James Charles just dropped the new designs for his Sisters merch line, and almost immediately, he was called out by Ethan Klein from h3h3 productions for ripping off his wife Hila’s designs for Teddy Fresh. Today, we’re not going to be asking the simple question, “Did James Charles steal the Teddy Fresh design?”, we’re going to ask, “Is James Charles really that dumb?”. It’s undeniable that these designs are similar, but was this done out of malice or something else?
While many people are going to take the easy road and jump to the conclusion that James Charles flat out stole these designs, you and I are going to use this opportunity to add a couple of critical thinking skills to our critical thinking toolbox. In a world of headline readers, it doesn’t take effort to come up with the easy answer, but our goal is to pause and think a bit deeper about situations going on in the world.
So, what happened?
Last night, it started when Ethan Klein tweeted at James Charles accusing him of stealing the Teddy Fresh designs:
James Charles replied by saying:
And James also followed up by offering to sort this out in DMs
The conversation ended publicly when Ethan replied with this:
We all know that James Charles is dumb enough to go to Paris Hilton’s maskless party after already being called out multiple times for partying during the pandemic.
But is he dumb enough to steal the Teddy Fresh design? To try and get closer to the truth, we’re going to use two powerful critical thinking tools that are also extremely useful in our daily lives.
Applying Hanlon’s Razor
In order to get closer to the truth, we’re going to turn to the number one critical thinking skill that we all need. This is a great tool whether you’re debunking conspiracy theories or just trying to filter out suspect news stories. This first tool is simply asking ourselves the question, “If this is true, what else would have to be true?”
For example, if we were confronted with the conspiracy theory that the earth is flat, we can ask, “If this is true, what else would have to be true?”. In order for this to be covered up, think about the sheer number of people that would have to be involved in this coverup. Not only that, but we’d also have to assume that a secret global organization is able to quiet anyone who gets close to the truth, but that can’t be true since there are flat earth conventions.
So, if James Charles did steal the Teddy Fresh design from Hila Klein, what else would have to be true? Here are a few things that we’d have to assume:
- James Charles was consciously aware of design
- With over 20 million subscribers on YouTube, James Charles would have to think nobody would notice
- Even if he didn’t think anyone would notice, he’d have to think he could get away with it
- With the endless possibilities of creative ways to design merch, James Charles decided to take the chance on getting away with stealing this one.
- After everything that happened in 2019, James would have to think he’s now invincible and can weather any storm.
Again, there’s no debate that these designs are similar, but we’re trying to look at this through the lens of critical thinking and skepticism. These are just some of the points I came up with, but I’m sure you can think of some as well.
Now, we’re going to turn to one of my favorite critical thinking tools, and I promise, if you start applying this in your daily life, it’ll strengthen your emotional intelligence. This tool is what’s known as Hanlon’s razor, and I first learned about it from the amazing book The Great Mental Models Volume 1: General Thinking Concepts by Shane Parrish.
Hanlon’s razor states:
“Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”
Hanlon’s razor is an absolute necessity because by design, we humans think that there are much stronger social implications of acts than there usually are. While it’s true that this world is filled with shady people, the reality is that most people just do really dumb things. For example, when someone cuts us off on the road, we immediately take it personally and think the person did this on purpose. The reality of the situation is that they probably weren’t paying attention and just did something stupid.
So, did James Charles intentionally steal the Teddy Fresh design for his merch? It’s definitely possible, but I think Hanlon’s razor is a much better explanation. In the next few days, you’re going to see a bunch of people saying James Charles was malicious with his actions, and I’m sure Ethan will discuss it on the H3 podcast. But you and I are going to take this opportunity to think a little bit deeper because the actual explanation is probably that James Charles simply acted out of stupidity and not pure evil.
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