Saturday, June 15, 2019

That Was The Week That Was | Lefsetz Letter

This was the week Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy was taken seriously and Donald Trump lost all credibility.

And “Old Town Road” continued to triumph in the music sphere, because it’s a fad driven by social media and that’s how far we’ve sunk these days.

It comes down to substance. And experience. The entertainment business believes it’s all about marketing, and it happens instantly, you throw it all up against the wall and see if it sticks. And if it doesn’t, you throw your hands in the air and move on to the next project. Meanwhile, the person whose work you threw against the wall, which failed, is usually lost in the shuffle, forgotten, like an autoworker whose plant has closed.

Backstory matters. Sure, be an OG if you really are one. But if it’s an act, the truth outs. We live in an era of authenticity.

Meanwhile, if you can’t play your instrument and can’t write a song, you’re going to be outed too. Of course you’ll push back, crying about all the haters, but once you’re in a Twitter war, once it becomes about the battle as opposed to the issue, you’ve lost. Real players know you only respond to haters if it will move your agenda. You never try to correct people. Hell, there isn’t even one agreed upon news source, people believe different “truths,” what are the odds you’re going to set someone straight on Twitter…NONE! But if the perp has enough followers and you nail them the story might be picked up elsewhere, it could go viral, your cause could be helped.

But you can’t analyze it that much, you can’t map out a definitive plan. Actually, you’ve got to live outside the system, hewing to your own tuning fork and hope that it resonates. If it doesn’t resonate… You’re toast.

The story in America today is income inequality.

Forget all the minimum wage earners who can’t make ends meet. I mean don’t truly forget them, but chances are you aren’t one of them. Chances are you’re middle class, wondering how in hell your dreams didn’t come true. There’s a whole class of people with more money than you, and there’s no legal way you can penetrate, ascend to their level.

Of course techies and entrepreneurs and basketball players can get there. But not graduates of good colleges, professionals, intelligent, hard-working people.

And the country is controlled by the wealthy, with their dollars. What cash buys you is influence. And you’d be surprised what a ride on a private jet can get you. Then again, chances are you’ve never been on a private jet. That’s another thing the rich don’t want you to know, how grand their lifestyles truly are. While you’re waiting in line, dealing with TSA, getting to the airport two hours in advance to fight your way onto the plane and find storage for your carry-on, the elite are showing up on the tarmac five minutes before takeoff, with no TSA hassle, it’s wheels-up and they’re at the destination before the hoi polloi has gotten in the air.

Not that some haven’t earned it. That’s one of the reasons you wanted to become a rock star, so you could live the lifestyle. Now rock stars make a pittance, relatively speaking. So managers are investing in startups. And WME is going public. Everybody in Hollywood is trying to get rich, and usually it’s not even on the backs of talent, TALENT DOESN’T YIELD ENOUGH CASH!

But chances are you don’t know how the real world works. Because they don’t want to let you know. But one thing’s for sure, you know you got a raw deal, and your opportunity is limited.

The Democratic National Committee doesn’t want to lose control. So they’re on a disinformation campaign, anointing Joe Biden, which is like saying a second-string player on the Bulls teams of yore is your best bet. At least give us Michael Jordan, even better, STEPH CURRY!

But the DNC won’t acknowledge the game has changed, doesn’t even know the game has changed. Curry revolutionized play in the NBA, with the 3-pointer. America is far different from what it was even in the Obama era. We live in an era of cacophony where everybody believes in their own truth and those with power are on massive disinformation campaigns. If you think the number one problem in America is immigration, you don’t understand the economy. But Trump is diverting you, so you won’t see the real issues.

But Trump made a deal with Mexico and then reneged.

This is his pattern, and now foreign governments don’t trust him. What do they say, you’re only as good as your word? Well Trump’s word ain’t worth much. This fact was buried before there was national scrutiny, but now we know.

As for Warren, the DNC said she couldn’t win, she was another strident woman only this time with left field, progressive views they didn’t cotton to.

The rule in America today is no one can lose their job, no one can lose power, you’re entitled to keep everything you earned and never lose your station. Only that’s B.S. That’s like saying Madonna should still sell out stadiums. But she can’t. Oh, we could argue that one… That’s like saying Alanis Morissette can still go clean at every arena, along with Miley Cyrus. Times change, the heat dissipates, stars lose their light. But not in business, in business you’re entitled to keep your job, just like the coal miners and autoworkers and the post office people. Only you’re making a lot more money and have a lot more power.

So the establishment, those with money and power, HATE Elizabeth Warren, because they’ve got something to lose and they don’t want to lose ANYTHING!

Now Warren has paid her dues. And is organized. She’s been pounding policies, plans, ad infinitum while Joe Biden isn’t sure whether he’s for the government paying for abortions or not.

And this work, along with Warren’s truth, is making people cling to her, believe in her, and the press is only noticing now.

This is just like a band. You practice, pay your dues, work in the trenches and WAIT for your moment. And if it doesn’t come, it often means you just weren’t good enough. People recognize excellence, they’re wowed by excellence, they can’t get enough of it, opportunity comes to those who deliver stellar performances.

But of course those on the right, still on the Trump train, decry everything I just said. But elections are like the music business. NO ONE LIKES EVERY ACT! For every Drake lover, there are tons of haters. You just need enough to make it work economically, you just need enough votes to win.

If you think it’s business as usual in America, you’re either rich or delusional.

As for the Pocahontas thing…epithets never triumph over substance. And America is all about redemption. And name-calling has no chance against hope, which is what Warren delivers. Hell, even George Will thought she’d be the right person to run, that’s what he said on “Real Time” tonight, that Warren would be FUN, and that politics should be fun.

And politics is no different from music. We’re always looking for something new, something outside, something different. We get sick of the same old thing. The landscape keeps changing, we want new faces that understand it.

So what you’ve got is a disconnect between those with power and the rest of the world, the internet world, the connected world, the cacophonous world. Used to be you could get away with being out of touch, but no longer, it just makes you look dumb. Like Congressman Steve King bitching to the CEO of Google Sundar Pichai about his iPhone…GOOGLE MAKES ANDROID!

Conventional wisdom is just that. And in today’s overloaded world there’s a belief that he or she who yells loudest triumphs. But that’s B.S. You can yell, but that does not mean anybody is listening. What you’re hyping can be forgotten in a minute, heard anybody talk about Steve Perry’s solo album recently? But if you’ve got the goods, if what you’re working is great, you’ve got a chance that the people will glom on to it and spread the word. The press is always last. It’s just the cherry on top, like radio. But when a track gets on radio, IT BLOWS UP!

This week Elizabeth Warren blew up.

And Trump blew himself up.

And Nancy Pelosi and the old farts are afraid of impeachment, even though daily telecasts will inform those on the right what is really going on, will pierce the Fox bubble.

But never expect change from the entrenched. It always comes from outside. It’s always supported by the people. It’s all about connection and resonance. Trump resonated with people the RNC denigrated. And the DNC was too stupid to see that Hillary Clinton resonated with almost nobody. She was like a great session guitarist, no one pays to see that.

We’re looking for superstars. And now, more than ever, the penumbra is irrelevant, it all comes down to substance.

And that’s how Elizabeth Warren got traction.

P.S. If you’re interested in the Warren phenomenon, whether you love her or hate her or just want more information, please read the “New Yorker” story on her, it’s balanced and thorough and after you read it, you can talk like an expert, which everybody wants to be these days:

Can Elizabeth Warren Win It All?


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