Is it possible anymore to go to a movie, play, dance performance, read a book or watch something on Netflix without a political or LGBTQ message? Sports have been ruined too. Can I just be entertained without having to endure a woke message?

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I miss the day when people were paid to separate the wheat from the chaff. The tsunami of mediocrity enabled by social media is not only worthless but send people backward.

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“Disney or Universal Music Group or Fox Corp. But they pursue the exact opposite approach. They are the most cautious and risk-averse players in the whole culture ecosystem”


Disney is pushing Marxist ethnic conflict theory, child sexualization, and conversion therapy, while Universal Music Group is pushing Satanism, gangbanging, and sexual depravity.

They are not cautious *at all*. They are just Democrats and thus people who aren’t psychopaths find what they produce repulsive.

The problem with our institutions, of all types, is that they are run by Democrats, who are all soulless pagan scumbags. That is the problem.

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I’m 79 years old. I’m up everyday at 5:00 for coffee, the home delivery of several newspapers, and then my iPad access to various platforms and news outlets. I wanted to congratulate you on writing the most exciting article I’ve read in a long time. I plan to reread it several more times today, make myself notes for follow-up, share your article with friends, and then subscribe. Congratulations again, great job!

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Only technology is progressing. Humans are regressing.

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As a subscriber to The Free Press, I am proud to be a part of this populist movement. Unfortunately, with so many choices to pick from, on Substack alone, there are not enough hours in the day to subscribe and engage them all. Some of us do have to work. The mismatch between purveyors of art and information and consumers is telling however. How are you going to build a growing population of knowledgeable fans/consumers when education is lost to woke ideology that villifies icons of art and science as unworthy of study or appreciation because they are all old white men? Unless and until we reverse the illiberal trend of judging people by their immutable characteristics and/or against standards that did not apply generations ago when they lived, we will not advance culture, art, or science. Vive le Substack! Rick

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Hours After Trump Announces Upcoming Visit to East Palestine, FEMA Reverses Course and Will Support Ohio Community

The announcement by President Trump with his intent to visit East Palestine next Wednesday, followed moments later by a reversal announcement from FEMA stating they will now offer support to East Palestine, do not seem coincidental.

Well well well.

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I agree with much of what Ted writes here, we really are in the golden age of culture. Culture has always been spoon fed to us and it was incumbent on the consumer to seek it out...now it is easier than ever to find it.

When I was a kid growing up in Boston, we would go down to Newbury St and hit a shop called Mystery Train (I think that was the name) where they carried all types of music you couldn’t get anywhere else and we would drop $20 or $30 on CDs with cool cover art, just to see if we could stumble on something we liked.

Now, I go to Spotify and have an infinite number of Mystery Train stores at my fingertips.

Hell, personally, Substack has helped me reconnect with writing, which was a passion of mine before life got in the way, and I had lost connection with for decades (shameless plug- be sure to check out Gordon Comstock’s Plant here! https://www.gordoncomstock.com/)

I slightly disagree with Ted’s point about the demand side. There is a TON of demand...it’s just highly fragmented which makes it challenging for any one content producer to get traction...at least that’s the story I tell myself about my Substack 😂

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American “culture”. The people who like it get exactly what they deserve. The last time I tried to read a fiction book it was full of woke bs. I find it even in non-fiction, too. We mostly watch old movies now because new stuff is terrible. And comedy is never funny, except Dave Chapelle.

I’m a visual artist and most shows anymore are about some sort of diversity, equity blah blah blah. That’s how the art and artists are described and chosen. Oh and everybody thinks they’re a special genius/victim and we should buy their work and/or class.

I feel like our “culture” is just sad. Very sad.

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I have a hard time seeing how anyone with a liberal arts background could honestly believe we are in a cultural boom right now. I don’t even think the Pirate Wires people really believe ai-generated art is all that great.

Don’t get me wrong; appreciate FP airing this perspective. Just seems ludicrous to me. Other than an arguable golden age of videogames, hard to think of any brilliant, lasting cultural creations of the last few years. Lots of quantity, sure. But quality is what we traditionally value in this sphere. A bajillion YouTube uploads or self-published novels doesn’t move the needle much for me.

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Thank you for one of the most informative, data-driven Substacks I’ve read about our Culture. Most adults, I believe, are discerning consumers of the arts and will seek out and support excellent work. As a former museum docent, I was often asked by visitors to simply avoid the Contemporary gallery. They wanted to see beautiful art that was exceptionally executed and awe inspiring, not paint thrown on a canvas. In the new world you describe, the former gate keepers no longer hold the keys to the kingdom.

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I'm not sure that counting self-published books and song and video uploads as art or culture is valid. Surely a fraction of them count as such. Insane quantities of self-published content in and of itself increases entropy.

I worked in book publishing (actual indie publishing - a small, traditional independent royalty-paying press that took no money from authors), and in that context engaged with many authors and other publishers and held many self-published books in my hands - I wouldn't have bought let alone read most of them. Even some I did buy and whose content was solidly worth it often left something to be desired in the way of editing or formatting, etc. Which is to say, I believe there are gems amid the entropy, but they're hard to find, which is one facet of hindering audience development.

It also brings forth the reality that art in its raw form might not be all that shiny. The process of developing and editing (music, books, etc.) is an important one. That digital publishing has enabled individuals to bring their own books and music (games, etc.) to life without the blessing of a "gatekeeper" is liberating and beneficial on one hand, and it drives so much entropy and poor-quality content (which some people are consuming) on the other.

I think the percentage of artists who can capture a purely digital audience effectively is incredibly small. So yes, the numbers of followers are exorbitantly large, but the number of people with such followings is small. It's not really any different from how pop culture has always worked. There are only so many Ed Sheerans and Stephen Kings, etc. I tend to think in-person audience building has to come first (which is hard and daunting), and it can be supported or expanded digitally. And one thing about digital audiences is that the platforms are always changing the algorithms, so that what worked last year might not work today. The audience one has captured on some platforms might not see the content they produce tomorrow. It's fleeting. Right now YouTube and TikTok might be dominating, but new platforms will spring up, and it will divide attention further. Nothing digital can be counted on. And perhaps nothing in-person can be counted on either, but it changes more slowly. And if, as an example, an audiences' favorite bookstore or music venue goes out of business, they'll be willing to shift to another.

I don't think we should be dazzled by insanely large numbers (of self-produced content or consumption thereof). I still care about quality and meaning. (And my kids still read actual books). I choose to spend my attention on content I find merited, and I don't bother with the rest.

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About the only thing I take away from this is the Mooch’s book did well ( even though or maybe because she didn’t write it herself) and romance novels are popular.

There’s a guy name Mr Beast whose every video has his mouth open.

There is such a thing called bandcamp but I have no idea what it means and I haven’t the desire to find out.

And that the only metric of artistry seems to be how much one gets paid for it.

Meanwhile the disaster in East Palestine Ohio continues to be ignored even at the Free Press. Much better to junk up the mind with YouTube articles or whining about the clutter than investigating the chicanery of the railroads and BlackRock.

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Most of these mediocre giants are institutionally woke, to the point where even woke audiences are sick of the obvious pandering. Take for example the recent productions from Disney such as “The Proud Family”, which attacks white fragility (so-called), as well as last year’s “Lightyear” with a pointless gay scene and the atrocious “Little [Black] Mermaid” remake. None of these has done well. One more such major failure and I would question Disney’s viability to survive.

Then there is Disney’s political activism which has angered millions of conservatives. The online forums are full of people promising to never attend a Disney park again. Talk about trying to destroy your core market!

The platforms like youtube and tiktok are monopolistic and censorious. Something better has to come along that allows more freedom of expression. Substack is a step in the right direction, as is Musk’s newly liberated Twitter. But the overall cultural stranglehold still exists. Maybe some day, people will be willing to venture out of their Big Tech crib and experiment more boldly.

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Very insightful.

I include myself as one of those 20% who’s constantly on YouTube. I’m going to school for computer science, but the majority of my education (from programming languages, to mathematics, and even Greek/Hebrew) has been through “YouTube University”.

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I read through most of that, and it was interesting to me that he seemed to conflate "culture" with some level of imagistic or artistic consumerism. He certainly didn't define culture, or what its proper purpose is.

And he didn't point out that most pop culture seemingly has little interest in the purpose and point of life OTHER than consuming things in various ways.

For my own purposes I defined "culture" many years ago as "An evolving but relatively stable system for the creation and distribution of meaning, truth, power, and wealth."

It seems to me no one asks what the meaning of life is even as a joke any more. Most Americans live in a forever Present filled with colorful lights, loud noises, blatant sexuality, superficiality, and ridiculous politics based on even worse moral philosophy.

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