2017/09/14

Losing the Plot

JD Cowan addresses how the corporatists in charge of every major entertainment medium have enthusiastically lost touch with the comic book reading, video game playing, and TV watching public.
My thesis is simple; we've lost the plot.
Not only have we lost the plot, we're proud of having done so. We're proud of action movies with worse choreography than films thirty years old. We're proud of horror movies without any rules or sense of good to fight evil. We're proud of companies catering to everyone but their target audience. We're proud of no one buying books anymore because the audience isn't worth catering to! And in the same breath we wonder why all those things are failing.
This has more than a bit of relationship with my last similar post on the subject, but this is a bit more specific than that one. This is about an overarching attitude of unearned pride that is tearing apart the things we all enjoy. Within mere decades, many entertainment industries are already on their deathbeds.
Take the video game industry. You can't go one day without some wonk screaming about "antiquated arcade design" that should be scrapped, or being unable to play or understand the simple mechanics of a game in a genre that is essential to the industry they are in. Not only that, but you have members of said industry lining up behind said ignorance as if it is a hill to die on equivalent to Watergate. Pride goes before the fall, and there is a reason no one trusts video game journalists anymore.
Oh, that and their obvious disdain for their audience.
The gaming industry, especially game journalists, have been a downward spiral since the end of the 90s, but they just keep getting worse at their jobs. And they're proud of it!
Yes, they are. The gaming press' "Gamers are dead" mantra springs to mind. What this loathing of their own audience tells you is that legacy games journalists aren't in the business of reporting on games so consumers can make informed decisions. They're in business to demoralize and torment gamers.

This is the beginning of a pattern, as JD shows.
Then there's the writing world. Sweet merciful Mike this place is a clusterfudge of ego, bitterness, and high school drama. I am not claiming to be above petty and sinful behavior, but there is so much hatred for the past that it is palpable. No one wants to understand their roots; no one wants to know that Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, are all really the same genre. No one wants to talk about anything older than they are except to complain about behaviors they don't even know the author had-- or if said author had them if it even affects the story in question. And even if it does, who cares? You can still learn from the past and grow from it. But they're too prideful to even try. They are better than their ancestors simply due to the date on the calendar.
There is nothing new under the sun, but you sure can pretend that the sun is a new creation if everyday is the first sunrise. It sure massages to ego to think that you are superior to those who created what you love and enjoy.
And they are proud of it! How do you expect a genre to "progress" if you cut off a little more of its legs every year until there's nothing left? You can't learn or grow from the past if you shun it.
Check out this post by JimFear138 to see what I mean. The treatment of H.P. Lovecraft is a good example of this rotten behavior. Read the post to see how denigrated what he created has become. No respect for source material, no respect for the past, and no respect for the genre. And yes, his post helped inspire this one.
The literati engaged in memory-holing Lovecraft are moral nihilists bent on erasing him from the SFF canon for his moral nihilism. This tells you, again, that their goal isn't to atone for the genre's imaginary past sins. It's to destroy the genre.
Next up is the anime world.
Brace yourself.
Since anime fell off a cliff back in the mid-'00s most of the old fanbase left. You can't blame them, even with random bones tossed to them like Blood Blockade Battlefront, My Hero Academia, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Dragon Ball Super, and Ushio & Tora, there isn't much to pull them in and keep them there. The anime produced in the industry's heyday is simply not the focus as to what it is putting out now. So part of the audience left. But a few that stuck around decided to try their own hand at anime.
There are those who grew up in that era of anime tropes, faux anime Western shows, and the occasional episode of Dragon Ball and have missed the point. Those that have seen anime and have only a surface level understanding of it have begun making their own material with it as a base. Sure there are those like myself, Rawle Nyanzi, and Brian Niemeier, and many of those in the Pulp Revolution who are influenced by anime, but know there is more to it than big eyes, bright hair, and exaggerated cartoon expressions. That wasn't why we watched it, or why we were fans, nor was it why it took off in a big way.
But there were those who took the wrong example from it. Sure you can find much bad anime art on Tumblr and DeviantArt, but that's an entirely different thing, and some of those artists nail the style perfectly. I'm speaking of a different group of people. This is the type who use anime tropes and packaging to sell their own half-baked ideas. This is what those types put out:
In my opinion, anime peaked in 1998 with the holy trinity of Trigun, Outlaw Star, and Cowboy Bebop. I followed Bleach for a while, but we all know how that turned out.


There's more over at JD's blog. The takeaway is that mainstream Western storytellers--and those influenced by the West--have long since exhausted their reserves of cultural capital. That's why we see every sector of the entertainment industry spinning along the downward spiral from Original Breakout Work -> Lazy Sequel -> Derivative Cash-in -> Postmodern Deconstruction -> Cynical Reboot -> Soft Reboot Billed as a Sequel -> Crude Parody -> Apes Throwing Fruit at Plywood.

Like JD said, there are those of us who are trying to build something new from those common influences instead of tearing them down or cynically milking them dry. Unlike the dystopian megacorps backing the Morlocks, the pro-civilization team has practically zero sugar daddies willing to lift a finger in support of cultural renewal.

The issue is that conservative movers and shakers have been programmed to see "mere entertainment" as trivial compared to ostensibly more important economic matters. They've swallowed the reductionist lie that art and other non-quantifiable marks of culture aren't real and therefore can be safely ignored. As the near-total triumph delivered to the Left through their converged academic and media organs proves, the economic reductionists are dead wrong.

We're on our own. So be it. The old pulp masters proved that the culture at large could be reached by simply giving people something fun to read that was also grounded in truth. JD's post highlights the enemy's major, self-imposed disadvantage: They've subverted the truth of their source material so thoroughly that they're left pushing blatant propaganda devoid of fun.

All we have to do is tell entertaining stories. They don't have to--and shouldn't--be reverse propaganda lectures. Setting our tales in worlds where the truth about human nature and morality are taken for granted is enough.

I humbly submit the highly entertaining, civics lecture-free Soul Cycle as my own small contribution.

The Soul Cycle - Brian Niemeier

11 comments:

  1. Bleach really fell off a cliff post-Soul Society. It also fell victim to the power creep problem.

    Nice take! I'm interested to see if this chain of posts continues on to someone else.

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    1. "Bleach really fell off a cliff post-Soul Society."

      And then continued the plunge by doing the Soul Society arc--again!

      "I'm interested to see if this chain of posts continues on to someone else."

      Let's keep each other posted.

      Delete
    2. You've certainly heard me mention it a hundred times, but the recent Ushio & Tora series by the director of Trigun is what Bleach was trying to be.

      If you haven't seen it it has my highest recommendation.

      Delete
  2. What kind of sociopath would make it their life's work to write about stuff they don't like?

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  3. Chris
    well 2 possibilities
    1) someone who has spiteful animus against readers, civilization and enjoyment
    2) demonic oppression. Make sense since the revelations that Podesta participated in occult rituals and Sally Quinn is an out and out cultists. Finally the insanity gripping American campuses.
    And interesting thatvthete's now a call for conservatives to build their own culture. No need justvreclaim what was squandered or hidden from

    xavier

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  4. "In my opinion, anime peaked in 1998 with the holy trinity of Trigun, Outlaw Star, and Cowboy Bebop."

    Check out Space Adventure Cobra if you're looking for something in a similar vein.

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    1. Thanks. That's one of those shows I've always meant to watch but kept putting it off. I'll have to make it a point to correct that oversight.

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  5. Outlaw Star finally got a re-release on DVD and blueray (and digital like say PSN).

    ReplyDelete