We’re operating like it’s the twentieth century in a twentieth first century world.
The media industrial complex believes if it just beats us over the head hard enough, keeps putting faces in front of us, that we will pay attention and care. But that don’t play in an on demand world where we have access to whatever we want whenever we want it.
Used to be choice was limited. Then we were liberated by the internet. Started in ’95 and has been going down this path for twenty years, intensifying with the adoption of broadband, we’ve all dug deep into our niches and we don’t care if you’re famous for something or famous for nothing, unless you’re in our vertical, we’re not paying attention, but you keep thinking we are.
Beyonce is not that big.
Neither is Fallon. Or Colbert. Or any of the late night hosts. We keep hearing about their ratings wars but almost no one is watching, just a few million in a nation of three hundred million. It’s affecting everything, from the Oscars to the VMAs, unless they’re going to kill somebody on stage, we can’t get excited enough to watch, unless it’s a really cold night during the winter and there’s nothing else to do. Scratch that, THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING ELSE TO DO!
Today Kelly Oxford tweeted:
Now you’re asking…WHO’S KELLY OXFORD?
The Twitter queen of the comedians. She’s gotten tons of hype. She’s got 779k followers. She’s got books, she’s all over the media…THE ONE YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO!
And I’m not watching ESPN, never ever.
That’s the story of the twenty first century, the decimation of institutions that we were forced into buying that we really didn’t care that much about, if we cared at all. Kinda like all the channels propped up by cable payments that are gonna disappear. Kinda like malls… You mean you want me to waste an hour searching for inventory you don’t have? BUT ISN’T SHOPPING FUN? NO!!
Sure, there are women who love to shop, men too, but it turns out most people don’t. And given a better, easier solution, they stopped. Sure, Amazon is an efficient operation, but it delivers what we want, convenience, selection and the elimination of wasted time, and we all hate wasted time, we just don’t have enough of it!
But the major media outlets keep parading people like we care.
Pick up “People,” go to Radar, you think you’re the only one who doesn’t know who these people are? THE TARGET DEMO DOESN’T EITHER!
Furthermore, they’re playing a bad game, delivering what once worked in a world where it doesn’t. Come on, do you want to sit at home and watch some guy behind a desk interview people, and not really interview them, but set up jokes for them, even though they’re bad storytellers? They’ve been doing that for DECADES! If I want to see a comedian, I’ll go to YouTube. Same with a musician. You mean I’ve got to wait until 12:30 AM to see some up and coming act? Sure, I could DVR it, but I don’t want to waste the time fast-forwarding.
So this is the game we are playing, niche and mainstream.
That’s right, some stuff goes mainstream. Right now it’s Washington, D.C., because we care, it affects us, and the movie is…better than any Hollywood production. That’s right, Tinseltown is producing superhero fantasies and everybody in Washington is aged and flawed and to watch the machinations is utterly fascinating.
And in music the labels keep telling everybody they should care about hip-hop and pop when there’s a great swath of people who don’t. But try to create another Adele…the biggest act in the world…they’re not even trying!
We just get endless retreads, endless repeats of what was.
We love fresh faces. But today being good-looking is not enough. Hell, I’d argue we’re looking for someone normal, that we can identify with.
Our whole culture is topsy-turvy. The “New Yorker” writes an exhaustive article it believes will change the culture but doesn’t recognize it’s in an echo chamber, that the brand is so elitist most people pooh-pooh it. David Remnick doesn’t even know how to promote, no one in old media, from books to newspapers, knows how to get its story out, maybe other than the “Washington Post,” with its breaking news, investigative journalism, burnishing the brand with excellence.
And forget naysayers. They come with the territory. The internet opened the world to them. If you’re not getting blowback, you don’t matter, you don’t have enough traction.
And you either play for all the marbles or realize you’re part of the underclass. Nothing is more pathetic than an act that plays klezmer music with bad vocals believing it belongs on Top Forty, they don’t even understand the game.
And the established media of old farts can’t stop bitching about fake news as if Mark Zuckerberg could eradicate it, no, people like feeling part of a tribe, they like going online and reading that which speaks to their heart, that’s the issue, not that the essence is false.
Want to appeal to people? DON’T CRITICIZE THEM! Study after study says it’s almost impossible to change someone’s political opinion by telling them they’re wrong, but the left keeps denigrating the right, I don’t get it. Take action, lead the way, show a path, that’s how you get ahead today.
But the oldsters believe they still rule when they don’t.
And the youngsters are self-promoting as if they can become the stars of yore.
We can only comprehend a thin layer of stars, thinner than ever before, because the universe is just too big. If you dream of world domination you must play to the world, you must have an edge, otherwise there’s no hook, you must be supremely talented and experienced, and you must present something brand new.
Remember when all bands sounded different?
No wonder music is moribund.
Hell, there’s more innovation in TV than there is in music.
But there are only 450 scripted shows, not hundreds of thousands.
And still, we don’t care about most.
That’s the modern world. One of chaos. The Tower of Babel.
And either accept it or change it. Admit you’re just one of many playing to a small audience or come up with something so unique, so phenomenal, so different, so appealing that everyone will pay attention.