When I was 13 years old I used to frequent a South Park message board called "Total South Park." From what I remember the board was filled to the brim with teenage morons like myself, spewing out ALL CAPS posts and arguing about what whether this new character "Timmy" was worthy of the South Park legacy (oh, the old days).
So like any young, thriving message board, the inevitable "How old is everybody??" thread popped up. The answers weren't too out of the ordinary:
"yo im 16"
The self-proclaimed 33-year-old here was user "Steve Sutton," a TSP regular and the only user to use his full name as his handle. He'd always seemed a little more "adult" than the rest of us (mostly because he used periods and capital letters), but the fact that he was about two decades older than most of us there was a shock. He was also unusually dedicated to the board; after everybody else had stopped posting there, Steve would still turn up once in a while to post a "Is anybody still here?" thread (oftentimes I would be the only one to respond, sadly enough).
Fast-forward to a year and a half ago. Somehow I came across a Something Awful Front Page article extolling the Youtube vlogs of a guy called Steve Sutton. "Steve Sutton," I thought to myself. "Where have I heard THAT name before?"
Once I put two and two together, I was a bit taken aback. I'll put it this way - Steve Sutton is not someone you might call a "normal guy." He is a balding man in his early 40s who lives with his mother, has no job, no friends, no social life to speak of. He is a self-proclaimed asexual, as he is a virgin and has no desire to be in a romantic relationship with anybody (yes, he is a real-life 40-year-old virgin). His physical demeanor is also, well, slightly off-kilter, with his over-sized glasses and lazy eye - not to mention that he has one of the most bored-sounding voices I have ever heard (with a hint of a Southern drawl, as he is from Georgia). A quick glance at his Youtube FAQ should give you an idea of his personality:
Q: What kind of music do you listen to?
A: I don't listen to music.
Q: You act sad and depressed. Are you?
A: No, I'm just stoic.
Q: Are you real?
Watching one of Steve's videos is an experience like no other - more often than not, it's just Steve sitting in his room, with nobody else there, doing little to nothing at all. Half of his videos consist of him making food, complaining about how boring his day has been, or talking about South Park. His videos are - without hyperbole - the living embodiment of boredom, created by a man who just doesn't care anymore. I'm sure for many people, watching a Steve Sutton blog must be a painfully dull experience. But for me, it's become a fascination.
And I'm not the only one. While Steve isn't a huge Youtube celebrity or anything, he has a steadily growing fanbase, with over 2,500 subscribers and video views that number in the thousands as well. Not only that, Steve constantly records videos, with over 500 videos posted over the past couple years. He also finds the time to run his own website, where along with his vlogs he has his own webcomic, podcast, journal, and even a sci-fi show called "Portal," in which he plays every character. For a guy who doesn't seem to do much at all, he's pretty productive.
But I genuinely think that Steve's appeal goes beyond his outwardly-bizarre lifestyle - more than anything else, Steve Sutton is real. He lives his life for the world to see, warts and all, and doesn't care what people think about it. While it might be easy to classify him as a lonely internet creep, watching any one of his videos reveals him to be a humble, unambitious guy who's just living his life. If anyone else in the world came up to me and told me that they were a friendless, jobless 40-year-old virgin by choice, I would call them a dirty liar - but when I hear it out of Steve Sutton, I believe it. In a sea of lonelygirl15's and Chris Crockers, Steve Sutton is the genuine article.
I was thinking of posting some of my favorite Steve Sutton videos here, but I'm too lazy to go through all 540+ videos he has posted, and either way some of the best ones are highlighted in the SA article (along with its recent follow-up). Instead I'll leave you with my personal favorite Steve clip, and one that breaks the formula of most his previous videos. Here he speaks only through captions, with uncharacteristically cheerful music in the background (any music in a Steve Sutton video is uncharacteristic, so this is a big deal), asserting that he loves life in response to people asking him if he's lonely or depressed. "I'm happy," he claims. "Even though my life sucks, I'm alive. And living rules." It's sweet, and kind of surprising to hear from plain-'ol Steve Sutton.
P.S.: The Total South Park message board is still around, shockingly enough. This exchange between Steve and myself about six years ago is a wonder to behold.