By Brandon Smith
When was the last time you saw an original story out of Hollywood that was worth watching (not counting Top Gun: Maverick)? When was the last time you experienced creative storytelling that did not involve the co-option and retelling of a previous work? When was the last time you saw a protagonist that was relatable, interesting and endearing? Hell, when was the last time you were actually excited to go to the movies or relax in front of the television to watch something new?
Reboots, soft reboots, remakes, live action remakes, re-imagining, gender swapping, race swapping, “rainbow washing” (making classic straight characters gay for virtue signal points): This is a list of new media tropes that have invaded entertainment in the past six years and all of them have been used so frequently that productions can now be quickly identified as woke propaganda by a mere two minute trailer.
The fascinating thing is, almost all of these productions fail miserably. In recent weeks alone we have seen the attempted woke re-writing of history with The Woman King, which fell flat at the box office after opening week, not even making enough money to cover production and advertising costs.
Then there was the gay romantic comedy “Bros” which imploded, causing the lead actor, Billy Eichner, to flip out on social media and blame “homophobia” (somehow he actually believed a movie filled with gay orgies was going to appeal to mainstream audiences). Eichner went on to argue that people MUST go see his movie in order to make a “political statement.” This was the same argument made by Woman King actress Viola Davis – Don’t see the movie because it’s well made, see the movie so you can stick it to conservatives.
Why not just tell a good story instead?
We have seen the biggest budget TV series in history, Amazon’s The Rings Of Power, crumble in the ratings with its intersectional messaging. We have seen the cancellation of the gay Superman comic book title Son of Kal-El, likely due to low sales. Marvel shows and films are consistently bringing in weak audience numbers and the SJW disaster that is Disney Star Wars can’t write a hit production to save their lives.
The bottom line? Consumers have near-zero interest in leftist media. As I have said in the past, “Get Woke, Go Broke” is not just a mantra, it’s a rule these days. But why are leftists in entertainment so incapable of producing anything resembling exciting content? Why do they suck so bad?
Well, they follow a losing formula, and that formula works something like this:
1) Co-opt a classic franchise or character that has preexisting audience appeal. Never try to create anything original if you can help it.
2) Market the new film, TV series, comic, etc. as a return to nostalgia to get audiences excited.
3) Get rid of as many straight, white, or male characters as possible and replace them with token diversity. (Also for some reason they like to get rid of all the redheads).
4) Portray men as weak and incompetent. Portray white people as stupid or racist. Portray black people as constant victims. Portray women with overtly masculine character traits, but also as victims at the same time. Make everyone in charge a woman, or gay, or both. If a man is in charge, make sure he is being controlled by a woman. Make sure your main character is constantly lecturing everyone else and the audience about leftist virtues.
5) Make sure there is a perfect pie chart of ethnicity in every single scene despite the statistics and demographics of a place or time. It doesn’t matter if a story is set in an ancient viking village in the north of Europe or in the elitist estates of Victorian England, minorities must be represented as main characters despite all historical fact.
6) If a classic male character cannot be changed without alienating potential customers away from spending their money, pretend he is a major part of the story to trick people into theaters, then make him weak and pathetic, the opposite of a hero. Or, just kill him.
7) Steal plot points, story beats and even dialogue directly from other more creative films and productions. Pretend you came up with all that stuff on your own. Or, do a reboot, and copy an older production directly while adding your own woke changes wherever possible.
8) Now, market the product as a “re-imagined version” updated for “modern audiences” as a justification for abandoning all canon.
9) Immediately start attacking anyone who MIGHT criticize the product before they ever do so. Make the customers and the fans into villains if they refuse to give you their money. Accuse them of bigotry and blame your inevitable failure on racism, sexism, misogyny, etc. It wasn’t your fault that your story bombed, it is the fault of “incels” and “boomers” and all the uncultured swine out there filled with hate. They sabotaged you. They are the problem.
10) Rinse. Repeat.
Yes, it sounds pathetic but this is the state of entertainment today and it has been a pervasive problem for several years now. The industry has always had a bit of a progressive problem, but in the past this was balanced out by more conservative business interests. Today, the business interests are the same zealots as the production interests. But beyond that, liberals used to be more creative in general, now they are devoid of all imagination. Why?
My theory is that as progressives turned increasingly to the social justice cult, a wave of narcissism has suffocated any and all potential for creative freedom. Even if they had it once, it’s all gone now. Narcissists tend to have no imagination, and the woke ideology is essentially a religion for narcissists.
Social Justice is a system of belief that uses victim status as a currency. It tells its adherents that each one of them is so special and unique that the world revolves around them and their identity, that their “personal truth” is more important than objective truth. It tells them that they are entitled to respect and admiration from everyone regardless of their lack of accomplishment, lack of knowledge, lack of talent, lack of beauty, lack of intelligence, lack of experience, lack of propriety, lack of restraint, lack of kindness, etc.
These people have no class and no shame and they think this is a virtue, a strength. You are supposed to idolize them for it and if you don’t then you must be a fascist. How are leftists supposed to compose stories that hold our attention and touch our souls when they are so self absorbed?
Storytelling requires several things in order to be successful, and they are all things that leftists have no concept of. They include:
1) The ability to self reflect, but also the ability to write characters outside of yourself. If you have to see yourself in every single character in a story and if every story has to amplify your personal ideology, then you are a narcissist and you should abandon your dreams of writing NOW.
2) You need an inherent sense of story flow. Some people are naturally good at playing music. Good storytelling is a lot like music in the way plot points and emotions ebb and flow. Either you have the knack, or you don’t. It’s not something that can be learned.
3) You cannot tell a story with the intent to lie and propagandize. It is selfish and disrupts narrative flow. Even if the basic premise is good, the content will feel false and sometimes dated to audiences. People can sense when they are being lied to, or preached at. They might not know it at the time, but they will not return to your stories in the future. Their intuition will tell them not to.
4) Stories are usually built on basic archetypes – Archetypes are inherent psychological constructs that help human beings relate to each other and also help us relate to foundational morals and principles. Archetypes exist across cultures and across geopolitical boundaries. If we didn’t have these constructs in our heads from birth, we would have destroyed ourselves thousands of years ago. You cannot change archetypes. They are eternal. Try to change them or deconstruct them and you will fail.
5) Subverting expectations is lazy and cowardly. Truly talented storytellers can meet audience expectations while still surprising them along the way.
6) You are not entitled to an audience. The audience owes you nothing. Either your story is good and they relate to it on an emotional level, or your story is garbage and they don’t relate to it. It’s as simple as that. People are not required to consume your product to make a “political statement.” And they are not evil for refusing to spend their money on propaganda. If you enter into storytelling with the intent to create conflict with your audience, then you are probably a bad storyteller.
Media and entertainment are the modern method of passing on ideas and exploring debates within our culture, and when only one extreme viewpoint is represented within our story lexicon this creates chaos and imbalance in society. The woke movement has utterly poisoned our cultural well and it is incapable of addressing the basic functions of reflection. We cannot look at ourselves honestly through stories when liars and narcissists are in change of the storytelling apparatus.
I am working in my own small way to bring back the tradition of popular American storytelling with my graphic novel campaign ‘Mountain Hollow.’ I don’t have a multi-billion dollar company behind me, but I guarantee I can write circles around any leftist in entertainment today. And this is what we need more of right now – Clearly, woke media does not sell and does not represent the vast majority of the public, so, we must make media that DOES. It’s not enough to complain about the problem, we have to actually do something about it in order for things to change.
Nothing pisses off leftists more than when you offer the public an alternative to their narrative.
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