2020/10/29

Hanging by a Strand

The Strand
 

A venerable bookstore that's served New York for 93 years may become the Death Cult's next sacrificial victim--by ritual suicide.
On Friday book-loving New Yorkers got a shock as the city’s largest bookstore — The Strand — announced that it risked going out of business. A post on Twitter from the company said:

‘We need your help. This is the post we hoped to never write, but today marks a huge turning point in The Strand’s history. Our revenue has dropped nearly 70% compared to last year, and the loans and cash reserves that have kept us afloat these past months are depleted.’
The Strand is far from the only bookstore to fall on hard times this year. Barnes & Noble, the last big book retail chain, faces mounting pandemic-related difficulties compounded by their own bad decisions.
I loathe Amazon as much as the next person who relies on it. But on recent visits to The Strand I have left empty-handed and had to revert to the dreaded competitor-destroying behemoth. Because there are very specific problems with The Strand and if it doesn’t make it to its century then it will be its own fault.

The book trade in America is badly screwed up, as it is everywhere. In part this is because many publishing houses seem to think that their role is not to give the public the books they want, but rather the books the publishing houses think the would be best instructed by. It is the nature of the publishing industry, and the way it hires, that the viewpoint diversity in the sector is narrow, blinkered and parochial.

That same viewpoint is now replicated on the frontline. Increasingly bookstores are places where customer are force-fed books that the store’s employees think will be good for them. In recent months in particular bookstores in the US have decided that if they push certain products on the public hard enough then all those who work there will be doing their bit to defeat white supremacy/embedded racism/patriarchy/cisheteronormativity/Donald Trump and more. The joy of bookshops used to be that they offered an opportunity for the reader to open their mind up to many worlds. Today many bookstores seem to think that their role is to force-feed their customers with only one view of the world: one that the retailers honestly seem to believe is the only worldview a literate or thinking person could possibly have.

Conservatives have slowly come to the realization that most big corporations--especially in the entertainment industry--aren't in business to make money anymore. Instead, they're missions out of which proselytes from the managerial class spread the Death Cult anti-gospel.

Folks older than Gen X can be forgiven for their bafflement as to why megacorps blackwash comic book characters, build restaurants that resemble gray cubes, and lavish marketing dollars on 2% of the population.

The answer is: for the same reason American Christians used to go to church.

The more astute folks who've internalized these facts are fond of quoting the meme, "Get woke, go broke." So far, though, the expected bankruptcies and studio shutterings have yet to materialize. That's a strong indication that woke capital doesn't adhere to older business models.

A model that better fits the facts is a cross between the Japanese zaibatsu and the front companies run by a cult. Woke capital enjoys both vertical integration--as in oldpub's paper distribution monopoly--and industrywide networks of fellow travelers eager to give them sweetheart deals.

That's why the ossified New York publishing house signing talentless token writers to million-dollar book deals while bleeding sales to newpub hasn't gone under. That publisher's international parent company has an in with the bank and doesn't pay taxes, so they can afford to lose 60 million a year.

The fact is that the global economy as we know it should not exist under any known economic theory. If anything goes, it's possible that Marvel can go on desecrating Stan Lee's legacy forever.

Economics may not have an answer, but this is where metaphysics steps in. Everything that had a beginning has an end. Everybody thought that woke capital would end up like a bankrupt business. Instead, its final fate is shaping up to be something more like the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Millennials and zoomers won't remember this, but the USSR was widely perceived as an unstoppable force well into the 80s. The same geopolitics wags now hysterically bleating about Russians stealing elections once assured us that Soviet world dominance was inevitable.

Then one day, the curtain came crashing down to reveal a Potemkin village.

That's probably what's in store for woke capital. Small outfits like the Strand are just sacrifices to grease the machine's gears. That machine will grow in power and influence until it seems unstoppable. The next day we'll wake up in its rubble.

Don't take that as an excuse for complacency. Not funding people who hate you isn't about destroying them. It's about saving yourself.

Don't Give Money to People Who Hate You - Brian Niemeier

18 comments:

  1. I think we should contrast The Strand in NY with Uncle Hugo's in MN. Uncle Hugo's was burned to the ground by rioters and they are still selling books online. The owner is considering rebuilding after the election. However, he does not want to rebuild in the cesspool that is Minneapolis. Uncle Hugo's had books for every taste. Please pray they can rebuild soon and stay in business.

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  2. I like Uncle Hugo's, but I am distrustful of them because of their response. If you read their report on how they got burned down, it starts with four paragraphs describing the George Floyd incident, told in a way very heavily favoring the St. Floyd/Devil Cop narrative, then two paragraphs stressing how the protests were "mostly peaceful" and only became violent due to "out of state trouble makers" who were "almost all white males." Reads too much like "I support the riots, but I'm mad that they affected me personally."

    Could just be that they had a rude awakening and aren't yet willing to admit that their supposed allies literally destroyed years of their lives' work. But I will need to see more change in the future to believe that this is the case.

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    1. To expand on what I mean, I don't wish Uncle Hugo's ill will and I do hope that they are able to recover. I will even pray for them. But I am not yet willing to support them financially.

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    2. It could also be that they don't want the mob to hunt them down again, so they are kissing woke ass. It won't work of course, because you can never be woke enough.

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  3. In a sense, the USSR was unstoppable, except its momentum was short lived. Socialist states can be juggernauts with small gas tanks.

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    1. Now we'll see if a totalitarian capitalist state can do better.

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    2. I think it can do a bit better because it retains a larger degree of rational resource management; question is whether the totalitarian bit will permit an actual capitalism bit, which seems unlikely.

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    3. I wonder whether a totalitarian state can avoid devolving into a command economy. If it must dictate everything, even morals and values, how can it avoid dictating prices, production, and everything in between?

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  4. Brian

    Your observation about oldpub brings up a comment by Jean François Revel. In the late 40s and 50 American editors and acquisitions managers were cultured and actually spoke French and other languages.
    But this changed in the 60s.
    So the problem of oldpub foisting books even we don't want them is decades old.
    But the Internet has opened opportunities

    xavier

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    1. The dilution started to happen when editors came straight from the university instead of from the pool of authors.

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    2. So much of where we are now stems from what happens and has happened in the Academy, over generations. I wonder what safeguards would prevent this, in the future. So much of the liberal order has failed that I'd be amenable to universities run by the Church, for the Church, for the primary purpose of training clergy, with heresy and heretopraxy as firing offenses.

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  5. I would strongly argue that the current situation is not only within economic theory but perfectly illustrative. The theory is this: "The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent." Money is fungible; as long as woketivists have money they can, if they wish, shovel it into any enterprise they like. And with zero interest rates as the fervent orthodoxy of the rules-makers, there is as much money as you have assets to borrow against.
    However, as I can personally attest, the ability to borrow more (even for perfectly moral and rational reasons) is not the same thing as access to more wealth. It is quite literally selling your assets, just with a legal right to be the one who buys them back as long as the contract remains in play.

    Being able to Keep Up Appearances for a surprisingly long time is not the same thing as infinite liquid assets. I maintain that Get Woke Go Broke works quite effectively at the level economics always works, which is to say in the final analysis and on the balance sheets. However many woketivists are betting other people's assets. This is one reason I think the whole "elect a board" system is at best flawed and at worst should be illegal.

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  6. It'd true of Mom & Pop used bookstores as well. The used section in my local is fine, but the new section is piles and piles of unsold The Hate You Give.

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  7. Shakespeare and Company in Paris is in similar straits and is asking for everyone to buy SOMETHING (even if it's a gift card). I loved visiting there, but I went to the website and the books on the front page were woke nonsense, so I decided against it. Fark 'em if they fail.

    I also wonder how much of this woke posturing by bookstores is simply Havel's Greengrocer coming to life.

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  8. They'll die for their religion. It's a shame for their ancestors, those who actually built things, but it is what it is. They'll always have the legacy.

    Gonna be interesting decades from now when younger folks look back and wonder why there was such a full collapse in the early 21st century.

    You can't explain it in terms other than witches and demoniacs destroyed everything.

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  9. Sorry, but I love the format of greentext stories too much.
    >Be me
    >Return from foreign land where English books are rare and precious
    >Walk into bookstore thinking it's kid in a candy store time
    >Front display table 1: Books by woke celebrities about how awesome they are and everyone should be more like them
    >Number 2 is self-help books all with variations of "F*** Your F*#*ing Life In Its Dirty Little @$$h*le" as the title
    >Number 3 is Rowling's sloppy seconds, Martin's 963rd ASoIaF book that ISN'T "The Winds of Winter," and Star Wars books written by nu-Mouse hacks.
    >Go to scifi/fantasy section. No Howard, Burroughs, or Moorcock.
    >Go to RPG section
    >5e is meh.
    >Pathfinder 2, the enwokening.
    >"Zweihander: A Grim and Perilous RPG"
    >Sidebars about triggers, gender inclusivity, and 'sensitive' subject matter
    >Go to 'Religion' section
    >Mixture of New Age, faux Buddhism, and Joel Osteen tier heretics
    >Buy coffee
    >Order Solomon Kane
    >Go home and buy Combat Frame: XSeed and Gideon Ira off Amazon

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    1. Marcus

      Exactly. I returned from a foreign land but where English is one of the official languages. However it's mainstream literature is government supported culture(tm). So just as insipid and uninspiring.
      Solution download public domain or sponsor crowdfunding books. Or just buy non English books.

      xavier

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