The market always wins

Now that the rebooted Ghostbusters is officially being acknowledged as a red-ink bath for Sony Pictures, can we please put down the protest signs, and have a candid talk? About how all the scolding in the world, cannot force the audience to love a thing? Likewise, all the scolding in the world, cannot force the audience to hate a thing, either.

Basically, stop with the scolding. It doesn’t work. It never works.

Remember how the new Star Wars book — that was a prequel to the seventh film — scored more one-star Amazon reviews, than all of its four and five-star reviews put together? And the author proceeded to scold the audience for it? I say, lighten up, Francis! It’s not because the audience is secretly morally repugnant. It’s because you turned in a weird book, written weirdly, versus the straightforward space adventure novel everybody wanted, and were expecting. Was that your editor’s idea? For you to throw an experimental literary curveball at the Star Wars fans, then teach them to hate you — by accusing them of being horrible people?

See, here’s the thing. The market always wins. Always. Doesn’t matter how brave or bold your posturing may be. If your book, or your movie, or your album, doesn’t have enough “there” there, you can hang a million virtue-signals on the thing — dress it up like a damned social justice christmas tree — and the audience is going to give you a big, whopping, “Meh.” And it’s not because the audience is secretly homophobic or misogynistic or racist. It’s because the audience is tired of being sermonized, and cannot be commanded to vote (with its collective wallet) for something it doesn’t want to vote for.

The Ghostbusters reboot failed, not because America hates women, but because America looked at this movie and said, “Two-point-five stars; maybe three at most, if we’re in a good mood.”

The audience doesn’t care about progressive eat-your-ideological-veggies politics. The audience doesn’t care about the demographics of the actors. The audience just wants to have a good time.

Likewise, you cannot command consumers to shun a thing, if that thing has already won them over. Remember Chick-Fil-A? Bunch of Social Justice Zealots (SJZs) commanded us all to “punish” Chick-Fil-A for (insert progressive political reason here) and the response — by Americans — was to give Chick-Fil-A a record week in profits. Any way you slice it, the SJZ plan wholly and utterly backfired. Because Chick-Fil-A chicken is delicious. People have known this for years. It’s why Chick-Fil-A has exploded nationally. Check out any Chick-Fil-A franchise at lunch or dinner, and you will typically see stacks of cars lined up around the lot, sometimes more than once, with a huge crowd at the registers inside. The anti-Chick-Fil-A “punishment” maneuver merely caused those ordinarily packed lines to go out the driveway, down the street, and around the block. Because the consumers said “F*** you, you can’t make us hate good food.” The consumers are still saying it, too.

So, please, let’s pause for a moment; to consider the boots-on-ground reality. Wagging your finger at people is never, ever a winning marketing strategy. Wagging your finger at the crowds is liable to have the crowds showing you a collective finger of their own — and it ‘aint the index finger. Because people like what they like, and they don’t like what they don’t like. De gustibus. You want to freight your product with all kinds of social justice ornamentation? Fine. Just be aware of the fact that you’re putting a stone around that product’s neck. Don’t be shocked when it sinks to the bottom, never to rise. It’s not the audience’s fault. It’s your fault for thinking the audience wanted or needed you to shove your politics up their collective ass.

Again, the crowds just want to have fun. I repeat: they want to have fun. Can you bring the fun? Can you make something that gets spontaneous laughter or applause, without it turning into an imitation of a Politburo session, where grown men collapse because they dare not get caught being the first one to put his hands back into his pockets? Maybe you think the Politburo sessions are an instruction manual, versus a cautionary tale?

Maybe you need to reconsider.

But wait, who am I kidding? Of course you won’t reconsider. SJZs never, ever reconsider. Smug self-righteousness is a hell of a drug. Once a person is hooked, (s)he loses all perspective, and becomes both myopic and deaf. That’s SJZism in a nutshell: myopic, and deaf.

But don’t say nobody warned you. The next time your movie or book — tricked out with all the latest virtue-signalling baubles — tanks. You spent too much time focusing on the wrapping paper, without paying enough attention to what’s inside. It’s the product itself that counts. Just like content of character counts. Remember who said that? I do. It was good advice.

More “there” there, please. Bring the “there” and you succeed, every time. “There” is what matters to the consumer, above all else.

Not what you think you’re saying with the product. Not what you think you have to say, to make people think you’re one of the Good Guys. The audience isn’t paying money to watch you check yourself out in the mirror, take selfies, and broadcast to the world that you’re wonderful.

The audience wants to be entertained.

Not educated. Not lectured. Not have their awareness raised.

Entertained.

Oh, sure, you might get some fraction of the crowd to buy in — as a political duty. And if you can be satisfied with an “audience” that supports you solely and explicitly out of obligation, knock yourself out. Just don’t be shocked when the crowds aren’t beating down your storefront door. Learn to be content with your monthly trickle from Patreon. You’ve chosen to wear your SJZ badge on your lapel. You couldn’t wait to tell the audience how much they suck. You elected confrontation as your mode of communication. The bad’s on you. Make no mistake about it. The bad’s on you.

On the gripping hand, if you’re a content producer who’s been frustrated by the fact that the SJZs keep demanding you create the way they expect you to create — otherwise you’re a horrible person who will be punished — take heart. You don’t have to do what they say. You don’t have to kiss the asses, nor the rings. Your options are open. You can have fun doing what you’re doing, and find an audience who will have fun right along with you. And if you can spin the fun up to high enough RPM, maybe you get a feedback effect, go viral, and see some real traction? It’s not a guarantee. But then again, with the market, nothing ever is. You just don’t need to load up your ruck sack with leaden social justice conceits, in a vain attempt to appease people who will never be appeased anyway — because they’re high on their own supply.

Create your stuff. Have a good time doing it. Work hard. And above all else, be gracious with the market — even on those occasional days when they throw pies at you. That’s inevitable. You cannot please all comers. But you can thank them for their time. You can thank them for making an investment. You can honor the fact that they tried you, even if you ended up not being to their taste. Maybe they will try you again?

In this way, too, the market always wins. You’re not standing at a pulpit. Pulpits are for fuggheads. You’re standing in the town square, your cart of wares arrayed for viewing. If you’re good at what you do, and enough people notice, good things will come to you. Be patient. And keep playing the long game. The market favors the long game.

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86 thoughts on “The market always wins

  1. Ace of Spades nailed it this morning:
    “…if you ever wondered if there is a God, and if he has a sense of humor, well, you could do worse than this for proof. I noticed in the article that they estimate the new Ghostbusters movie will top out grossing about $225 million. The original Ghostbusters movie made about $295 million. Some quick back of the envelope calculations show that, assuming these numbers hold true, the feminist remake will wind up making……almost exactly $.78 for every $1 the first one earned.
    Well played, God, well played.”

    There are some movies which are so pitch-perfect they should *never* be rebooted. Ghostbusters is near the top of the list.

  2. It was an unnecessary remake and I have zero interest in it, but it fell flat financially at the BO because there’s virtually no interest in it overseas. BO in the US was decent, if unspectacular. A film which costs that much has to be popular not just in the US, but worldwide. Disney figured that out with Snow White almost 80 years ago.

  3. And this is exactly why people with an agenda hate capitalism. Because the market will trump virtue signalling. Even during the height of the Cold War the Soviet Union’s official literature could not complete with books smuggled in from the West. People risked long prison terms for a mimeographed translation of “Catch-22”.

  4. It was funny, and kind of sad, watching the other side valiantly try to make Ghostbusters the Remake “successful”. But where was the love? Where are the quotes? There’s not a single thing in it that seems to have generated any sort of genuine grass-roots affection. They’ve learned once again that you can’t astroturf pop culture, assuming, of course, that they learn anything at all.

  5. What most of the scolds fail to grasp is…no one cared about the ‘all female cast’ thing. What they cared about was a.) no one ASKED for a Ghostbusters remake of any stripe, and b.) the one they made looked/is unfunny and unoriginal (I haven’t seen it, don’t care to, the trailer was bad enough. And the dismal box office numbers indicate that I wasn’t wrong to go by the godawful trailer as indication I should skip the movie entirely). Now, had they told a rip roaring good story that happened to have a female cast? It probably would have done great. (Especially if they’d, y’know, told a rip-roaring good story that WASN’T yet another remake/reboot, but rather something fun and different without “we’re desperately trying to do a franchise” stamped all over it alongside the SJW scolding. Seriously, you think they’d have grasped this by now, but I am continually stunned by Hollywood’s collective low-digit IQ…)

    There are ways to remake/retell a story that doesn’t instantly set your potential audience’s teeth on edge. I was deeply leery of the Pete’s Dragon remake until I actually saw a trailer. The trailer made it clear that…this appears to be a completely different story. I am now intrigued. Still not hugely keen on the remake idea, but…they at least made it look like it’ll be something completely different. And they’re not trying to beat anyone over the head with MESSAGE!(tm) Nor are they attacking those people who are going “Nope, not interested, how dare you remake Pete’s Dragon and ruin my childhood.” All of which says to me that it will likely do at least decently well, not unlike many of Disney’s other recent efforts in the remake/tell-the-story-from-another-persepctive/do-an-animated-film-as-a-live-action front.

    Now, I’ve just seen news that they’re doing another installment in the Ocean’s Elven series…with an all female cast. (Admittedly one that looks to be awesome.) It begs the question now whether or not the studio will learn from the Ghostbusters fiasco and pitch an awesome, fun story (that happens to have an all female crew) rather than “YOU MUST SEE THIS BECAUSE ALL WOMYN!” that will instantly make most people say “Make me.”

  6. I’ve noticed that even the negative reviews of Suicide Squad usually give props to the female leads. Audiences don’t seem to mind *them*.

    And speaking of female leads, when are we finally getting our Honor Harrington movie/TV series?

  7. I write what I like. I hope readers like it. If I have to write what I don’t like in order to make readers like it… Well, I like my day job. Writing is too difficult to do if I’m not enjoying it.

  8. I too didn’t bother with this new Ghostbusters. The first two ( yes, I like the second one ) were based on goofy wit, clever writing, and a big dose of Murray’s ad lib. This remake did away with all of that and went for lowest denominator, loud, in your face, laugh or else crap.

    I’m guardedly hopeful for this Ocean’s Eight film ( first heard about it this morning ). Why? Because I like Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchet, and Helena Botham-Carter ( have no idea why Rhianna is included ). These people can reasonably pull off the fast talking, slightly bumbling, lovable bunch of misfit rogues that made the other movies successful. Actually, it’d be really nice if it turned out to be a good movie, ’cause then we can use this to say, “Ghostbusters didn’t flop because of female leads, it flopped because it was a poor movie.”

  9. Story first, then message (if you insist on having one), then whatever other virtue signalling points. That’s how you make money – and for that matter how you may convince people to agree with your message etc. The reverse only gets the small number of people who like the same virtues and message that you like and like to feel good at themselves for liking those things too.

  10. Saw the other day that GB-Flop’s director has sworn off making any more reboot films. Well, no freakin’ wonder!!

  11. Most of what Hollywood has made in the last 30 years is stupid remakes. Stupid because either (1) the original version can’t be topped or (2) the story wasn’t worthy of a movie in the first place. Worse is that Hollywood’s products are only sold under conditions that assume everyone is out to rob the producers, so we don’t get enough control of the product we’ve paid for. This is why so many millions have “cut the cord”, and many of us aren’t even buying from them a la carte any longer.

    Add so-called “Social Justice” “moralizing” on top of that, and forget about us ever coming back.

    I predict a lot of well-deserved bankruptcies in the media industry in the next 20 years.

    By the way, what’s the Z stand for?

  12. Ocean’s 11 with all women? Really? A remake of a 2001 movie that was a poor remake of a 1960 movie. Yeah, I think I can pass on that.

  13. It’s certainly possible to give people ‘something they never knew they wanted,’ breakout and unlikely hits that come out of nowhere do happen…

    But this goes to disprove the old saying: all publicity is NOT good publicity.

  14. Have you seen the plans for the Star Trek remake? It’s all going to be about Diversity and virtue singling, from the black female captain, to the gay couple on board. Everything in it is going to promote diversity they say.
    And they think they’re gonna have a hit.
    The only way it even makes it to the halfway point in the season, is if enough trek fans hold their nose and watch it, because I doubt the story will be anything but suck, with all of the focus of the show being on Social Justice.

  15. Star Trek ended with DS9. There were no further shows or movies. Reboot? Nero and Benedict Khanderbatch? What are you talking about? That never happened!

  16. I liked the new Ghostbusters. It suffered from being a reboot (and not quite as good as the original), but I think it suffered a lot more from the atrocious trailer and the SJW reactionary shaming.

    The trailers sucked. Both of the ones I saw left me with 0 desire to see the movie. Yet I had a few friends say they thought the movie was worth watching, so I went, and was pleasantly surprised. The movie didn’t come across as a feminist screed to me. It was funny, goofy, and had a lot of great moments. Chris Hemsworth was fantastic as a bumbling idiot. They didn’t make the new characters clones of the old ones. While there was some similarity in look, the personalities of the new cast were not Ray, Peter, Egon, and Winston in drag. They were their own (funny) characters.

    I tend to think this is less a case of SJW people trying to make a feminist movie and more a case of a decent movie getting the shaft because fans were concerned about a reboot with new characters (gender being irrelevant) at all, and SJWs not connected with the film jumping on everyone’s reasonable concerns as the typical *ist accusations they love to fling. The movie isn’t an SJW work (or, at the very least, if it does have a feminist message, it doesn’t beat one over the head about it. Tangentially, I liked Zootopia an awful lot, but it tended to beat the ‘don’t be racist’ message drum a little too loudly a little too often. Ghostbusters didn’t hit any message drum enough to draw me out of the film), but it was picked up as a hill for the SJWs to die on, and the movie suffered more than the SJW proponents did as a result.

    To me the weakest thing about the movie was the villain wasn’t as compelling as either Gozer/Zuul or Viggo the Carpathian. It would have made for a better movie with a better villain, but it was still pretty fantastic. The comedic timing was spot on, and the visual gags were great (if you go see the movie, keep your eyes on the Holtzmann character whenever she’s in the background. She’s almost always doing something funny). So I find it sad that the SJWs ruined this film by being the Scolds– not because people were concerned about the cast, but because people were concerned about the very concept of a reboot. If they hadn’t leapt on it to use it as a feminist rallying cry, I think it would have done a lot better. Like harpies, the SJWs descended on the film and covered it in so much filth that sane people wanted nothing to do with it. And they have no one to blame for the lack of success of the film than themselves.

  17. By the way, what’s the Z stand for?

    “Zombie” was the first place my mind went.

  18. Actually, I read so much of this as a variant on someone watching a traditional pearl diver grab hold of a hunk of rock, and swim down with grace and ease, and thinking ‘what you need to swim well is a large hunk of coral rock.’ (and then wondering why he is drowning.) Message, in the right place and right time, for the right audience, helps — if you’re a good swimmer… uh writer. The problem is the assumption that it is always the right time, place and that everyone is the right audience — and the assumption that any writer is the writing ability equivalent of the swimming ability of professional pearl divers. Most writers don’t have that skill to write a powerful and entertaining enough story, and pick on far too big a rock. They could manage to swim with a few pebbles, possibly quite well.

  19. I liked the GB reboot. It was fun. Leslie Jones was funny. FunCG. Wiig had some funny moments. Holtzman? Funny. And MCarthy? Yeah, funny. So in closing, I had fun watching this movie. Why are so many men threatened by it? Also, I saw Saving Private Ryan, not because it was entertaining, though it was, but more so to learn about the horrors of WWII. Boy, was I ever educated. Sometimes it’s fun to be educated by a movie.

  20. I’m trying to figure out how including women and minorities (of both race and sexual preference / gender identification) is an “agenda.”

    What I mean by that is: those people actually exist in the real world. There are gay police officers and black judges and women doing all sorts of things. That’s real life.

    Isn’t the agenda filtering those people out?

    I mean, I get that it’s not what a lot of people have been used to, but that’s just because in the 1950s it was politically-correct to only feature white, straight men as the hero.

  21. Well, I can’t tell why so many men are threatened by the GB reboot because I’ve never heard of a single man who was threatened by it.

    Personally, I can tell you that I don’t plan on seeing it because none of the trailers for the the film or any of the clips I’ve seen looked interesting, I’m not threatened, just bored. But then, I tend not to like most modern comedies. I stopped watching Saturday Night Live when Chevy Chase left the show. So I’m not the film’s audience.

    I don’t watch movies (or read fiction) to be educated because I assume that artists take artistic license. They are in the business of entertaining, and will change facts to make the story more interesting. So learning history from war movies is kind of like learning physics from Star Trek. If I want to learn about the Second World War I’ll read non-fiction sources.

  22. No one was threatened you Weiner.. Take that virtue signaling concern trolling somewhere else. I wont see that stupid movie for the same reason I didn’t see the newest Star Trek, nuRobocop, nuTotall Recall, nuConan, and nuThing. I don’t throw away my hard earned money on cynical 21st century remakes of my childhood favorites. I want new stories, new characters, and new adventures.

  23. I don’t know if the new GB movie is any good. The trailer didn’t look promising. Had the people behind it admitted the trailer sucked, and promised the movie is better than the trailer, I might have been willing to take a chance.
    They didn’t though. Instead, they proceeded insult their potential audience (always a great strategy) in an effort to shame people into watching the movie. Guess what, most people don’t spend money on a movie so strangers they will never meet will think better of them, They pay money to be entertained.

  24. Edward Earl Newton I don’t know where you get your crazy strawmen. Nobody has a problem with women and minorities in film, television , or literature. NOBODY!! It might not be some peoples preference to watch a movie about women but I doubt anybody cares that people make movies with women. The idiotic strawman of yours goes even farther. You pretend that women and minorities in film are some shocking new thing you guys came up with yesterday. Im 33 and as far back as I can remember women and minorities have been front and center in all media. I grew up on Family Matters with a black cop and Fresh Prince with a couple of black lawyers and judges. Remember those? I grew up on a black Commander running DS9, hands down the best incarnation of Star Trek. To deny all those is just ignorant and dishonest.
    But here is the honest truth. The “agenda” isn’t the inclusion of women and minorities. No the REAL “AGENDA” is a marketing ploy, a poor one, but a downright cynical scam. It’s a “buy our book, movie, it has brown women in it, feel good about yourself, support us.” The scam is clear in SFF. A bunch of ultra-liberals constantly bend over backwards to virtue signal how they “we specifically want unheard of voices,” as advertising. While they themselves are the gatekeepers.

  25. ” [Ghostbusters] Yeah, funny. So in closing, I had fun watching this movie. Why are so many men threatened by it? ”

    Larry, because of the second sentence I quoted. Also, I’m not a man. And then there is this…

    http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/07/your-duty-to-see-ghostbusters-this-weekend.html#

    This is what I said about that article a month ago: “This amazing bit of pro-female scolding begins with the hope that men fall off a cliff and die.
    It goes on to claim that the trailer for this movie really wasn’t horrible. (Hint… it was *horrible*. People reviewed it with the words, “I wanted to like this, the trailer was horrible.”)
    And that no one, NO ONE, complains about reboots of favorite shows. Particularly reboots that seem to be motivated by a political/social statement that we’re supposed to support even if the product sucks.
    But you should totally watch this, even if it sucks, because the all female cast is an super important political/social statement that it’s important to support.
    Ladies in Hollywood… I’m not sure you need this kind of help. You’re better off waiting for men to all fall off a cliff and die.”

    If we go ahead and go with the “men are threatened by this”, pretend that’s true… consider that what is deemed an appropriate defense of this movie is… You should watch this movie even if it sucks because men aren’t going to all die soon enough.

    But mostly… people are uninterested in medicine.

    By nearly all accounts the Ghostbuster’s remake was extremely light on “medicine” to the point of avoiding even the nasty after-taste. So maybe you could answer me, female that I am, why someone thought that it was a good idea to *market* the movie as medicine?

    And maybe answer why, when people complained about the crappy trailer they got accused of sexism?

    And answer why, in a field where people, both men and women, are guaranteed to have an entirely predictable hissy-fit over a remake of their favorite movie, that those who did so were accused of sexism?

    While you’re at it, answer why you personally have done the same thing.

  26. “I mean, I get that it’s not what a lot of people have been used to, but that’s just because in the 1950s it was politically-correct to only feature white, straight men as the hero.”

    LOL. I saw a video about a thing yesterday. The first line was… “Imagine if you were alive in the 1980’s….”

    “I’m trying to figure out how including women and minorities (of both race and sexual preference / gender identification) is an “agenda.””

    Well, it shouldn’t be. Right? They should just *be* there having adventures and doing heroic things just like it’s *normal*. Right? So why IS it an agenda? Why is it marketed as an agenda? Why do silly feminist scolds at NYMagazine and various other places (pretty much as if reading off a script) explain that what *matters* isn’t the movie, it’s the sex of the actors? That there is an extremely important cause that Must Be Supported and anyone who fails to support it is a bad person?

    Because the movie viewing public has precious few 120 year olds buying movie tickets.

    Incidentally… explaining that those of us born after the 1950’s and certainly the youngsters that have to imagine if they were born before the 1980’s, not to mention those who hardly recall 9-11 as anything more then stories told them by others, have as a *normal expectation* that movies and television shows will feature women and minorities is not an argument that it’s *enough*… it’s an argument that it’s *normal*. People, men and women, do not get their nickers in a twist if a movie in their favorite genre features a diverse cast. So just MAKE THE MOVIE and tell me why it’s great.

  27. Threatened by a movie they marketed terribly? A movie they tried to shame people into seeing?

    Uh, huh. Keep telling yourself that.

    Let’s look at another example. Star Trek.

    Now, I like the new movies. They’re fun popcorn flicks even if I have to ignore science in a few more places than normal, (a single example, in the newest they laughingly underestimate the size of the important nebula, to the point that there is no way the Enterprise could have gotten in [too dense for FTL] or anything else have gotten out) but still fun.

    The second new film also points to one of the pitfalls of worrying too much about identity politics – Benedict Cumberbatch. Yeah, he’s a great actor, but casting him as Khan? What a waste. JJ was quoted as saying he did it because he didn’t want a Brown person as the villain, which frankly is bigoted. Indians don’t need to be coddled and only shown in a positive light in stories, because they are just as capable as any other group of being heroes or villains. Heck, villain roles are often the ones actors have the most fun with.

    Can you imagine how that movie would have gone if they had gotten a Bollywood actor to play the part? Like Shah Rukh Khan, the most famous actor in the whole world? It would have been a better movie for it.

    My favorite Star Trek though? Hands down DS9. Sisko is a freaking great character. So are Kira, O’Brien, Dax, Odo, Bashier, even Garak and Quark get their time to shine.

    *That* is the way to do it. Sisko being black ins’t the core facet of his character, it influences him greatly, sure, but his character is based more around him being a good father, a good officer, and rather more pragmatic than Picard was.

    The marketing for the new Trek puts so much emphasis on race and sexuality that it makes me worry that it is the core aspect of the character, that they’ve let that one aspect run roughshod over everything else.

    The. Story. Must. Be. Good. Everything else is secondary.

  28. @Alexandru Constantin – When you say “Nobody has a problem with women and minorities in film, television , or literature” – where are you pulling that from? Do you work in the entertainment business?

    Because I do. My friends and I are the ones in the pitch meetings trying to get things made. My friends are the people going up for the roles in television and film. We all see the kinds of material that’s on offer. It’s only in recent time that women and minorities are starting to be given the chance to be “front and center,” and it still hasn’t circulated all the way through the system. There’re still plenty of places that say, “Oh, we WOULD put up more material with / by minorities, but we just can’t find the talented people to do it.”

    And while they’re mourning the lack of female and minority talent, they are cueing up six more crappy shows starring white dudes.

    The bias against women and minorities is why Katniss Everdeen starts in a book as dark-skinned and is portrayed by “Winter’s Bone” Jennifer Lawrence. Same reason why the Asian guys who inspired the story of “21” get played by a white guy whose name you can’t remember without googling. It’s the same reason that Moses has YET TO BE PLAYED BY A MIDDLE-EASTERN MAN in the mainstream.

    If people are over-enthusiastic about supporting programs with women and minorities in them – and if blogs and the Internet love to crow about the newest series with “a strong female lead” – give ’em a break. They aren’t trying to pee in your pool. They just know it’s a delicate time right now, and if people vote with their dollars and their eyeballs, the industry will start to believe that women and minorities should get their fair share at the entertainment table.

    Because making a good story or a good movie isn’t as easy as clicking the “good” button. It’s a helluva hard job, and it takes a lot of work and luck for it to happen at all. Most times, it doesn’t. But when programs with women or minorities fail, they don’t say, “Eh, just didn’t work out.” They say, “See? Nobody wants to see women / minorities.”

    White guys, on the other hand, have a very secure place as leading men in Hollywood, no matter how many Fantastic Fours, Man from U.N.C.L.E.s, Lone Rangers, R.I.P.D.s, and Green Lanterns fail to deliver at the box office.

    So yes – for this brief period in history – it’s a little bit about supporting women and minorities while they get their feet underneath them.

    They’ve had nearly a century of being forced to play dumb girlfriends and sidekicks.

    Give ’em a break.

  29. Remember when all those white guys boycotted the Alien movies because Sigourney Weaver–you might remember her from the original Ghostbusters–played the hero? Or how the Terminator movies (the first one came out the same year as Ghostbusters, by the way) were reviled for having Sarah Connor as the main character? In fact, 1984 also saw the release of Sixteen Candles, A Nightmare On Elm Street, and Nausicaa of The Valley of The Wind. All top earners, all with female leads.

    Movies had no women in the 1950s? The top three earning films for 1950 were Sunset Blvd., Cinderella, and All About Eve. (A year that also saw the release of box office hits Cheaper By The Dozen, The Fuller Brush Girl, and Annie Get Your Gun.)

    Look, if the Hollywood elites don’t want to make films starring women, it’s not the audience’s fault. Telling me that I have an obligation to see a movie that I don’t want to see so that a bad movie will make money and encourage Hollywood studios to make more movies like it is absurd.

  30. Edward. As so many others you missed the point. NO ONE CARES, out here in the wilderland’s whether the lead is male, female black white or a bi-orangutan. NO ONE CARES! Maybe the people making the movie, editing and publishing the book, etc do, but they are NOT the audience. When Ellen Degeneres came out I told my wife that it would only kill her show if she became GAY ellen, rather than ELLEN who was gay. We all know which it was, and it killed the show. The Hollywood crowd acts like WE should pay OUR money to support THEIR causes. Don’t we get enough of that merde from the government already? Thought control never works but you guys NEVER seem to realize it. Did not work for Stalin, did not work for Hitler, will not work for you.

  31. Sara the Red on August 11, 2016 at 11:36 am said:
    Pete’s Dragon remake …. they’re not trying to beat anyone over the head with MESSAGE!(tm)

    I don’t know about that. I cringed this morning listening to the morning news and the movie critic was babbling on (as they usually do) and said something to the effect of “wonderful message”.
    Gah. That is almost enough there to get me to change my mind about giving it a shot. _sigh_

    [wandering off to see if I can find a video, whatnot, with Candle on the Water.

  32. > “Two-point-five stars; maybe three
    > at most, if we’re in a good mood.”

    Balanced by; self, spouse, two kids, snacks, and drinks: right at $100, locally.

    For a hundred bucks, I could find more-entertaining things to do.

  33. > $225 million…. $295 million.

    According to dollartimes.com’s inflation calculator, 295M 1984 Reagan dollars equals 688M 2016 obamabucks.

  34. This! So much this! The only people whom you will get to buy into your virtue signaling garbage are:

    1) Those who secretly hate themselves so much, that they’re willing to shill trash as art in order to portray themselves as more profound than others and more capable of truly understanding the deep meaning of the dreck that is SUPPOSED to be good, because WYMYN, TRANS, WHATEVER!

    2) Those who think that publicly praising said garbage will get them the accolades of the oh-so-virtuous editors, producers, etc. and help cement their reputation as more enlightened than the rest of us.

    Fuck that. Just give me a good story!

  35. “– When you say “Nobody has a problem with women and minorities in film, television , or literature” – where are you pulling that from? Do you work in the entertainment business?”

    Apparently this is the issue Edward. We live in the real world. In flyover country. And we *know* that no one gives a flying you know what. We do not work “in the entertainment business” which is apparently made up of racist, sexist, homophobes. Maybe they should pull their heads out of their butts and stop using us as an excuse for their own prejudices.

    And maybe you should blame the people responsible.

    And if good returns for movies starring women and minorities would benefit the industry, maybe the idiots in marketing should stop trying to market to the tiny segment of SJW activists who function on proving their virtue by how many people they can make angry and defensive. This will drive the maximum people away from a property and thus validate their continued crusade.

  36. Apparently, depending on which computer I’m on I auto-login as Synova or Julie Pascal… not trying any funny-business so I thought I should mention that.

  37. Well, I can’t tell why so many men are threatened by the GB reboot because I’ve never heard of a single man who was threatened by it.

    I suspect this was an invention of the SJZs. We saw the same thing with the seventh Star Wars movie. Nobody had a problem with Boyega or Ridley, so the SJZs concocted a fake controversy wherein four deliberate trolls from 4Chan — that’s a whole four people, with their fingers cross behind their backs and out to fuck with the SJZs — amounted to a massive wave of racist, sexist outrage against the movie. This allowed the SJZs to have a week or two of social justice internet masturbation. Which is really all the SJZs are after anyway. They’re not interested in solving or helping anything. They are lovers of their own ideas and their own intellects.

  38. Hello all –

    As we go forward with this discussion, I think it’s important to keep a couple things in mind:

    1) “Good” is a wildly subjective term. When everyone is saying, “JUST GIVE ME A GOOD STORY!” – what you’re saying is, “JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING I’LL LIKE!” If anyone could predict that with regularity, they’d be the richest person alive. So to say “Just give me a good story,” as though thousands of people aren’t trying their hardest to do so, implies that all those people are sacrificing their time and energy just to shove a “message” down your throat. Whether you believe it or not – that’s not what’s happening.

    2) When you complain about “messages” being shoved down your throat, three things happen:
    A) The smaller percentage of people among you who actually are bigoted use this as their excuse for shouting down whoever is trying to speak. That’s not everybody who complains, that’s a subset. But if the “SJWs” have to answer for their rabid supporters who shriek guilt trips at people on Twitter (yes, we know they exist, and yes, they are jerks who need to calm down and think before they speak) – then you likewise have to answer for the bigots who hide behind your arguments.

    B) While you are frustrated, the people these “message movies” and books represent are cheering because finally – finally – they have some decent mainstream content that reflects them. Nope, it isn’t perfect, and nope – sometimes it’s not even the best reflection of them or their culture, but at least they are _in the conversation now_.
    Maybe this is something you take for granted, because there is so much content out there that reflects the attitudes / culture / people of the “flyovers” (as someone put it) – but for a significant number of people, those “message” stories are the only times they get to see themselves in anything close to popular culture where they aren’t a plot point or a joke.

    C) To some people, this “message” content you’re angry about _is_ good. There are people who loved the new Ghostbusters movie. There are people who love Chuck Wendig’s writing. As Brad put it above: the market DOES decide, and that’s why this material keeps coming out. Unrepresented groups have had a chance to see themselves reflected in culture, and they want more. This is something you take for granted when you say, “Just give me a good story!”

    Let me put it another way. There are people who are reading this blog entry saying, “YES! Thank you! Excellently put! Finally someone is saying what everyone should hear!”

    That’s the same thing that’s happening with under-represented groups in entertainment. The difference is, these under-represented groups are cheering because they’re finally being shown as people, and not “magical negroes” or “sexpots.” They’re cheering because they’re being heard.

    Here, people are cheering because someone is saying, “Stop talking about messages, shut up, and entertain me.”

    The tone doesn’t sound the same, if you think about it.

    And finally, to Brad directly, I’d like you to at least consider the irony that you’ve written a finger-wagging blog post aimed at “SJZs” about how finger-wagging doesn’t work with audiences. It would seem as though the flood of support for this post is evidence that your theory is incorrect.

    I’ll leave you to reconcile that for yourself.

  39. Edward Earl Newton on August 12, 2016 at 10:40 am said:
    B) While you are frustrated, the people these “message movies” and books represent are cheering because finally – finally – they have some decent mainstream content that reflects them.

    This seems to be the basis for a majority of the arguments for “inclusiveness”. Why?
    Why do you want to see a reflection of yourself in a story? It never mattered to me that the Hardy Boys look nothing like me, I loved the stories. It never mattered that John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, was a white male, of Aristocratic blood, something I could never share, he was awesome. It never mattered that Alex Ramsey, Juan Rico or Rod Walker, were all male – I would have loved to have done what they did.

    Notice a pattern here? It never mattered to me, still doesn’t, if the MC was male, white or whatever. I never needed to see a reflection of myself, or of my culture, (Hello Lessa of Pern) in a story. So why is there a drive to show a reflection? I don’t need a character that looks like me, thinks like me, acts like me. In fact, I want a character that is NOTHING like me. I want to dream. Dreams don’t come from seeing myself, or my culture. Dreams come from seeing something different: A station on the Moon fighting for freedom, Dragons flying through the air fighting thread, Two brothers working together to solve a mystery, A wild horse saving the life of a young boy, A world that encircles a star, A galactic patrol sworn to protect freedom. That is what dreams are made of my friend: Seeing something different and maybe deciding to try help make that difference a reality.

    If I want to see myself, my culture, I’ll turn on the evening News. Give me the dreams instead.

  40. Edward, you’re so far out in left field, you can’t even see the line drive that Brad and most of the commenters are making

    Let me compare and contrast two movies this year, and my experiences around them.

    Zootopia. This movie hooked me into wanting to see it with the sloths at the DMV trailer. Everyone has had to deal with the DMV at some point, and the sloth workers were such a perfect caricature that it really caught my attention. In my experience, from online sources and friends, the buzz leading up to the movie was ‘this movie is funny, this movie looks good, this movie is original, I want to go see it’. The reviews that came out were all “This movie is funny. This movie is good. This movie is original. Go see it.”

    I went and saw the movie. I loved it. I thought it was funny, good, original, all the things that the buzz and the reviews made it out to be. I also thought it was a movie with a message (don’t judge people by their outward appearance) that got a little heavy-handed at times, but still didn’t detract from the story. But it was clear there was a message *in the film* itself. However, the story was still good, funny, and original.

    Ghostbusters. This movie had a lot of baggage before it was even cast. Bill Murray refusing to reprise his role started the bells tolling even before Harold Ramis’ death gave it a final death knell. But they put together a new movie anyway. BIll Murray (along with all the other surviving main cast except Moranis who retired from acting years ago) agreed to cameo in it. New cast of main characters. This raised a lot of concern about ‘why do a reboot’ even before the cast was selected.

    Enter the new cast. For those of us not in Manhattan or LA, the cast had little effect on our talking about it. The buzz was all about “Ramis is dead. Murray didn’t want to reprise Venkman. Why do a reboot?”, while the buzz in NYC and LA was “LOOK! ALL WOMAN CAST!”. Everyone else didn’t really care. Then the trailer came out. And the trailer was awful. Every review I saw talked about how poor this movie looked from the trailer. The gender of the main characters didn’t even enter into it. And I saw the trailer and agreed. This movie looked awful. The second trailer came out, and I personally thought, “Oh, Chris Hemsworth is in it. Well I suppose he’s entitled to a bad movie like every other actor.”

    And then the SJWs latched onto this movie as a hill to fight and die on. Ghostbusters suddenly stopped being about the crappy trailers and the why do a reboot at all? to “all you people who are raising concerns about the quality of the movie are just secretly sexist!” doing all the whiny shrill harpy-like screeching that they typically do when they find a hill to die on. Which turned off those of us in ‘flyover country’ who don’t like being screeched at about things we aren’t. Despite the SJW shrieks to the contrary, the people who weren’t enthused about this film weren’t enthused because it looked liked it would suck, not because they didn’t want a female cast.

    So the movie comes out and it tanks. Why? Because the trailers sucked, and even after some reviews started coming out that it was good, the harpy-screeching had turned people off on it anyway. Me, personally, I had a couple of acquaintances and friends say it was actually good, despite the trailers. So, despite my personal trepidation, I coughed up the cash for a matinee viewing.

    And I loved the film. I loved it despite the harpy-screeches, and despite the crappy trailers. At the end of the day, I thought it had some weaknesses (the villain wasn’t epic enough for a Ghostbusters movie, IMO, being the big one), but I quite enjoyed it. I liked it as much, if not more than Zootopia. And Ghostbusters didn’t have a message that I found myself getting hit over the head with. It wasn’t about four women fighting ghosts. It was about a couple of fringe scientists, one of whom was trying to be taken seriously and getting drug back into the fringe science of ghosts, a wacky, crazy, genius of an engineer, and a subway worker who knew the city and could help the scientists navigate the underground where a lot of the ghost stuff was going on. Could have been played by four men, 2 men and 2 women, four women or any combination thereof. The *story* didn’t care. The audience didn’t care. The SJW harpies did care, and by picking that movie as a rallying cry, cause the general audience to be turned off.

    Can’t speak to what the Hollywood types thought. I’ve found that the Hollywood mentality is so foreign to me that I gave up trying to understand that brand of crazy long long ago. But for those of us in the regular world, the reason the movie bombed was a combination of bad marketing and being yelled at for being sexist when we weren’t. I don’t feel more represented as a woman because Ghostbusters had four women in the primary roles, just as I didn’t feel unrepresented because the original Ghostbusters had four men in the jumpsuits. I liked both movies for being funny, and I could not care who the actors are, as long as they’re doing a good job with the script they’re given. I think you’ll find that Brad and most of the regular commenters on his blog feel exactly the same as I do about who’s being cast as what. Don’t care who plays Katniss (or Nick Fury or Han Solo or whomever) as long as the role is played well.

    This is getting long, but let me throw in one additional example to close. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a pretty lousy movie. Shia LeBouf gets a lot of blame for that, but it was not just his acting, it was also the writing. But he still justly gets a lot of blame. But it flys under the SJW radar. The movie is a bad movie because it’s a bad movie. However, if Mutt had been played by a woman instead of a man and the movie was still just as bad because it’s a bad movie, the same hue and cry that we hear about Ghostbusters would have been raised about Crystal Skull simply because the Indy successor character was a female, and the fans who didn’t like the movie because it sucked would have been chewed up and down as being sexist, when they weren’t. Ghostbusters is another Crystal Skull to a lot of people. There wasn’t a need to reboot it, and they think it’s a bad movie because it’s not a great movie. The sex of the cast has nothing to do with it.

    Capiche?

  41. Edward, so if I’ve got your points straight:

    1) The entertainment business, long a fortress of the left, is actually full of racists and sexists? (or unconscious racial and sexist assumptions, if I’m in the mood to be charitable)

    2) These groups must see themselves as replacements in remakes of existing properties, thus being unable to create new properties?

  42. I’ve heard the thing before “Wouldn’t you be excited too? Isn’t that what you’d mention about a show?” And that’s a point. If I like real-spy memoirs from WW2, and I’ve enjoyed the ones I read, I’m still more excited about the one set in Norway and I’m going to gush some, “This is so great and it’s set in NORWAY. It’s called Two Eggs on My Plate and it’s great.” And if someone asked me why it was great I’d say, “Because it’s real and it’s amazing how well the author showed the deadly danger they were in and how tense it all was trying not to get caught and they didn’t get caught, though it was close sometimes. It made my heart pound.”

    No wait, I say, “It’s set in NORWAY! Do you have something against Norwegians you racist?”

  43. Just to be extra clear… of course people will mention that they’re excited that they feel that some show includes some special thing about them.

    It’s the notion that other people can’t react with “meh” without being terrible people that is the problem. Being excited and mentioning that the main character of a show is adopted, just like you are is a natural reaction. Or being more excited about a spy story set in Norway than the one set in Italy… or vice versa. And “cool, they’re making a action thriller with a female lead,” and your bud says…. “meh.”

  44. Okay, this post is not selling entertainment. This post is shop talk about the business of marketing. Even so, Brad is not saying that people who engage in shaming their audience are “audiophobic” or something, he is pointing out that shaming your audience is bad marketing.

    So, no, not in any way similar.

  45. I’m gonna get personal for a moment. I didn’t like the end of “The Chaplin’s War”. I don’t want to go into details because this isn’t the place for that. I wrote Brad and I told him that I didn’t like the end, and I told him why,

    Now, I don’t know how he felt when he got my e-mail. Maybe he thought I was a dumb son-of-a-bitch who shouldn’t try to read anything more complicated than “The Cat In The Hat”. Heck, maybe he still feels that way every time he sees my name come up on his blog.

    What I know is how he responded to my e-mail. He wrote me a nice, personal letter and he said he understood my complaint, but he felt the ending he wrote was the right one, and he said why, And I accept that. I haven’t gotten around to rereading “The Chaplin’s War” in light of his letter, but I do intend to. I’ve read other of his works and enjoyed them.

    That is how a professional artist responds to criticism. He didn’t tell me that I was an adolescent idiot who lives in my mother’s basement and he hopes that I die soon, which is how members of the new Ghostbusters team responded to their critics.

    I hope that makes things clear.

  46. @Wyldcat – While I appreciate that – and I’m sincerely pleased that you’re satisfied in what you’ve found so far in the entertainment world – not everyone feels like you do.

    @Julaire – I thank you for such a clear and detailed response. I thought you broke that down exceptionally well. What I think is also happening is a sort of “dialogue at cross purposes:” there absolutely was a bigoted backlash against the film initially (and that’s what the filmmakers responded to, at first). Check Leslie Jones’ Twitter feed if you don’t believe me.

    Did Sony lean on the response to that bigotry to market their movie? It seems they did. That’s skeevy on their part – but not skeevy in any way we haven’t come to expect from the movie business. I think we can all be grown up enough to say, “I understand there’s been a bigoted response to the movie. While I don’t like the film, it’s also clear that the jeers being tossed at bigots is not aimed at me.”

    The concern from a lot of the people on the left, I think, was less about the negative reaction to the movie, and more about the volume of it. Everybody complains about reboots. Who else gets nearly a million dislikes on the trailer? Can you appreciate how that would look to someone else?

    @Bob: You’re close, but you’re missing a couple of key points:

    1) Hollywood is a largely left-leaning community – but the decision makers aren’t always that. More importantly, they usually aren’t trying to sell to a left-leaning community, and so the things that get made tend to reflect what money people in Hollywood believe will sell.

    2) These groups want to see themselves as part of the national cultural dialogue, and not as servants and punchlines. Right now, in the movies, that usually means remakes. These groups, I wager, would much rather be in original properties but Hollywood isn’t making as many originals nowadays (mostly because people don’t go to see them, for a variety of reasons both valid and not)

    @Synova – I think we’re seeing eye to eye more than this conversation would suggest. The part I think you’re leaving out is – in your example, there actually would be people going, “NORWAY? We don’t need any more Weegey BS political correctness in the movies!”

    (With compliments/apologies to Doug Stanhope for the fake Norwegian racial slur)

    You wouldn’t see those people, and you probably wouldn’t know anybody who would say that. But they exist, and they are very loud, and they seek out the filmmakers to spray their particular brand of hate.

    They are, in fact, the kind of people who originally came up with terms like “SJW” to begin with. So you can appreciate why other people who stumble upon this kind of discussion would read it as another cabal of bigots.

    I want to make it clear I’m not saying you are bigoted, Synovia. Simply that, from the outside, the point you’re trying to make (“I hate being told I have to like something by SJWs”) can read very similar to an outsider.

    In all honesty, I think terms like SJW should be abandoned in general. They just serve to rile up aggression against people, and shut out others. It kills the conversation before it’s begun, and that’s detrimental to everyone in the middle. (And absolutely: there are left-leaning folks who do the same thing with terms like “racist” and “bigot” – they need to stop as well, and I’ve been one to say such before)

    When we say “these people don’t have a valid point, they just want to fight” – that removes any chance of understanding. It makes them into paper villains for us to jeer at. It’s done on both sides, and it’s wrong.

    @MishaBurnett – I appreciate you writing all that out. I think this is another example of communities talking at cross-purposes. You’re holding up Brad as an example of how one should handle criticism, using your interaction with him. In contrast, you point to the response from the director/cast of Ghostbusters to their critics.

    However, I doubt in your letter you said the kinds of things that were said to the cast and director of Ghostbusters. I’m sure you didn’t question Brad’s sexual preference, his manhood, his ability to do his job because of his gender – etc etc etc. Can we agree, then, that it’s not really a fair comparison?

    As far as this post not being about entertainment, let’s not be overly-simplistic. There is all kinds of entertainment. Fox News and MSNBC thrive on entertaining with self-righteous rage.

    Unless every commenter here is actually in the entertainment industry – I’ve got my hand up, is there anybody else? – they’re here for a different reason. Judging from the comments, it’s because they agree with what Brad is saying. And the irony of this post is he defeats his own point by posting it.

    Some people clearly _do_ respond when you criticize the audience. They respond when they _agree_ with your criticism.

    As I’m sure he knows.

  47. I am in the entertainment business–I write and sell fiction. And one thing that I have learned in this business is that attacking critics is never a good idea. I don’t see Brad doing that. I see him pointing out that someone else is doing that, and that it isn’t a good business strategy.

    Yes, you can get people to agree with you if you say hateful things, as the cast and crew of the new Ghostbusters have been saying. And no doubt there are some who went to the film simply because they agreed with the misandry of the filmmakers. There were people who paid good money to see “Caligula” simply because it was so universally reviled.

    However, it seems clear that they lost many more potential viewers than they gained. From a purely economic standpoint it would have been better for the studio if they had ignored the negative reactions to the trailers. You may agree with the cast members who said that the critics of the film are women-haters. They may actually be women-haters. That’s not the point. The point is that calling them that in a public forum was a bad economic move.

  48. I saw the movie. I rate it a 6/10. Too much “hilarious” improv for my taste. Too much of the improv didn’t support the story. My kids liked it.

  49. While you are frustrated, the people these “message movies” and books represent are cheering because finally – finally – they have some decent mainstream content that reflects them. Nope, it isn’t perfect, and nope – sometimes it’s not even the best reflection of them or their culture, but at least they are _in the conversation now_.
    Maybe this is something you take for granted, because there is so much content out there that reflects the attitudes / culture / people of the “flyovers” (as someone put it) – but for a significant number of people, those “message” stories are the only times they get to see themselves in anything close to popular culture where they aren’t a plot point or a joke.

    The problem is that any time we see any pop culture now, it’s us who live in flyover country that are always the butt of the joke. The people that make the movies, blue tribe liberals (who are predominantly white), are not just ignoring but insulting a vast section of the country. And then they wonder why these people have largely stopped consuming the entertainment they produce.

    All this diversity talk isn’t bringing in much in the way of new readers outside the blue tribe white liberal bubble, because modern message fic by the blue tribe liberals is only representing the blue tribe liberal values regardless of the skin color of the characters. Message fic only succeeds when the person writing it recognizes the limits of their own values; Orwell’s critiques of socialism are so powerful because he was a socialist. Orwell could criticize socialism because he was a socialist; blue tribe criticism of the red tribe falls flat because the people doing the criticism don’t understand what they are criticizing.

    If you’re wondering where the sci-fi fans are, I’m spending the weekend with a large number of them (25,000+) at an anime convention, and they are a pretty diverse bunch. And all this at a convention dedicated to an art form that reflects or represents hardly any of them.

  50. Everything you said, Brad. Also, I like SJZ better. They’re no warriors. Zealots, zombies… same difference.

    See, Julaire’s review of the new GB as being ENTERTAINING is more likely to get me to watch the movie than “WATCH THIS OR YOU ARE A BIGOT.” I got the impression it wasn’t a true ‘remake’ and more an attempt at passing the torch/attempt to revitalize the franchise. However, the trailers were boring; and the screech told me there was no reason for me to give money I could better spend on say, DVDs or books I knew were far more likely to entertain me and my family.

    I’ve had other friends who watched the movie. They said this: The movie wasn’t horrible. The actors did a great job with a weak / badly written script. In fact, they said it was a shame that the script didn’t do justice to the actresses and actors’ enthusiasm. But eh, if the DVD goes on a special cheap sale, I might buy it to give my kids a new thing to watch (from Viktor’s saying his kids liked it.)

    @Jared – aw man. That sucks. I was sincerely hoping they wouldn’t go the Stargate: Universe route with Star Trek: Discovery. Hell, I glimpsed people making fun of the fact that the SJZs are going HURRAY FEMALE CAPTAIN… like Janeway never happened? They can’t even say that there haven’t been black captains previously because of Sisko – and yes, I think he’s the best Captain ever.

    I have to say, the attempt to try beat us over the head with the stick of “Authority” by saying that ‘I am part of the entertainment industry’ hasn’t been tried in my recent memory, not since the last Sad Puppies anyway. Nicely bundled up with the talking down and scolding the audience too.

    It’s been done before, trying to assert ‘being better’ than the rest of us ‘plebes’ in knowing better. I find it especially telling that the scolding is being done on an author’s blog, where other authors comment. Or are we ‘not part of the entertainment industry’ thus okay to talk down to?

    And if the messages to the actors happened, it didn’t come from us. Might want to take that fight to the people who did that, instead of us.

    More likely, it’s more of the same stuff we encounter on a regular basis, which is, we’re on the other side of the political side of the argument. LIke every single social justice zealot we’ve had come in, shaking their fingers at us and telling us why we’re wrong.

    And for the record, yeah, writer and seller of fiction here too.

  51. Yup, the whole “warrior” concept chafes — in the present slacktivist context — because a true warrior keeps a stiff upper lip, does not whine and cry at the drop of hat, does not seek to be offended every time anyone clears their throat, etc. Warriors are the ones who sacrifice their time, their bodies, their egos, and their lives, for the well-being of the nation. Social Justice Zealots are fantastically self-centered, self-focused, self-absorbed, and do not deserve to be able to label themselves as “warriors” in any way, shape, or form. Especially since most of them are sedentary keyboard chatterers who wouldn’t know the first thing about honor, duty, or loyalty. (And now I am thinking about Worf’s great words to Captain Korris, from TNG!) 😀

  52. Cue GRRM getting mad about the acronym in 3…2… 1…

    (Still amused that he listed my Anti-Sad Puppies ‘ASP’ as one of the meaniebad terminologies to be banned. And it always makes me laugh that socjus types are the ones who complain about the label SJW. It came from THEM as a self descriptor iirc. They got unhappy about the fact that we identify them by it as well – as the things to avoid.)

  53. I don’t know: I’ve always liked ‘warrior’ because it emphasizes what they’re not, and there’s a long history in humanity of insulting someone by calling them by a title they have not or cannot earn.

  54. Misha wrote:
    That is how a professional artist responds to criticism. He didn’t tell me that I was an adolescent idiot who lives in my mother’s basement and he hopes that I die soon, which is how members of the new Ghostbusters team responded to their critics.

    I hope that makes things clear.

    Let me guess: He didn’t ask you why you felt “threatened” by chaplain’s assistants either.

    I hope THAT makes things clear, but with #SocJus it’s usually a futile effort. 😉

  55. Shadowdancer Duskstar / Cutelildrow on August 13, 2016 at 10:15 am said:

    Cue GRRM getting mad about the acronym in 3…2… 1…

    Well, it’s easier than finishing his novel series.

    (Though I do recall that image off Twitter of him being threatened by that girl character from the HBO series that a bunch of people like so I guess it’s SAFER than finishing his novel series.) 😉

  56. Looks like they didn’t learn from murdering Stargate Universe. There was an episode of SG1 where the team had to deal with a tv producer and the whole episode was dedicated to poking fun at itself and other popular shows of the time while cheering that SG1 had gone 10 seasons. One of the suggestions was to make the team younger, darker and edgier. The following imagine spot was essentially High School Drama with shooting lasers.

    SG Universe apparently was that and worse.

  57. LOL gotta say though, Star Trek Online took the lens flare complaint and made it the DEFINING thing about anything Kelvin Timeline item related- the items in inventory have a wee lensflare to distinguish from the other stuff. Kelvin Timeline tribbles have a blue lenslare. KT photon torpedoes are little blue lensflares. I saw it, laughed myself silly and got blown up by the Nak’hul.

  58. Aside: Thank you for the people who gave me thumbs-up — but how is that done? I don’t see a button for it, and I’d like to hand out a bunch.

  59. @ Edward Earl Norton – Nobody knows what Moses looked like, but there’s a high probability he looked nothing like a modern middle eastern guy. Ancient Egypt had an incredibly diverse genome. Case in point, Ramses was not the middle eastern looking black haired guy found in Civ 5. Instead he was a redheaded white guy. Probably not full on ginger and could pick up a tan, but definitely red haired.

    As for the post at hand, I think I’ll just repaste my review I posted in 2 of the 3 WaPo Anti-Male hatchet job GB review’s comment sections

    It’s totes funny… in a MAD sketch comedy sort of way. Which means it utterly fails any test as a Ghostbuster movie. Ironically, the actress who looked in the trailers to be the loudest and most stereotyped(Jones) ends up being the only one who actually played a real part and stayed in frelling character.
    McKinnon, who looked the most natural in the trailers, was clearly not given any direction by the director except to act like a quirky unstable engineer. Her character is given virtually no growth in the film, but despite this she is still the second best Ghostbuster. This is extremely sad, because the couple(Pretty sure there weren’t more than two, not watching the movie again to find out) bits her character is actually a character she does pretty darn well. In the hands of a competent director and writer she would have made a perfectly cromulent Ghostbuster.
    Wiig is only remotely funny when she goes out of character and riffs off the others. Every time Wiig is actually in character she genuinely looks like she would rather be doing ANYTHING else right now. Part of this is almost certainly because the character feels like it was written by a freshman college student locked in a dark room with only Papa Johns and Dan Ackroyd Crystal Skull vodka to eat and drink. Moreover, her two character arcs, the one involving the school and the one involving McCarthy, go nowhere. The school one is immediately jettisoned, and the one with McCarthy is dropped as they become all buddy buddy again, until the final arc of the film when someone went whoops, we should have been doing something with this, and picks it back up.
    As for McCarthy, she plays the same person you’ve seen in her last 3 or 4 movies. Sad considering her origins on TV show she can play something else given the chance.
    This movie should not be compared to Ghostbusters. Rather, it should go against This is the End, which was not only written better, but they did the body humor leagues better.

  60. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of the convention thinking about this, as walking around in 100 degree weather means you spend lots of time sitting and trying to re-hydrate. One way I try to keep track of the popular geek cultural zeitgeist is by seeing which series and individual characters have a lot of presence at the convention in the form of things like costumes, pictures on t-shirts, or artist alley artwork. The two biggest examples neatly fit into what Brad is trying to say here.

    Blizzard (the video game company) has a knack for coming up with visually distinctive character designs. Overwatch, their latest game, a team-based FPS and massive seller, was obviously going to be well represented. The most represented character from the game was also not much of a surprise. The character D. Va may as well be a ‘license to print money’ character, being exceptionally represented at the con, as she is a Korean gamer turned hero, to the point where if you are going to go in costume as the character the must have accessories besides her gun are a bag of Doritos and a bottle of Mountain Dew. The people buying t-shirts with her bunny logo identify with her because they are gamers and they want to be awesome heroes, three things she is known for.

    It’s also interesting for what characters are not there. Number of 2016 Ghostbusters? One. (For comparison, number of 1984 Ghostbusters? Two.) And it’s not just that Ghostbusters (2016) is a relatively recent movie. Number of Suicide Squad Harley Quinn’s? I stopped counting at twenty.

    Many of the people that make movies, like authors and publishers, are living in a bubble. Blue tribe progressive Social Justice activists are very vocal, so they are over-represented in people trying to get the attention of people that make movies and book publishers. Selling a movie or book by playing up the social justice politics in it appeals to blue tribe progressive social justice types, and not fans. The fans are the ones that make or break a show. And it’s not just politics that sets apart the bubble. I don’t think there’s been a recent sci-fi / fantasy / superhero movie hit or bomb that I couldn’t have predicted from watching the fan buzz ahead of time, yet somehow Fantastic Four movies keep getting greenlit, while Ryan Reynolds has to fight to get Deadpool made (and who knows what films never had a champion and hence never got made).

  61. Y’know I just realised something.

    A scold who says he works in the entertainment industry is making huge sweeping claims about how women and minorities are kept out of starring roles etc.

    In a different part of the thread there is happy geeking out about Captain Sisko – a black man – about how awesome his character was and how the people in that conversation think he was the best Star Trek captain in the series.

    We watched Sigourney Weaver be badass decades ago. Capt. Janeway got her crew through the uncharted territory of the Delta Quadrant. Major Carter blew up a star and was responsible for many a scientific heroic rescue while firing her P90, and also being capable of being gorgeous and feminine out of uniform. And so on.

    It makes for the really stark contrast between what the scold is saying ‘needs fixing’ and the reality. It always makes me wonder about the scolds: did they full on erase the events prior to their Latest And Greatest newshiny revolutionary remake in their mind?

    Is it any wonder we look at their words and think them foolish? I mean other than how their behavior makes them look foolish, that is. They go, ‘We are making this old movie/show better by putting in more women, more characters who were put in because of racist quotas and we’ll put in some sexual minority and a non-Christian too. Because THAT IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT! Movies before didn’t have those before!!!!1″ with the burning eyed fanaticism of a Chick Tract pagan strawman.

    And they wonder why we pull away and avoid the crazy and go spend our money elsewhere.

  62. “You know, you blow up one sun and suddenly everyone expects you to walk on water.”

  63. Chaplin’s assistants? Not so threatening. Giant cyborg insects? Really threatening.

    *points* CYPHOBIC INCECTAPHOBE!!! *screeeeee* 😉

  64. “cannot be commanded to vote (with its collective wallet) for something it doesn’t want to vote for”

    Careful, he still has a pen and a phone.

    First real information I had about the new GB was “They cast all women”. So naturally, my first reaction was that they didn’t have a story, all they had was a gimmick (like “Bugsey Malone”).

    Next I hear that if you say anything bad about it, you must hate women and probably kick children and small animals for fun (but not Sad Puppies, it’s ok to kick Sad Puppies). I’m not a fan of re-boots but I might have gone to see it if it hadn’t become a political point for people who openly profess hatred for me.

    I’ll probably give it try when it hits Netflix on DVD since there have been a few positive comments here.

  65. The whole “watch this or you hate women” thing kind of turned me off. I did watch a review and “it wasn’t as bad as I expected” isn’t encouraging me either. 😉

    I am hoping Rogue One turns out to be pretty good.

  66. Shadowdancer hadn’t you ever noticed all the scolds claiming that women have not been represented at authors in Science Fiction and Fantasy. Ummm, hello? Alice Mary Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, James Tiptree Jr…. and I could go on and on and on and on and on and on…. But apparently none of those authors ever existed.

  67. @shadowdance, I have run into people like our ‘scold’ before. One of them worked for Disney on ENG, and he sat and told me all this stuff about how great it was going to be, but they had the plug pulled and were given 8 hours to rewrite the script or lose their jobs, and all the work they’d previously done was thrown in the trash.
    I looked at him and told him that he really didn’t get it, and he should find another job, because without even seeing it, I know that the previous work all sucked.
    This scold is the same way, he just doesn’t get it. He really doesn’t. He lives in a very isolated world.

  68. Emperor’s New Groove. It was a completely different movie than what showed. I think it was supposed to be serious or something. Sting even wrote this ‘fantastic’ sound track for it (which was also thrown out).

  69. Sting? Well it’s a shame then that the music got thrown out. But if that particular studio got fired by Disney because they just don’t get it, well…

    I’m not sure I ever watched Emperor’s New Groove. It didn’t pull at me to watch; most I gather is ‘it wasn’t so bad.’

    Looking at Wikipedia there’s mention of the previous iteration called Kingdom of the Sun and it would’ve been more a Prince and the Pauper type, but more serious, in the vein of Pocahontas.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Groove#Kingdom_of_the_Sun

    Reading over what is summarized in the wikipedia article, it looks like the movie itself was fraught with a lot of difficulties.

  70. Yeah, they don’t get it. Insulting the people they’re talking to seems to be unconscious for them these days. I especially laugh about the scold stating that we’re all here because we agree with Brad – as if that is the only reason we ever talk about stuff like this.

    No, we couldn’t possibly also be talking about the state of the entertainment industry, talking about learning to adjust with the market’s demands, and writing and stories. No, to the scold, we’re here because we’re sheeple.

    And the fact that the scold attributes the creation of the term ‘SJW’ to our side as a pejorative – as opposed to the term originally being coined as a prideful self desciption from slacktivists on the left, shows how much he actually knows about this crap.

    This is “IT’S ALL STILL YOUR FAULT.”

    Edward: @Bob: You’re close, but you’re missing a couple of key points:

    1) Hollywood is a largely left-leaning community – but the decision makers aren’t always that. More importantly, they usually aren’t trying to sell to a left-leaning community, and so the things that get made tend to reflect what money people in Hollywood believe will sell.

    All I see there is: *whinestomp* the market doesn’t LIKE our aaaaaaahhht and important messages, and the stupid beancounters have to make stuff that sells because it’s a business that needs to make profits waaah!

    Yeah yeah. I’m going over thataway *points at Japan’s general direction* and enjoying things like Sword Art Online which has a huge cast of cool characters, most of them female.

  71. I think I took my kids to see Emperor’s New Groove in the theater. There were a few parts that I thought were pretty funny but there were a lot of parts where I was just perplexed. My *kids* though? The more perplexed I was the harder they were laughing. In particular they thought the chase scene rendered on the map was downright hysterical, roll around in their chairs shrieking funny. I was just… wha?

  72. So I picked up a couple of e-books from Marcus V. Calvert. The genre is Urban Superhero, except the hero is a villain who for some reason has to change careers (too much competition in villainy or something). Can’t tell if he’s self-publishing or if he’s with a small press. Covers look good. He’s got a couple of short story collections. The description of “Protector” sounds like a very positive outlook for a theme, though the situations seem darkish. Short stories are less my thing than first-person Urban Superhero novels, so I went with the novels.

    Will report back… eventually. I have a feeling my personal life is going to be crazy for a while… my in-laws are coming to visit *and* we’re on crunch time for the local sci-fi convention… at the same time… wish me luck and sanity.

    If anyone else wants to check out Marcus, I’d be interesting in comparing notes… eventually.

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  74. Reading through Brad’s post why I don’t read much in English.

    Because it’s such an enormous market, publishing compan7es and some authours can be self indulgent with the social justice tirade

    Because of that, i read a lot of Catalan. It such a small market that the writers really can’t afford to alienate their readers. So they concentrate on writing good stories and entertain their readers and by and large succeed.

    If I spend my money i want to have an enjoyable time not be hectored at. I’ve come across some great Catalan series and there’s some others which I want to read. The only problem is that the ebooks are a tad expensive based on the exchange rate. But I’ll get to it 🙂

    In any case there are a lot of Catalan authours I’m happy to support

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  77. Side thought on GB-Flop: it’s quite possible it was meant to flop, because it was time for a major loss to “balance” the Hollywood Accounting… can’t have too many successes in a row, or the shareholders start thinking they deserve more.

    Hollywood exists mostly to be a giant money laundry, and only incidentally to make films.

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