PewDiePie’s weird ocean obsession has once again taken over his channel. YouTube’s most popular gaming content creator certainly has an ocean fixation. Felix has uploaded three videos in the space of one week featuring “Subnautica.”
The game description on Steam is:
Descend into the depths of an alien underwater world filled with wonder and peril.
But why is PewDiePie playing it so much lately?
Felix has an obsession with the ocean, fish, and aquariums. He took his wife to the aquarium for Valentine’s Day this year even though they already flew all the way to Canada to visit an aquarium three months earlier. And he can’t stop making Minecraft videos about the sandbox game’s fish and oceans.
PewDiePie took the fish obsession to a new low in a Mar 24 YouTube upload, “15 Men vs 5 Women is Cringe.” In it Pewds watches and comments on a video wherein 15 men speed date 5 women in person.
In the intro to the speed dating round someone interviews the ladies and asks:
What’s the worst thing a guy can have on his dating profile?
One fires back without missing a beat:
Him with a fish
The other ladies laugh and applaud boisterously.
Here’s PewDiePie’s reaction (at 5:50):
What the frick is wrong? What’s wrong with a guy and a fish!?
But it might be even darker than it appears at first glance.
It’s not just fish that Felix loves. His non-stop Subnautica playing this month proves that like a pirate, his true love be the sea.
But why would PewDiePie be obsessed with the ocean?
Given his history of appealing to the alt right (saying the N-word, paying freelancers to hold up a sign that says “Death to All Jews”), what if all the constant ocean imagery is Felix’s homage to racist European colonialism and imperialism?
After all, it was the oceans that the English, Dutch, and Spanish used to conquer and enslave people of color around the world. If PewDiePie is a closeted white nationalist, as some have speculated , his praise for the ocean would make sense.
But Felix doesn’t merely and conspicuously love the ocean.
The thing about racist dog whistles is there’s always plausible deniability, and they may not actually be dog whistles. To investigate this story I went further back in the archive of PewDiePie’s channel and found a very disturbing Minecraft video.
Last year, PewDiePie actually reenacted European colonialism on Minecraft. He got in a boat, went across the water to raid Minecraft “villagers,” kidnap them from their homes, and bring them back to his shores as slaves. In one video he tortures one of the villagers while yelling abusive words like :
In the boat! Get in the boat!
Then he said something racist:
I don’t got time.
As author, teacher, activist, and cultural critic Brittney Cooper noted in a Ted Talk at TedWomen 2016, time is a racial construct created by white Europeans :
If time had a race, it would be white.
On the ocean trip back to his settlement, PewDiePie mocked his victim:
What is that? Your new home? No. No, no, no– I have a different fate for you.
Then he locked the kidnapped slave in a dungeon and yelled:
And ominously warned:
And don’t ever try to escape. You’re here forever. And ever.
Then when the villager did escape, PewDiePie said something utterly insensitive in light of the European West African slave trade:
Oh my god he escaped. But I know his weakness. Boats!
This was essentially a digital reenactment of “Roots.”
Since returning from his YouTube hiatus, PewDiePie obviously hasn’t gained any perspective. If anything he’s sunk to a new low.