Submitted by a filmbuff
The Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday received the lowest ratings in ages. They garnered fewer than 10 million viewers. This is a steep drop not just from the prior year but the steady 40 million viewers the Academy Awards mustered for the last twenty years. The right crowed about the low ratings as a sign that Hollywood is over. Hollywood is not over. Hollywood is only more overt in its propaganda and has their propagandists everywhere, enforcing the progressive political orthodoxy everywhere.
The silver screen has been replaced by the streaming screen, but the eyes are still focused on the content. Ratings for network television have been in a long, secular decline, but people still consume episodic serials. Consumers cut the cord, and they have since connected to several new cords for a monthly nugget. We finally got a la carte cable albeit in a studio centric form. Nothing really will change because distribution and marketing are still integrated. The creatives are still all playing the same Harvard script of what is good and what is bad, who to cast as good and bad, and what lessons to teach. Disney can still create the film, release news blurbs about its production on its news networks and advertise it in prime spots before its ABC/Disney television shows and then sell you merchandise at their affiliated retailers. They all run this game.
Even the upstarts that could challenge it like YouTube did not take long to be cleaned up and brought under heel. Long gone are the amateur documentaries and historical footage of major or minor events that were counter-narrative. They may have not cancelled PewDiePie, but the small players were demonetized and outright cast off. Nasim Aghdam was a modern day Cassandra. Demonetization put out of business anyone trying to rise. Now YouTube is a new arm of the propaganda system with the sponsored content, the corporate tie in toy testers and a slew of video game streamers who sound and act like they are on the industry’s dole, “Comment below which creeper of these new prototype creepers we played with you liked the best!”
Beyond rival content platforms, the app ecosystem is effectively orthodox per Apple and Google’s control. The infrastructure is in place. The behemoths are at the helm, dominating our attention, and they want to keep it that way. Apple TV is getting in the game, and the end result is well paid production companies to provide content and a little cut for everyone in the old Hollywood ecosystem. I think they call those merger synergies. How would the right find distribution channels? There would be a right wing content ghetto, not too different from the Christian content ghetto, which sells well but does not move the needle. What news report would ever cover it, and if they did, it would be for negative reasons. Right wing productions might find staffing crews trouble, as the old tricks of Lew Wasserman would return for production problems. With cancel culture, why would an agent risk having a star blacklisted for starring in something obviously right leaning?
The right does not get to crow about an irrelevant Hollywood. Even if your side turns the channel or film off, the other side and the apolitical side will not. These people will absorb the soft propaganda of casting and framing in popcorn films like the new Star Wars films or any Marvel product and not question it. Advertising is a little different because the same creatives are too braindead to see that maybe in a three minute commercial break, America does not need to see a mixed race couple. That is a little too obvious. Hollywood itself is getting heavy handed with the white female leads multiracial group over white male leading a mostly white group.
Yet, the masses will still watch. What can the right do for mass marketed cultural products? Anyone see the adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged? Awful. Even the framing of products is too on the nose. Just use casting to frame the story. Never spell it out. Come on, Daniel Larusso from the Ellis Island contingent has to overcome the surfer looking gang of meanies. A right wing movie would have characters reading lines that would say, “I had to arrest another illegal alien for DUI.” Hollywood is smart enough to have a cop say, “I’ll talk to Chet Ainsworth if they let me through his neighborhood’s gate.” Not everything can be a Jordan Peele horror movie, and even the knock offs are starting to fatigue critics. A few years ago, there would not be any criticism of a show like Them; there is a desire for subtlety.
The bad ratings might be what the industry needs to figure out they need to put the mask back on. Some patriotic Marvel films glorifying the military industrial complex with superhero special weapons should do the trick. Some moody drama might rekindle the magic of the modest budget The Cider House Rules, which was 1999’s feel good abortion movie of the year. Hollywood will find a way. Even if they have to scale down films and deal with the fragmented consumer market, there are oh so many screens for them to fill.