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““The first time I used milk in a video was because I thought it looked like semen, and I thought that was funny,” says Natalie Wynn, otherwise known as the American YouTuber, ContraPoints. She’s chuckling on the other end of the phone as she dispels this Reddit myth that she uses milk in her videos to reclaim it from the alt-right, which has taken to wielding it as a symbol of white supremacy. “There’s a complex semiotics of milk,” she admits, “but why did I pour milk on my face? Was I thinking about its connection to power or sex? I don’t know; I probably just laughed!”
These sorts of elaborate theories aren’t uncommon when it comes to Wynn’s work, and they’re evidence of the intense attention people pay to her videos. Combining humor, drag, and philosophy, she is one of the most incisive and compelling video essayists on YouTube. Her latest video ‘Gender Critical’ (a term radical feminists have taken to using in reaction to being called TERFs [trans-exclusionary radical feminists]) racked up almost half a million views in a day. From the context of comedy to transphobic memes, ContraPoints is doing the seemingly impossible: making nuanced and controversial political debates both sexy and engaging.
Wynn “tinkered” on YouTube for more than a decade before arriving at this formula. To begin with, she was “a minor participant in YouTube atheism content because that’s what you did as a person with opinions in 2008.” But in 2016, she began ContraPoints: a response to the atmosphere she saw building online. “I noticed a surge of political content around GamerGate in 2014, and it was pretty right-wing—or at least anti-progressive,” she tells me, citing a spectrum of content ranging from the centrist to the straight-up Neo-Nazi. She decided to create her own videos, and these “tinker-toy attempts” at deconstructing social justice issues through a left-wing lens soon caught on. More importantly, they became a creative outlet.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The results were surprising. The center-right coalition, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, remained in power against the opposition Labor party, which had led in every poll for years."
"Anger seldom works against Trump; he owns the currency and can always issue more of it. In addressing the rogue President directly, or speaking about him in the third person, Pelosi usually adopts a tone that is more sorrowful than angry..."
"I am Mizrahi, as are the majority of Jews in Israel today. We are of Middle Eastern and North African descent. Only about 30% of Israeli Jews are Ashkenazi, or the descendants of European Jews."
"Kids are exposed to plenty of controversial social issues on a daily basis. And if parents don’t want their kids to watch “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” they can turn off the TV."
"Are public-school teachers really underpaid? It’s a claim often made during teacher pay disputes, but the same data and statistical methods that produce the “teacher salary gap” lead to some ridiculous conclusions..."
"Tech companies are getting into the business of making cities. We need to stop Silicon Valley social engineering before things get even worse."
"Having a Library or Cafe Down the Block Could Change Your Life: Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government."
"“What name . . . shall we give to the darkness of hell...?” The question of how we can name a place such as this is at the center of scholar Scott G. Bruce’s new anthology The Penguin Book of Hell."
"She had all six of her kids — ages 5, 4, 2 (twins) and 10 months (also twins!) in her 10-seater van. To get the kids a quick snack, Curry parked in front of the Cobbler’s Café."
"Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they grew up typically eating dinner at a kitchen table, but a little less than half said they do so now when eating at home."
"If you tied a rope tight around the Earth’s equator and then added a single yard of slack, would the extra material make any noticeable difference to someone standing on the ground?"
"While American Jewish women face attacks on our freedom and rising anti-Semitism, abortion opponents are appropriating Jewish history in order to push an agenda that hurts women."