Who The Fuck Is CT Fletcher?
Think a bearded, black Anthony Robbins on steroids with ghetto edginess who says “fuck” a lot and you’ll have some semblance of who CT Fletcher is. He’s a self-styled motivational guru whose larger than life Youtube persona inspires people through his bootcamp drill instructor style yelling, cursing and dishing out iron-platitudes.
In the online Youtube Health and Fitness community, the major players can be divided into two camps. There’s the informative channels that don’t boast a necessarily high subscriber base. Then there’s the form over substance internet celebrities who possess the genetic physical gifts that confer the illusion of knowledge to a fanbase comprised mostly of teenagers, newbies and the clueless.
This demographic typically relies on a double-sized-emotional-espresso shots in the form of prepackaged platitudes to get their asses to the gym everyday.
Adding an infinite string of curse words to said platitudes, Fletcher has carved a niche turning hardcore-ghetto verisimilitude into profitable bank.
Unfortunately, motivational quotes alone don’t substitute for useful information. The truly hardcore disdain anything that resembles science, rationality and anyone that challenges them with it. When it comes to the two Youtube camps, neither the twain shall ever meet – not even in a collab video.
Likewise, knowledge and logic aren’t welcome in Mr Fletcher’s world. “You can take your fuckin’ theories, roll them up and shove ’em up your motherfuckin ass”, says CT.
And before we continue, can someone please remove the children from the room. As evidenced in a number of scenes, CT doesn’t mind dropping the F-bomb with kids still too young to have memorised their ABC’s in present company.
With so little to say, how does this work as a documentary? In short, it doesn’t.
Vlad Yudin has the acute ability to take any subject and turn it into the cinematic equivalent of watching paint dry.
In his exposition of Fletcher, the only thing he succeeds in doing is revealing, or possibly spotlighting, the 2 dimensionality of the man. It’s a paint-by-numbers documentary using the well-worn hero’s journey template to guide the narrative. Fletcher is the classic rags to riches underdog, fighting and overcoming insurmountable odds, punching death in the face and winning (aka – $$selling out and cashing in$$)
Fletcher reveals his backstory via dark-room confessional style monologues with plenty of extreme closeups of CT mean-mugging for the camera. We hear about the oppressive childhood, his overbearing and abusive Pentecostal preacher father, his involvement in the mean streets of Compton and his eventual first experiences with the iron.
There’s no denying the impressive physicality and strength of Fletcher, particularly in his younger years. He’s earned his results through equal parts effort, brute mindset, perseverance, genetics and to anyone with a modicum of experience, a healthy serving of drugs.
Drugs? But doesn’t Fletcher claims natty status? It will always be the 800 pound gorilla in the room and Yudin once again chooses to veer clear of even mentioning PED’s despite Fletcher’s adamant claims that he’s maintained a drug free status.
Foolishly, the optimist in me mistook this for a documentary and not a propaganda piece. Steering clear of the drug issue is classic misdirection by omission and a bit of a cunty move on Yudin’s behalf, especially considering the newbie/teen audience deriving inspiration from CT’s story.
It’s also a convenient out for Fletcher because he can then yell louder and curse the frustrated trainee for not training or wanting it hard enough. He can tell them overtraining is bullshit. He can redirect the newbie to his website to choose from a range of supplements, 60 dollar workout guides or motivational apparel and separate yet another sucker from his hard-earned.
It’s “Weider-nomics” for the new age. Uncle Joe told us that it wasn’t steroids that built those cover physiques; the rest of us just weren’t training hard enough or using enough Weider product.
Weider created the business template – guys like CT are perfecting it.
Ironically, until recently, Fletcher disavowed association with supplements stating a preference to “Earn It” through sweat and toil. Yet he now peddles a line of pills and powders under his own name-brand.
I suppose “Earn It’ can also apply to the burgeoning profits ripe for the taking in an industry of gullible idiots who swallow the aforementioned claims. “Isatori” is a play on the Japanese word meaning “to comprehend” – so I guess CT wised-up when he realised how much those endorsement checks would be paying.
Fletcher is the polar opposite of low-key Dave Crossland whose documentary I reviewed a while back. While Crossland seems content in his anonymity, I get the feeling that in Fletcher’s case, establishing his gym, supplements and overall brand is an ego-project first and foremost, and he’ll be damned if he doesn’t grab that suitcase full of cash while he’s at it.
While I’m not denying a man making his living, I feel a certain amount of empathy for the aforementioned teen/newbie demographic not realising the full story behind those overpriced supplements and courses. As always, there’s a lesson here and it’s written in Latin – caveat emptor
If I was to extract any takeaways from the documentary it would be the following:
- CT’s Impressive work ethic – the guy trains like a possessed demon and in an era where consistent hard work and perseverance are in short supply it’s pretty inspirational.
- Energy – Many people his age are crushed by life and have one foot in the grave and the other in a retirement home. Fletcher seems like a guy who can feed a crowd with his radiant energy.
- He is the living embodiment of his own philosophy – you’ve got to overcome resistance and come back stronger to evolve to a higher level. He bounced back from life threatening heart surgery and kicked death in the balls. That’s pretty hardcore and speaks for itself – no cuss words needed.
As with Generation Iron, I thought the cinematography and production values of this film were very well done – but visuals alone don’t make a documentary – in this case it’s the artist mirroring his subject; it’s all form over substance.
Basically, Fletcher is reduced to a walking, catch-phrase spouting caricature serving as a cog in the larger corporate machine. He’s a flavour of the month marketing tool who’s captured the fragmented attention spans of an easily swayed and equally fickle audience.
CT would be better served with memorising another timely Latin phrase – memento mori.
Who is CT Fletcher? I guess we still don’t really know. But I highly doubt it’s the representation of the guy featured in this documentary.