EDIT: Since this post was written, Amenakin has changed her position. Read about it here.
I can’t stand YouTube drama at the best of times. But, since this is a slightly unusual example, I’m going to do something rather out of character and wade in on the issue.
I feel fairly safe is saying that most of us were taken aback by potholer54’s latest nominee for the Golden Crocoduck award, Amenakin. The nominee was, unlike the vast majority of nominees, not male, not Christian and perhaps most surprisingly, not stupid. I would ask anyone who disagrees to watch some of her videos; she’s obviously a sharp and articulate young lady. I think she’s one of the brand of creationist that is simply misinformed.
For those who have spent the last week living under a rock, here’s a brief summary of events.
- potholer54 made a video on Amenakin’s nomination for the Golden Crocoduck Award, showing Amenakin’s understanding of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
- potholer54 received numerous complaints that the video was prejudicial of women and/or Muslims.
- potholer54 made a video explaining that this was not the case, pointing out that the vast majority of nominees were male Christians.
- Amenakin filed DMCAs against both of potholer54’s videos.
- WildwoodClaire1 Awarded Amenakin her Dim Bulb of the Week award (also for her views on Darwin’s theory of evolution).
- Amenakin filed a DMCA on WildwoodClaire1’s video.
- WildwoodClaire1 awarded Amenakin the Dim Bulb Lifetime Achievement award for her actions.
- WildwoodClaire1’s second video was flagged for hate speech by an undisclosed party. YouTube has currently upheld this flag.
So now that the shit has well and truly hit the fan, I’d like to do my best to clear up the resulting mess.
Firstly, something that is very quickly cut and dried, the issue of copyright infringement. Amenakin claims that she did not file DMCAs out of a sore ego, or an attempt to hide her failings, but simply because she didn’t like her videos being used without permission. I’m slightly skeptical of this, given how many warnings YouTube throws in your face en route to filing DMCAs, explaining when it is valid to do so. However, we’ll give Amenakin the benefit of the doubt for now. This of course doesn’t excuse her. I’m sure she’s been made aware of the ‘Fair Use’ legislation, which allows for copyrighted material to be used for comedy, comment or criticism without the owner’s permission. I won’t dwell on it further, because the videos will doubtlessly be reinstated once they have been reviewed by YouTube.
As for the flagging, this is harder to remove. YouTube has currently decided to uphold the flag, presumably without having watched it at all. Whether Amenakin or one of her supporters filed this is unknown, but it’s difficult to find one instance of hate speech in this video. The only thing I can think may have caused it was an audio clip of the song ‘If You Could See Her Through My Eyes’ from the musical Cabaret. This song portrays Jewish people as gorillas (though anyone familiar with the song knows that it is in fact meant to make us feel bad for propagandist portrayals of this minority). I hope that YouTube’s aparrent special treatment of this video has nothing to do with the minorities concerned here.
As for the Amenakin’s views on Darwin’s theory of evolution (namely that it is based upon racist concepts), we’ve heard this before from other creationists. When challenged to produce evidence that Darwin’s theories are based on racial superiority, such evidence is usually anecdotal or absent entirely. I would urge Amenakin to read Darwin’s own books and papers, not someone else’s commentary on them, as someone who has read them, I know that Darwin has very little to say on the subject of race (and there are accounts of him decrying the slavery of specific human races). And of course, as potholer54 pointed out, Darwin’s views on race, whatever they were, have no bearing on the validity of his theories.
Amenakin, if you are reading this, I would like you to take on board what I have to say in this article. I would first like you to realise that you have – whether you like it or not – been put on a pedestal as a representative of your faith (and, to a lesser extent, your gender). The actions that you take from this point in time will affect the perception of the followers of Islam, albeit only amongst the YouTube community. Within the circles that potholer54’s viewers dwell, Islam has an unfairly negative reputation, largely due to the inability of certain YouTubers to distinguish between ‘Muslims’ and ‘Islamists’. The right action on your part may well do a great deal to remind YouTube audiences that there are Muslims able to hold rational world views (a fact that shouldn’t really need saying).
With that in mind, here are the steps required, as I see it, that you need to take:
- Not pursue (or better still, repeal) the DMCA charges (you will inevitably lose these anyway).
- If you are in any position to have WildwoodClaire1’s video flag repealed, do so.
- Become acquainted with Darwin’s actual theories regarding evolution (you do not necessarily to accept evolution, merely be aware of the facts).
- Make a public announcement (preferably a YouTube video) apologising for the DMCA charges and admitting that your understanding of Darwin’s theory of evolution was misinformed.
Upon doing these, I have little doubt that potholer54 will withdraw your nomination, given that a previous nominee (TruthfulChristian) had his nomination withdrawn upon his admission that he was getting his information from dubious sources. Remember, nominations are not made for belief in creationism, but simply for presenting false information in support of it. Setting the record straight again disqualifies you. I also feel confident that WildwoodClaire1 will also repeal her award(s) upon this change of position.
I know you weren’t expecting this kind of bad press, but right now, you have all the power and position to undo the damage done to not just your own public image, but also that of your faith. I guarantee that you will be surprised how forgiving most of the YouTube community can be.