Video Issue: Glee and contrivance mark the celebration as YouTube turns five
Jonnie's mannerisms and delivery seem too perfect and canny a distillation of the kind of fan performances that now comprise one of YouTube's most prolific genres – a style of performance that, thanks to someone like Chris Crocker, has become codified in certain ways. Both Crocker and Jonnie are naturals at hiding their deep self-awareness of what they're doing. But Crocker's accumulated performance of "Chris Crocker" came out of the offline hell of being young, gay, and irrepressibly femme in a small, Southern town (memorably dubbed "Real Bitch Island"). I don't know much about Jonnie's life, except that for someone who's only just getting started he's already welcoming "business inquiries" on his channel's home page. Slog, the blog of Seattle weekly The Stranger, posted one of Jonnie's videos under the title "Trying to Go Viral," and a clip of Jonnie was used in SkunkPost's satiric video made in the wake of Chance's overnight success, "How to make it big using YouTube in five easy steps." Regardless of who Jonnie actually is, and what exactly it is that he's performing, he is committing one of the venal sins of YouTube: trying too hard.