By now, you have probably seen the video that Casey Niestat either did or did not make for Nike in which he supposedly squanders his entire budget to go on a trip around the world with his friend Max because fuck it, right? Fuck it! Nike: Just Fuck It! The video came out yesterday, and many very popular and otherwise intelligent blogs and websites that you probably read and rely on for informative takes on the world around us have been reposting it as some kind of Tuesdays with Morrie-esque example of how we should all be living our lives. (If you haven’t seen it, I’ve begrudgingly posted it after the jump despite how much I hate it, so that we all have the same frame of reference for the related discussion.) Mainly, there are two problems with this video:

1. It’s really bad. Like, it’s a bad video.
2. Everything about it is a big fucking disingenuous lie.

First, the video, then, let’s talk about it because we’re all going to die one day:

About this video being bad: what do you want me to tell you? It’s not good! For one thing it’s just straight up boring. And if Casey Niestat is going to constantly turn the camera on himself can he at least have something funny/interesting/ANYTHING to say? And so it begins! Hush up. You didn’t even say it in a cool voice! Moreover, it’s just straight up derivative. Conceptually, this is that Dave Eggers book from 2002, You Shall Know Our Velocity. Visually, it’s those “Where The Hell Is Matt?” videos, which I’m also not a huge fan of, but at least those were a) novel, and b) rather hypnotic and somewhat enjoyable to watch. They also express one person’s determination to visit places, and express himself through movement. They capture SOMETHING at least, some vague, ill-defined but ostensibly “pleasurable” worldview. In this, sometimes Casey is just running without explanation. What’s the running for? To create dynamism and energy, I guess (see also: NIKE, which we will get back to in a second) but it’s not actually earned. Like, if you’re going to go until the money runs out, but you don’t have any kind of time pressure or expectation for how long you need to make the money last, then what’s with the running? Take your time. Many people never get to travel to any of these places, and you’re not even paying attention. You arrived in Paris and left the next morning? Why? That’s not an adventure, that’s just exhausting. Maybe he created ground rules for the trip, like that they couldn’t stay one place more than 24 hours, but those ground rules are not shared with us, and so it’s just hectic, disorienting, and completely pointless.

About this video being a fucking lie: for one thing, THIS IS STILL A VIRAL VIDEO MARKETING STUNT FOR NIKE. That’s fine. That in and of itself is not a problem. How else are we going to remember to buy their shoes? But the bullshit, high-minded, up its own ass idea that somehow this video is MORE IMPORTANT than a marketing stunt is both false and rude. Hey, guess what: we have no way of knowing that this video isn’t EXACTLY what Casey Niestat pitched to Nike. He says that this probably isn’t what they have in mind, but it’s not clear why. He never says what the original pitch was, and this video is pretty consistent with his other work. Moreover, the video begins with a Nike bump at the beginning, everyone who posts it makes plenty of reference to Nike, and by all accounts this reinforces the Nike brand of getting out there and doing stuff. This video reeks of Nike Branding Opportunities. (See: all the pointless running.) This isn’t a viral video for fucking Absolut Vodka where it’s just impossible because anyone drinking that much vodka wouldn’t be able to run through Cairo so fast (although it might explain the sweaty t-shirt).

So, that’s the over-arching surface lie, which is a big one. But there’s an even more disgusting and insidious one underlying the video’s message: that the rest of us our living our lives wrong because we didn’t GET A FREE TRIP AROUND THE WORLD. Casey Niestat didn’t sell his belongings or quit his job or do any of the risky and potentially devastating and mildly irresponsible things that most people would have to do in order to afford a free, aimless, whirlwind trip around the world. It was handed to him. He was PAID to do it. So, yeah, sure, it seems fun enough, who wouldn’t want to do something like that and really live life to the fullest? That’s not the problem. The problem is that you can be handed $50,000 (I don’t know how much Nike paid, but that’s actually a pretty low budget for any kind of advertising content for a company of their caliber) and it can RUN OUT IN 10 DAYS. No amount of platitudes from Helen Keller is going to change that. This extends to most of the upper-middle-class-dripping-with-entitlement advice doled out by well-to-do white people about how to better live one’s life. It always ends by telling people not to work so hard, and to balance ambition with love and family, and to “get outside more.” All of which is fine, I guess, but these suggestions begin with two unspoken but much more difficult steps to accomplish: Step one: be white. Step two: be rich. Sure. Thanks! I’m saying all of this as an UPPER MIDDLE-CLASS WHITE PERSON. When the revolution comes, I should be in the first round of public executions, and my only hope is that the rabble spare me because I’m “fun at dinner parties.”

Everyone likes cool stuff and exciting adventure, OK? If you’re lucky enough to get even just a little of that in this lifetime, count your blessings. And keep your mouth fucking shut. Because you didn’t get it because you were better or smarter or more enthusiastic or courageous. You certainly don’t deserve it. No one deserves anything. And there’s nothing fucking courageous about making a goddamned Nike commercial. No, you got it because you won a lottery in the endless series of lotteries that make up the human experience until you finally lose a lottery and we bury your smelly ticket in the ground. So, if Nike pays you to make an advertisement for them, do it! Make it! But don’t pretend like you didn’t make it when you clearly made it. And don’t act like you’re some kind of folk hero because you’re not. You’re not even a Don Draper. You’re just an asshole with a FlipCam, a pocket full of cash, and a head full of lies disguised as enlightenment. BUY MORE REEBOK.

Comments (125)
  1. I didn’t make it much past the Hunter S. Thompson quote and the obligatory map being spread out on a desk.

  2. At long last I have the answer to my question of whether Gabe hated Eat, Pray, Love because he thinks women belong in the kitchen or because it was the worst type of entitled self indulgent bullshit psuedophilosophy imaginable.

    • Yeah, this commercial is basically Eat, Pray, Love: The Nike Version. “Get handed free cash and go have an adventure.”

      Also, that douchebag’s remark about the street signs being “squiggly lines” was kinda super offensive, and definitely very dumb. You’re going to a country where everyone’s first language is not English. What the fuck did you expect?

  3. Eat Pray Run?

  4. Just a couple plane tickets to Indonesia and a two-second shot of him running through a shoe factory away from actually being subversive!

  5. He was running because if he stopped, his giant ego threatened to crush him.

  6. You forgot to mention how punchable that guy’s face is.

  7. Cool tattoo, bro.

  8. Hmm. I guess this means we won’t be seeing a “Gabe and Max Take a Disingenuous Lie Disguised as a Life-Affirming Trip Around the World” video anytime soon.

  9. I am imagining what Gabe’s video for Nike would have been. I like to think it would just be him going to a store and trying on Nikes, and talking about how comfortable they are (or not, I have not worn Nikes in 10+ years, I honestly have no idea), and then going to a dog park with Birdie and buying her $50,000 worth of chew toys.

    Please don’t correct this assumption.

  10. They probably ran pass some NIKE factories in Malaysia. They should have stopped and said HI.

  11. I’m just saying if someone gave me fifty grand, I’d make a WAY longer vacation out of it. Was he flying first class, last minute, for every flight? Did he stay in solid gold hotels? TEN DAYS IS NOTHING.

    • I agree! There’s a special place in hell for people who go to 10 countries around the world in 10 days just to say they’ve been there. If you factor in travel time, that gives you about 12-15 hours in each place. At that point, why even go, other than just to say you’ve been? Fuck this dude for all of the reasons stated above, but also fuck him for that as well.

      • I wouldn’t go anywhere. I’d quit my day job and stay in my cheap apartment and write for two years – because that’s at least how long I’d be able to live off of fifty grand – and hope that I wrote something good enough by the end that I wouldn’t have to work in a restaurant ever again. And when I say at least two years, I mean AT LEAST. If I really tightened my belt I could stretch it to four years. In conclusion, I HATE THIS MOTHERFUCKER!

        • This is an extremely good point. And you’d make a much larger and relevant mark on the world with your writing than this piece of crap, and I’m judging your writing skills soley on your comment on this blog.

        • Also this just brings up all the douchey first world problem bullshit associated with Nike and how it gave $50,000 (or however much) to this douching asshole to (pretend to) #makeitcount when it could have given that to LITERALLY ANY nonprofit or something that wouldn’t just blow it like ‘hey, suckit poor people, i just burned up a stupid bunch of money because fuck you, i can.’

    • I just got back from a 15-day trip, in which I went to three places (London, Madrid, Istanbul) [hey, everyone, look at me, I am exactly what Gabe hates!]. Even with just three not-too-far-apart places, I felt like I spent half my trip on planes, waiting in airports, or trying to figure out how to get to airports.

      Why in god’s name would you waste 10 days in airports when you could actually go somewhere!? The tapas approach to traveling has its merits, but the oh-my-god-stuff-your-face-with-as-much-as-possible-in-as-little-time-as-possible approach sounds awful.

      • Excellent city choices, but most importantly – a fifteen day trip means a lot of luggage. How come we never talk about what a pain it is to travel to a bunch of places with a lot of luggage?

        • True. Invest in an awesome backpack and resign yourself to just not wearing clean clothes for the last half. Sorry, person sitting next to me on that last flight!

      • I don’t want to speak for Gabe, but it seems like he doesn’t hate travel or the people who do, but rather the people who say “listen, forget your job and trying to support yourself and your family, what you really need to do to truly be happy and live life is to drop everything and go run around the world.” As if that’s a reasonable thing that normal people can do.

  12. I know this is a really shallow thing to complain about, but given the overall shallowness of the video I’m gonna do it. Was anyone else bothered by his horrible hair and under-bite?

  13. As if I need some fake viral ad from Nike to show me that I’m living my life wrong. I get ample evidence of that every day. Thanks, society!

  14. RRUUUUUUUUUUN

  15. Post like this are why I love Videogum

  16. This was a campaign for Nike, but based on their flight path, I think this might be a larger promotion for Draw Something

    PTERODACTYL!

  17. I’m so sick of these dialogues aimed my generation (20-somethings) that say basically you’re never going to have a fulfilling life if you don’t just quit your job and go on some around the world trip. It seems like all conversations about how fantastic travel can be has been conflated with this idea as well. Like if you just take off the one week of vacation you get from work each year and go on a short trip, you’re not really “getting it.” Not everyone can freelance their DJ blog for a six month bender to sleep under the stars in Malaysia and those that can need to stop acting like it’s just “so easy if you really want it!”

    I find these conversations especially confusing as our same generation is being told how hard we’re going to have to work at the job market to make up for the fact that we’re entering it during a huge recession. We need to take out bigger loans, get higher degrees, take more unpaid internships, to start out our careers with smaller salaries, yet we should also be sky-diving in New Zealand or else our life is a total waste. How is anyone supposed to reconcile those two ideas? Ug, Eat Pray Shut Up.

    • Bravo, bravo, bravo! My only point to add is that most hostels smell funny.

    • OHMYGODCOULDN’TAGREEMORE!

    • *HAVE been conflated

      I’m going to blame all grammar mistakes on rage blindness.

    • Plus, I don’t like the idea that the way to #makeitcount is one and the same for everyone. Wasn’t that idea disproven by Curly in City Slickers?

      • Exactly. The idea that everyone needs to tick the same life experience boxes is nonsense. Some coked up jerk talking about how great life is when you’re white and rich should not get to dictate the cultural standard for a fulfilled life.

        • also, i think it speaks to a deeper problem when the idea that the only way you understand life is through these tiny little vignettes that can be strung together to mean something. it’s like watching a bad movie where all the characters only have very minor, tertiary interactions but all tie up into some bigger point that is supposed to be profound, but it’s not, it’s just a bunch of meaningless shit that some dude who is too lazy to actually think and analyze life on a deeper level threw together at the last minute. and because these tiny moments they are showing us have no analysis, it’s easier for the campaign to insinuate that we, too, can be this asshole!

          • Seriously, all he says about what it’s like to be in another part of the world is “Our [probably underfed, illiterate, desperate] cab driver is terrible.” Then he does a handstand by the Pyramids. How is that anything? Let him stay for a month in Cairo working as a cab driver or English teacher. Learn to read some squiggle. Then go do it in Malaysia and Capetown. Sure he’d still be a tourist, but one with real insights about the people there, and he’d have lived life more to the fullest instead of living photo ops to the fullest. Eat Pray Bite Me, Nike.

    • oh man does this remind me of when all my friends came back from their study abroad programs…

    • My brother never went to college. He used to work in construction driving a bulldozer. He would work for 6 months then spend most of his money the other 6 months traveling all around the world mostly fishing. He didn’t spend money on anything else except food and the small house he rented in upstate New York. What little money he did save, he eventually used to buy a house and fishing boat in Panama when he was 40 where he started his own business taking tourists out. He was the happiest guy I ever knew. Not really trying to counter your point, but just saying it can be done. It’s not easy is the key.

  18. As soon as I watched this video today, I knew Gabe would come to the rescue with a rant about it. I suggest watching the other big viral video of the day, Caine’s Arcade, as a nice antidote.

    http://vimeo.com/40000072

  19. I would probably start wearing Nikes if they changed their slogan to “Just Fuck It”. But only if they changed the swoosh into a dong.

  20. Just Eat Pray Love It. Seriously buy more Reebok! They support Crossfit now, and Crossfit it awesome.

  21. I “UGH’ed” so loudly when they said “we went to Tahrir Square” that people probably thought I was dying.

  22. At least we got a hilarious story about horseback riding out of it.

  23. This whole fucking thing could have been done on a greenscreen with no loss in quality.

  24. “Don’t let the turkeys get you down. You’ve got to fly like an eagle, not be like a turkey. Get over it, it’s your health.”

    –Trumpet Man

  25. entourage meets around the world in who gives a fuck many days.

  26. This review is my inner dialogue verbatim while watching this crap video last night. Thanks for putting it in emailable format for me. p.s. stay out of my head!

  27. What is a Casey Neistat? How do I get a shoe to pay for my vacation? So many questions.

    • it’s just like those guys in Catfish…they had that awesome studio in Tribeca where they just hung around with each other playing with cameras and calling themselves “filmmakers”…”what is it that you do exactly?”

      • Additionally this is why I hate “Rent”. The one character who is portrayed as this horrible villan is pretty much the only one with a job, while everyone else makes shitty “art” and does drugs. The villan was trying to convert the building into a community cybercafe or something, and its this huge affront to these worthless sacks of shit that he asks them to at least pay for their portion of the utilities they use. Put down your camera, take off your stupid scarf and get a job, Mark.

    • If you shuffle his name it spells Satan Cite Yes.

    • Krasdale, I had to look him up. One of the Neistat Brothers? The other was born Van Paul Moody, but changed his name to Van Neistat? Ugh.

      I haven’t seen any of their work, so maybe it’s good, but based on the Wikipedia entry, I am going to assume not.

      From Wikipedia about their show that is called… wait for it… the Neistat Brothers! “Each of the eight episodes is made up of short stories about the brothers lives.”

  28. Comrade Gabesky hates free market capitalism, just kidding dont ban me

  29. blow 50 grand flying around the world? i ain’t got time for dat.

  30. “My showvideo is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge. It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity. [...] What I do is not journalism.”
    Mike DaiseyCasey Niestat

  31. This video would have been way better if he and his friends had blown all the money road-tripping to get some Doritos-shell Taco Bell tacos.

  32. I agree with all the points but also I kind of have a problem with Casey Neistat selling himself as the “filmmaker” here when he is IN all of the shots of this “film” so obviously the film was made by someone else and also edited by someone else (and I think the editing was actually pretty decent considering the guy was not able to edit out Casey Neistat’s stupid pompous mushroom-head).

  33. Well said, Gabe. The video was pretty obviously story boarded beforehand, so I think this probably was his pitch.

  34. Why was he always shirtless? I mean, if I ever get to travel in foreign countries I’m likely going to want MOST of my clothes on, at least while I’m in public. Also, I was unprepared for somebody with the title of “Internet Video Maker” to have a body like that. This movie makes me feel bad about pretty much everything.

  35. and another thing. i feel so, so bad for helen keller, and her legacy. yes, she is an amazing inspiration and persevered against tremendous odds to learn how to communicate. and do you know what she wanted to communicate? a message of radical socialism. she was a fervent member of the IWW, and a huge anti capitalist. fuck these dudes for appropriating a quote of hers in order to justify a flagrant waste of money and resources and to be a corporate shill by proxy.

  36. Holy cow, four and a half minutes!! There is a reason why people don’t like sitting through other peoples’ vacation slides, and it’s not because there isn’t enough product placement in them.

  37. Hahah, “All the street signs are written in squiggly lines.”

    They are called LETTERS, you fucking dummy.

    Also, Marylin Monroe, man, what a good quote. “If I’d followed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere. Also, maybe I would have lived to see 37? It’s a toss-up, I guess; I believe in seizing life by the barbiturates.”

  38. can we discuss for a second my biggest problem with this video? the shitty food! seriously WTF is the point of visiting a bunch of countries in 10 days if you’re not going to indulge in foreign cuisine? like seriously, “we didn’t have time to eat today, look how much I’m shaking” does not make me impressed, it makes me question your sanity because you totally missed one of the primary points of traveling, which is EATING REALLY GOOD FOREIGN FOOD. talk about #makeitcount, or not.

  39. Why is his hair?

  40. This guy has obviously never heard of The Amazing Race.

  41. All those quotes reminded me a 14 year old girls Facebook statuses.

  42. I think my favourite quote used would have to be Lincoln’s, because the text was on the screen for a long time before his name appeared.

    “And you know who said that?
    Abraham Lincoln.”

  43. that opening text shoulda just said “nike asked us to make a video so we took the money and did.”

  44. Also, they were only gone 10 DAYS!!!!! like that is a normal vacation length, but they spent half that on airplanes and trying to read street signs with squiggly lines on them.

  45. I got as far as “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” – Helen Keller

    These assholes have no sense of context, obviously. Spending someone else’s money is not really like struggling against deafness and blindness.

    Assholes.

  46. This video literally makes me want to punch things.

    I am in my early twenties and have never left the country, mostly cause I spend my money on going to college and food and other stuff like that. I would like to buy a passport and go off to exciting places but instead I am stuck here, apparently wasting my life because I’ve never jogged in a foreign country or eaten a lot of shitty looking airplane food. So yes Casey Niestat, I would like to #makeitcount, but I can’t right now because I have to work and no one is paying me large sums of money to film myself acting like an asshole.

  47. Plenty of offenses are made by this video but the one I would like to touch upon is the necessity members of today’s society have to validate every action that they do by documenting it. There are plenty of far more tasteful examples of writers or photographers that shared their experiences in a foreign locations such as George Orwell’s essays or Henry Miller’s Tropic of Capricorn. Video can not be compared to writing and should be held to a different measure of quality altogether but this abomination is a hybridization of everything wrong with the digital culture.

    The music that accompanies the video, a squeaky clean pop song that is unmistakably made for and by people who live in stock photos for what corporations imagine what the artistic youth of today listen to. They didn’t even bother to slap on some Paul Simon circa Graceland or one of the many white tribal aping groups such as Animal Collective which would at least made spineless human stereotypes buy Nikes.

    The excessive use of quotations diminishes the value of those words every time they are plastered on a poster or a bumper sticker or twisted into sinister brand mantras for corporations. In this case specifically the creator of this piece shamelessly degrades himself as a puppet, a puppet that is proud of its inability to speak for itself and will go to every extreme to display this mentality.

    Make it count. For the quantity of people exploited everyday, brainwashed, lied to without remorse, starved, destroyed, and finally robbed will add up to you becoming a pioneer of industry that will leave a mark on this planet. That mark will most likely be the piling of more faceless corpses that committed the crime of not being born wealthy and white.

  48. ALL OF YOU NEED TO SHUT UP AND JUST DO IT.

    • I’m sorry I completely missed out on all this discussion as it went down today. I had zero sleep and was just salving away in my cubicle at work, watching the second hand just CRAAAAAAAWL. What’s that movie or tv show where that kid is watching the second hand in the classroom and it’s just about to get to where the bell will ring, and then the second-hand stalls out, then a beat later it starts to tick backwards? BACKWARDS?!

      That was what today was like, except my desk faces a wall of clocks of various international cities #truestory #coolstory #bro

  49. this idea is hot right meow. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIDfkix-HGQ what are we all doing wrong??

  50. THE ONLY reason it has so many views is because of the thumbnail. Oldest youtube trick in the book. Disgraceful

  51. lol @ all of you. Sure, there is a highly probable chance this guy is a d-bag, but wow, you can cut the bitterness in here with a freaking knife. Is this the best video I’ve ever seen? Of course not. Was it interesting? Sure. I like seeing the rest of the world, no matter how it’s done. It seems every time I’m away from VG for a few weeks it gets more radically cynical and hypersensitive. You live on earth. Companies advertise things. You buy stuff from companies. Chill the fuck out people. Stop drawing 400 sad and nonexistent conclusions from every thing you see.

    Also, lol @ this quote: “because I’m “fun at dinner parties.” I can only imagine.

    • I can’t believe I had to scroll down to the bottom of the page to see a comment this not crazy. I mean, for real, this video is a straight up lie. The reason why they did it in 10 days (if they even did that, because wtf that is a lot of places) is because they weren’t trying to visit these places and explore the freaking world while doing it, they were straight up trying to make a nike commercial. And yea, it’s a load of yuck, but that’s what commercials are generally all of the time! Do we really have to be THAT offended that Nike is trying to market itself to the burning man demographic? Good luck with that, nike, or whatever.

      I am also sensing a general theme of increased psychotic rage on this site over dumb stuff. Where are the apathetic sarcastic people? I thought the Videogum community was generally more into the apathetic sarcasm. That may have not been a thing, but I think it was a thing, and I think I liked it way better. People are dumb! Let’s not waste all our time and energy with caring!

  52. Everything about any commercial is a fucking lie…some more or less terrible than others. Who bothers to actually believe anything that has a corporate connection anyway?

    Actually, there is one truth: they are trying to sell you shoes.

  53. They could have at least found someone who didn’t look like he had his face stepped on.

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