I haven’t paid attention to boxing since I was a kid, which pretty much makes me like 95 percent of the rest of the world. Ever since Redman and Method Man led Roy Jones Jr., my favorite boxer, to the ring, I couldn’t really see what more the sport could offer. That didn’t stop my heart from sinking just a little when I heard Jones was having an exhibition against Mike Tyson, as I was pretty damn sure Jones’s career ended when Joe Calzaghe punted him all over MSG and that was 12 fucking years ago! All he can do now is hurt himself, and that’s apparently what he’s been doing.
Still, there seemed to be a buzz emanating from last month’s Tyson-Jones card at Staples Center, as best I could tell from Twitter. (Twitter is probably best at letting you know there’s something going on, without letting you know what exactly is going on.) And then, in the past few days, everything seemed to be rocking violently when it was announced that something named Logan Paul was going to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. This led me to immediately conclude that Paul was a shitty boxer, because Mayweather would never put himself in any situation where he might look bad.
Still, the reaction went louder than that, and seemed to be one giant and multifaceted version of the look on Bert Sugar’s face in The Great White Hype when they unveil “irish” Terry Conklin. Yes, that reference dates me, and I suppose that’s the point of all this. Logan Paul isn’t for me. He’s not for anyone near me, as best as I can tell. What I did know was that Paul was not a boxer, but something moonlighting as one.
This is usually the part in an article like this where the author or host will say, “So I wanted to find out more. Who was Logan Paul? What did he mean?” But here it’s not true. I didn’t. But the editors asked me to, and it sounded like it had a faint chance of being slightly less depressing than waiting around to hear the news of the Cubs trading Kris Bryant for Ted Williams’ frozen head and a couple of drunk raccoons (a common phenomenon, and probably a better option than Jose Martinez at DH).
What I can say fairly confidently, after the hour of off-and-on research this man warrants, is that Logan Paul is exactly what you think as soon as you see an image of him. He’s as if the Corey Hotline from The Simpsons came to life and became like, 10 percent sentient and much, much worse. He’s the surfers from the original Point Break if they were robbed of any ethos, edge, skill, or purpose, and then turned into a clothing line at Forever 21, which is the kind of thinking that got us a remake of Point Break that we all agreed we’d never mention and I’m sorry.
To be more blunt, he is the distillation of how everything can be a joke to an affluent white dude with no consequences. Why think when you don’t have to? He’s almost certainly going to be president in 20 years as our society fully faceplants into total dystopia, and that will probably only come a few years after he’s arrested for statutory rape. Just kidding! Rich white guys don’t get arrested for that. Either way it will have no bearing on his ascent to the White House or whatever nightclub VIP/beach house/orgy area that replaces it by 2037.
You won’t believe this, but I really try not to roll my eyes when I hear someone is or was a “YouTuber.” Whatever the ills of the internet, and there are thousands, it does lend a voice and an opportunity to whoever is willing to take it. While there are more alleys in the traditional sense of production these days, they’re still pretty stodgy and risk-averse, and if you can make yourself popular doing something you love and are committed to, that’s not a bad thing. Fuck, I got into this business spending eight years standing outside the United Center in Chicago winters selling a program about the Hawks I wrote barely sober to a couple hundred fans that were less sober than I was. I’m really in no position to criticize. But I did get to make a living doing that, which is better than a fuckton of other jobs. And then everything didn’t work for three years after that, so I sold my soul to work here (HA! Take that assholes! You can’t bludgeon me with that cudgel if I’m already hitting myself in the face! When you think you’ve got the answers, I change the questions!)
Still, I’m not going to torture you with some Klosterman or Gladwell-like treatise on what Paul’s fame means, because there’s no there there. And also all Gladwell is torture, but that’s not why you called. Paul gained his fame through Vine first and then YouTube, and I can’t tell you why. My guess, and it’s only a guess, is that he made a bunch of sketches and prank videos with his friends or people who just couldn’t figure out where else to go so they hung out with him because he had weed. And then teenagers found him cute and edgy. And he’s still doing that and they still do. And they’re seen as edgy by kids who can’t define the word yet because the edits and awkward camerawork don’t really seem to accentuate anything and are just there to be there. Much like Paul, he speaks in the same fashion as he edits his videos, yelling certain sentences and phrases for no reason or in no pattern other than he thought of it.
(This is where I get on my soapbox as well as my shameless self-promotion box that a dipshit like this can become a multi-millionaire for essentially being a lobotomized Justin Bieber and yet a close friend of mine’s work of genius, CTRL-ALT-DELETE — which is actually hilarious, important, and risky — will never see the light of day from the production companies that be, nor will the hundreds of projects like it. The revolution won’t be televised, but our negation of the human experience certainly will be).
Paul was able to vault himself into the headlines with controversies that are born from entitled, isn’t-it-funny-when-it’s-people-who-aren’t-us acts, such as posting video from a forest in Japan where many people have killed themselves, including showing a dead body, or throwing parties during the pandemic. None of this matters to Paul, who has never considered anything beyond what’s directly in front of him and his basest urges. And he doesn’t have to. It would seem Paul speaks to other people who can find the whole world a joke when you’re privileged enough to know nothing will ever come of it.
Paul and his equally-fuckstick brother, Jake Paul, have made some music videos and singles, and if you don’t like it they’ll tell you it’s just a laugh and if you do like it they’ll tell you music really is their calling. They can’t lose. Needless to say, the songs — which are somewhere on the level of “I really like vaginas” — are the kind of thing you’re sure is a Lonely Island spoof. And then, when you realize it isn’t a parody, you’ll have an urge to murder all your friends’ children to save them from the much worse fate of growing up in this world.
And that’s what this whole boxing thing appears to be. Paul was bored, thought it sounded cool to learn and try, and everyone around him realized the money his following could generate so no one told him no. This is how you get this version of an Axl Rose, except Axl just wanted to put a 37th guitar track on the third bridge of a song. Paul wants to do everything.
And that’s really just about all the thought I’m going to put into it. Why should I put more than he did? Exactly.