YouTube is probably the greatest anthropological project ever launched. It has managed to expose the multitudes of the human condition more than any other medium ever created, and allowed people to express themselves in more diverse ways than at any point in history. This weekly column is an outlet for me to share with you some undiscovered gems, as well some very well-trodden gems, and discuss just what it is that makes the chosen accounts so intriguing.
WHAT: A man who sits in his van and reviews various fast food items from various places.
HOW MANY SUBSCRIBERS AT TIME OF WRITING: 86,918
WHY SHOULD I CARE: When Morgan Spurlock's 2004 'documentary' Super Size Me gained attention worldwide, we all marvelled at just how much gluttony Americans were truly capable of. It is a giant country filled with giant cars, giant roads, giant people, both lengthways and widthways, giant portions, giant industry, giant everything. I don't know how many Americans you guys have met, but a lot of them have this odd thickness, even if they're not 'fat' so to speak. It's like they've all been injected with a layer of silicon.
Unless you're juicing on the Santa Monica beach with all the other sinewy fitness Peperamis then you'll be accustomed to the mind-boggling portion sizes, and the incredible variety in which they come. Perhaps no-one is more familiar with this face of life than JoeysWorldTour.
JoeysWorldTour is a channel that features a man called Joey reviewing (eating) fast food menu items. He eats them in his car, or truck, because it kind of looks like a truck, and describes to us, the viewer, how he feels about them. So far, so normal. But there is something about Joey that divides my soul down the middle. Something about him has created a conflict within me so strong it makes me question myself again and again. Mostly, it brings me back to the same, damning question: do I hate JoeysWorldTour?
How many times must I awaken in a cold sweat screaming this question into my pillow? And why is it so prevalent? To tell you the truth, Joey is a very hateful character, in many ways. His manner of eating is untenable. He munches and tears and gnaws away at a burrito or a slice of pizza or a burger. He grunts at it, breathing into the meats and sauces, covering them in condensation. He mainly manages to keep his mouth shut throughout chewing, though every now and then his tongue will flick the mush around the inside of his gob, a flash of mulchy colour will shock you into epilepsy. His reviews, which are not the most eloquent, are often punctuated with him blinking rapidly, staring into the top of his skull and shrieking 'W-W-WOO!' He does this at least once a review, though sometimes it happens multiple times, each time making me want to put my head on an anvil while an irate blacksmith smashes my skull into a mirepoix.
So that's it, case closed, hate the guy, hate his videos, right? It should be. But Joey has a certain, difficult-to-place charm about him. The closest thing I can liken it to is that of John Candy's character in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. An oaf, a dolt, a glutton, but for the most part, a good guy with a sweet nature. Even though everything Joey does irritates me to the point of catatonic vomiting, I just cannot dislike the guy. He even does a really, really fucking annoying impression of 'Cousin Kyle', the heavily stereotyped New York Jew cousin of Kyle Broflovski of South Park, whose catchphrase is 'I'm baaack!'. If a kid at school did this I'd have beaten them up. But Joey gets a pass. It's weird.
YouTube is a fantastic vessel for hatred. You thought you knew how to hate before you saw discovered what vlogging was, and then you learned to hate in a thousand different new and exciting ways. Yet you're always capable of being surprised. If someone has a large back catalogue of material, as Joey does, you can spend a lot of time with them getting to know them. And as with real people in real life, this can help you forget their foibles a little, become accustomed to them, even enjoy them. I shake my head at Joey every time I watch him, no longer with a frown but with a smile, like watching a younger sibling fall off a swing.
More from VICE: