I didn’t watch the Emmy Awards last night. It wasn’t entirely because I knew it would be an unenjoyable trash fire of left wing political screeching. It wasn’t even mostly that.
The primary reason I didn’t watch is that I simply don’t care. The Oscars, The Grammys, the People’s Choice Awards, The Golden Globes, yada yada yada. It seems like there’s some televised mutual admiration event every other week. The entertainment industry is obsessed with giving itself accolades. None of it interests me.
Television programming is a product I consume, like breakfast cereal. I choose cereal according to various criteria. I want something that I’ll enjoy eating but isn’t going to rot my teeth and fill me with empty calories. There are probably some sort of awards for excellence in breakfast cereal. If so, I imagine that breakfast cereal manufacturers probably recognize that no one outside their industry really cares and they don’t attempt to make the entire nation watch their black tie gala on prime time television.
No one would be sitting on the edge of their seat as a cereal celebrity dramatically teases open the envelope containing the winner of Best Use of Riboflavin in a Flake or Oat Cluster. No one would care, nor should they. I don’t think the entertainment industry’s awards are any different. What some elite cadre of alleged experts decides is the best piece of entertainment does not matter to me any more than a bunch of granola chefs singing the praises of the latest vitamin infused human kibble.
In short, I think awards shows are boring and dumb and they have no influence on how I spend my entertainment dollars. You can think that without thinking that pop culture should be abandoned entirely (which is also a boring and dumb idea).
Organizing boycotts of awards shows—or anything else really—because some of those involved spout stupid ideas about politics is fruitless and silly. There are people today reveling in the low ratings for last night’s Emmys broadcast as if it represented some great political victory brought about by their hashtag activism.
I can assure you that virtually no one involved with the Emmys cares about whether a few politically motivated tweeters boycott their awards broadcast. The Emmys show only pulled in 11.38 million viewers, continuing its downward trend. It probably had more to do with it being put up against NFL football than anything else. The trend toward lower ratings for both the NFL and the Emmys is probably because there are more viewing options now than ever before with streaming services offering an ever growing library of original programming. It would seem odd to me if former ratings behemoths didn’t start to lose viewers.
Spinning it all as a political defeat of Hollywood by the minority of Americans who love Trump is just as asinine as Stephen Colbert pretending to be edgy by dissing Trump in front of a Trump hating audience in a country where leftist speech is seldom if ever infringed upon by anyone. Everyone is fooling themselves.
Despite the imaginary effects of the Emmy boycott, I have little doubt that most of those who participated in said boycott are still binge watching their favorite Netflix shows and tuning in to their favorite comedies and dramas (as well as watching the latest Hollywood blockbusters). Sure, some may have killed their television. If you know anyone who has, they will almost certainly tell you about it. Repeatedly. Like vegan Cross-fitters. Still, more television content is being produced today than at any time in history.
Pop culture matters and it’s not going away because a few disgruntled people stop watching.
The smart play is not to abandon pop culture but rather to help create it. Instead of the mega-donor class pumping big bucks into the coffers of unreliable candidates or Super PACs they should consider investing in story tellers. Movies and TV are central to American culture and the culture war will be won by whomever uses them most effectively. So far, the Right has ceded that ground to the Left without much of a fight, if any. The Right seems fixated on the terribly erroneous idea that we can change the culture of America at the ballot box.
Earlier today RedState’s Brandon Morse wrote about Rolling Stone being put up for sale. That is a prime opportunity for someone with money to strike a blow in the culture war. Freedom and liberty minded people are now the counter culture so why not buy Rolling Stone—a magazine historically associated with the counter culture—instead of throwing money away on politicians who will inevitably let you down?
You wouldn’t need to turn it into a right wing rag. That would be just as bad as the left wing rag it is now. Just turn it into a place where it’s acceptable to write about pop culture while being something other than a lock step leftist. You could even still have some lockstep leftist writers but for the sake of diversity add some voices from the other side.
Give underrepresented points of view an outlet and make money doing it by producing interesting content. It seems like a better plan than hosting $35,000 a plate rubber-chicken dinners and expecting it to change the world.
Somebody get Mitt Romney or the Koch brothers on the phone.