Is Barbie Woke (Part I): https://jacksonhamiltonivs.org/2022/06/11/is-barbie-woke/
The Meth of Liberalism
Recently, I was watching a micro-documentary about the kids’ shows I grew up on and those shortly after my time. One thing I often highlight about them is that I was in Special Ed and there was no Special Ed in any of those shows. Most of them were about affluennt, attractive, white people with no real problems and the plurality of them lived in or near Los Angeles. Every single one basically had the same problems I wrote about Barbie having in part one of this. My obsession for the last few years has been the collapse of liberal democracy and liberalism: the Revenge of History.
Does that style of media contribute to the collapse of liberalism? Yeah, it does. The populist movements which would lead to liberalism’s downfall. On the poetry page of this website is a frame from The Vampire Diaries, another in the near identitical slew of franchises with hot, rich, people with no real problems that the audience lived vicariously through. The Virgninia-set series never shed a tear of empathy or sympathy for the poverty and afflictions of the backstreets of DC or the backwoods of Appalachia in their backyard.
It was a soap opera with the creaminess of “Leave it to Beaver” as is every suburban or suburban-ish (like Gossip Girl, which, while urban, is suburban-ish) piece of its genre. When they get “edgy”, it is in the direction of Fifty Shades of Grey which is not edgy. Drugs, alcohol, and BDSM is not edgy. It’s a comfortable, milquetoast, indulgence in the world of rich, white, people. True edginess is found in literary depth, philosophical meaning, and profound social commentary which these pieces almost universally lack.
While their media not containing anything intellectual or moral contributes to the solipsism and selfishness of identity movements, right and left, which are unhealthy for liberalism, as that is what shallowness does, where they most poison liberalism is in their utter lack of compassion. Nina Dobrev seems to be a decent person but Elena Gilbert is literally a cheerleader who couldn’t give two shits about a homeless down sydnrome person four blocks north of her house.
The populist movements are about “forgotten” people and, in a sense, they’re right. Marginalized people are forgotten. If Hollywood cared about disabled people then why were they eugenically cleansed from all of their fictional universes. The same can be said for every other marginalized demographic. The music industry isn’t much better. I’ve mentioned a few times that the arc of Taylor Swift’s canon is her feeling sorry for herself over non-abusive boyfriends to the point of burning them in effigy. As horrible as that is, there is pretty much zero compassion for anyone in her canon, either. I like her music but her lyrics make Jesus sad.
It’s not like compassion for the afflicted can’t chart or win awards. “Born in the USA” is about a disabled veteran losing in life after Vietnam. Another piece about Vietnam, “Apocolypse Now” showed the biting poverty and sadistic mistreatment of the Vietnamese by the Americans and was also a resounding hit. I’m a member of Black Lives Matter and can honestly say their media (doesn’t usually get very successful) is shallow and fails to do things like empathize with human suffering or anylize human nature in relation to that suffering and just complains about racism and the history of racism.
The addiction to the shallow highs of the vicarious hedonism of affluence and the wild lifesytles that affluence can afford, is the fire that boils the water of populist movements that feel unloved. Being autistic, being a social failure hasn’t turned me into a populist of the manosphere but certainly having society ignore problems like mine can lead to incels. Ignoring the death of the rust belt and the decline of mining and manufacturing alienates the Trump base and leads to Marjorie Taylor Green.
That is why I call that type of media “the meth of liberalism”. It is a high which leads, ultimately, to an ugly death. It is the cheapest type of faustian bargain. For the reward of merely fantasies, not real wealth, liberalism loses its soul. It’s certainly not the only reason. The dramas, movies, and sitcoms of our media need to have more depth and compassion. If the people don’t feel loved, they’ll become populist authoritarians.