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The Brother-King (Idiots) of the Internet

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Disney Channel used to have a show, Pair of Kings, about two egocentric, imbecilic teenagers who become, through a series of uncanny events, become the kings of a remote Pacific island. Most of the show was mindless comedy and a lack of plot development, but it was still a hit.

Which brings me to today’s subject.

If there’s one thing that’s definitely changed in the modern age, it’s the way we interact with and use the Internet (he says, talking like a grandpa who has just figured out how to work the modem…does anyone still say modem at all, or just me? Just me? Damn.)

We’ve all become so connected to social media, to search engines, and to news sites that we spend our days on them, waking up in the morning to read Twitter like a newspaper and streaming funny cat videos before we go to sleep at night.

Not that I need to tell you how much we love our digital pop culture – you’re on this website, after all. But the developed world has changed in the way we handle the Internet so much that in 2006 ‘You’ became the Time Person of the Year (too much controversy).

Which leads us to a relatively new development in the Age of Celebrity and the Age of Technology: the digital duo. Specifically? The brother-kings of social media, epitomized perhaps best by the Paul brothers of YouTube and the Lopez brothers of TikTok.

If past generations had Abbott & Costello and the Three Stooges, we haven’t been so blessed. Instead, we’ve gotten Logan & Jake Paul, some of the biggest YouTubers of the 2010s, as well as the newest superstars, TikTok’s Tony & Ondreaz Lopez.

Let’s start with the Paul brothers. These guys are idiots by every conceivable measure. If there’s something stupid to be done, they’ve done it.

That guy who filmed a comedy video in Japan’s suicide forest? That was Logan Paul. The guy who threw a legendary COVID-19 party in his Calabasas mansion and posted the whole thing online? His brother, Jake Paul.

The one who used a Taser on two dead rats? Logan Paul. The one who’s gotten the cops called on him so many times he lost a starring role on a television series? Jake Paul. The one who proposed a ‘male-only March’ where everyone goes gay for a month? Logan. The one who went to P.F. Chang’s before filming the looting occurring in a Scottsdale shopping mall? Jake.

Logan and Jake Paul have done so much stupid crap over the years it’s actually somewhat impressive. They both got their start on the ultra-popular video-sharing app Vine in 2013-2014, where they each began amassing massive profiles with millions of followers and billions of views.

Then Vine shut down and the two moved on to bigger and better ways to piss off the world (and bring their ‘content’ to their fanbase of teenage girls) by switching over to YouTube. They quickly became some of the biggest faces of the platform, largely by their antics and general stupidity.

While initially they worked much together, over the years they began having an on-again, off-again feud that presumably is staged, but could very easily be true, knowing these guys.

Then there are the Lopez brothers. If Vine was a huge success in its 2013-2014 heyday, then TikTok today is unstoppable (yes, even by Trump and the country of India), with its over two billion mobile downloads and users.

The Lopez brothers, early twenty-somethings named Tony and Ondreaz, have quickly risen in the ranks to become some of TikTok’s biggest success stories. Ondreaz alone has amassed over a million followers on Twitter, not an easy feat for a Gen Z-er whose last known job experience would be high school student.

This duo got its start a few years ago on the fledgling Chinese social media app, but really took off when it merged with musical.ly, creating the largest music sharing social media application in the world. From there, they were unstoppable.

Much like the Team 10 collaborative house owned by Jake Paul, the Lopez brothers make up part of the Hype House, a Los Angeles-based collaborative house that lets them all live and play and ‘create’ (with the loosest possible definition of the term) together.

Unlike the Paul brothers, however, Ondreaz and Tony have more or less stuck together; while they have their own separate accounts (Ondreaz is far more popular than his brother, for whatever reason), they are often together, creating content and posting videos full of ridiculous dancing or stupid jokes.

They’re still just as prone to idiocy, as demonstrated by Tony’s recent controversy over numerous flirty comments made to underage and seemingly-underage girls.

Another area of similarity is in the diversification of their work. The Paul brothers have each starred in wide-release television shows or movies (Jake was on Disney Channel, while Logan has been starring in a Netflix series of horror movies since 2016 known as The Thinning). Neither is particularly impressive, or even remotely good, but it does broaden their appeal.

Meanwhile, in Lopez-land, Ondreaz has just released “NO BAILA,” a mindless dance-pop banger that has already accumulated almost two million streams on Spotify in the one month it’s been out. Not bad for a TikTok star who went viral based off his poor dancing abilities.

Even more impressive when you comb the lyrics and realize that Ondreaz (who doesn’t speak Spanish) most likely just sang, while producer/engineer Pablo “Vya” Viayra did all the heavy lifting on the songwriting front.

Not to say any of these are crimes or even screw-ups severe enough to warrant much punishment beyond ridicule (well, except for Jake Paul’s little COVID party…that warrants an ass-beating and some jail-time, in whatever order you’d like). These Gen-Z celebrities are simply riding a wave of positivity and mindless fun to the fame and fortune they’ve always wanted.

But in the era of trends that come and go (I mean, anyone else remember when RayWilliamJohnson was the biggest YouTube celebrity ever?), it’s definitely a testament to our current culture that these two particular duos are the brother-kings of the internet.

No such thing as free clout, after all.

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