BEAVERCREEK, Ohio — Concerned friends report that local high schooler Ricky Dunleavy, 16, has completely reinvented himself aesthetically and ideologically after spending sixth period watching a video essay on his phone.
“I thought I understood Ricky! We were soulmates for a few weeks, and I thought I knew his heart,” said Alison Toole, who was the first to notice Dunleavy’s sudden personality shift. “But then he shows up to class talking in this sotto radio voice about, like, the often-overlooked anarcho-syndicalist subtext to Toy Story, and a ‘deep dive’ into the history of a sport that hasn’t existed in fifty years? He still vapes, though, so I’m not as worried as I might be otherwise.”
Dunleavy maintains that the video, which featured eight midroll ads and was jointly written and edited by six different Fiverr freelancers, presented the perfect mix of education and entertainment to re-wire his entire brain.
“I thought the essay really gave voice to something I already agreed with, but just didn’t know I agreed with, you know?” Dunleavy insisted, while typing the video’s script verbatim into a Reddit argument thread. “Sure, I never actually played Bloodborne, but now that I know it revolutionized the Souls formula with a streamlined weapons system and a faster combat pace, I’ll never have to!”
As of his fifth rewatch, Dunleavy has rebranded to “RickyPedia,” lit his bedroom with contrasting rim lights of blue and maroon, opened and immediately abandoned two Patreons, and argued that an unnamed television show ‘changed everything’ while failing to elaborate whatsoever.
“The ability of video propaganda to shape young people’s ideologies is an aspect of Gen-Z that troubles me greatly,” said Dr. Yelena Zhdanova, research professor of sociology at the University of Cincinnati who hopes to assuage the video essay epidemic. “People tend to hyper-focus on the alt-right pipeline, though. Frankly, I’d rather deprogram a Sargon of Akkad viewer than a kid who’s suffered the neurodegenerative effects of a nine-hour Drake & Josh recap video.”
While some remain concerned, analysts predict that Dunleavy will renounce every claim made in the video essay once HenricusTheWesternDebunker releases a response video tomorrow.