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John Green is an American young adult author and YouTube vlogger best known for his bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars and the popular YouTube channel he hosts with his brother Hank, Vlogbrothers
On January 1st, 2007, John Green, along with his brother Hank Green, created the Vlogbrothers YouTube channel. The channel began as a project titled “Brotherhood 2.0” which stated the Green brothers would go an entire year without textual communication, communicating only through alternating vlog posts on the channel.
After the year long project the Green brothers continued to upload videos on the channel, with John often featuring themed videos in addition to those in the traditional talking head format, including “Question Tuesdays” (below, left) where he would answer questions fans submitted before hand through Twitter, and “Thoughts From Places” (below, right) which features the camera trained on a location while Green narrates how he relates to that place.
As of August 2014, the channel has gained over 2.2 million subscribers.
Project for Awesome
On December 17th, 2007, the Vlogbrothers launched Project For Awesome, a project encouraging YouTubers to create videos in support of their favorite charities to raise money for them. The first video (shown below, left) offered a thumbnail image for uploaders to use on their videos in hopes that people’s streams would be flooded with the image. The next year, an official YouTube account for the project was created. The project has continued annually, with 2012 marking the launch of a joint Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign (shown below, right) to raise money for the charities featured in the top five community-chosen videos. Between the campaign and other donations, the 2012 project raised a total of $483,296 and generated more than 724,000 comments on the submitted videos.
The Fault in Our Stars
Green first announced the plan for his fifth novel The Fault in Our Stars in a Vlogbrothers episode on June 29th, 2011, followed by its publication on January 21st, 2012. The book was inspired in part by Green’s work earlier in his life as a chaplain at a children’s hospital, and in part by Esther Earl, a teenage cancer patient whom Green had befriended before she succumbed to the illness in 2010. A book of Earl’s writing titled This Star Won’t Go Out was published on January 28th, 2014, and featured an introduction written by Green. The title of the book, The Fault in Our Stars, is inspired by a quote from Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar:
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
In the video Green also announced he would sign all pre-ordered copies of the book.
The film rights were optioned in late January by Fox 2000. On October 5, 2013, the film’s release date, June 6th, 2014, was announced. On January 29th, 2014, 20th Century Fox uploaded the first trailer for the film. In less than five months the video gained over 20 million views. The trailer went on to break the record for most liked YouTube video, with more than 307,000 likes.
Coverage of and excitement about the film adaption launched several memes including It’s a Metaphor is a memorable quote from a dialogue scene in from a teaser for the film.
False Quote Attribution
In May 2012, Tumblr user Melody Truong posted an image containing the sentence “I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met” (shown below, left). Within 10 months, the post gained over 269,000 notes. On July 8th, the FuckYeahGirlsWithTattoos Tumblr blog highlighted a photograph of a tattoo with the quote (shown below, middle). On January 27th, 2013, Tumblr user daisytropic-s posted a photoshopped version of Truong’s quote image, featuring a collage containing a vine-covered wall, a daisy flower and a young girl (shown below, right).
On February 7th, 2015, Redditor AndIJustRanOutOfSpac submitted a post titled “Tumblr Art Mistakenly Stolen by John Green’s Site” to the /r/copyright subreddit, which noted that Green was selling a poster with the quote on his site DFTBA, mistakenly attributing it to his 2008 young adult novel Paper Towns.
On February 11th, Green replied to the post apologizing for the misunderstanding. On February 17th, Green uploaded a video titled “Places I’ve Never Been,” in which apologized for taking credit for the quote and revealed he was giving Truong retroactive royalties for all sales of the poster in question (shown below).
Social Media Presence
As of August 2014, Green’s Twitter account has gained over 2.9 million followers and his Facebook account has gained over 2.5 million likes. His Instagram account has gained over 1.3 million followers
As early as September 2007, the term “Nerdfighters” became associated with fans of the Vlogbrothers series, according to Urban Dictionary. The only requirement is that Nerdfighters are made “entirely of awesome” (shown below) instead of bones and skin. They also work together to “reduce world suck” and make life a better place. By February 2009, Nerdfighters began to collaborate outside of YouTube beginning with a Facebook page that has accrued more than 7,400 likes as of August 2013. That September, the single topic Tumblr Eff Yeah Nerdfighters! launched and in April 2010, the /r/nerdfighters subreddit was created. Fans also gather on Ning and Tumblr.
Nerdfighters were chronicled by the Daily Dot in August 2012, who noted the large amount of Nerdfighters attending that year’s Harry Potter convention, LeakyCon. Later that year, a documentary about the community titled A Film To Decrease Worldsuck (shown below) was released, with six showings in the US and Ireland as of August 2013. In March 2013, the New Yorker examined the positivity within the fandom and that July, NPR interviewed five people about their participation within the group.
Your Fav Is Problematic
On April 17th, 2013, Tumble blog YourFavIsPromblematic, which creates post listing potentially offensive things celebrities of done or said, published a post on Green. Accusations of his potentially offensive behavior include:
“Commented on how nerd women are an “under-utilized romantic resource” instead of, you know, human beings. The comment also manages to be exceedingly heteronormative and slut-shaming, and enforces the hierarchy of high maintenance/low maintenance, self-confident/beautiful but doesn’t know it. (“It was a joke. it was a bad joke, and I’m sorry I made it, but, in context, it is pretty clearly a joke.”)
In the same video he shamed thin women / women with eating disorders and condemned those who’ve chosen to undergo cosmetic surgery “and then there’s the weird culturally constructed definition of hot which means that an individual is malnourished and has probably had plastic bags inserted into her breasts.”
Made fun of and appropriated the important cultural holiday Cinco de Mayo by creating “Hanko de Mayo”. (Has stopped using the term)
He then refused to apologize when called out for this (1 | 2 | 3 | 4)"
As of August 2014, the post has gained over 5,000 notes. On April 18th, Green posted a on his Tumblr response answering an anymous question which asked, “Thoughts on the ‘yourfaveisproblematic’ tumblr?” explaining:
“1. In general, I think it’s good not to worship those you admire. It’s important to understand that all people are flawed and make mistakes and say stupid/cruel/hateful/inappropriate things. And it’s good to hold those people accountable. But it’s also possible to like someone who is flawed. In fact, it is more or less necessary.
2. While I’ve certainly said a lot of things I’ve regretted on the Internet over the years, I’ve tried very hard to be an ally to the GLBTQ community, and not just on tumblr, but also in places where it is less convenient (by, for instance, not granting interviews to transphobic or homophobic news outlets.)
3. I have apologized (repeatedly) for the fat-shaming cited in that tumblr. I’ve apologized a lot for a lot of things, and I hope to apologize for many more things in the future, because that will mean I am still growing and changing and learning.
4. I’ve never sexually assaulted a fan. That’s a very serious accusation, and it is completely, unambiguously untrue.
5. It’s unfair to attribute things said by my characters to me. It’s especially unfair to attribute something written by Shakespeare to me, unless you are going to attribute everything Shakespeare ever wrote to me, in which case I’m cool with it.
p.s. Paper Towns is devoted, in its entirety, to destroying the sexist lie of the manic pixie dream girl. I’m not sure how I could’ve made it any clearer.
p.p.s. Obviously, I do not think women are a natural resource. It was a joke. It was a bad joke, and I’m sorry I made it, but in context, it is pretty clearly a joke."
Green’s post gained over 2,000 posts as of August 2014.
On April 23rd, 2014, TIME Magazine included Green as part of their Top 100 Most Influencial people, published a profile written by Shailene Woodley who starred in the film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars. The profile identified Green as an “author and teen whisperer” and Woodley described Green as:
“I would go so far as to call him a prophet. No, not a prophet in a biblical sense. Don’t freak out. More a prophet in a universal, all-things-connected sort of context.”
Online, some people expressed their frustration at this sentiment and suggested the amount of coverage Green was getting after the success of The Fault in Our Stars came at the expense of the YA authors, especially female authors, who came before him. On June 10th, The Atlantic published an article titled “No, The Fault in Our Stars Is Not Young-Adult Fiction’s Savior” which explained:
“John Green’s book deserves acclaim, regardless of his race or gender. But by choosing him to be the crown prince of YA, the entertainment industry has continued its cycle of promoting the work of white men as “real” work, and the work of women as “simple” or, in Graham’s words, ‘uniformly satisfying.’”
Don’t Forget To Be Awesome / DFTBA
Don’t Forget To Be Awesome (often abbreviated to DFTBA) is the catchphrase of the Vlogbrothers, which they began to use at the end of their vlogs in 2007. The phrase eventually began to spread within the Nerdfighter fandom, spawning a variety of different parodies and image macros. Both the phrase and its abbreviation can be found as hashtags on Tumblr and Twitter.
#Johning is a Twitter based photo fad that involves posing for a picture while lying on the floor with one’s legs over the footboard of a bed and a laptop on the stomach. It is a parody of a photograph of young adult author and vlogger John Green published by Hollywood Reporter in May 2014.
Proud that I utilise the same writing position as NYT best selling author
realjohngreen. Try it at home! #Johning pic.twitter.com/ArAXKEzVVM</p>— Charlie McDonnell (coollike) May 1, 2014
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