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Candid Culture

Author's note: iDubbbz released an apology video shortly after this essay was published.

TL;DR: Sincerity is stylish again.

Example 1: Good Faith & Nurture

I wanted my "joy" album. Through the process of making it, initially, it can be a fairly superficial pursuit — just making stuff about "joy." As you start to question where it comes from, you find the depth, the substance. It became more meaningful to me because it became more about earning my joy rather than just describing it. Making the album these past three years has been difficult with some really low points. Re-earning my joy through introspection has been a real journey.

-- Madeon (interview)

In 2019, Madeon dropped his "joy" album, Good Faith. Inspired by this change-of-pace, Porter Robinson departed from the darkness of Virtual Self to produce Nurture.

Nurture is vulnerable art. For the first time in years, Porter Robinson reassumed his real name and real singing voice. "mirror is a song about the costs of being hard on yourself". "Get Your Wish is about finding a reason to keep moving forward, even if it's not for your own sake.". And so on. It's real stuff.

Example 2: iDubbbz

…that was sort of the transitional period. I was probably more unhappy with my experience at the time making these types of videos because I didn't really have much of a community or a friend group…. I think generally was just kind of wanting a little bit more -- something a little bit more rewarding, fulfilling. So that's kind of why I like started to you know move away from it. And you've said that anyone who focuses their entire career on making edgy content -- edgy jokes -- eventually finds themselves wanting to to do something more fulfilling with their lives.

-- iDubbbz (interview)

In the YouTube world, Filthy Frank and iDubbbz are pursuing redemption arcs.

It's hard to believe that Joji used to be this.

And iDubbbz has set aside "ironic slurs" and internet drama to create heartfelt documentaries.

Getting Away With It is the perfect example of cynicism colliding with candid culture. iDubbbz attempts to connect with Sam Hyde, but Hyde opts for an elaborate performance. Furthermore, iDubbbz's history of shock humor casts him as a stunning foil for Sam Hyde. Irony poisons human communication.

Example 3: The Rehearsal

The thing about emotions, Fielder realizes, is that “they’re not easy to engineer.” How does one not only act authentically but feel authentically?

-- Don’t Worry, Nathan Fielder Also Hates Himself

The Rehearsal is a convoluted invitation to vulnerability. Nathan Fielder explores authenticity itself in a beautiful tangled mess -- a fantastic finale for meta-irony and post-truth. But where do we go from here?

Choose Hope

Hope is the correct response to the strange, often terrifying miracle of consciousness. Hope is not easy or cheap. It is true.

-- John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed)

Hope hides, but we can chase it and capture it and share it.

Candid culture encourages everybody to choose hope, despite its difficulties.

We can pursue authenticity in an age of algorithms. We can trust truth as the Turing Test deteriorates.

Let's heal the Earth. Let's reclaim our attention. Let's spark contagious kindness.

Sincerity surpasses cynicism.

Contribute Candidness

Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.

-- Brené Brown

Listen. Honesty is exploding in many mediums. Celebrate art like GoGo Penguin, Ted Lasso, and Steven Universe.

Share your story. Make things that only you can make.

Stay tuned at candidculture.org.