Marketing in the 21st century. (Photo by Karthik Easvur)
While I have no plans to watch the recently released Star Trek: Discovery — both because of its premise and because I’m not a Trek fan — I have observed its pre-release marketing campaign over the past few months, and make no mistake, this is a marketing plan. It doesn’t mean that those who worked on the show don’t mean what they say, it simply means they stated their beliefs in a very strategic way.
What yesterday’s post did. (Photo by Leaflet, from Wikipedia)
My blog post yesterday about why conservatives shun the arts sparked a wide-ranging discussion, with Brian Niemeier,Daytime Renegade,Yakov Merkin,Jeffro Johnson, and many others chiming in. All of them disagreed with me, and the common theme of all their objections is that conservatives have been very prolific in the arts in the past, but do not engage in it now because the Left controls all the major outlets for it.
First, there is much to be said about the blackballing effect. Pros in comics are relentlessly hostile to people on the Right. Voicing any right-wing opinion in Hollywood is a fast track to unemployment. Book publishing is almost uniformly liberal, and speculative fiction publishing even moreso. Any up-and-coming conservative artist would simply turn away from it all since he would be actively opposed by everyone in those industries.
But why did it get this way? Why did conservatives abandon the arts?
Recently, Brian Niemeier put up a post criticizing conservatives for abandoning their ideological allies in the workplace whenever SJWs demand their firing. He asserts that conservative claims of high principle are masks for cowardice, and that any conservative seeking to dissent from the SJWs — who hold influence in all major institutions — will receive no support from their supposed allies.
This got me thinking on how this applies to art, because as many a commentator has noticed, all artistic institutions, from film and television to music to comics to fine art to book publishing, are stuffed with people of the Left (though not necessarily SJW extremists.) The few non-Leftists in those industries tend to be libertarians, not flag-waving, God-fearing patriotic types. I think I have an idea of why this is the case, and it is related to the points Niemeier made.
Mainstream conservatives are too practical, and this is why they ignore the arts.
Here’s some footage of me playing a game from a while back. It’s called Fairy Bloom Freesia, and it’s available on Steam. In this beat-em-up, you play a fairy with martial arts skills who has to guard a magic tree from monsters and mages who seek to steal its power.
Unlike the beat-em-ups of the 90s which follow the Double Dragon model of side-scrolling, this one takes advantage of the advances in computer technology since then to deliver an experience more like Super Smash Bros.; remember that the gameplay of older games was largely dictated by technological limitations. Today, it is purely a matter of the desired style and the developers’ skills.
Now, enjoy the video. There’s no commentary, though, just me playing for a couple of minutes.
Neo Yokio is one of the worst shows on Netflix. The voice acting is poor, the plot is unfocused, and the characters are flat. The main character Kaz Kaan is emotionless and uninspiring, as if going through the motions, and the Neo Yokio setting is interesting but painfully underutilized.
However, one particular episode of the show stands out as the worst of the lot, the most terrible episode in this most terrible show. That episode is Episode 4: Hamptons Water Magic.
Kaz Kaan is an aristocratic mage in the city-state of Neo Yokio. Descended from a long line of demon hunters, he patrols the city at the behest of his aunt Agatha, earning money to support his lavish lifestyle. Considering himself to be a true gentleman, he embodies the values of the city he calls home.
A storied family history. Demon attacks. Magic powers. Sounds like an awesome series, right?
As I said before in my analysis of Deku, My Hero Academia is one of the best anime out right now, and it is well worth your time to watch it. That being said, however, My Hero Academia is destined to remain a cult hit; it will have a very devoted and very active fanbase, but it will never reach the generalized recognition that Dragonball Z got (Here, I’m using “Dragonball Z” to refer to the entire Dragon Ball franchise.)
I know what you’re thinking — MHA is a great series with interesting characters and amazing plotting. It has great buzz, and it’s just plain fun to watch. If we just give it time, it will be seen as the equal of DBZ. However, that will not occur for one big reason: broadband internet.
It was the early 2000s. 9/11 had happened, and the War on Terror dominated the news. Broadband was only beginning to spread. Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter did not yet exist. Most video games were still purchased physically, in stores. I was still in high school.
And Borders Books was still around.
It was at this time that manga first boomed in the US market, and it was these books, not Marvel or DC, that shaped what “comics” was for me.
My Hero Academia is one of the best anime currently in progress. It is not a grimdark bloodbath. It is not a trippy experimental piece. It is not a harem. It is an exciting, action-packed series with an optimistic bent that gets better with every episode. You can watch the series for free on Crunchyroll, where it is officially licensed.
However, I’m not here to talk about the series generally; rather, I want to talk about its protagonist, Izuku Midoriya, called “Deku” by most of the characters. What makes Deku interesting is that in spite of how he got his powers, he is the polar opposite of a special snowflake.