The Death (and Rebirth) of American Culture

The ratings for the Oscars came out last week and hoo boy… they were baaaaaad. It suffered a 58% drop from the previous year with less than 10 million people tuning in.


This is a trend that started a few years ago and has since only accelerated and not just for the Oscars. The Grammys viewership this year plunged by 53% compared to 2020 and was the annual event’s lowest-rated ceremony ever. The Golden Globes in February also set a record low, dropping by 60% from last year. The Screen Actors Guild Awards didn’t even reach a million viewers despite airing on two networks.

People aren’t just tuning out award shows. We are in the middle of one of the largest and most rapid cultural shifts as trends that have rooted the American experience for over 70 years are starting to change. One of the reasons for this is technological, as more people (especially younger people) have started to move away from the old way we consumed information which was curated and delivered by gatekeepers such as newspapers, magazines, radio, and television that gave you the information they thought you needed to the decentralized network of the internet where people search for their information rather than just receiving it. The internet also allows anyone to easily create and distribute content.


The second reason (and the one that explains why the change is happening so fast) is the rise of wokeness in our society. It simply turns off a majority of people in this country. The cultural shift was already happening – it just exponentially multiplied the speed of that change. It just isn’t limited to geriatric, preachy award shows, either. Almost every aspect of our society is changing in major ways. Let’s take a look at some of our cultural institutions that are changing and changing quickly.


Sports – Ratings have been slipping for certain American sports for decades now. Baseball had it’s heyday in 1980 when the World Series drew 38.2 million viewers but after that has declined year over year to 2020 when not even 10 million tuned in. NASCAR’s Daytona 500 peaked in the early 2000’s after 20 years of growth until crashing down to less than 5 million in 2021. Basketball has fluctuated over the years but they’ve never returned to the highs they reached in the 1990’s when Michael Jordon was playing with the Bulls. The last game of the 2020 NBA Finals only drew 5.6 million viewers. That cratering for basketball was almost definitely because of the woke politics that took over the game but people were abandoning basketball before 2020.


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The sports that Americans want to watch are changing. Baseball, basketball, and NASCAR have been declining for some time now as people switch to other sports. One sport that has continued to enjoy growing audiences is football (which is the way it should be as I love football). Even football had a slip this year with only 96.4 million watching the Super Bowl but after 50 years of growth that looks like more a blip than a long term trend. Another sport becoming more popular with Americans is soccer. Here in my city of Louisville, they built a new sports stadium – and it was for the local soccer team. Pre-COVID, the MLS was behind only the NFL and MLB in terms of average attendance at games and while viewership on television isn’t very high yet it consistently has been improving year over year. (editor's note: fuck soccer, soccer is lame).

 

Hollywood – Long a prized American cultural institution, Hollywood has been dying for years. Its demise has just been hastened due to COVID and the woke, tedious, boring movies it has decided to produce. Even before COVID, movie theater attendance was down to a 19-year low. Between 2007 and 2011, overall profits for the top five movie studios fell by 40 percent. DreamWorks Animation was sold to Comcast for a relatively meager $3.8 billion. Paramount was recently valued at about $10 billion but that’s around the same price it was valued at 20 years ago. Adjusted for inflation, that would have been about 15 billion dollars.


The shift to on-demand services like Netflix, Hulu, Prime, and Disney+ was a long process and certainly hurt Hollywood as theater traffic dried up but ultimately the main reason for the decline in the industry lies with poor, woke filmmaking. All female reboots, films that border on pedophilia like “Cuties”, and films with a focus on climate extremism have turned off a large portion of their audience.

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This was a "Comedy Film".


They just seem incapable of making decent movies anymore. Maybe there’s hope, though. I checked Rotten Tomatoes for the audience scores of the only movie I’ve heard about this year which is Godzilla vs. Kong. - 91% audience approval. Make movies not woke again!


 

Higher Education – The American university system has for many years been regarded as one of the best in the world. If you attended Yale or Harvard it was a mark of prestige and a genuine sign of your intelligence and seriousness. Now, David Hogg gets into Harvard after being rejected by multiple schools because his politics align with the people that teach and work there. Once upon a time, a college degree was a prerequisite to a successful career by teaching serious subjects. Now, they offer silly degrees in liberal arts that don’t translate to real world earnings while also saddling people with high levels of debt that they’ll never be able to pay off. The high cost and subsequent low return has created a crisis with student loans totaling 1.7 trillion dollars which simply isn’t sustainable going forward.

We’re beginning to see alternatives arise. Trade school enrollment has doubled over the past decade. More affordable online-only degrees are becoming much more common. I’m a computer programmer and I’ve talked with other coders that completely skipped the normal university degree and learned using online certification programs that then successfully found work afterwards. It’s no longer necessary to go deep in debt to get a degree at a hivemind indoctrination center that woke modern universities have become.

 

Comedy – Comedy has always been a fine line to walk between being funny and outright offensive but in today’s woke culture, comedy has become one of the biggest of the cultural casualties. The late night shows have become unwatchable – often outright replacing comedy with serious monologues and interviews with Democrat politicians. Saturday Night Live hasn’t been funny in years and recently the decision for “controversial” Elon Musk to host the show drew backlash from cast members and the show’s untalented and not funny writers. The Daily Show was hilarious under Jon Stewart and he made good points even if I didn’t fully agree with his final premise but Trevor Noah couldn’t be more bland and unfunny.


People like Jimmy Kimmel and Steven Colbert are beholden to wokeness which inherently limits their ability to be funny lest they offend someone. These are men that used to be really, really funny and it’s sad to see them like this. Thankfully, we still have some truly funny people out there like Dave Chapelle and Bill Burr. There’s a reason why Chapelle’s last stand up video has a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes with a critic score of only 35%. He’s not woke and people like that even if the elites hate it.

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There’s also people like Ryan Long who’ve started mocking the woke and it’s hilarious to see. Who knew in the 2020’s that a new genre of comedy called anti-woke would become a thing.


 

News - Corporate news media was in trouble long before wokeness came along but wokeness in combination with Donald Trump ripped away any pretense that they were objective in any way. Trust in corporate media has nosedived and that’s translated to extremely low ratings. CNN is down almost 60% in key demos over Biden’s first 100 days. MSNBC declined almost 20%. Poynter maintains a list they started in April of 2020 with new media layoffs and closures. This tide isn’t going to be turned back. Corporate media is going to continue dying.


I started looking for other ways to stay informed that I could trust and made a vow to stop consuming any corporate media. I now read a lot of independent websites (kind of like Flappr!) and watch a lot of YouTube. Some of the commentators I watch have mentioned that they’re actually growing their audience while ratings are collapsing at places like CNN and I think that’s there are more and more people each day that have realized just how badly corporate media lies and are actively searching out other options – and that’s really good news.

 

Political Power Shift – After the 2020 census, House seats were redistributed and power is shifting away from California and the northeast to the south and the mountain west as people flee woke blue states like California, Michigan, and New York for red states like Texas and Florida. Republicans will be in charge of drawing new maps in 187 congressional districts this year, compared with 75 for Democrats. The extreme COVID lockdowns in blue states probably caused some people to leave as well for relatively open red states. Go read this medium piece from 2017 humorously titled “California Is The Future”. Now they’re losing House seats for the first time it became a state in 1850. Needless to say, the piece has not aged well.


 

Culture is always changing but wokeness has certainly sped up that change as people tune out the old ways of corporate media, traditional college, award shows, news, movies, and even sports. It’s exciting to see these shifts all happening and I’m actually optimistic about what American culture is beginning to embrace. In a weird way, as much as I detest wokeness it’s also bringing around a lot of positive change with it. Woke people thought co-opting corporate media, the universities, and other cultural institutions would bring about the change they desired. Instead, it’s bringing completely new innovations as wokeness destroys the old ways we used to do things.



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