Preference Cascade

(Sorry for the lack of posting – I am trying to finalize A Fifth of Luna City, and Lone Star Glory — the follow-up to Lone Star Sons, and the days are just all too short. Herewith a rant about certain recent developments in pop culture for your weekend edification.)

Just to make it clear, I do not think that the NFL, or the So-Cal based movie-TV-media production industry usually described by the simple designation of ‘Hollywood’ are going to wither up and disappear in a puff of smoke and a puddle of goo like the Wicked Witch when Dorothy threw a bucket of water on her. No, likely the first will be diminished to relative insignificance over the insistence of many players to ‘take a knee’ during the national anthem, after a long train of other actions which increasingly put the well-reimbursed celebrity athletes of the NFL at loggerheads with the audiences in Flyoverlandia who watched games from the stand, or on TV, purchased season tickets, merchandise and premium cable service with the big daddy sports channel, ESPN.

By all the reports that I see, attendance at games is dropping at present, viewers are cutting the cable cord, and discovering other fun things to do on a Sunday, or even just other sports to take an interest in. Football hasn’t always been the most popular spectator sport in the US, not by a long shot; baseball, boxing, horse-racing all had their day, and may very well again at this rate. Patience with professional football players, and the management thereof, especially when they choose to play the race card, has run out among working-class whites, most of whom have frankly not seen much in the way of privilege accruing to their color, no matter how may academics specializing in ‘something’ studies yammer on about it. At this rate, the next Superbowl may be played for an audience of fifteen in the stands, not counting player entourages, and so few watching the half-time show that a sixty-second spot might be had for the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee.

And as for Hollywood and the growing sexual-harassment accusations, first against Harvey Weinstein, now against James Toback, and the murmurs of child and younger teen actors victimized by pedophiles in positions of power are growing louder. Mind you, the casting couch thing has been around since there was a movie industry in Hollywood, and frankly, if aspiring starlets want to get down in the mud and wrestle with a pig like Weinstein of their own will and ambition … just have the decency not to lecture and accuse the rest of us regarding abusive male patriarchy afterwards, ‘kay?
But it seems like Hollywood movie releases have had as lackluster a showing this season as has the NFL, as increasingly, people with an entertainment dollar to spend are not spending it at the multiplex on opening weekend. Do those movies generally just suck increasingly of late, is it the expensive multiplex experience which just sucks, or are audiences just fed to the back teeth with political correctitude and being condescended to by their inferiors and choosing to spend their time and money on another form of entertainment?

Those matters are being hotly discussed hotly behind closed doors in the expensive management offices of those enterprises most deeply concerned, in the media, across the blogosphere, and may as well be discussed here, too. Whither the NFL, and establishment Hollywood?

12 thoughts on “Preference Cascade”

  1. I suspect there are enough football fans who ignore the commentary and the players’ protests to keep viewership from falling too far. If the protests stop, or don’t escalate, all will be forgotten.

    The last game I saw was during a Superbowl party. The game was mostly background to the conversations, and the only commentary anyone paid attention to came from around the room.

    One writer suggested that the danger to the NFL was generational–more parents were reluctant to risk their boy’s brains in football, making a smaller pool to draw from later. We’ll see.

    The last two movies I saw in theater were Dunkirk and Hacksaw Ridge, which are probably not very typical.

  2. It’s now 11 years since I last went to the movies and I don’t particularly expect to go again, unless it’s to one of those tempting simultaneous transmissions of a live performance. As a general rule in life one should take every chance to see The Marriage of Figaro.

  3. NFL games should come with a warning like cigarettes: playing this game or spending hours sitting watching this material is known to cause brain damage and obesity.

  4. The NFL’s bizarre decision last month to try to demonstrate that they are “united” in opposition to Donald Trump, and would demonstrate that during the national anthem, should be taught as a textbook case of complete stupidity in business schools. It makes zero sense on any level whatsoever.

    They have a couple of major problems right now to try to deal with. The first is that their “No Fun League” image has been strong for years, with bans on pretty much any sort of on-field celebrations making no sense to the average fan, and also being completely at odds with their tolerance for the anthem protests. It looks like they are carving out an exception for left-wing political speech, which is a no go for their fan base. The second is that their product is delivered via a media that has become overtly partisan and political over the last couple of decades. It’s not clear that the average sports journalist even likes sports, and would really prefer to be a political opinion writer. The way that Tim Tebow, for instance, was run out of the league as being too divisive still sticks in the craw of too many people. (I don’t want to hear anything about his skillset. Yes, it can be argued he just wasn’t good enough, but it sure wasn’t demonstrated clearly on the field, and the fact is he was constantly labelled as being divisive and alienating, which was nothing but pure and simple bigotry. Period.) People don’t want to support media who hate them, and that means they don’t want to watch the NFL.

    At local youth soccer games the weeks after the big protest week, I overheard several comments about the situation, none in the slightest bit positive. Some joking comments about stories about the league’s cratering approval ratings. Some comments like “I don’t care what you do with the rest of your time, during those two minutes you stand up for the national anthem.” Since then, not so much, which actually isn’t better from the league’s perspective. As with political parties, when a sports league convinces its base that they’re loathed, it’s not really recoverable.

  5. As for Hollywood, several comments:
    1. The media/movie industry have cleverly turned this into an issue of sexual assault. That way they can pretend that if a movie producer tells wannabe actresses to sleep with him if they want to get a part, but don’t physically force the issue, that’s TOTALLY different. And that’s not wrong, but it doesn’t mean that “the casting couch” is something that should just be accepted, wink wink.
    2. We’re supposed to believe he physically attacked famous actresses, and even ruined some of their careers, to say nothing of non-entities, but not a single famous actress accepted his offer? Give me a break. The rumors have been there for years. Someone needs to say “Yeah, he offered to make me a star if I slept with him and I took the deal. You’d never have heard of me if I hadn’t. I felt, and feel, violated and disgusted. I’m speaking out now so that no one else ever has that “choice” thrust upon them”, or I can’t take any of this seriously.
    3. They’re still burying the issue of under-age, as well as homosexual, predators.

  6. As James the Lesser notes, the concussion issue is likely to have a significant impact on player supply. In addition, if youth have not played a sport they are far less likely to become fans.

    Hollywood starlets (and casting couch owners) should also be worried about the emergence of virtual reality experiences. These are likely to become attractive alternative leisure time activities and do not necessarily require the participation of human actors though most of the production people will be able to migrate.

    At least couch owners will be able to purchase, or lease, robots.

  7. I think both the NFL and the Movie/TV-AgitProp Complex will continue to decline. Won’t guarantee that they are on the way out, but it is a distinct possibility [I’d guesstimate >40%]

    Football is about 70% Black players, who are immersed in the privileged version of Urban Black Culture. They have no conception of consequences for actions. Any attempt by the ownership of the teams to try to appease the fan base WILL mean a strike, and the permanent loss of most of what remains of the fan base. The ownership itself is basically immersed in Leftist Elite Culture, has contempt for their fans AND is terrified of appearing to oppose anything Leftist or any politically correct minority. They do not want to do anything to appease their fan base at the risk of offending their players.

    It can go slow, or it can go fast, but professional football is in a world of hurt. Myself, I hope to see professional football players asking people if they want fries with that.

    The only football game I watch now is the Army-Navy game, because the good guys always win. Mind you, I think that the Navy is composed of better guys; but it does not destroy my day if Army wins.

    As far as the Movie/TV-AgitProp Complex, at all levels they are true believers in a collectivist, socialist Utopia and are incapable of producing content that does not glorify it and denigrate the Deplorables who make up the country. They hate this country and its people and are psychologically incapable of hiding it or their hypocrisy. The only way for it to survive is for enough of them to go broke to leave space in the market for content that does not insult the viewer. That is going to take a lot of going broke.

    Subotai Bahadur

  8. I rather think, as does SB and the others – that the management in both enterprises has totally lost sight of what their mission is – which is to entertain. Instead, they have taken it into their empty, silly, leftie heads – to lecture and virtue-signal to their peers in the business thereby. Oh, never mind the shrinking audience … well, it will be fun to watch, for some of us, when reality breaks in.
    I guess I should order some fresh popcorn. Gotta have something to eat while watching old movies, or Australian TV series… at home on streaming video.

  9. Over the last decade or so, Hollywood has pivoted to focusing on overseas box office, and marketing tie-ins, and less on domestic US ticket sales. That is part of why so much of their product is pretty overtly anti-American, and much of the rest is neutral. I would agree that this is congenial to their liberal, collectivist souls, and one might even argue that they have pursued that strategy more than makes sense because it is a way to rationalize making the products they want to make, rather than what their (domestic) audience wants to see.

    Part of their problem is that very few of them know an original idea when a screenwriter hits them in the face with one, and even if they do, they can’t finance a high-8-figure budget except based on a pre-sold franchise. For now, the domestic audience is turning away from the umpteenth version of the same old same old. The foreign market will sometimes still bite but that may be mostly because they haven’t had a chance to get bored with it all; give it 3-5 more years.

    And, with developing computer capabilities, it’s only a matter of time until the actors are replaced by computerized characters–think about how Carrie Fisher appeared in a movie shot after she died. In a few years it may well be that actors, cinematographers, and many of the supporting crafts, have diminished roles, and the really important people will be the writers, editors, designers, and CGI wizards. You think Amazon and Apple are getting into the business just to be another old-school Paramount?

    As for NFL, the politics may blow over (baseball recovered from the 1994 strike that was supposed to kill it, although it took until the 1998 McGwire-Sosa home run race to fully clear the 1994 debris) but I suspect some permanent damage as to prestige. But the safety issue is really the long-term threat.

    It wasn’t so long ago (like, the 1960s and early 1970s) that in the off-season football players were insurance agents, realtors, car salesmen, even worked construction. And until unlimited substitution in 1950, teams were only about 25 players who played both ways. There may always be an NFL, but if its finances were to revert to that it would not be a bad thing. And if some billionaire owners took financial beatings and some over-extended governments found themselves having problems paying off stadium bonds they never should have issued in the first place, oh well.

  10. “And, with developing computer capabilities, it’s only a matter of time until the actors are replaced by computerized characters–think about how Carrie Fisher appeared in a movie shot after she died. In a few years it may well be that actors, cinematographers, and many of the supporting crafts, have diminished roles, and the really important people will be the writers, editors, designers, and CGI wizards. You think Amazon and Apple are getting into the business just to be another old-school Paramount?”

    I’m thinking how the 2007 version of Beowulf used motion-capture technology to generate a whole new movie-world. They used established stars for this – but think how it could be done using … well, any competent no-name to put on the suit and do the voice. They wouldn’t even have to do the voice, really – once the process got going. From the wikipedia entry about Beowulf, the actual shooting shedule with the actors went amazingly fast, which they reported loving, as they weren’t sitting around all day, just to film one single teeny bit of the script.

    Wave of the future, I am thinking.

  11. ” As a general rule in life one should take every chance to see The Marriage of Figaro.”

    Arizona Opera is staging it next March. I have tickets. Not the first time Ive seen it but it’s nice to have civilization in the desert.

    but I suspect some permanent damage as to prestige. But the safety issue is really the long-term threat.

    The players, now 78% black, are poorly educated and, I suspect, very susceptible to the hangers on that infest all professional sports, especially the NFL and NBA. They have joined up with the political left that hates football for lots of reasons. Head trauma os only one.

    The cost to owners is invisible to the players who think money grows on trees. There is a funny story about an east coast lefty NFL guy who goes to Indianapolis on a sort of Anthropology tour.

    Fox NFL writer Peter Schrager found out first hand that real Americans are pretty steamed about the anti-American NFL protests going on across the country. Schrager told his tale on WFAN’s Mike Francesca Show on Friday, Awful Announcing reported.

    The New York-based reporter left the Big Apple for an assignment in Indianapolis, Indiana, and when he got into a cab, the driver asked him why he was in town.

    Schrager proudly spoke up and perhaps fatally over simplified his job, by saying that he worked in the NFL. But that was a major mistake because upon hearing that, the driver pulled over and told Schrager to get out of his cab.

  12. It has leaked into the game I’m playing. Crassius Curio is a character who runs the logistics of House Hlaalu and hires the player. You must strip naked for him to admit you and he will call you all kinds of cute names as your time with House Hlaalu progresses.

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