I’ve fallen out of love with Casey Neistat.
I didn’t ever think that would happen. I was so infatuated with his worldview a few months ago that I would have claimed it as my own, given the opportunity. I am currently unsure whether or not the decline of my infatuation has to do with his new career path, and his move away from vlogging.
Let me explore that.
I’ve had many discussions with friends and colleagues about Casey’s step back from daily uploads, and I walk away from almost every discussion with a slightly different perspective (which, I guess, is the purpose of discussion, right?). My initial reaction to his decision was support. I was sad that my supply of his videos would now have a veritable end, but I often would watch his videos and wonder whether all the work to invent and capture a narrative every day was getting old. Indeed, it appears, it was.
From a more Casey-like perspective, I was supportive of the decision because the vlog wasn’t challenging him anymore. He started making videos every day to push himself. He wasn’t feeling that “fire under his ass” (his words), so he stopped to find something else with which to push himself. I sincerely respected that, especially taking into account that he was essentially dropping the mic and walking off during the middle of his sold-out vlog concert.
As time passed and new (not-vlog) videos were published, I felt… different. I still strongly believed in Casey and his decision to step away, but I think for the first time ever I felt like Casey was trying too hard.
Casey’s daily uploads always seemed effortless — he didn’t need to act cool, or even act at all because he was cool. Especially in the beginning. There is a debate waiting to happen here: are his videos that way because that how Casey is? Or does he use editing to bring apathy into his videos for that effect? He is obviously very meticulous about filming and editing; he was never shy about how long it took him to put together a vlog (4–6 hours). For a long time I was convinced of the former: Casey was just cool. Now I feel like maybe it’s a combination of the two.
I think what made me feel that way the most was his holiday video, and all the hype he made to surround it. I wish I had specifics to present, but honestly I don’t want to dig for old tweets and specific quotes. I’ll just say this: if Casey quitting the vlog was like dropping the mic at a concert, then the hype around his holiday video is Casey running back on stage just as everyone is leaving and trying to convince them to stay and watch him fly around on a drone.
Admittedly, flying around on a drone is a cool thing. I would love to do that. Perhaps it is because my love for Casey stems from his worldview, but all the hype and awe around the video (and its production) just seemed to contradict the low-key, low-maintenance, “cool” vibe that initially drew me to his videos. Maybe contradict is a strong word.
I still respect Casey a great deal. I still watch a vlog or two every now and then, and enjoy it. I still wish I had half his work ethic. I do not at all think he is a sellout. I’m just… disenchanted. For now.
If you also made it through 3/4 of Casey’s vlogs and then lost your drive, I recommend The Man In the High Castle on Amazon. It is does not in any way correlate to Casey Neistat, but if that sentence describes you, then you are like me, and I like The Man In the High Castle.