-Hollywood is experiencing a MAJOR decline in ticket sales and revenue
-Woke films are flopping left and right
-All the while, the last vestiges of traditional entertainment continue to outperform Tinsel Town
Hollywood is failing. In a matter of mere months, the movie industry has lost hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue. The Oscars, a televised event that once drew an audience of upwards of 30 million, has plunged in viewership, dropping an astonishing 60 percent! In fact, theater audiences shrunk by 50 percent over just the last 4 years! Some have argued that this fall is due largely to the lockdowns; but the losses continued even after their lifting; In fact, in 2022 alone,Hollywood saw a staggering 40 percent decline in its ticket-buying audience. Others pointed to the advent of streaming services like Netflix; but Netflix itself has seen its market value cratering nearly 30 percent; losing $42 billion dollars in value after the company announced that its subscribers shrank for the first time since 2011. So what precisely is behind this massive failure? Well, it’s rather simple: in a word, Hollywood went woke!
How wokeness took over Hollywood is disputed. Some argue that wokeness began to dominate Tinsel Town right after the mega-producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse antics were revealed, ushering in a radical MeToo movement among Hollywood’s rank and file. Others point to the George Floyd riots, while others simply see it as the latest chapter in Hollywood’s decades-long leftist bent. Whatever the origins, the industry’s embracing of hyper-diverse casting, censorship, and Identity Politics on steroids over that time coincides precisely with the plunge in its audience! Take for example one of the latest box office bombs coming from Disney, it’s a movie called Stranger Things, and it features Disney’s first gay main character as part of their ongoing effort at pushing LGBT issues on their audiences. It turned out to be Disney’s second-worst opening weekend ever, and when all is said and done, the movie is projected to lose Disney upwards of $100 million dollars. Now contrast that with the astonishing success of another movie released right around the same time: Top Gun Maverick smashed box-office records by unapologetically celebrating the themes of patriotism and traditional American culture, the very values that wokeness never tires of assaulting! There seems to be something very specific to wokeness that audiences are frankly disgusted by!
What I believe is really happening here, big picture, is that wokeness, when all is said and done, is simply NOT a sustainable artform! And that’s because, as has long been recognized by aesthetic theorists and international art critics, what makes art ‘art’ is the encounter of the transcendent, and the transcendent is just a fancy way of talking about those values that transcend any particular thing! So for example, when I give my wife a rose for Valentine’s Day, what does that rose symbolize? Of course, its symbolizes my love for her; now you’ll notice, that my love for my wife is not exhausted in the rose, if the rose were suddenly to get crushed or lost, my love for her would not be comparably crushed or lost; and that’s because my love transcends the rose; the rose is a symbolic communicator of a love that extends far beyond the rose! And this is the way an amazing song or an inspiring poem and stunning architecture and a popular play all work; they work in the sense that they communicate, in some kind of culturally specific way, the timeless values of truth, goodness, and beauty that are eternal, and therefore are never exhausted in any particular artistic or cultural instantiation. Many don’t realize, but the box office smash hit Top Gun Maverick is actually a fantastic re-telling of an ancient myth, perhaps the oldest story ever, a grand epic known as the monomyth, the hero’s journey! As with the travels of Odysseus and the adventures of the Hobbit, Maverick retells this ancient tale in new and exciting ways, and THAT is why this movie is so amazing! However, by contrast, wokeness isn’t transcendent!
Identity politics don’t transcend or extend beyond our own bizarre time and place! You could cover the globe, you could go anywhere at any time, and you will find nothing in any culture on the planet that even comes close to approximating the offended sensibilities and virtue signaling that comprise wokeness! Wokeness is not transcendent; it is a very particular ideology held by a very fringe minority, it does not have a transcendent bone in its body! And thus, wokeness is not a sustainable artform precisely because wokeness itself isn’t sustainable! Wokeism is the brittle belief system of a tiny fringe minority who, for the time being, happen to exercise all the levers of cultural power; but in the end, it’s all for naught! As Hollywood’s implosion proves, their day of reckoning is indeed coming; the woke world is imploding, and with it, a sad chapter in the arts and entertainment world is coming to an end as well!
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