Last month I mentioned that I had watched a number of videos by a Youtube personality who goes by the name Sargon of Akkad. One of his videos came up while I was searching for something on Youtube, and over the course of several weeks I found myself going back to his channel from time to time to watch more of his content. Around that time I decided that it would be a worthwhile thing to do a writing piece based on what I’ve seen of Sargon and his work, which brings us to today’s post. Much like my writing piece on Milo Yiannopoulos, this is not meant to be a comprehensive detailing of everything Sargon has said and done, but rather a short description of what I’ve seen so far. There could very well be important things about Sargon that I’m not aware of, so maybe you should imagine some fine print at the bottom of this post that says something like “All statements subject to change based on new information.”
|One of Sargon’s current avatars|
Sargon of Akkad is a British man whose real name is Carl Benjamin. Taking the name of an ancient Mesopotamian king as his online persona, Sargon began his Youtube career began back in 2013 and since then his main channel has been steadily growing, to the point that at the time of the publishing of this post he has nearly 600,000 subscribers (Sargon also has another channel dedicated to livestreams he hosts, and at one time he had a third channel related to gaming). His subscriber base may not be much compared to the biggest channels on Youtube which have millions of subscribers, but it’s still a large number and Sargon can’t be dismissed as some nobody with an insignificant online presence. I think the first time I heard about Sargon was back when the Gamergate controversy first started to explode, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that I actually took a look at the content he produces. In that sense, my experience with Sargon is similar to the one I had with Milo Yiannopoulos, in that they were both names I had seen before but for a long time I never bothered to figure out who they really were. Having watched or listened to a fair number of Sargon’s videos from his main channel, I think I now know enough to make some general comments on him while being reasonably confident that I’m not misrepresenting him.
What I think makes Sargon the most interesting is that, like Milo, he’s someone who breaks the mold of what you would normally expect from someone of his political persuasion. Sargon identifies himself is a classical liberal and is no fan of conservative ideology, and in one of his videos he took the Political Compass test and fell in the lower left quadrant of the political map, so I think it would be fair to call him some sort of centrist liberal with libertarian leanings. That said, even though Sargon falls on the left side of the political spectrum, he has held some political positions that most people would not consider as being liberal, such as being in favor of Brexit and Donald Trump (though to be fair, his support of Trump in the US presidential election seemed to be more about his disgust with Hillary Clinton than his believing in Trump’s policies). These abnormalities might be part of the reason he sometimes gets lumped in with the alt-right, which I’m sure causes him no small amount of face-palming. Much of Sargon’s content is dedicated to criticizing what he thinks has gone wrong with the left, primarily what he sees as the insanity of the progressive wing of liberalism. This means what you have in Sargon is man whose videos are frequently critiquing his own side. The rationale behind this strategy seems to be that Sargon is trying to improve the left by exposing the cancers he believes are festering within it, and by drawing attention to these problems hopefully the left will be motivated to address them.
Each week Sargon normally produces at least two videos—one being part of his recurring This Week In Stupid series, and the others being videos focused on a particular topic or current event. As you can probably guess from the title, the This Week In Stupid videos are Sargon talking about and mocking things he saw in the previous week’s headlines that he thought were stupid. The topical videos oftentimes are also reflections on current events, though with a deeper dive than what he usually does in This Week In Stupid. Being British, many of the topical videos are related to things going on in Europe, but he also does plenty of videos on things that people in America and other parts of the West might be interested in, such as censorship, identity politics, criticism of the mainstream media, social justice, modern feminism, and immigration. It’s in these topical videos that I think Sargon is at his best, as these are the ones that he seems to put the most time and effort into. Even if you disagree with Sargon, and a quick Youtube search will show you that lots of people do, you can’t deny that he takes his work seriously and I appreciate that Sargon tries to be thorough and includes links to the sources of his research. Seeing as how his primary sources of income appear to be Youtube revenue and a Patreon fund, I’m guessing he has a good incentive to produce quality content.
For my part I have found Sargon to be a very interesting voice to listen to over the preceding months. Like Milo Yiannopolous, Sargon is a mixed bag of things I like and dislike, but I do commend him for his commitment to his craft and I think it’s well within the realm of reasonable possibility for his channel to one day pass the one million subscribers mark. If reading this post has gotten you interested in checking out Sargon for yourself, below are links to several recent videos of his that I think give a decent idea of the sort of videos he produces and would help you decide if he’s worth your time or not. I’ll also link to an interview he did with Dave Rubin a year ago in which he tells some of his personal story and goes into a few topics not covered in this post, such as his involvement with Gamergate. Be aware that Sargon is not afraid to use colorful language, so if that’s not your thing then his videos may not be for you.
The Natural Enemies of Youtube (mainstream media criticism)
Why Don’t I Criticize the Right (self explanatory)
This Week In Stupid (for April 9, 2017)
Year Zero: The First #Vault7 Leak (analyzing the Vault 7 documents released by Wikileaks)