, spiteful and un-talented. All of these criticisms may have carried more substance than the Bali 9 at an airport but one thing that she is not is dumb. Many critics have implied that Ms Arbour lacks intelligence but they could not be further from the truth.
As I’ve already mentioned; until the day I viewed the Dear Fat People video I’d never even heard the names Nicole and Arbour used one after another in the same sentence. Yet I came across her that day not only because at least a dozen of the people on my Facebook friends list had shared the video but because her name was one of the top trending topics of that day. This means that the name Nicole Arbour along with a brief description of the situation was emblazoned on the homepage of a social media site that’s currently used by over a billion people and it remained there for at least 24 hours. More coverage means more views which means more subscribers because for every 100 that hated the video and vocalised their opinions there are at least a few that loved it and probably didn’t.
Face it; controversy creates attention and the irony is that when YouTube took the damn thing down they gave it more attention as the fact that they took it down put it back in the headlines. Then when they realised that it didn’t technically violate any of their terms and conditions they put it back up again a day later, giving it even more attention from people who missed it the first time around! I don’t know how many subscribers Nicole Arbour had before Dear Fat People but I’m told that it wasn’t even close to the 220 thousand-odd that it currently stands at.
Anyone who believes that Nicole Arbour created this video without knowing that it would blow up in her face and get the reaction it did is, in my opinion, mistaken. She knew that a lot of people weren’t going to subscribe to her way of thinking but that’s okay as long as some subscribe to her channel. This whole fiasco has given her notoriety and exposure that she would not have gotten otherwise; she’s been on The View and has been featured on several radio stations across America for example. Ms Arbour did not create the video to make people agree with her, she probably doesn’t even believe what she was saying, she did it to get people talking about her and in this regard she succeeded spectacularly.
Now don’t get my opinions misconstrued I do not think that she is talented for this. Intelligence and talent are two different things that don’t always go hand in hand but goals can sometimes be achieved through use of one and not the other. The irony is that the ‘haters’, as she would likely call them, that hoped to hurt her through their responses would have been better served not responding at all. If they had stayed quiet Dear Fat People would not have gotten the circulation that it did but she banked on them doing it and gained a lot of publicity in the process. I must admit, though I am not a fan, I do have a slither of respect for her shrewdness. I just hope she can handle the backlash…
I’m Tha Bozz and that’s my opinion.