Lefsetz: We Just Don’t Care

We’re operating like it’s the 20th Century in a 21st Century world…

The media industrial complex believes if it just beats us over the head hard enough, keeps putting faces in front of us, that we will pay attention and care. But that don’t play in an on-demand world where we have access to whatever we want, whenever we want it.

Used to be choice was limited.

Then we were liberated by the Internet.

Started in 1995 and has been going down this path for 20 years, intensifying with the adoption of broadband. We’ve all dug deep into our niches and we don’t care if you’re famous for something or famous for nothing. Unless you’re in our vertical, we’re not paying attention, but you keep thinking we are.

Beyonce is not that big.

Neither is Jimmy Fallon. Or Stephen Colbert. Or any of the late night hosts.

We keep hearing about their ratings wars but almost no one is watching, just a few million in a nation of 300 million.

It’s affecting everything, from the Oscars to the VMAs. Unless they’re going to kill somebody on stage, we can’t get excited enough to watch, unless it’s a really cold night during the winter and there’s nothing else to do.

Scratch that, THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING ELSE TO DO!

Kelly Oxford recently tweeted: “Cancelled cable 2 mths ago, 2 kids haven’t noticed, 1 just realized this week. As a kid I would have noticed within 1hr and died. New gen.”

Now you’re asking…WHO’S KELLY OXFORD?

The Twitter queen of the comedians. She’s gotten tons of hype. She’s got 779k followers. She’s got books, she’s all over the media…THE ONE YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO!

And I’m not watching ESPN, never ever.

That’s the story of the 21st Century, the decimation of institutions that we were forced into buying that we really didn’t care that much about if we cared at all.

Kinda like all the channels propped up by cable payments that are gonna disappear. Kinda like malls… You mean you want me to waste an hour searching for inventory you don’t have? BUT ISN’T SHOPPING FUN? NO!!

Sure, there are women who love to shop – men too – but most people don’t.

And given a better, easier solution, they’ve stopped.

Sure, Amazon is an efficient operation, but it delivers what we want; convenience, selection and the elimination of wasted time, and we all hate wasted time. We just don’t have enough of it!

However the major media outlets keep parading people like we care.

Pick up People, go to Radar – you think you’re the only one who doesn’t know who these people are? THE TARGET DEMO DOESN’T EITHER!

Furthermore, they’re playing a bad game, delivering what once worked in a world where it doesn’t.

Come on, do you want to sit at home and watch some guy behind a desk interview people, and not really interview them, but set up jokes for them, even though they’re bad storytellers?

They’ve been doing that for DECADES! If I want to see a comedian, I’ll go to YouTube. Same with a musician. You mean I’ve got to wait until 12:30 AM to see some up and coming act? Sure, I could DVR it, but I don’t want to waste the time fast-forwarding.

So this is the game we are playing, niche and mainstream.

That’s right, some stuff goes mainstream. Right now it’s Washington, D.C., because we care, it affects us, and the movie is…better than any Hollywood production.

That’s right, Tinseltown is producing superhero fantasies and everybody in Washington is aged and flawed and to watch their machinations is utterly fascinating.

And in music, the labels keep telling everybody they should care about hip-hop and pop when there’s a great swath of people who don’t. But try to create another Adele…the biggest act in the world…they’re not even trying!

We just get endless retreads, endless repeats of what was.

We love fresh faces. But today being good-looking is not enough. Hell, I’d argue we’re looking for someone normal, that we can identify with.

Our whole culture is topsy-turvy.

The New Yorker writes an exhaustive article it believes will change the culture but doesn’t recognize it’s in an echo chamber – that the brand is so elitist most people pooh-pooh it.

David Remnick doesn’t even know how to promote, no one in old media, from books to newspapers, knows how to get its story out, maybe other than the Washington Post, with its breaking news, investigative journalism, burnishing the brand with excellence.

And forget naysayers – they come with the territory.

The Internet opened the world to them. If you’re not getting blowback, you don’t matter, you don’t have enough traction.

You either play for all the marbles or realize you’re part of the underclass. Nothing is more pathetic than an act that plays klezmer music with bad vocals believing it belongs on Top 40 – they don’t even understand the game.

And the established media of old farts can’t stop bitching about fake news as if Mark Zuckerberg could eradicate it.

No, people like feeling part of a tribe, they like going online and reading that which speaks to their heart, that’s the issue, not that the essence is false.

Want to appeal to people? DON’T CRITICIZE THEM!

Study after study says it’s almost impossible to change someone’s political opinion by telling them they’re wrong, but the left keeps denigrating the right, I don’t get it. Take action, lead the way, show a path, that’s how you get ahead today.

But the oldsters believe they still rule when they don’t.

And the youngsters are self-promoting as if they can become the stars of yore.

We can only comprehend a thin layer of stars, thinner than ever before, because the universe is just too big. If you dream of world domination you must play to the world, you must have an edge. Otherwise there’s no hook, you must be supremely talented and experienced, and you must present something brand new.

Remember when all the bands sounded different?

No wonder music is moribund.

Hell, there’s more innovation in TV than there is in music.

But there are only 450 scripted shows, not hundreds of thousands.

And still, we don’t care about most.

That’s the modern world. One of chaos. The Tower of Babel.

And either accept it or change it.

Admit you’re just one of many playing to a small audience or come up with something so unique, so phenomenal, so different, so appealing that everyone will pay attention.

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7 Responses to Lefsetz: We Just Don’t Care

  1. the head of computer studies at carnegie mellon (the #1 computer study schoo/program
    in the u.s. if not the world said)…the internet/robotics/artificial intelligence/ will be
    the end of mankind! They will replace humans…and hence no jobs/income/productivity/hence human life!
    anyone doubt me?

    • miket. says:

      your comment, boom-boom, while off-topic, is right on i think. less so perhaps the internet, and more A.I., robotics, nanotechology, and bio-technology.

      not that i’m some great prognosticator, but i’ve said for years that the covergence of these technologies, and the pace at which they’re developing, will lead to cyborgs — should we dare build them — and humans with “implants” that, in so many words, replace your smartphone, browser — all that.

      and i’m not the only one of course who is thinking along those lines. just a few weeks ago, nbc news online featured a story about how we could evolve from Homo sapiens (“wise man”) to Homo deus (“god man”):
      https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/mach/godlike-homo-deus-could-replace-humans-tech-evolves-n757971

      this type of “evolution” wouldn’t be so much about natural selection, but man-made. of course true evolution in the Darwinian sense takes millions of years, and doesn’t always follow nice logical step-by-step progressions, but with a little help from us?

      i don’t believe we’ll see the ‘end of mankind’ as you put it, nor will we see your other dire predictions… at least not in our lifetime. but if you can’t see those seeds being sowed today, you aren’t paying attention.

  2. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    Good entry, Lefty. Can’t find much to disagree with other than your statement about WaPo “burnishing their brand with excellence”. They are as guilty as MSNBC in pushing the left wing agenda. But other than that, you were dead on target with everything else.

  3. E.H. says:

    Great entry Lefsetz, this might be your magnum opus.

  4. Jess says:

    Totally agree with this.

    These days people do not pay attention to anything unless it affects them somehow. I rarely read anything on blogs anymore because most of it does not have anything to do with me. I will come here and read occasionally but let’s face it… I am a 40 year old dude that does not watch the news, so I am not in the ‘in crowd’ on events. And I am not a hooker or tax lawyer so I will never meet glazer, so not much to offer in a ‘what can you do for me’ world.

  5. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    And the Democrats take another one in the nuts as they lose another open runoff election in Georgia to fill Tom Price’s seat. They poured an obscene amount of money and resources into it. Donations were HEAVY from California, New York, Massachussetts…all the far left havens. Shocked? You shouldn’t be. I’ve heard reports of 7000 donations came to the Ossoff campaign from California citizens, and only 800 from Georgia.
    Until the Democrats rid themselves of the far left regressives, they will continue to lose elections. I find it pathetic and sad that my “liberal” friends are forced to defend themselves from the left wing attacks, because they are aren’t progressive enough. Suddenly, many liberal talking points have now become a conservative point of view. Oh the left LOVES diversity…as long as it’s not diversity of thought which differs from theirs.

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