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How Filthy Frank Shows Us What’s Still Good About the Internet

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How Filthy Frank Shows Us What’s Still Good About the Internet


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By Will Beyreis ’20, Lighter Fare Editor

If any of you know who George Miller, better known as the character Filthy Frank, is, you have already written this article off as a piece of satire. For those of you who don’t allow me to provide a brief introduction. TVFilthyFrank appeared on Youtube in January 2013. It has 5,617,942 subscribers at the time of this writing. Reappearing characters in Mr. Miller’s videos include: Salamander Man, who plays the recorder with his nose, Pink Guy, who as his name suggests, sports only a pink leotard, and Filthy Frank, “the embodiment of everything a person should not be,” according to the channel’s description. “He [Filthy Frank] also sets an example to show how easy it is in the social media for any zany material to gain traction/followings by simply sharing unsavory opinions and joking about topics many find offensive,” the description continues. The humor is ridiculous, uncouth, and affronting, but that only proves the point, as Filthy Frank found a cult following and garnered millions of views with every upload.

After five years on the Youtube grind, Mr. Miller wanted to do other things. He no longer enjoyed creating the content he had been delivering for so long. New ventures beckoned, but he feared backlash from his following. Mr. Miller felt cornered by the characters he created.

He took the plunge, however, and began posting songs to Soundcloud under the name Joji in 2016. He withdrew from TVFilthyFrank over the next year, with far fewer uploads. Through 88rising music, he released music videos for his songs through Youtube, to an outpouring of support and well wishes from Filthy Frank lovers around the world. Then, in December 2017, Mr. Miller announced an official departure from Youtube.

Joji’s first proper project, In Tongues, released in November 2017. You probably haven’t heard of it, but it’s certainly worth a listen. Fluttery piano riffs drift behind layered vocals laced with heartbreak and late-night soul searching. A single from the album, “Will He,” has racked up over 20 million streams on Spotify alone. The most intriguing piece of this story is not Mr. Miller’s shift from viral video lord to genre-bending musician, but the fan base that followed him there. Truly a feel-good story for the digital age, it shows the internet as what we all hope it can be: a place where all are free to express and craft, and find support for and interest in what they create.

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