The State of Entertainment

What is entertainment?  How are compelling stories and interesting characters created? I find it hard to define what makes a good story.  Many others have attempted to make this definition and there is plenty of disagreement about it.  However, there is plenty of agreement that the current state of entertainment is rather lacking.

Hollywood and recent TV (which includes things produced quite a while ago) are frequently criticized for poor quality (amazing special effects and beautiful scenery don’t make up for lame stories) and the annoying, if not infuriating, constant liberal propagandizing.  Cable TV subscriptions have been declining for some time, probably dropped in favor of internet streaming and other ways of accessing entertainment.  Having never lived in a household where there was a cable subscription I find it surprising that so many people continue to pay buckets of money for a service that forces you to watch advertisements and whose content is 90% crap.  You may have to pay for streaming, but at least you have more choice about what you watch.  This doesn’t really solve the problem that 90% of what is and has been produced is still crap.  It does help a little to be able to choose from multiple decades of movies and TV.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about YouTube, other than the “controversial” political and social commentary they’re busy trying to scrub off the internet, is the old movies and television shows.  Due to over-zealous copyright enforcers these things are prone to disappearing.  The sad thing is that much of this is simply unavailable anywhere else.

Unfortunately, YouTube apparently has a plan to turn itself into a streaming site requiring a paid subscription a la Netflix (see Razorfist’s commentary about YouTube’s future).  The general response to this seems to be: well, there’s a reason I liked YouTube; it wasn’t like TV.  I quit watching TV ages ago because it sucks.  If YT is going to be just like TV, forget it.  This seems like a poor move after all the uproar that’s been caused by their censorship and demonetization.  They deserve to lose both their content creators and their viewers.  When they lose those, advertisers won’t be far behind in abandoning the platform.  All the reasons people have abandoned cable for the internet are going to be done away with if these companies in the pursuit of profit have their way; and then we’ll just have “cable” on the internet.  Oh, joy.  No wonder some people have no problem with pirated content.  We’d be willing to pay if they’d just give us what we want.

Do these producers of entertainment even deserve our money?  Probably not.  But it’s awfully nice to just be entertained sometimes.  A little escape from reality now and then can be good for one’s mental health.  Life, when it’s not full of unpleasant drama, can be drudgery.  It’s often just hard, even when full of happy moments and an awareness of one’s many blessings.  Humans have been seeking to entertain and be entertained forever.  It should be one of life’s little joys.

What isn’t particularly joyful is watching something that insults your beliefs or makes you feel like you’re being emotionally manipulated.  An awful lot of shows are like this.  The ones with content insulting to conservatives and Christians may have good parts, but can you sift the good from the chaff?  It’s hard, if not impossible, to find something to watch without a liberal bias and objectionable content.

How about those shows that start out really good and are subsequently ruined by manufactured drama?  There’s nothing that makes me lose patience with a show like the feeling that I’m being jerked around emotionally in a deliberate attempt by the creators to keep the show going to make a buck.  It indicates a major lack of creativity: you can’t come up with anything better to prolong the story than recycling the same old relationship problems or the same old story-lines?

It’s also frustrating when a likeable character (that must have been created by accident through some fluky combination of writing and the actor’s talent) is ruined as the series progresses, ruined in a way that doesn’t fit with the original representation of the character.  The flip side of changing a character in a way that doesn’t fit the storyline is not changing the character at all.  When a story is handled well, a character may have certain problems or flaws at the beginning, but as things happen in the story he changes, even if he continues to struggle with some basic flaws.  He actually learns from things that happen; he might even not repeat the same mistake 300 times.  But in standard entertainment, he does just that: even when it appears that he has learned from something, give it a couple episodes and he’s back to doing the same dumb things all over again.

This doesn’t mean that characters that stupidly continue on their paths to destruction are never appropriate.  It is possible to write a novel about people making a long line of poor life choices and the misery wrought by those choices and still have a satisfying story.  Take Anna Karenina, a hefty Russian novel, devoted almost entirely to just this and considered a classic; I found it to be quite good and enjoyed reading it, though it is by no means a happy read.  Things that evoke strong emotional responses can also be very well done and not feel manipulative.

There is a difference between making things true and making them “realistic.”  Current entertainment often seeks to embrace a shallow “realism” while failing to be true to life.  Let’s make it more realistic they say; so they throw out happy endings and happy interpersonal relationships.  Let’s make every character severely flawed and probably not very likable.  Let’s blur the lines between good and evil and make sure there are no good choices to be made.  And no objective moral standard that anyone follows.  And lots of misery.  And… voila!  Reality!  No, not even close.  Though it is accurate to say that there’s a lot of unpleasantness in life and people are generally quite flawed, it is not true to deny the goodness in people and all that is noble and true and beautiful in life.  Because that’s there too.

Poldark is the most recent in a long list of shows I have begun only to be disappointed for all of the above reasons.  It was always rather soap-opera-ish with its excessive drama, but at first the characters were interesting and likable enough to endure some of that.  Ross was flawed, too stubborn and too proud, but very principled and trying to do the right things.  Demelza was always spirited, but also grateful and respectful to Ross and generally sweet and good.  Their relationship was appealing because it fit better into more traditional gender roles than what we’re typically offered.  But of course that could not last.  By season three, Ross seems more proud and stubborn and less principled than in season one, and Delmelza is turning into a harping, ungrateful bitch.  These people need marriage counseling about how to treat each other.  And it’s not fun to watch.  For example, Demelza chooses to confront Ross about her disagreement with a choice he made and how he’s not listening to her advice and that he’s neglecting her (wah!) right when he’s reeling emotionally from having learned that a relative has died.  Demelza does have some valid points; Ross frequently acts like an ass and acts too quickly without considering the counsel of others.  But how stupid can you be, to nag your man at a time like that?

Also really annoying in the third season is the portrayal of religion and religious people.  There was little mention of religion in the first two seasons.  Church was seen in social events: funerals, christenings, weddings.  One not-good character was overzealous and unkind in his religion, but seemed an outlier not the norm.  The main characters didn’t mention religious things.  Now, however, there is much dismissal of religious belief by many, if not all, the main “good” characters.  A truly evil “religious” character has been introduced.  The pastor of the local church is just a puppet to the main “bad guy.”  I begin to doubt the story’s historical accuracy: was 18th century England really so heathen?

All “good” characters are rejecting God and his commands for what they see as the better way of just being “good” by their own standards and embracing what little good and pleasure they can find in this life.  Is it any wonder they are selfish and stupid?  The choices they keep making, and are threatening to make, will be their undoing of course.  The show’s creators will undoubtedly manufacture yet another break and then reconciliation between Ross and Demelza after dragging their misery out to another season.  If you cared about the characters, it would be too painful to watch; and if you’ve ceased to care because there’s only so much repeated stupidity you can stand, it’s dumb and pointless.  And it’s too annoying to watch even as a lesson: see what happens when you reject objective moral standards and only care about your own selfish needs and “happiness”?  See what happens when you fail to learn from your mistakes and acknowledge your faults and look realistically on your blessings with gratitude?

I am terribly sick of the standard state of entertainment.  It would often be nice to read an entertaining book or watch a show or movie that serves as a form of escape or maybe something cheerful or funny, or informing or even a lesson learned.  Maybe even good conquering evil, or the triumph of human goodness in the face of great challenges?  There’s only so much human stupidity one can take.  And there’s plenty of that in reality; who needs to add more from fictional characters?  Life actually has plenty of drama in it if you’re paying attention.  Sometimes it’s nice to get a break from the drama of real life.  Realism isn’t very entertaining.

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The Contagion of SJW Mental Illness

Perhaps what’s wrong with the so-called conservatives in this country is that they’ve been infected by the SJW’s disease.  The alternative explanations are no more flattering: they are stupid and blind, or they are (and perhaps always have been) self-serving wolves in sheep’s clothing (Leftists in disguise).

The Self-Consuming Madness of the Social Justice Warriors:

 

The narrative spun out post-Charlottesville is that there must be one, giant universal condemnation of something called the “Alt-Right,” that is, a vaguely perceived assortment of the KKK, neo-Nazis, and “white nationalists.” And when President Trump not only condemned those folks in clear and unmistakable terms, but also suggested that the violence came from both a few of the legal Unite the Right demonstrators, but also, perhaps even more so, from the illegal, club-bearing, mace-can-holding “antifa,” Black Lives Matter, “Resist,” and other violent Marxists, bused into Charlottesville (with assistance of funds funneled into their accounts by globalist George Soros), well, you would have thought the Eschaton had arrived!

And, then, most recently, this past weekend [August 26-27] an attempted peaceful march by folks, mostly College Republicans from the University of California-Berkeley and members of the Patriot Prayer group, urging dialogue and the civil exchange of ideas, was thwarted and those who dared to show up were set upon, again by hooded, “antifa,” BLM, “resist Trump” Marxists and anarchists, armed with clubs and bats, cans of mace, cattle prods, and other such instruments of social justice and peace. And all the while holding signs denouncing “hate” and “racism” and, of course, the president.

After Charlottesville there went up the hue and cry from Republican Senators Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Orrin Hatch, Bob Corker, and others, plus House Speaker Paul Ryan and most of those irrepressible Neoconservative pundits on Fox, that the president had committed a grievous moral fault by somehow equating those “anti-hate” demonstrators with the thoroughly “hate-filled” Alt-Right folks. How could he be so obtuse and so tone-deaf, they asked in puffed-up moral indignation?

But, let me ask: how many of these self-professed Republican arbiters of “moral virtue” have taken a deeper look at what really occurred in Charlottesville and its implications? Even Nancy Pelosi has now been compelled to denounce the very blatant and unrestrained violence of “antifa” in Berkeley. But how many GOP leaders understand that the message of the radical Marxist mob in Berkeley is the same that they brought to Charlottesville?

How many see what is actually happening and has happened to this nation?

From these Republican supposed defenders of the traditional beliefs of Americans we get silence, and, as such, they stand accused before history and before the basic standards of human decency and morality of crass and despicable blindness and ideological legerdemain. They have, essentially, bought into the powerful Deep State and Leftist template and mindset that now dogmatically seeks to define right and wrong, good and evil, and silence all dissent. Again, I use the phrase coined a century ago by French politician, Rene Renoult, “pas d’ennemis a gauche!” “There are no enemies on the Left!” This is the narrative and the benchmark they implicitly, if not explicitly, accept.

Although it can be argued that perhaps the Ryans and the Flakes (no pun intended!) did not have “all the facts” about Charlottesville, there are just too many instances where the same commentary, the same response, has come from them as from those brazen militants on the Left. Although they zealously protest that they are “conservatives,” that they oppose “big government” and “defend liberty,” and so on, their actions belie their words. No; their essential philosophical outlook, like the committed Deep State Democrats, has been largely shaped…polluted and subverted…by the dominant culturally Marxist environment in which they live and their innate understanding that it is the Potomac River Establishment “swamp” and Wall Street, not to mention such internationalist financial ogres as George Soros, that eventually call the shots and provide the goodies.

They have fatally compromised whatever “moral” authority they may ever have had, and, as such, they no longer have any moral authority left.

It is, then, up to grass roots traditionalists and “deplorables” to call them out, loudly and boldly: “Have you no shame, Senator?” “Have you no moral standards, Congressman?” “How dare you speak as you have and claim to represent me, much less, the heritage and traditional beliefs of the American citizenry?”

“Come November 2018 and in succeeding years, we shall buy you a one-way bus ticket on Trailways back home!”

That should be our unalterable commitment and promise…not only to ourselves, but to our children and for the future of this country.

What Charlottesville, Berkeley, Durham, the “antifa”—Black Lives Matter—“Resist” mobs, and both the explicit and implicit support they garner from the Establishment, have demonstrated is that we confront an irresistible, impending crisis like none seen in this nation for over a century. We stare into the faces of our fellow citizens who have literally fallen into a state of madness, a mental “sickness” which now exhibits all the symptoms of an intellectual rabies pandemic. By far it is worse and more dangerous than the challenge of an old-fashioned stodgy Soviet Communism, for its essentially religious fervor is marked by an unquenchable fanaticism and destructiveness that can perhaps only be compared to the zealotry of the fiercest ISIS militant. But, at least the ISIS terrorists believe in an eventual reward in the afterlife. Our homegrown Marxist “social justice warriors” have no such hope; their very existence is wrapped up completely in the continuing and all-consuming fire of the never-ending struggle. It is the definition of Hell, itself.

France’s little dandy

Well, maybe they should have elected Marine Le Pen.  Maybe she wouldn’t have spent so much on makeup or at least she would have had the excuse of being a woman.

French president scolds large African families, spends $31,000 on makeup

 French President Emmanuel Macron met with criticism and ridicule on social media last week after word surfaced that he has spent an excessive amount of money on makeup since taking office in May.

Numerous outlets have covered how Macron has dropped about 26,000 euros – more than 31,000 U.S. dollars – on the services of a personal makeup artist during his first three months in office.

The exorbitant amount of money spent on makeup struck one pro-life advocate in particular, who responded on Twitter with a reminder of his controversial assertion  last month that the average number of children birthed by African women was holding the continent back as a civilization…

Macron was asked during a Q&A at the G20 summit in July whether implementing a policy similar to America’s Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe after World War II would be beneficial in Africa.

“The problems Africa face today are completely different,” Macron said in a lengthy reply, “and are ‘civilizational.’”

He went on to list several serious challenges, and among them was a statistic of seven to eight children born to African women was “one of the essential challenges of Africa.”

When certain countries are still having seven to eight children per woman, Macron said, “you can decide to spend billions of euros, but you will not stabilize anything.”

Macron has been roundly criticized for wasting money and for his “colonial” and “racist” comments.

Dishonoring the South’s History

A decade ago the push to remove all vestiges of the South’s past was beginning.  It’s really picking up speed these days.

 

Prof. Paul Gottfried gave this speech at Confederate Flag Day, in Raleigh, N.C. on March 3, 2007: Why Do They Hate the South and Its Symbols?

Those Southern secessionists whose national flag we are now celebrating have become identified not only with a lost cause but with a now publicly condemned one. Confederate flags have been removed from government and educational buildings throughout the South, while Confederate dignitaries whose names and statues once adorned monuments and boulevards are no longer deemed as fit for public mention.

The ostensible reason for this obliteration or dishonoring of Southern history, save for those civil rights victories that came in the second half of the twentieth century, has been the announced rejection of a racist society, a development we are persistently urged to welcome. During the past two generations or so, the South, we have been taught, was a viciously insensitive region, and the Southern cause in 1861 was nothing so much as the attempt to perpetuate the degradation of blacks through a system based on racial slavery. We are being told that we should therefore rejoice at the reconstructing of Southern society and culture in a way that excludes, and indeed extirpates from our minds, except as an incentive to further white atonement, the pre-civil rights past, also known as “the burden of Southern history.”

***

It underscores the fact that the Old South has been defeated twice—and the second time at the level of historical memory even more disastrously than in a shooting war that it lost in the 1860s.

The American white South has fallen victim to the “politics of guilt,” a dreary subject, albeit one on which I have written widely. The Yankee victors of the 1860s, who overwhelmed the Southerners by virtue of their numbers and superior industrial power, did considerable wartime damage. They also subsequently occupied the land of those whom they had vanquished militarily, but then did something that was equally important. They went home, and permitted their devastated opponents to rebuild without an occupying army. What I mean to say is that the first occupation was morally and psychologically less destructive than the ever deepening humiliation that is going on now.

The first victors were mostly Yankee Protestants, who in some ways were similar to those they had invaded and occupied. Once the passions of fratricidal war had cooled, these Yankees were able to view their former enemies as kindred spirits. Although they were establishing a bourgeois commercial regime, one that differed from the prevalent Southern way of life, the winning side had also recruited farmers and those whose culture did not diverge significantly from that of those who had fought on the Southern side. In a certain sense Socrates’ observation about Greeks once applied to Americans as well. While they could fight brutally with each other, they were still brothers, and so some form of “reconciliation” was eventually possible for the former enemies. And both North and South came up with a narrative about their past differences which bestowed honor to the heroes on both sides. This was possible with the Yankee Unionists, who wished to draw Southerners back into their community, even after a terrible war had been fought to keep the Southerners in a Union that they had tried to leave.

But the second civil war seeks the utter humiliation of those who are seen as opponents of a society that is still being imposed. The Southern traditionalists from this perspective are particularly obnoxious inasmuch as they are a full two-steps behind the project in question. Those who insist on these changes are no longer Victorian capitalists or Methodist and Congregationalist villagers from the North. They are post-bourgeois social engineers and despisers of Western civilization, a stage of development that these revolutionaries identify with discrimination and exclusion.

In Southern traditionalists they see those who are still celebrating a pre-bourgeois, agrarian, and communally structured world. That world appealed to hierarchy, place, and family, and its members displayed no special interest in reaching out to alien cultures. Such ideals and attitudes and the landed, manorial society out of which they came point back to a nineteenth-century conservative configuration. For our post-bourgeois leftist intelligentsia, this point of reference and model of behavior cannot be allowed to persist. It clashes with feminism and the current civil rights movement, and hinders the acceptance of a multicultural ambience.

The fact that people like your selves are still around and still honoring the national flag of nineteenth-century landed warriors from the American South might have the effect, or so it is thought, of making others equally insensitive. Even worse, those who engage in these celebratory rites do not express the now fashionable “guilt” about members of their race and tribe. Those being remembered had owned slaves, and they would have denied women, whom in any case they treated as inherently different from men, equal access to jobs. Needless to say, non-Westerners are not required to dwell on similar improprieties among their ancestors or contemporaries, and so they may celebrate their collective pasts without disclaimers or reservations. The hairshirt to be worn only fits Western bodies, and in particular impenitent Southern ones.

It is against this background that one might try to understand the loathing that the political, journalistic, and educational establishment reserves for the unreconstructed white inhabitants of the South. You seem to bother that establishment to a degree that Louis Farrakhan and those unmistakable anti-white racists, who are often found in our elite universities, could never hope to equal. You exemplify what the late Sam Francis called the “chief victimizers” in our victimologically revamped society, an experimental society that fits well with our increasingly rootless country. But your enemies are also the enemies of historic Western civilization, or of the West that existed in centuries past. You may take pride in those whom you honor as your linear ancestors but equally in the anger of those who would begrudge you the right to honor them. What your critics find inexcusable is that you are celebrating your people’s past, which was a profoundly conservative one based on family and community, and those who created and defended it. For your conspicuous indiscretions, I salute you; and I trust that generations to come will take note of your willingness to defy the spirit of what is both a cowardly and tyrannical age.

Amazingly Confederate Memorial Day is still observed in seven southern states in 2017:

Confederate Memorial Day is a state holiday in some states in the United States. It gives people a chance to honor and remember the Confederate soldiers who died or were wounded during the American Civil War (1861-1865).

Confederate Memorial Day 2017
Thursday, January 19, 2017 (Texas)
Monday, April 24, 2017 (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi)
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 (Florida)
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 (North Carolina, South Carolina).

If you are a white southerner, honoring your dead ancestors will probably not be permitted for much longer and is considered shameful even now.  What the left’s revisionists fail to grasp (or more likely deliberately refuse to see or acknowledge) is that if one is required to disavow one’s ancestors based on whether they lived up to current politically correct standards of belief, speech, and conduct, no one’s ancestors are safe from disavowal and dishonoring.

 

Identity Politics 101

Youtuber and independent journalist Blonde in the Belly of the Beast asked this question in a recent video:  Can we eliminate identity politics?  Should we?

Speaking of those who are demanding the end of all identity politics, she had this to say:

There’s no way to implement this anyway.  To get people to abandon their ethinic or religious identity, the over-arching culture has to be strong and cohesive and offer a future to its people that’s worth fighting for.  We have none of  those things right now.  And we can’t ask human nature of turn itself on its head.  People will always work for those closest to them: their friend and their families, their small communities, their racial groups, their religious ties…

We cannot stop people from exhibiting in-group preference in political matters, especially not after exploiting it for over a century.

She also points out that the people calling the loudest for the end of identity politics don’t really mean the end of all identity politics; what they really mean is: identity politics for everyone except white people.  But no one will actually come out and say that.  They’re too busy virtue signalling.

Ending identity politics, Blonde says, is “completely unrealistic and utopian in a multicultural population.”  Which may be why the more the USA imports immigrants from other cultures, the worst these identity politic problems get.

Steyn on European Demographics

Why is no one covering the huge demographic changes that are occurring in Europe? Because it’s racist to even think about.  Facts can be racist too.

Mark Steyn doesn’t shy away from those facts (despite their “racist” nature).  In the following video, he talks about the demographics in Europe and Europe’s childless leaders.  If you aren’t thinking about your children’s future (because you have no children), who cares about the future? Only today and your own selfish desires count. What’s sad is these people can’t even think about their own future: what will happen to them when they are old and have no one around who cares about them to pay for their retirement or take care of them?  Oh well, I guess they can always just euthanize themselves.