An attempt to record the categories developed in chat as we navigated Breadtube. Breadtube began after the 2016 election, gaining traction around 2017 and 2018 when Contrapoints received media attention for “deradicalizing” alt-right men when the alt-right was at its peak. The video essay format has persisted as a way to share key political ideas quickly.

Aesthetic Tropes

Bisexual Lighting - Videos made eyecatching by colored plastic sheets over stage lights to present a radically dynamic set of hues. It is a trope in other kinds of media , but Breadtubers definitely lean in. Classic bisexual lighting is, of course, pink/purple and blue. Very default Gen Z room lighting.

Wall of Text - Big blocks of text that are dropped into a video without movement or animation. The presenter simply reads the block of the text.

5 Minute Disclaimer / Caveat - Being a perfect leftist means considering every possible way your takes could be misunderstood or misconstrued. In order to demonstrate your ability to acknowledge all possibilities, you must spend 5 to 10 minutes at the top of your video in order to address these concerns (before even presenting your take). This also helps to juke your algorithm as people must wade through your disclaimer before viewing, which increases view-count and “sticky” quotient around your content.

CW/TW - Obligatory Content Warning/Trigger Warning at the beginning of a 5 minute disclaimer to warn viewers of “triggering” content

Channel Mascot - Something cool and funny, could be an animal, or maybe custom Wojak. Something unique and kind of zany that takes the place of the Youtuber themself.

Video Essay Types

Slide Show - Very simple. Just images or walls of text. The slides are very basic and stay on screen for a long time. No animation or transitions needed, just args!

Talking head / Still PFP/ Static image lecture - Long form video-essay format with a static image or very few slides. Somewhat of a dead format that is hard to gain traction with, but a few big names like Shaun and Three Arrows have been successful with this style.

Theatrical Video Essay - Costumes, recurring characters, and lots of effort put into set design and lighting (eg Contrapoints and PhilosophyTube) High effort, very refined, tend to have a higher turnover rate. Much harder to produce consistently.

Socratic Method - Contrapoints style of employing several characters representing different parts of the political spectrum, exercising a fair and dialectical discussion.

Clapback / Refutation - One-sided debate where a Breadtuber debunks another video with facts and logic, such as the obligatory Ben Shapiro takedown. Vaush is currently monopolizing this domain, and 2020 has been a major success for his channel.

Clip Commentary - Taking clips from news/debates and responding; reacting to it. Errs on the side of overreacting, theatrical takes. Considered as a boomer pipeline when reacting to news clips. However, it can be a good way to attract a younger audience when reacting to debates and pop influencers.. It is a good way to game the Youtube algorithm.

Prominent examples: Kyle Kulinski, Sam Seder/Majority Report, The Humanist Report, and David Pakman

Streamed Lecture - Where a stream becomes a classroom. The streamer takes live feedback and questions from the viewers. There is often, but not always, additional people who might be more tuned in to the topic helping the streamer. In this way both streamer and viewer appear to be learning synchronously.

Prominent example: Theory Pleeb

On Camera Monologue - The Breadtuber interrupts their slideshow/clip reel/etc in order to share their thoughts. Often scripted, and relies heavily on charm.

Shitpost - This may be a product of an earlier era, but revolves around the mocking of key influencers. The parody song is a major component. Breadtubers such as Jreg keep this technique alive.

Breadtuber Personalities

Theater Kid Energy - A joke term about the dramatic demeanor taken up by the wave of newer Breadtubers taking on Contrapoints’, PhilisophyTube, and Hbomb’s style of theatrical videos

Cross-platform Influencers - People who are mainly Podcasters/Streamers but will post audio or clips from their streams.

Parasocial Figure - A character that is nice and cool. Someone you want to spend time with and come to know. Works as a kind of friend/professor simulator.

Deradicalising — The process of breakdowning one’s extremist identity in order to reintegrate them into a more mainstream ideology; typically used in the context of reaching out and persuading right-winger young men to become more socially progressive. With Jreg, it maintains a disdain for the “radical centrist” while also satirizing the political extremes.

Horseshoe Flirting - Tactic where Breadtubers bring on weirdo alt-right figures or conservative “thinkers” and proceed to “debate” them. Whatever blowback you get for “platforming hate” will even out when a ton of super excitable 13 year olds join the chat. It is a way to address views dropping or onboard new patreon sign-ups.

Cross Over - A common practice for sharing ideas and followers (clout donation), often Breadtubers will come together for a series of videos..

Possible Government Plant? - Someone who seems to be really really excited to spread propaganda for a specific government. Are they sponsored by a state actor in order to infiltrate left spaces? Or are they a victim of badjacketing?

Hasan Technique - Non-stop streaming and clout building crossovers.

Audience Related

Pipeline/Funnel - This is related to Youtube’s algorithm. Clicking through suggested videos flows you through different layers of radicalization. On the left, this often grows out of media criticism. In addition to the political essay, many Breadtube channels have content that analyzes media like video games and movies.

Examples: COD comp. -> Jordan Peterson Lecture/Joe Rogan Experience -> Ben Shapiro Owns Libs -> Sargon of Akkad -> etc. etc.

Patreon — An alternate mode of funding Breadtube accounts. Responding to Youtube demonetizing channels.

Sponsors —  Once the Breadtuber has produced a certain type of “anti-capitalist” content, covering certain issues makes it nearly impossible for sponsors to hire them.

The few seen: SkillShare, Dollar Shave Club, and VPNs

Missing domains/untapped markets - Lefty gamer pipeline, swole/bro left (Hasan to some extent but not necessarily his hook), edgy/slur 13 year old, Trad/Prude left

Proto-Breadtube Influences

/leftypol/ - Content circulated on 8chan’s leftist politics board. Along with other kinds of memes and content, there are  examples of dedicated video content prior to 2016.

Prominent examples: batko, finnbol, and xexizy

Old Left Media on Youtube - There are two major formats for old left media on Youtube. There are channels that present themselves as news outlets, and are mainly a boomer audience. The other major styleare lectures, presented in college campus settings, by major pop influencers on the left.

Prominent examples: Democracy Now, Democracy at Work, Noam Chomsky, Slavoj Zizek, Rick Roderick.

Gamergate Content - Much of early breadtube was a response to Gamergate/anti-SJW content from 2012-2016. The single influencer style videos of the nascent right, as well as the higher production videos of Anita Sarkeesian both have had major influences on breadtube content. This is relevant to the birth and necessity for alternative pipelines on both sides of the struggle.

The Intellectual Dark Web - Function as Breadtube opponents, and are the subject of much of the clapback content. They are the right-wing equivalent, and are notable for their style of debate. 

Prominent examples: Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, Dave Rubin, Stephen Crowder, and Joe Rogan