Sunday, October 07, 2012

You're fired.

This isn't a political blog. I think I've probably had two political posts EVER. However, I did want to make a few comments on the presidential election because DRAMA. No, I mean literally -- drama. You can't get anywhere in the world these days unless you are properly branded. It doesn't have to line up with exactly who you are or what you believe (clearly). It must just be clear, concise and consistent with how you present yourself.

Mitt Romney is having a tough time doing this.

Talking heads have gone on and on about what he's done wrong, how he shouldn't have said that, etc. Should he pivot more to the right? More to the center? Does he have his axel yet?

(no, he does not)

Romney's main problem, to me, is the lack of a throughline. When you're telling a story, you're defining a narrative and that narrative MUST be consistent for your story to work. When you are telling a story from a specific point of view, that point of view had better be consistent and defined. Romney has been neither consistent nor defined. I wonder if his folks even understand why people are so leery of supporting the guy. They couldn't even devise a narrative at their own convention. They had a video telling Romney's story, but that didn't even make it into prime time because Clint Eastwood had to tell a chair to fuck off.

What Romney is finding, I think, is that if you don't define your narrative, if you are constantly shifting position depending on who you're talking to, then people are going to have a hard time trusting you. Now he's decided, at least this week, that he's more moderate than he was before, but even that story doesn't stick because Paul Ryan. How do you explain THAT one? Ryan, on the other hand, is masterful at branding. When people talk about him, they generally say that he's a serious guy. He's a numbers guy. He's the intellectual of the party.

(I need a moment)

Regardless of how much like Patrick Bateman you think he is (LOTS), he's super good at branding. That's a guy who isn't likely to ever abandon his position, which would make a Romney/Ryan administration... interesting.

There's a month to the election, and Romney STILL has not branded himself. He runs towards and away from his privilege. Towards and away from the rabid right wing of his party. Towards and away from his record as governor. Etc. It's fascinating, and I can see how difficult it would be to just LAND on something already, because Bets Must Be Hedged.


This is, I think, a good lesson for anyone. Pick something. Decide. Commit.

Anyway, I've been intrigued with this story because it is, at its heart, a story. But during the first debate, Romney created another story. He clutched to his breast the old Republican trope of "Why the fuck are we funding edutainment??" He wants to cut the PBS subsidy, because when you cut 0.0014% of the federal budget, ALL IS FIXED FOREVER HUZZAH.

Now obviously, Romney is not stupid enough to believe this. And obviously, cutting the PBS funding is aimed squarely at those red staters who fucking HAATE themselves some Hollywood and don't think we should be funding anything so bloody frivolous. If you work in the entertainment industry and have family elsewhere (VIRTUALLY ALL OF US) then you get this on a pretty consistent basis. They complain about how Hollywood is full of liberals, which is supposedly a reason to bash it (I dunno). The only thing they hate more than the UN is the NEA, which is full of Nazis or fascists. They don't understand art, the point of it, or the power of it. But after they grunt and complain and whine that it's NOT FAIR that George Clooney gets all that money but schools don't, they flip on the TeeVee and watch their stories. They get their entertainment without even imagining a world where we no longer have it.

I'm SO SICK of the whole "education deserves George Clooney's money" trope. They are either being stupid, or cagily disingenuous for ignoring the obvious fact that while education is paid for by public funds, George Clooney is paid by private companies.

Now, while saying you're going to be the bad guy and cut PBS might make the right swoon, think about this for a moment. THERE ARE PEOPLE INVOLVED HERE WHO ARE GOING TO LOSE THEIR JOBS. But I guess that's okay, because those evil liberal jobs are the type you want to cut, right? A job entertaining your Goddam kids, teaching them how important and vital storytelling is to our survival, helping them to explore a creative side of themselves that might help them live rich, rewarding lives, IS JUST BULLSHIT BECAUSE IT'S NOT A REAL JOB.

If you grew up as a creative person, you lived through all the cuts in funding of arts programs. While the shitty football team got an all-expense-paid trip to Hawaii, you had to sell frozen fish just to go on a band trip up the road. If you continued on in your life and chose (stupidly, let's face it at this point) a career in the arts, then you've been attacked as someone who just wanted to rake in the bucks and doesn't care about How People Really Live Their Lives. When we were on strike, this little pisher whined to us about how we all get to go back to our big houses at the end of the day.

This is what people think. That we somehow won some kind of a lottery and it's cocaine and hookers for the rest of our lives. It's not. Because people who work in entertainment are people too. Their jobs matter just as much as anyone else's. What's funny about it too is that IT IS FOR THE AUDIENCE. It is FOR those people!

And when the President or anyone talks about jobs, a word I am SICK TO DEATH OF AT THIS POINT, they mean a very specific TYPE of job. A job that a construction worker can do. A retail job. Never. Ever. Ever a creative job.

(do not get me started on the so obviously focus-grouped detestable phrase "working families." Just do not)

The irony, of course, is that those who are whining the loudest about this have the houses and the vacations and the retirement funds and health care.

And if we're talking about people who got lucky and are rolling in money, then isn't that Mitt Romney?


countmystars said...

I feel this, so, SO, so much. And I'm sure those Red Staters who think Hollywood is full of spoiled rich people would, upon finding out that breaking in to the industry often involves working for free or for less than a living wage when you can get work, either not believe it or say that it serves us right for not pursuing Real Jobs.

And just the phrase "working families" gives me a rage stroke because obviously the only people who matter in elections are nuclear heterosexual families with 2.5 children despite the changing demographics of this country.

Bardic Lady said...

Amen to that. I'm even worse. I'm an unemployed creative person who gets constantly asked why I don't just take a retail job and do theatre as a hobby, that's how NORMAL people do it.
There is no money in my branch of the arts and even fewer paid jobs for people like me. But I'm the problem?

H. Roddey said...

In undergrad at a Christian college, I trudged through the destruction of our performing arts program. Christian culture, which mutates when in contact with political conservatism, does not like the artists. That time resulted in a lot of heartache, existential crisis, crisis of faith, etc.

Still working my way through some of that.

Which is my roundabout way of saying thanks for writing this.