A Prank Gone Too Far

Nonfiction Editor for Parallax, Alan Lee, writes on Jake Paul’s new book, “You Gotta Want It”.

Cheon “Alan” Lee on “You Gotta Want It” by Jake Paul

Jake Paul, You Gotta Want It, $15.00, 2016 (ISBN 978-1-5011-3947-5)

Unless you spend an exceptional amount of time on the Internet, it’s likely that you’ve never heard of the YouTubers Jake and Logan Paul, their exploits, and their rise to Internet infamy. Ask the average YouTube user, however, and they’ll likely criticize the Pauls for their obnoxious and offensive behavior. Examples include recording celebrities without their permission, burning furniture in their empty pool, and filming corpses in a Japanese suicide forest. Through these events, I initially concluded that the Paul brothers were nothing but pseudo-celebrities and was content with leaving it at that. However, I grew curious about their upbringing once I passed Jake’s memoir, aptly titled You Gotta Want It, in a Barnes and Noble, neatly stacked in front of the entrance. Instantly, I knew I had to plunge into this enigma of a book.

The memoir covers the Paul brothers’ journey from youth to adulthood, which is surprisingly well-documented. Easily one-third of the memoir covers their original goal of competing in professional football and wrestling. This, however, falls by the wayside once they discover several YouTube creators whose comedy routines inspire them to pursue this emerging medium. This involved creating a YouTube channel in their early teens, where they posted amateur prank videos, viewing YouTube as a hobby rather than a full-time job.

The early chapters carry an eerie sense of relatability. Of course, not many of us have experience in creating popular Internet content, but the non-Internet-related obstacles and events that occur early in Jake’s life aren’t different from what readers might have faced as children. There’s even an entire chapter titled “Really, Truly Stupid Behavior” where Jake regrets not trying as hard in school as he should have. At one point, Jake is accused of creating a video where he impersonates a fellow high school student. Though Jake is initially reluctant to apologize for his unintentional mistake, he later turns around and apologizes to the student, stating that he makes efforts to “never bully…intentionally.” Although one might doubt the accuracy of this quote based on his current behavior, the sincere tone of his apology humanizes him. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I had at least an ounce of sympathy towards Jake. I guess if you put anybody in a situation where they are at their lowest, you automatically see a human side to someone that just clicks.

Unfortunately, this optimism dies off by the next two-thirds of the book. Whereas the earlier chapters are understandably mischievous, it’s the later chapters that really start to resemble modern-day Jake. Readers are given a constant stream of information regarding Jake’s growing dislike for school, as he begins to devote more and more of his time to creating Vines, a former social media outlet in which people posted six-second long videos. When Jake finally gains traction in the social media world, he begins to look for any opportunity to branch out, eventually signing on to the Disney Channel show Bizaardvark and using his popularity on Vine to form a group of fellow content creators in an attempt to resemble Dr. Dre’s influential rap group, the N.W.A. From here, the book reads more like a list of accomplishments, a far cry from the more engaging and endearing childhood stories. It also doesn’t help that, in reality, nearly all of these ventures fail spectacularly, with Jake losing his job as a Disney actor and several members of his group leaving due to accounts of possible sexual and racial harassment.

The later chapters are held together in an irregular format, as loosely chronological events are intermingled with short lists of things Jake likes, a mini-chapter dedicated to Megan Fox, and exclusive photos of Jake Paul half-naked. Whether or not the informality of this book was intentional, Jake’s fanbase seems to greatly appreciate his style of humor that echoes the nature of juvenile Internet comedy, judging from the YouTube and Amazon reviews of this book

In short, You Gotta Want It is as much of a character study into Jake Paul as Trump: The Art of the Deal is for Donald Trump; both books provide a never-before-seen insight into a controversial individual, allowing readers to learn the history and motives of said subjects. Neither book really counts as “pleasure reading,” however, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything genuinely entertaining about Jake’s memoir. What few relatable moments or decent tidbits on how to create an effective social media presence Jake includes are then offset by entire passages outlining how many girls Jake hooked up with, or borderline-egotistical ramblings about how famous he once was on Vine.

At its best, You Gotta Want It is an inspirational autobiography that provides a glimpse into the limitless potential the Internet provides this generation. At its worst, You Gotta Want It is a poorly-timed “memoir” about a jock in his twenties who wants to go down as the icon of his generation, written more out of necessity for merchandising than out of a genuine desire to express his thoughts on his chaotic life.

By Cheon “Alan” Lee

Not Coming

T.I., an incarcerated poet, brutally writes about one of the many nuanced pains of being behind bars as a young adult. His unique diction makes for a heartbreaking read.

It was a lot of events in my life
I thought people wasn’t going to show
When Amari was born
Keva, Shay-Shay, and Major was my only support in the room
I thought my mother and my father was going to show
I thought my friends was going to show
Only friend that came was Day-Day
Visits was at 7:00
But 6:59 the screen didn’t pop up
I knew ain’t nobody coming
Going in my room thinking
Who was the visit supposed to be
It wouldn’t matter
Because ain’t nobody come for me
By: T.I.
T.I. is a 17 year old who is currently incarcerated. He discovered how much he loved to write while behind bars and uses it to express himself.
Visual Art by Cristobal Alaya

Fiction and Poetry Scholarship Contest!

Win a $25,000 scholarship to attend Idyllwild Arts Academy as a Creative Writer, and possible publication in Parallax Online!

Fiction and Poetry Scholarship Contest:

Win a $25,000 scholarship to attend Idyllwild Arts Academy as a Creative Writer, and possible publication in Parallax Online!
Submit a story or poems by May 1, 2019 to be considered.
Click here for more details.

The Sky Apnea Collection

In “The Sky Apnea Collection”, Ariel Serene uniquely paints picturesque scenes of nature. Her surprising terminology creates a masterful description.

Apnea

Spasm of noontime yellow

Atop aching valley of strawberry root.

The wafting of pumpkin sun

ribbons

across dimpled doughy green.

To collapse here,

To become just a thing

Compressed under heavy

brilliance of air.

The heart balloons as does

The oak

And sparrow.

 

Here also lays wing, broken.

Bumbling oramagmied bird hungry

For carbonated sky,

for a hushed god

In this kneeling.

This building again

Amongst red bulb berries

Dangling from shrub

Swallowing the scent of sunset.

Cartilage cocoon spools

Through and out,

Wing mends as does the

Drunken maid and

Womb.

 

Sky Junction

The ivory’s obsidian counterpart:

Minor exhale twinges to

splinter compressing grey

And red

Dripping down a spine;

Matted fur in a ruffled song.

Do we dance slower now

Or speak underwater,

Where time slips

And gurgles through a palm.

Or

is it the heart allowing it,

A caven cry and leap

In love, I do

The birdwatcher and stargazer

Find mirrors under athick curdling sky

In adeafening dance with liberty,

beheading of gravity

30 feet above

A blistering suburb

Plagued and shredded into sun

And cement

Waiting for return of yesterday.

 

 

Summer’s Sister

Everything new under a young

Blue shadow.

Gasoline rainbow

Cracks under rubber boot. an

October lays her head heavy

Upon sharp wet road,

The brittle dead

Succumb to weight,

Gasped into swirling

Rust and orange.

Fold into the

courtesy after summer.

A quieter bomb, shaggy

And burrowing. the

Frothy atmosphere

Licks bare arms.

Night bites further into afternoon and

sun yolk drips quicker,

Heavy and crumbling with submission.

 

Ariel Serene is a 17 year old aspiring poet and screenwriter living in Los Angeles. Although new to the poetry scene, this determined young writer quickly fell in love with the art and is currently applying to major in English at UCLA.

 

Visual art piece titled “Looking Through The” by Meicen Deng.