Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Blackout Backlash | Lefsetz Letter

It’s everywhere, covered in the NYT, WSJ and WaPo.

You see good intentions are no longer good enough.

And celebrities no longer get a pass.

If you stand for nothing, no one is interested.

This is the opposite of the past four decades, when it became about building your brand all over the world and maximizing your financial potential. Now, it’s about saying no as much as yes, and realizing you’re no better, no different from the people on the street.

We used to live in a two-tiered society. Those who had made it, who had power, and those who did not. And there was a very thin layer of those who succeeded, and they thought they were immune.

But as Bob Dylan sang in “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),”

But even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked

You see Trump has lost control of the narrative. As have the traditional media outlets. And no one is looking to the words of celebrities for truth.

We saw this first with Gal Gadot’s “Imagine.” It was immediately excoriated:

This ‘Imagine’ Cover Is No Heaven

And now it’s open season to react against those who are well-intentioned but clueless.

Naomi Klein talks about the shock doctrine, how momentous political events allow bad actors, i.e. corporations and the government, to institute change that benefits them and leaves the people out.

We’re experiencing a shock right now, and everybody who does not align themselves with the people, whether it be in the street or in their minds, will be on the wrong side of history.

This is what Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t understand. Even at Snapchat they’re cracking down on promoting Trump:

Snapchat to stop promoting Trump after controversial posts

This is a giant sea change, an end to false equivalencies, if you’re not willing to re-evaluate everything, you’re going to get lost in the shuffle.

And if you don’t have an open mind, you’re going to become a pariah, lose all your relationships and quite possibly your livelihood, like that drummer:

“DW Drums artist Hilary Jones unleashes racist rant online”

Now is the time to get on the side of the people, the masses, who’ve been abused too long.

And the abuse has come at the hands of the employers.

Contract work, gig work? Now is the time to make people employees, otherwise you’re going to incur their wrath. Companies don’t want to hire people as employees because they don’t want to pay the benefits and they don’t want to deal with firing them. But just like California cracked down on Uber and Lyft and other gig work, this cancer on our society will have to be treated or the employers too will become pariahs, just like the aforementioned drummer and Amy Cooper.

Same deal with individuals. Think before you speak, otherwise you could sacrifice your livelihood, your entire career. And sure, cancel culture is unfair, but it’s a backlash over eons of abuse. If you think there’s too much #MeToo, you don’t understand that women are afraid to walk the streets, are on high alert at work, just imagine if you’re an African-American woman!

But the right has been laughing about the special interest infighting of the left for years. And it’s true, the left is not monolithic, but constituents’ hearts and minds are in the right place, and now it’s a time of hearts and minds.

Unlike the heartless Bill Barr. These people have to go.

And it’s not only me, I’m sure you’re aware of George Will’s column:

“Trump must be removed. So must his congressional enablers.”

I’m sure you’re aware of the Lincoln Project, I’m sure you’re aware of the latest ad:

“Mourning in America”:

This is how it was in the sixties, you were either for us or against us. And you’ve got to choose.

I’m speaking to those who straddle both sides most especially. Who are left on social issues and right on fiscal ones. They’re the same. I’m not saying you won’t get rewards from working hard, but if you’re paying a low tax rate, if you’re the beneficiary of the carried interest rule, if most of your income is taxed at capital gains rates, if you make a lot and don’t give enough away because you’re protecting your lifestyle…you’re in trouble. Both the NYT and LAT did stories how rioters have gone to Beverly Hills. Turns out the vaunted BH police force is no match for the people when they organize:

“Beverly Hills, Buckhead, SoHo: The New Sites of Urban Unrest”

And you don’t need to be rich to organize, and you don’t need to be famous. The tools are at your disposal, everybody counts, and if you dismiss someone…there will be backlash.

This does not mean everyone gets to play in the NBA, everyone gets to be rich… But it does mean we focus on the national safety net, we stop blaming people for their poverty and we do our best to lift people up.

People don’t want to change, it’s too hard.

But sometimes events force them to.

You don’t want to evaluate your positions, you don’t want to learn you’re wrong.

And if you live in an echo chamber, it’s to your detriment.

The right/left, Fox/MSNBC world no longer holds. First and foremost, because all the mainstream media outlets did not predict this and are not in control of the narrative. Chaos is not only in the streets, but in the national consciousness, what is truth?

And the fact that there were protests in over 140 communities for over a week… I lived through the sixties, protest was never that wide for that long.

As for patting yourself on the back for being so enlightened… Posting on social media… Don’t kid yourself, you’re not that important. Either be a leader, or get out of the way, the social media paradigm of gaining followers and likes is irrelevant. Think about it, none of that b.s. helped spread the word on the protests. It was mostly one to one, you talked with your friends, it was all about dialogue.

But we do need leaders.

But we’re flipping the script. For too long we’ve said if you’re rich you get a voice and your voice matters more than everybody else’s.

Now, it’s about intelligence, insight. The media believes it controls whose story is amplified, whose is boosted. But now, the people do that, the people have been in control of breaking acts, TV shows, every important story for over a decade now. The public broke “The Tiger King,” the national media was caught flat-footed.

So, if you’re resting on your status, check yourself.

You don’t only need to learn the plight of African-Americans, but that of the poor, the underclass, the drug-addicted.

And this is not about voting. That’s how the old guard dupes you into being under their control. Those in control of the system have to bend to the will of the people, like with the civil rights laws and the amendment to the Constitution that allowed women to vote. Those who are saying the Constitution is inviolate, and we must adhere to it, interpreting it as those who wrote it did, are on the wrong side of the future. Like I said, everything is up for grabs, even the Electoral College. The ground is shifting under your feet, this is an earthquake, your edifice might fall.

You might think we’re going back to business as usual, that after we clean up from the protests everything will just be hunky-dory, but this will not be the end, but the beginning, it’s the will of the people.

The will of the people has been subverted for years, how long do you expect it to last? There’s a price for gerrymandering and voter suppression and team playing.

It’s no longer us versus them, we’re all in it together.

Like the cops who kneeled with the protesters, they realized the only way out of this is to all be on one side. Those who have force only will go down in defeat. Hell, even Trump and Barr’s shenanigans are being blasted by some Republicans. Trump might sacrifice Barr, but he’s never sacrificing himself.

But this is about much more than Trump.

We’re sick of hearing about guns being needed by the public to keep order. I didn’t see all those Second Amendment nitwits out in the street on the side of the police, no, they’re just afraid. It’s all puff and no substance.

And we’re sick of hearing it’s our fault that we’re on drugs, that we’re obese, as the government tears down healthy food guidelines in school.

We’re sick of drinking tainted water, we’re sick of climate change.

Yup, it’s all up for grabs. You thought this was just about George Floyd, you’re wrong, that was just the trigger, it’s been brewing for decades.

And what we’ve learned in the internet era is the will of the people always wins. It always goes people’s ways. You might be able to put your finger in the dike for a short time, but you’re still gonna be overrun by the flood.

This is something you feel in your heart. You don’t need to be out in the street, you don’t need to be protesting. You know it’s wrong. We’ve been sold a bill of goods since 1980, that if we just let the corporations run ragged the wealth would trickle down to the hoi polloi and everything would be groovy. But this did not happen, and this is still the paradigm. Hell, look at the most recent tax cuts.

And if you think people don’t know all this, you’re dreaming. People are informed.

Then again, they’re misinformed. And the miscreants misinforming the public are crying now that social networks are cracking down on them.

But the truth is the social networks are going to crack down further. Zuckerberg is gonna cave, just you watch. Because he’s ignorant now, saying there was no history to looting begetting shooting, but as he gains insight and the blowback sustains…

This is the story of today’s America, the pressure. Change first, don’t wait to be forced to.

Don’t just cough up what you need to reluctantly, give workers what they deserve now. And I’m speaking to those self-righteous record companies too. How come acts can’t own their records, writers own their books! How come profits can’t be split 50/50? So Vivendi and Warner Music can make more on the stock market? That’s one thing we’ve seen since Covid-19, the stock market has got nothing to do with economic reality on the street.

And right now, we’re all on the street. You can’t hide. Everybody knows the truth.

Wake up, it’s judgment day.

“When Did Instagram Go Dark” We have mixed feelings about #Blackout Tuesday, too.”

“Opinion: Blackout Tuesday Backfired spectacularly. Five ways to support Black Lives Matter”

Why Some Black Lives Matter supporters are upset about those black squares on Instagram – Use the hashtag #BlackoutTuesday, not #BlackLivesMatter, they say, so vital voices are not drowned out.”


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