Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Kaepernick Shoe | Lefsetz Letter

What kind of crazy, fucked-up world do we live in where Jay Z makes a deal with the NFL and Nike’s Colin Kaepernick shoe sells out?

One in which keeping your mouth shut for money is passe and being a member of the group is less important than being an individual.

It’s the sixties all over again. Despite the cries of OK Boomer!, there’s been a sea change in the ethos of the populace, and once again the old white men are out of touch.

Aren’t the people buying Kap’s shoe supposed to be the fans of the NFL?

Well, if that’s not true, aren’t African-Americans the soul of the NFL?

The NBA realized this and the players gained power. Furthermore, the NBA allowed the game and its penumbra to be fluid, as opposed to being sacrosanct, as it is in the NFL. The players rule the NBA, they’re serfs on Maggie’s Farm in the NFL.

But doesn’t money rule? Aren’t the billionaires in control? Don’t they know what’s best for America?


In the last couple of years, everything we know has flipped. First with tech. The soul of America, its innovation, the luxuriating in products and features instead of being cool is now seen as uncool, too many know-nothing billionaires protecting their riches at the public’s expense.

And then there’s the anti-environment polluters. Scratch a millennial or a member of Gen-Z and you’ll find they’re militant about climate change, it’s not only Greta Thunberg, whom Trump made fun of.

So you get to decide what side you’re on if you’re a corporation, and an individual too.

In other words, America is no longer tribal only when it comes to politics. And the young tribe, the tribe on the left, is all about individual superstars while that on the right has closed ranks, circled the wagons, and is positively out of touch with what’s going on.

When it comes to corporations…

It’s like Europe and Trump. You can now stand up to the man. Especially in an era where TV advertising no longer rules and no one can organize an effective boycott.

And your goal is not to satiate everyone, but your core constituency. Today haters and trolls are de rigueur, to be ignored.

Women stood up with Me Too.

Now everybody is standing up for their rights, and the powers-that-be don’t like it.

Hell, the movie companies don’t even like that streaming is eating their lunch!

We were so overwhelmed by the tech innovations of the past thirty years that we are now ignoring the cultural changes in our society.

Look at the YouTube/Instagram influencers, it’s all about ME! ME! ME! whereas previously millennials refused to speak up for fear of being excoriated and left out of the group.

We are in a new age of the individual. And one person can move mountains, assuming they believe what they say.

As for Colin Kaepernick? He would have been a forgotten quarterback, living on his pension. Now he’s a household name never to be forgotten while he profits on shoes and more.

As for Nike?

The company took a risk and it paid off. It ensured its longevity with the younger generation, and they’re making new people every day if you haven’t noticed, we are here to be replaced.

For the last thirty years, forty, it’s been all about being fake to get ahead and be rich. Yup, you went to business school to learn how to get along with people, kiss their butts to get paid.

As for the techie/nerds… They had their era, just like classic rock, but now it’s over.

But just like people believe today’s music means as much as classic rock, they think that tech continues to rule, that billionaires are entitled to control society, and they’re just plain wrong.

This is what the DNC doesn’t see. It’s no longer 2016, it’s 2020, and times are different.

In 2016 we still loved Facebook. Only the left behind were disillusioned, i.e. those without college educations who lost their jobs.

But today, everybody is disillusioned, everybody is questioning whether they’re gonna get their piece of the pie. Which is why when you boast in a song how great your life is, how you’re a winner, you’re out of touch. Furthermore, the hoi polloi know that entertainers earn just a fraction of the money of billionaires, that they’re glorified court jesters.

And then you come down to the talent agencies, competing with each other to replace the movie studios even though there’s no there there. The writers have rebelled, gone on strike, because they don’t like being pawns in the game, and the agencies refuse to settle because it will ruin their whole business model, saying they’re representing talent when they’re really in the game to build monoliths and get rich.

And today the individual does not need print or TV to get his or her message across.

And stories break online long before they break in the news.

Which is why foreign countries want to control the internet, censor it and occasionally shut it down. And the American tech companies just play along.

But then Tim Apple refuses to give a back door to the government into iPhones. And stands up for privacy. Because we’re all upset about being bought and sold, known, even though we can’t break our addiction to free services.

Politics is just evidence of what is going on, it’s not the main show.

In 2016 Bernie Sanders almost upset the apple cart. He proved that it’s no longer business as usual. But what is the DNC trying to do? Institute business as usual. That’s what the whole Biden campaign is about. Kap gets excommunicated for standing up for his rights and is a hero to the younger generation and Biden gets another chance by saying let’s go back to the past. Young people don’t want to go back to a past that they never were the beneficiaries of anyway!

So what we should expect in 2020 is more individuals standing up to power and not backing down.

And savvy corporations will align themselves with these individuals.

And those who take a chance will be lionized while those who hew to the company line, who resist change, will be challenged.

Now is the time to use your brain. Forget the influencers selling products on social media, they’re just an interim phase. The next step is using your message to gain power online to effect change.

And one thing’s for sure, the wheels are turning and a change is gonna come.

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