The Short Life Of a Youtube Celebrity: Remembering “Man Vs Booze”
People have long loved to watch other people carrying out extreme tasks.The genre of extreme challenges has always been a massively popular form of entertainment. Who doesn’t fondly recall Saturday nights of Gladiator? Or, consider the American TV series ‘Man v. Food’, where presenter Adam Rickman challenges himself to eat an excessive quantity of food in each episode. Man v. Food has so far ran for four seasons since 2008. Whilst this show has received criticism over the health concerns for participants – in the first episode – 40 regional eaters attempt to eat an 190lb burger in two hours – the show is generally appreciated as a great form of entertainment.
But a recent release of films featuring excessive consumption, the ‘Man Vs Booze’ Youtube videos, in which a student films himself consuming liver-defying quantities of alcohol in minimal time – may be evidence that the stunt genre has gone one step too far. The self-proclaimed star of ‘Man vs Booze’, a 21-year old male, performs stunts such as drinking three bottles of wine in a minute and a pint of vodka at an express pace of just SEVEN seconds. This sees the stuntman consume four times his advised alcohol unit limit for a week, putting his health under immense risk. But perhaps the most sinister repercussions of his actions are not the health risks to the young man himself. The impressed reactions of his ever-growing fanbase prove he may be influencing them into performing fatal stunts themselves.
One commenter of his YouTube site, praises MVB’s excessive vodka consumption in episode 3: “This man has balls, haters stfu”. Another fan gushes: “This is genius. Class dismissed!”. And a third joker writes: “I bet this is Prince Harry”. This would be concerning enough if the fans simply appreciated Man Vs Booze’s work, but even more worryingly, some fans think that they can do better. MVB has spawned dozens of copycat videos from adoring fans. Fans do not just seek to admire MVB’s work, they seek to replicate it.
It seems Man Vs Booze is evoking a primal male desire for one-up man ship in drinking one’s liver dead: a noxious cocktail for anyone of a daredevil mindset. Indeed, MVB’s superhero bravado encourages others to just try and compete with his stunts. “Some pr*ck thinks that drinking five pints of Guinness is not so impressive”, snarls the masked figure. “This is where we separate the men from the boys.” He then proceeds to down a pint of vodka as rapidly as water to the astonishment of his gasping flatmates. How long would it be before a fatal accident occurs as a result of others attempting to compete with such acts of recklessness?
Indeed, MVB’s behaviour is so clearly dangerous that some have taken to Twitter in an attempt to dissuade potential drinkers from copying MVB. One message relating to his antics read: “This is MVB’s housemate, he’s just been taken to hospital. Please don’t try to copy him, it’s dangerous.” But in a shocking twist, this critic of MVB was not a concerned housemate, but Man Vs Booze HIMSELF. The stuntsman tweeted a message feigning his own hospitalization to prevent others from engaging in behaviour such as his after realising that he had gone too far. The fact that even a man as reckless, as foolish, as extreme as Man vs Booze realises the risks to his actions, indicates just how dangerous his actions actually are: some stunts within the stunt genre have gone too far. Rumours circulating on Youtube also indicate his lack of recent updates (one month and counting) spring from his university has found what he was doing, and are not happy with him.
Man Vs Booze demonstrates that stunts, and extremity, can be too extreme. By generic definition, stunts always involve an element of danger. But when stunts travel beyond the realms of entertaining, carefully controlled danger, and into the realms of massive-risk fatal danger, it is highly evident that things have gone too far. The reason why TV shows such as ‘Don’t Try This at Home’ existed was because stunts are meant to be light-hearted entertainment and not replicable to the fallible average Joe. The tagline to Man vs. Booze should be Man Vs Death, following on from a death occuring thanks to another stupid Internet craze “planking.” Any day now..
Check out the antics of Man Vs. Booze for yourself.