2019/10/23

Give Them Nothing

Brand Zero - Give Them Nothing

Two indie creators who are wise to Hollywood's contempt for its own audience have determined what must be done--or rather, what must not be done.

First up, best selling author and comic book writer Jon Del Arroz exhorts dissenting consumers to starve the Pop Cult beast.
We know the story’s going to be trash. It’s going to be pop commercial consumerism with member berries and not much creativity at all because of the backlash of the last film. And so we’re going to get an endless cycle of youtube critics positing that the movie will be terrible, people clicking on it, people going at seeing the movie a zillion times to confirm it’s terrible, posting about it, youtube critics bashing it, people tuning into yotube critics bashing it, and then the actors crying about misogyny and racism and creating free promotion to make this another billion dollars again.
It’s so tired. And it’s entirely on you, the person who reads the blogs, watches youtube to NOT CLICK THESE THINGS. Do not talk about the movie. Don’t watch commentary on it. Starve it of mentions.
This is what they do to independent alternatives. The media refuses to talk about it. You will never see any one of these sites ever mention Flying Sparks or Justified because they don’t want people knowing it exists. And the only way to deal with that in information warfare is to do it back to them.
Every time you click on a youtube review or preview of this movie, you are feeding the machine. You are keeping it going.
Make content supporting indies. Click on the content that’s supporting indies.
Jon's most telling observation is that only our side produces attack reviews of our opponents' content. Vice, The Mary Sue, and The Verge don't write hit pieces on Galaxy's Edge or Justified. They know that the way to neutralize dissenting creators is to deny them a platform.

Not responding in kind is just tactically illiterate at this point.

Author Rawle Nyanzi expands on JDA's call to action with a simple yet bold concept:
Therefore there is only one solution: Cease this madness at once. I call it Brand Zero.
For all the complaints about the major brands, even critics see them as real and legitimate, as opposed to “amateur” brands. There is a sense that these big media brands are the only ones that matter, even when they drop the ball on purpose. We are conditioned to think of big brands as above us just because the owners have a big bank account and could afford nice graphic designers.
Thus, we must take radical action to break this conditioning. From this day forward, I will not mention any major media franchise on this blog, and I will erase such talk if I see it in the comments. Also, I will not like, share, or reply to any social media post that discusses a major media franchise.
This does not only apply to woke brands. All major brands, including anime, will not be mentioned here. No big brand requires my help in getting the word out, so I won’t do it for them.
If it is mentioned on any mainstream geek site (Bleeding Cool, IGN, Comic Book Resources, Anime News Network, etc.), it is a major brand. Those sites get a lot of traffic from interested parties, so they don’t need you to talk up whatever they’re talking up. Meanwhile, great content languishes in obscurity because everyone would rather complain to a company that deliberately antagonizes them, thinking they’ll change with the 17,863,485,736th email.
I applaud Jon and Rawle on their resolutions. You won't see me giving page inches to converged IPs, either.

Merely mentioning a Disney/Marvel property, even to negatively contrast it with a superior indie work, just gives the Devil Mouse brand social proof as the one to beat.

Refusing to feed the beast doesn't suffice by itself, though. We also need positive messaging that promotes superior alternatives.

Freeing Gen Y fanboys from the nostalgia trap has also proven more of a challenge than even I anticipated. Studying methods professionals use to combat addiction and deprogram cultists may be in order.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with some more sage advice from Rawle:

"Brian Niemeier’s Combat Frame XSeed is a great non-mainstream mecha series ... Buy these, and you’ll help shift things in the right direction."

Combat Frame XSeed - Brian Niemeier

49 comments:

  1. It's an easy trap to fall into. Even I struggle with it sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you for making an unflinching and honest self-assessment! We've got your back.

      Delete
    2. Thank you. You guys are great friends.

      Delete
  2. But the other side does do attack reviews--mostly in the movie sphere. It's well known that any movie even remotely Christian or right friendly will have overwhelmingly negative critic reviews to the degree that looking for films with a wide critic/audience review disparity reliably identifies such films. (Rambo, Deathwish, the Mule, and The Passion of the Christ are prominent examples). Why do they get hate reviews while Galaxy's Edge doesn't? Probably because movies with mainstream distribution are big enough that they could make inroads into enemy territory if the normies they have duped aren't warned off. Galaxy's Edge is still small in the grand scheme of the culture war but if it gets the movies it deserves and threatens to have mainstream influence it will get hate reviews too. Right now, they think it's small enough that they're better off not drawing attention to it.

    What does that mean for us? We're still in asymmetrical culture war mode so we can't simply adopt the enemy's strategy towards our work and expect to have success. We're in a different place than they are. Attack reviews are still necessary. My brother in law still needs to know why he should give up on Star Wars and MCU. It just shouldn't be the main focus. A good review itis enough--when it comes out or on major announcements, not constantly. It should show why the latest Star Wars/MCU/etc is bad and why you should give up on the franchise. The rest of the energy should go to growing our properties so that they're big enough to earn hate reviews from the other side.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Attack reviews are still necessary. My brother in law still needs to know why he should give up on Star Wars and MCU."

      That was my line of thought, also. Then I saw how hue and cry raised by normal people over Captain Marvel turned what would've been a relative B movie into a billion-dollar blockbuster.

      Using social proof and pointing out that Hollywood hates them work better to dissuade folks from consuming these converged brands.

      Attack reviews just raise the subject's profile. Death Wish and Last Blood turned a profit. The Passion was a huge hit. More recently, Joker broke records because the MSM spewed a constant stream of hate at it.

      Attention is money. Don't give money to people who hate you.

      Delete
    2. I don't know what happened with Captain Marvel, but that's not what happened with lady Ghostbusters or Solo or to a lesser degree The Last Jedi. They had similar negative attention but did not succeed like Captain Marvel.

      I don't want to belabor the point, but I think that big ticket IPs like Star Wars and MCU releases generate plenty of attention on their own. Nobody is going to only hear about it because of some online controversy. The Marvel/Disney hates you commentary is necessary in moderation. (I might we'll have seen a one of the last few avengers or Star Wars movies if not for the warnings).

      You're right that death cult hate reviews don't seem to be terribly effective and could be counterproductive but that's a result of the culture war asymmetry. We don't have the same cultural power so their hate reviews do risk informing people and drawing attention to properties in ways that ours don't. Hearing that they hate Death Wish makes me want to watch it whereas otherwise my reaction to the trailer would just be meh. Disney is going to make darn sure everyone hears about Rise of the Skywalker no matter what we do.

      "Don't give money to people who hate you," only works if people are convinced that Disney/Marvel hates them. Someone needs to do that convincing.

      Delete
    3. We're past that. Everybody who saw The Last Jedi knows that Star Wars is agitprop aimed at humiliating normal people. Those who didn't see it have heard how bad it was by now. Heck, even non-Star Wars fans have seen the Plinkett reviews.

      Dissenters either have the power to affect major brands' marketing or not. If not, talking about them at all is a waste of time. If so, the most effective way to throw sand in their gears is to give their IPs zero attention while directing people elsewhere.

      Delete
  3. I will disagree about not reviewing anime.

    Here's the thing. Anime is more mainstream but your random normie who watched Star Wars and Marvel because they grew up with Star Wars or comics, or because they're just the more advertised films, probably ignore anime, at best see it as "kid stuff", and don't really want to read. They want to watch.

    Not in a million billion years will my father - a computer programmer and one time Mayor of his town - read a book. He will watch documentaries, movies, shows, but he won't read.

    But I was able to convince him to take a look at anime. He wasn't a fan, but he gave it a shot.

    People want alternative shows that aren't converged. Anime gives them way more options in that regard. If you like superhero stories but are tired of SJW nonsense in your films, you absolutely should be pointed to My Hero Academia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anime has a lot of mainstream visibility, however. Big, well-trafficked sites discuss anime, and it is a frequent topic on social media. Those companies need no help getting the word out; if you want to recommend an anime to someone, do so in private conversation or via DM/e-mail/etc.

      Delete
    2. That's well and good, but the point of working to cultivate good domestic product is to get more growing locally.

      It's like, Joe the Punk really really wishes there was a punk scene in his town. So he buys a Green Day album and tells all his friends about it. He doesn't think about going to the Elks Lodge when Sam the Punk books a show there.... Is Joe the Punk actually doing something useful for his local punk scene?

      [spoiler] not at all [/spoiler]

      Delete
    3. That's great. Is Sam the anime fan making an anime?

      Big, well-trafficked sites discuss anime...and they're read by anime fans. It's a frequent topic on social media...among anime fans.

      My dad would never have even looked at it if I hadn't started watching it and recommending it via reviews.

      And I think you misunderstand the situation of anime studios in Japan. Trigger is funded via *Patreon*, and they absolutely need more support.

      Delete
    4. I presumed the situation with anime to be entirely seperate from domestic entertainment production; if we aren't the producers of it, if we aren't the primary market for it, we don't need to worry about it. The Trigger/Patreon thing is eye opening. But I'll be frank, I'm biased. I don't see Japanese companies on the frontlines of the culture war. It's not even their culture.

      Delete
    5. So what? it's an alternative to people tired of this. There's nothing wrong with opening people's eyes to good, non-converged content.

      Delete
    6. Let's try this analogy. You don't necessarily turn a beer drinker into a spirits drinker by getting him started on moonshine or genuine homebrew Sicilian-immigrant grappa.

      Delete
    7. This is a baffling analogy. Again, not everyone is looking for something to READ, they want something to WATCH, and shows like Fullmetal Alchemist and My Hero Academia are so western influenced I find it hard to believe their is nothing there for new anime viewers.

      Delete
    8. My analogy is less baffling when you realize I deploy it in your favour ;)
      Like you said, people want something to watch, that goes down smooth. Animated Pepe memes are for more refined palates ;)

      Delete
    9. It is less baffling then! Sorry, I was confused.

      Delete
  4. I'm doing a small part by telling readers about Galaxy's Edge and your stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I disagree on the basis that dissecting works that don't work is always a valuable service to people who intend to make their own material.

    Its also fairly entertaining to watch.

    I do agree that the tabloid style 'Oooo, did you hear what (star/starlet) said?!' stuff isn't healthy though.

    I see no problem with us having people picking apart why a given property works or doesn't work as long as, yes, they don't turn into the person who shows themselves to be in a masochistic love affair with the property For example.. A person who claims to hate modern comics who still reads them religiously and one would hope purchases (if he's reading them) everything that comes out from companies he supposedly despises.

    Its almost diabolical how some people will scarf down poison and proclaim how vile it is as they reach for their next dose, never realizing they can just stop. I've heard of people who kept buying comics just to see how bad they were getting. Literally just spending money to depress themselves.

    There's an ancient and obscure line from the old Marvel GiJoe comic that comes into my mind for discussions like this.

    "I have made peace with my weasel spirit, you need not fear me so long as I live."

    Spoken by a mercenary as he finally decided that living consumed by hate for his nemesis was ultimately killing the good parts of himself and preventing him from truly defeating his real foe. He said these words, turned his back on said nemesis and walked away.

    At which point the nemesis shot him in the back, and came in closer to gloat, only for the man to turn, smile at his grim victory and as he died the primed grenade he was holding fell at his nemesis' feet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I disagree on the basis that dissecting works that don't work is always a valuable service to people who intend to make their own material."

      The propaganda coming out of Hollywood doesn't work because it's propaganda, not art. There. I saved aspiring creators some time.

      We have over a century's worth of bad movies. Pointing out the flaws in those is more edifying than dissecting the latest Death Cult agitprop, and it doesn't give the Cult money or attention.

      Delete
    2. Such dissection and analysis is best done in private with people who want to learn in that manner. It's a form of Dialectic, and most people are immmune to it; you have to use Rhetoric to persuade them, and the lubricant of that machine is attention.

      Delete
    3. Your point about how we can look back over a past century of failed films and the like as opposed to having to live in the perpetual babbling now, is something I hadn't thought of.

      It does seem in retrospect to me that its odd that a lot of critical sites/content creators always seem ultra focused on the now, as opposed to on older works or materials. I guess that by examining them after they've 'cooled off' you can actually approach them, without contributing to the social noise surrounding them.

      Again, as I think about this, it makes more sense. A lot of 'controversial' titles when looked at a decade, or heck even a few years after the fact, tend to seem smaller, like a corpse. And doing an autopsy on it when its still does seem a lot easier then when its moving.

      Delete
    4. Such capacity for objective introspection is an admirable and rare trait. It's reassuring to know my readers are among the 10% of people open to modifying their opinions based on logic.

      Delete
  6. What's the best forum for doing this? Twitter?
    Gab?
    I swore off the former during the Ghostbusters Wars... I really, really, don't want to go back.

    ReplyDelete
  7. My knee jerk reaction is to rationalize the need to criticize [Redacted] and the [Redacted] and all the other [Redacted].


    But Rawle's is absolutely correct. We may not want to give up our franchises or even our support of the people who shred them in our angry, misery-loves-company circle jerk.

    But, like with toddlers who throw tantrums in the middle of the store, they desire attention. And just like those toddlers, negative attention is still attention. A good parent knows the only way to stop that behavior is to stop feeding the problem any kind of attention. Any kind.

    The same must be done here. Our attention and money is finite. Spend both where they matter and can make a difference.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The nostalgia drugs being peddled now are just a temporary high that make you forget today's problems for a short time. But they're bad for your soul and don't address the real issue. If you're one of the ones that can't help getting drawn into nostalgia-fueled pop culture you need to find whatever it is that is causing you emotional pain and get it sorted out. You'll have my prayers in that regard for a swift recovery from that pain, and in the end you'll find that you no longer crave the poison being peddled.

    And if that isn't enough incentive you'll also go on to find a world full of talented creators that aren't owned by a megacorporation, like Mr. Niemeier here. Or if I may indulge in a little self-promotion myself as well.

    As the poster above said our attention and money is finite. This is very true and we should spend those precious resources on creators that don't hate us.

    Give to creators on our team. Whether it's dollars or attention or time or kind words it helps.

    ReplyDelete
  9. While giving up the Big Brand franchises is probably the better choice in most cases, you don't *have* to surrender them.

    Read Rawle's praxis on how he is approaching #BrandZero

    The biggest issue is to stop talking about the Big Brands on the Internet, on social media, in public discussions, and the like. That's where Devil Mouse can work his necromancy.

    Talking about these properties one-on-one in real life or e-mail/DMs/PMs to a trusted friend or family member is not an issue. This is where you are best able to shift the stance of your target audience of one. Brian is spot-on that this is best done in person, and I'll add that one-on-one is better than in a group.

    Don't worry about talking to the masses unless you have those skills and are a proven persuasive speaker. Find someone on the edge, someone looking for something better than the Big Brands, or someone who might be curious about your stance.

    Pump up Indie creators in public and on the Internet. Be silent about the Big Brands while there.

    Each of us has to determine how to support #BrandZero, but the biggest impacts you can probably have are (1) talking to one person at a time in real life and (2) avoiding any and all public convo involving Big Brands and their Products while online.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Don't worry about talking to the masses unless you have those skills and are a proven persuasive speaker."

      That's an important point. Charlie Kirk's humiliation by one of Nick Fuentes' fans is illustrative of the skills required to sway an audience against an established brand. Those skills take practice before they can be deployed effectively en masse.

      Luckily, simple dissent is a powerful form of persuasion one-on-one. It's as easy as politely expressing your disinterest whenever a friend or family member brings up a converged brand.

      Delete
  10. Considering how badly these once beloved franchises have been mangled, it shouldn't be too difficult to ween ourselves off of them. I'd much rather talk about Combat Frame Xseed or Galaxy's Edge (the book series, not the failed theme park) than what new way Devil Mouse has found to burn down the house. Watch the new Mouse Wars trailer, shake your head in disgust, then go find out what your favorite independent author is doing and promote the heck out of it to anyone who will listen. For me Star Wars ended in the 1980's and Star Trek ended in the 1990's. Time to get over it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Couldn't have said it better myself. You're thinking like a winner!

      Delete
  11. I'm starting to think the idea is to invest in culture. Let's call it "positive culture" +C. Original, and/or pro-logos, and/or pro classical heroism, and/or Christian and/or CruciFiction, and so on.

    And invest back into it. Look to buy some good art, look to get stuff 3D modeled and cast or printed. All that stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Private citizens investing in pro-Western cultural works is indispensable. That's one reason I see some form of neo-patronage emerging as the next paradigm.

      Delete
  12. Convincing one person you know to turn away from Big Brands and to look into Independent Creators' works is the BIG WIN. Build the New IP one reader/viewer/gamer at a time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm in a real quandry when it comes to Catalan books. 80% Is controlled by Planeta via Grup 62.
      Just recently i learnt that a well known independent publisher was bought by an international branch of the big 5.
      Sure there are many independent publishers but they're not easy to find or their genres just don't appeal to me.

      xavier

      xavier

      Delete
  13. Off topic. I hope Mr. Niemeier will not mind. I recently started an online book discussion group that will be starting with Hilaire Belloc's book The Jews. For those not familiar with him, Belloc was an early 20th century Catholic author, friends with G.K. Chesterton. The book is an attempt to find a way for the two groups to live in peace with one another.

    If this sounds interesting to you, swing by at Dissident Reads. We'd love to see you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I fall into some of the other gen Y traps, but not the nostalgia one. Took time and effort. Working on the others.

    ReplyDelete
  15. If you'll excuse another just-formed thought. I've been thinking. And i think that this whole nostalgia thing from hollywood is the most creepy-abusive-spouse thing they've done yet.

    "I know things have been bad, but remember how things used to be? Do you remember how good things were back then? Huh? Let's relive those good times... *immediate reversion to emotional abuse*"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The analogy of nostalgia brand adherents as addicts always seemed somehow lacking. You filled in the missing piece. They're codependent battered spouses.

      Chilling.

      Delete
  16. To free Ys from the traps of illegitimate nostalgia is to create new exciting stuff. And part of that is learning from the successful contemporary creations, namely from Stranger Things and Cobra Kai. Granted, they are all big media installations but we should give credit when it's due. They are, at least the debut seasons for both series, excellent.

    Creators of Stranger Things aka the Duffer Brothers are Gen Y themselves, which explains things. But they didn't go the lazy route to make a reference-fest. Intead, they took everything they loved about the entertainment of their youth and made it into something new; something we had seen here and there but nothing quite like it; not in one place at least. And that's excatly what certain Lucas did in 1977.

    Cobra Kai was also a good story with an anchor in the past. Setting is at the current date and the main characters from the original Karate Kid are like ghosts from forgotten days. But instead of laughing it off, they have something useful to show to todays youth. At the same time, Johnny Lawrence - who I view as the main protagonist - starts to get past his glory days where he had been previously stuck in.

    So the lesson is this: nostalgia in itself is nothing to be sneered at. It's what you do with it. Do you get stuck at and wallow in the past or do you cherish it and spring into new heights with it? All art is ultimately built on the shoulders of the past giants and for numerical reasons, we currently have two distinct reactions to them: to either wallow on those rust-gathering shoulders or jump into the abyss with a smirking face. We can't stay, we can't go down with the death cultists. We must go up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A long story short:

      To appeal to Ys is to make good stories first and foremost. But throw in a consequential tangent to the glorious past and the the magic trick is completed. We are just suckers for that, can't help it. Superversive fiction with a healthy dose of nostalgia is like a dream.

      Delete
  17. I started by buying and reading both Combat Frame XSeed books. I need to re-read, now that my brain cooled from fusion reactor levels. Amazing mecha writing, and some subtle, chilling plotlines emerging from the frigid, Stygian depths of silent space. I still owe a review on one book, but I'm still on overload.

    Separate thought: something else that's needed is a cloistered (C+ and close allies only) version of a crowd funding site. I don't have the skill sets for that, not a code monkey, but I have decent design skills, can help there. Is there someone who can get source code pieces and work it? Rejecting Brand Zero also means rejecting its enabling tools.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have my heartfelt thanks for sampling my humble wares. I'm delighted you enjoyed XSeed!

      Delete