“What would you do if you only had a year left to live? Would you squander the time you were given? Or would you make every second count?” (www.youtube.com) Imagine going 10,15, or 20 years back, and trying to describe 2020 to anyone. So much has changed even in the last 5 years that the world has completely changed in many ways. One of the most fascinating concepts to explain to my parents is youtube. While me and my friends grew up watching Jenna Marbles, Jacksepticeye, Pewdiepie, and many other youtubers, many parents have never even heard of these people. Our generation has opened up new opportunities both for jobs and content that the world has never seen before.
However, there is one idea that has not ever been explored. While it isn’t unusual for YouTubers to be “cancelled” for toxic behaviour and delete their channel, no YouTuber has ever made a channel for the purpose of deleting it at the end until Unus Annus was created. Unus Annus, Memento Mori, or in English: one year, remember death. The channel, created by Markiplier and Crankgameplays AKA Mark and Ethan, is meant to represent the inevitability of death. They are represented by a black and white spiral, Ethan being Unus represented by the color black, and Mark being Annus represented by white.
The channel started on November 13, 2019, with the intention of making one video a day. Now a year later, even amongst COVID they have succeeded in doing so, and intend to delete their channel today, which has left many people asking why? Why put so much work into a channel that would eventually be nothing more than a memory?
In a previous interview with the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), Mark talks about how, “My dad died of cancer on July 4 of 2008, so it [the disease has] affected me personally. He [my dad] was the guy who raised me. My parents divorced at a young age, so me and my brother were with our father. He died of lung cancer. He also had some bone cancer. It [the cancer] was spreading pretty bad. My dad’s been an inspiration for what me and my brother do. My brother has a webcomic, so he also makes his living off the Internet. My dad … has always been big on technology. He taught me and my brother everything we needed to know about computers.” (CRI).
As for Ethan, he had a very close relationship with his grandmother who tragically passed away. According to Wiki.com, “Ethan was devastated by this as he was very close to his grandmother. After her death, he decided to take a break from YouTube for a few weeks.”
With such a close relationship to death in their lives, the channel both has deep philosophical meaning, and personal meaning to the both of them. It has been their goal from the beginning to create something so monumentally huge, that only the people who were alive and watching at the time would be able to remember. Many fans would agree that they succeeded in spreading their message and creating something unlike any other. With 4.35 million subscribers, 845,492,364 views, and 365 videos, Mark and Ethan have created something unlike any other. As this year draws to an end, and millions wait and watch to see what happens when the counter hits 0, I am so happy to have been a part of this experience.