Artillery Row

Oki Doki Gen Z

Meet the self-made millionaires who support Bernie Sanders and stream ten hours a day

Lurking in the deep dark recesses of the internet lies a cold and desolate place few brave souls fear to tread. No I am not talking about the comments section of YouTube, I am referring to the surreal Hobbesian world of online political commentary.

Twitch is one of the world’s largest live-streaming platforms. Launched in 2011 it used to focus primarily on users playing video games. These content creators would film themselves playing video games while answering questions from subscribers in the live chat. But in recent times the site has become a focal point for a new generation of like-minded, politically curious people keen to learn about everything from the latest social justice issue to complex political philosophy. 

While some political channels provide insightful and thought-provoking analysis, others weave humour into what is already a niche market. A vast majority however are dedicated to reactionary shouty types with little to no real knowledge of how politics — and indeed the world — works.

Unless you get eyes on your channel, no-one will notice you. For a number of years the best way to do this was to stage a debate. Known as internet blood sports, people from different ends of the political spectrum would debate a topic usually chosen by a moderator. Every good fight needs a good opponent. So the bigger the name, the bigger the audience.  

Hasan Piker “Hasanabi” admitted his comment that the US deserved 9/11 was inappropriate

Motivated by confirmation bias and amplified by histrionics, the debates are often futile. Often slowly degrading from ad hominem criticism into an all-out slanging match.  Most of the time there is no clear winner as both sides always claim they won. No one learns anything and the whole thing seems a waste of time. The real winners here are the channel’s host — and their burgeoning bank balance. To put it simply: you’re being sold a performance and drama always sells out the theatre.

The left-wing bias of Silicon Valley has meant right-of-centre political channels are pushed out towards the more obscure and less popular hosting sites like Odysee, Rumble and BitChute. This has meant the left now totally dominate the mainstream platforms. Without a right to balance things out, the left have started to turn on each other. The internecine fighting has meant certain people in the online political community have started to be exposed as a grifter. And it is the sheer moral inconsistency and hypocrisy of some on the progressive left that needs to be addressed.

One Twitch streamer —  “Ludwig” — has 50,000 subscribers generating $180,000 a month

Hasan Piker is a 30 year old left-wing political commentator and Twitch streamer. Hasanabi — as he is known to his subscribers — learnt his craft while interning for his uncle Cenk Uyghur on The Young Turks — a progressive political show broadcast on YouTube. But it didn’t take long until he set up his own Twitch channel. And it soon took off. Piker spent 80 hours streaming the results from the 2020 U.S presidential elections. At one point he reached a peak of almost a quarter of a million viewers.  

Champagne Socialist: Nicole Sanchez “Neekolul” has just bought a $2 million apartment

Like a lot of other streamers on the site, Piker’s style is performative. His on screen presence is animated and contrived while his delivery is both frenetic and strident. This is no mere coincidence. Seeing as the average age of users on Twitch is 21, he is clearly playing to his audience. The incisive commentary is intertwined with spicy jokes, swearing and well, just bad takes — he once claimed America deserved 9/11. All in all it perfectly encapsulates everything young people are looking for on Twitch.

His commentary and eccentricity have helped rack up a considerable amount of views. And as such money. It is estimated that for every 1000 views, Twitch streamers make $20. With 80 million people having watched Piker’s videos, this translates into big money. The other way Twitch streamers make money is from subscribers — paying between $4.99 and $14.99 to gain access to their favourite creator’s exclusive content. Hasaabi has 1.5 million subscribers. To put this into context, one Twitch streamer “Ludwig” has 50,000 subscribers and this generates $180,000 a month.

Nicole Sanchez is another Twitch sensation. Sanchez aka “Neekolul” shot to fame in an even more ridiculous way. She went viral when she posted a TikTok video of herself in a cropped t-shirt, lip syncing to a song called “Oki Doki Boomer”. The video caption read “Like to trigger the BOOMERS #bernie2020.” It was in reference to the OK boomer internet meme used to denigrate the baby boomer generation.

I just hope they are both okay with Bernie Sander’s proposed 45 per cent estate tax

What do these two Gen-Z e-celebs have in common? Well they both recently discovered the property market, purchasing multi-million dollar homes. In June Sanchez purchased a $2 million dollar apartment. Meanwhile a few days ago Piker closed the deal on a $3 million dollar 5 bedroom property in West Hollywood.

It’s like something straight out of the pages of Tom Wolfe’s radical chic. Keen to espouse a radical socialist doctrine but content to live a life of affluence and luxury. To make the irony that little bit sweeter, Sanchez is well known for sporting a sweatshirt given to her by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez adorned with the phrase “tax the rich”.

Both of these modern day champagne socialists have backed Bernie Sanders. Piker has referred to himself as a “Bernie-bro” while Neekolul’s viral video shows her dancing in a Bernie shirt. Maybe she’s aspiring to expand her portfolio to the size of Bernie’s? After all, the Independent Senator from Vermont recently acquired his third home.

Well, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I just hope they are both okay with Sander’s proposed 45 per cent estate tax. Perhaps Sanchez moved to Dallas for the tax break? Who knows? The grift is strong with this one.

I’m not against wealth in any way. Far from it. These minor e-celebs have certainly put the hours in — Hasan is known to stream live for 8-10 hours straight a day. I am glad they have been successful. It’s the double standard and hypocrisy that I find strange. They’ve got rich off the back of the very system they claim to despise. Why inveigh against property rights then purchase 3,800 square feet of real estate originally owned by Amazon? The very billionaire class you claim to despise?

Tax the rich, but just the ones who have more than me.

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