Vaccine Passports

This is where business and law intersect, and not peacefully.

If you’re following the news, and most people are not, at best they’re hung up on opinions, which are a dime a dozen and often removed from the facts, you know that Norwegian Cruise Line is in a kerfuffle with the state of Florida. Ron DeSantis, the governor of the Sunshine State, who recently signed a “voting rights” law that he only allowed Fox News to cover, has also banned vaccine passports. But Norwegian wants them, because of the liability, because it doesn’t want to sacrifice its business. Norwegian is threatening to pull all its ships from Florida, which 60% of all U.S. cruises embark from, and the resulting economic devastation and blowback from hoteliers and restaurants…will be loud and proud, just like it was from these same outlets, especially restaurants, when governors insisted they close.

Now if you want to be really depressed, you should listen to Friday’s “The Daily” podcast:

“Why Herd Immunity Is Slipping Away”: https://bit.ly/33snFjE

As a result of covid variants, we now need 90% of the population inoculated to achieve herd immunity. The variants are more aggressive, spreading faster and further, and therefore the old figure of a year ago, of 50-60%, no longer applies. But a huge swath of the American population refuses to get the shot, most basing their decision on inaccurate fears, but there will be consequences. Not only in the lack of herd immunity, but the inability of these same people to live their lives as they want to.

If you listen to Frank Luntz on Kara Swisher’s “Sway” podcast, you’ll learn that he believes it’s just a matter of terminology. And one must listen to the pollster who changed estate taxes to “death taxes” and so much more. Luntz says we must stop calling them vaccine PASSPORTS, because the word “passport” has such a negative connotation, most people don’t have passports and don’t go anywhere, and call them vaccine VERIFICATIONS!

Hmm… On the surface it sounds good. But in truth would this really change the thoughts of the reluctant?

I don’t think so. But it would be worth trying.

Now the last time I checked, they called it the music BUSINESS. And even nonprofits have cash running through them. And Live Nation is a public company, and just like Norwegian Cruise Line, Live Nation cannot put its entire business in jeopardy. Bottom line, if you want to go to the show, you’re gonna have to show proof of vaccination. Definitely.

You’ve probably noticed that concert companies have yet to address this issue, because they’re fearful of pissing off potential customers, becoming the “enemy.” But the day is going to soon arrive, where these promoters are going to want to shove anywhere from 75 to 60,000 people in a venue, and if even one person attending is infected with covid, even if they are showing no symptoms, what you’ve got on your hands is a superspreader event. You can’t social distance at a show. At least not profitably. In order for the concert business to work everybody needs to be up close and personal. SO THEN WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE 30+ PERCENT WHO REFUSE TO BE VACCINATED!

We’re about to experience a two-tiered society. And it won’t be driven by woke liberals, but businesses, who refuse to put their enterprise on the line. Also, if a business is not woke to a degree, it’s castigated and a large segment of the population protests against it, sometimes just with their voices, but sometimes with their feet too. This is why corporations are standing up against restrictive voting laws in Georgia and Texas, they’re fearful of pissing off the majority of the population, the same majority which voted Biden into office, despite the delusional beliefs otherwise.

So now you’ve got the corporations on the side of the woke and vaccinated. Let me see…who is on the other side? In the past it was said corporations, afraid to take a side on anything, wary of even one phone call or e-mail from an outraged parent, but now it’s just Rupert Murdoch and his apparatchiks, most vocally Tucker Carlson, who is driving his minions into the river under the banner of “freedom.”

So what we’re heading towards is another January 6th upheaval/uprising/protest/conflagration, when the “free” people find out that their viewpoint has closed doors to them. Yes, this is going to happen. Arguments about masks at retail establishments? That’ll be nothing compared to concerts and cruises and other mass events, a battle is brewing. Only in this case, the battle is not with the government, not even the “libtards,” just corporations.

Have you ever worked for the corporation? They’ve got legal staff, either in-house or outside counsel, always on call, ready to deal with lawsuits. Operate a business, and you’re gonna get sued. Many are nuisance suits, insane trolls looking for money, and unfortunately sometimes it’s cheaper to settle than to fight, but a good number of these lawsuits are genuine. This is the tort world that the right keeps denigrating. But these lawsuits are what keep the rest of us safe. In cars…all over our country. I was in Colombia and I tripped on a jagged upraised curb. The truth is unsafe curbs are in the minority in America, because the city or building owner is wary of getting sued.

But you have insurance!

No carrier is going to write insurance against lawsuits from concertgoers saying they got covid. How do you even calculate the risk?

So this is what is going to happen… More people are going to get vaccinated. Because your principles are secondary to your desires. I’ll take it to the zenith, I’ve got more than one Catholic friend who was anti-abortion until their sister got pregnant. So, you can rail against vaccine passports/verifications all you want, but when you want to go on the cruise, when you want to go to the concert, you’re gonna get one.

This is going to come into focus when the country truly reopens. Right now with so many places still shut down, with people afraid to go to even open places, the issue has not come clear, but it soon will. And then? 

We’ve heard from the outraged public, not wanting their bodies “violated,” but we have not heard yet from most businesses where people are packed tight. Concerts were amongst the first businesses to shut down, and will be amongst the last to open back up. Because of the RISK!

We live in a society where everybody believes in strict liability. If I lose, it must be someone’s fault, and they must pay, this is the mind-set, not only of the liberals but the conservatives. You sue your neighbor when you slip in their house, you assume they have insurance for this sort of thing. And many people do, but not all. And the truth is the system is not one of strict liability, you don’t always recover, so you have personal responsibility, however…

You can be drunk and drive your car off a cliff, but GM can’t make an unsafe car that inherently puts you at risk.

Live Nation can have security at the show but it can’t ensure that you don’t take a drug at home and O.D. at the concert.

In other words, at some point it truly does become an issue of personal responsibility. You want to do what makes you safest. And the enterprise wants to do that which absolves it of liability, because it doesn’t want to take the financial hit, never mind the bad publicity.

And the government has a responsibility to keep its citizens safe too. Look at that Chainsmokers show last year on Long Island, the organizers were fined! Don’t enforce strict covid rules and the government is gonna keep you in line. Even Florida. Never underestimate the duplicity of governments, they’re just run by people. Sure, Florida can say no vaccine passports are required, but as soon as people get infected at a show…they’re not going to say it’s their own damn fault, politicians are afraid to say this.

So, ultimately the decision whether to get vaccinated is a personal one. And what I mean by that is the tribe won’t save you if you get infected and die.

As for death… Even the experts said deaths would hover in the neighborhood of 1%. So sure, you got covid and didn’t die. But half a million people did. As for the long term consequences of infection…every day there are articles talking about the hidden effects, now it’s diabetes.

It could be the most powerful person in the battle for covid vaccinations is Michael Rapino. And Rapino has historically been willing to hang it out there alone, to say and do the right thing. Will all the smaller promoters let him take the risk? Unfortunately, probably. But if the concert business were smart, it would form a coalition today, insisting that all concertgoers be vaccinated. In this way they would be spreading the risk/attention of said declaration. You might hate Live Nation or AEG or whomever, but can you hate ALL CONCERT COMPANIES??

Just like you can hate all cruise companies?

Bookings are way up for 2022, people are “dying” to go on a cruise. And cruises can be very cheap vacations. Which is one of the reasons why they’ve boomed in the past two decades, they’re not only for the rich, as a matter of fact their inclusive nature at rock bottom prices appeals to…many of those who refuse to be vaccinated.

Let the games begin.

“Cruise Line Threatens to Skip Florida Ports Over Proof-of-Vaccination Ban – Norwegian Cruise Line plans to require Covid-19 vaccine documentation from its crew members and customers, but Florida recently enacted a law that bars businesses from doing so.”: https://nyti.ms/3hdFXNZ

The New Michael Lewis Book

“The Premonition: A Pandemic Story”: https://amzn.to/3o7cdUf

1

Michael Lewis makes ordinary people stars. Like Billy Beane. And Michael Burry. And now Charity Dean.

The “New York Times” gave this book a positive review, the “Wall Street Journal” a negative one. The WSJ said been there, done that, it’s in the past, so why bother sifting through the ashes? Well, when you read “The Premonition” you can see why. America is broken. As Lewis says, Trump exacerbated the poor coronavirus response, but he shared responsibility with our institutions, like the CDC.

I always respected the CDC. I lost some admiration during the covid crisis, but after this book I’ve lost almost all of my faith. You see the CDC does not lead. Because if you do, and you make a mistake, your head gets chopped off. Actually, this is what happened, and as a result the head of the organization is now appointed by the president, so the titular head changes regularly, the CDC has become politicized, but it’s much worse than that.

What we’ve learned this century is we need government, not only for pandemics, but natural disasters and so much more. Something bad happens, and the same people who say we must lower taxes and shrink the government expect to be rescued and made whole by it. But so many holes have been punched in the government since Reagan that you must rescue yourself, if you can do so. As for Americans’ expectation to be made whole after every bad event…this is fallacious, not only in fact but spirit. No one can lose their job, no one can lose anything in today’s country, so very few sacrifice, they hold on to what they’ve got.

So Charity Dean decided to go into public service. After her medical residency she decided to become the chief health officer of Santa Barbara County as opposed to working in the private sector. Pay was lousy, but she could make a difference. She grew up in a sheltered religious environment in the Pacific Northwest and had been shaking off its restrictions ever since she went to college. You see they don’t want you to be educated, for fear you’ll learn and change your perspective. Hell, I thought my mother knew everything before I went to college, I soon learned that she did not, and she did not like this, and I come from a liberal, questioning background!

So Charity Dean throws over the arranged husband, proceeds in medicine, and then confronts a complacent medical landscape north of Los Angeles. And the truth is no one wants change, no one wants people to stand up to power, people want to be left alone to break the rules and injure others. Like the doctor who was not observing cleanliness procedures, turns out he was spreading hepatitis C, Dean shut him down. And after mudslides wiped out a ton of expensive homes in Montecito, she insisted on evacuating an old age home in a slide path. They’d survived the first round, but this time? If they evacuated the residents some people would die, if they didn’t they all might die. Turns out Dean insisted they evacuate and some people did die and the mudslides never hit. Whew, imagine the blowback! But the truth is to survive we need big thinkers willing to go against conventional wisdom.

Like Richard Hatchett and Carter Mecher who come up with the pandemic plan. They came up with the idea of closing schools, of social distancing. And the truth is it works, assuming you do it early enough. But when it came time to make that call, nobody in government wanted to do it. Actually, they reached down to Charity Dean, the state’s deputy public-health officer, to impose on the administration…that’s one of the reasons California shut down early, to send the message to other states that they should do so too. But, this was a secret organization, people were going behind the president’s back.

2

So what you learn is Charity Dean is an old school American, not one of the faux freedom ignoramuses, but one who is willing to stand up for truth, justice and the American Way. You remember that, don’t you? It’s mostly gone today, everybody is fearful of being kicked out of the tribe.

But the real lesson is how inefficient and unprepared government institutions are to deal with normal, expected experiences. And since our health care is private, hospitals are locked into lab contracts, so even if you want to provide testing for free, you can’t, despite the labs delivering results so long after the fact that they’re useless.

Meanwhile, science is key, not religion. It’s the genome that allowed the virus to be tracked. Then the government wouldn’t cough up enough money to run the test on all people, allowing the virus to spread willy-nilly, with no one really knowing where it was going.

It’s scary.

But there are these unknown geniuses who make all the difference, who have been unsung before Michael Lewis writes about them in this book. Like the aforementioned Carter Mecher. His specialty is pulling the lens so far back that he can see the entire picture and draw conclusions. Sure, he’s an MD, but it’s his intellect that makes all the difference. You can’t study to be this in a rigorous business school education, you must be a freethinker, willing to tinker with accepted facts that turn out not to be. And it also turns out that when you deliver, people start looking for you and ultimately depending upon you. And Carter wants no attention, no fame, he’s the opposite of today’s influencer culture, he just wants the job done.

Then there’s the scientist who comes up with a way to model the spread of viruses who no one will listen to. You see if you’re an outsider, you’re literally shut out. He ultimately cracks the code via a personal relationship, knowing someone who knows someone…but most people would not have persisted this long. Furthermore, when the right people ultimately see his work they think it’s genius and immediately track him down. Yes, those in charge can recognize genius, assuming you can reach them, and oftentimes these people are inundated with input and you can’t, or systems have to be followed. You see the government systems here, the chain of command and…

Charity Dean gets passed over to be the chief health officer in California, instead they put in a…minority person. Who’s got no clue re the pandemic and is most interested in making no waves and keeping her job, she thwarts Dean at every turn, until she is ultimately exposed and resigns. This is a very thorny issue. Yes, we want to expand opportunity for minorities, but at what cost? Do we install the best people or do we do the math and pick from column A or B because…

And so many people in this book work for free. In a world where almost no one will work for free. Where everybody’s complaining they’re not getting paid enough to begin with, that they’re being screwed by the system. But doctors will put themselves at covid risk to try and bridge the gap of testing, working nearly around the clock as volunteers. Never mind research delivering all this expertise so the wheels of progress can turn. You denigrate the elites at your peril.

3

So Michael Lewis has a writing style. Most people do not. It’s just the facts ma’am, and the result is boring and unreadable. Lewis tries to personalize the story, go so deep that you can relate. However, just like with “Flash Boys,” ultimately you have to go into detail about the science, and many people will be lost. In truth they can skip over these sections and get the gist, but the information is still there for those who want to take the time to comprehend it. In truth, nearly everything worth your time is difficult. But they keep telling us to make it bite-sized, dumb it down so everyone can understand it.

So should you read “The Premonition”?

Well, if you’re a Michael Lewis fan, definitely.

If you’re not?

Well, if you want to know what really happened over the last year and a half, how we got to here, this is the best book I’ve read about the coronavirus experience. But be forewarned, you’ll also find some stuff that will make your hair stand on end. Like the federal government surreptitiously flying illegal immigrants from Texas to Southern California and dumping them on the streets, because California had enough infrastructure to take care of them. It’s kind of like the recent report about the bugging of “Washington Post” reporters’ phones…this is much worse than Watergate, our democracy hung in the balance and it still does.

But “The Premonition” is not a political book. It’s really about a bunch of people not hobbled by political affiliation who are alert and trying to solve problems, in a world where most don’t want to know, refuse to accept responsibility but are quick to blame.

“The Premonition” is not long, but it’s not always easy, but you’ll feel smart after you read it, and you’ll also be inspired… The truth is oftentimes the crowd is wrong, generally accepted wisdom is not, and it’s those who refuse to cower, who are willing to go against the grain, who ultimately blow the whistle on falsehood, who get things done. And if Michael Lewis doesn’t write about them, chances are you’ll never hear of them, but thank god there are still those out there who insist on doing the right thing.

4

There are some lines in the book that impacted me so much that I highlighted them on my Kindle, I want to include some of them below.

“‘You can’t write a strategy by committee.'”

This was Apple’s superpower under Steve Jobs, they didn’t just throw more engineers after the problem, they just threw the right ones. This is another reason popular music is in the doldrums, it’s an assembly line churning out replicas of what came before when the truth is change comes from a limited number of individuals, maybe even one, who are willing to go against the grain.

“‘Experience is making the same mistake over and over again, only with greater confidence.”

Just because someone has been there and done that that does not mean they’re not wrong. This is the essence of disruption. Why wouldn’t people want to buy a fifteen dollar CD with just one good song on it? You have to keep your outlook open, you must change or be left behind.

“Because what do you do when you run out of options? You panic. Having something in front of you, a map, a plan, a list of treatments, even if it isn’t completely right, is better than nothing.'”

“‘We are reactive and tend to only intervene when things are getting bad,’ wrote Carter. ‘And what we underestimate is the speed that what’s bad moves.'”

When you can see it, it’s already too late.

“Why doesn’t the United States have the institutions it needs to save itself?”

“Instead of changing her mind about her ambition, she guarded it. ‘I learned to hold that card close, because no one believed it,’ she said.”

And Bob Dylan said this too. Oftentimes it’s the introverts, those outside the mainstream, who are castigated when they get attention, who change the world. If they told everybody their dreams they would be laughed out of the room and never taken seriously again. You’ve got to believe. Then again, too many believe they’re the savior when they’re not.

“‘There will be no standing ovation when you are proven right.”

And no one likes an “I told you so.” But the truth is society corrects itself and moves on, the past is in the rearview mirror and even if you blew the whistle, even changed the course of history, you probably won’t be remembered, never mind get accolades. So, you’ve got to do what you do because it’s RIGHT! Wow, what a concept.

“Even before she’d quit her job she’d had that odd thought, that the country didn’t have the institutions that it needed to survive.”

This is the essence of the book. Our belief in our nation, its government…you’ll question them when you finish “The Premonition.” But people just want things to roll on like they have been, without intervention, without any fixes, without any money. Turns out bureaucracy saves America. Sure, it lumbers, but it is necessary. But too many think we should throw the baby out with the bathwater. The truth is we need investment in procedures and enforcement of the rules and never have those been wavering more than today.

Peter Frampton Forgets The Words

https://spoti.fi/3tESEnD

This album is ASTOUNDING! This is the kind of album Jeff Beck used to make before he insisted on originals and stopped making albums on a regular basis. Yes, there are moments when Frampton uses the guitar sans effects so it almost sounds like a vocal, like Beck did on “Blow by Blow,” yet despite getting some press this album is dead in the water, welcome to 2021 when you can make it, you can even get some publicity, but that does not mean that anybody will listen to it, even hear about it, even if they are fans! Really, if you’re a rock fan, if you’re a fan of these songs you should check it out, especially in a world where the barrier to entry is so low, it’s not like you have to lay down fifteen bucks in a blind effort, just pull it up on your streaming service of choice, I know you subscribe to one.

I started with “Isn’t It a Pity. Frampton played on “All Things Must Pass,” people aren’t quite sure whether he played the acoustic on the released version of this song, but he’s got history and you can feel it in the grooves (the bits, don’t get technical on me.)

And Frampton’s “Isn’t It a Pity” is dreamy, but its pace is slow, so I got it and switched tracks when in truth if you listen all the way through the guitar sound expands and…

The opening cut is “If You Want Me to Stay,” you know the Sly Stone classic, which no one talks about but if you’ve ever heard it you’ve never forgotten it. And listening here you get right into the groove immediately, it feels so good, and sans vocal both this and “Isn’t It a Pity” become unique, something different, taking nothing from the originals but inspiration.

Then there’s “Avalon,” the title track from Roxy Music’s classic. A song you know by heart but have never heard on the radio, you own this album don’t you, do younger generations own “Avalon”? The intro guitar is unique and appealing, so right yet different from the original. And as the track evolves, it’s not rote, this album is not just an exercise, it’s something more, from back when albums were not every three or four year marketing extravaganzas, when they were made by musicians, and that’s what they were back in the sixties, musicians. And unfortunately Peter Frampton ultimately became a teen idol, but that did not affect his ability to play.

But the revelation here, the reason I’m writing this, is Frampton’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s classic “I Don’t Know Why,” the b-side of the single “My Cherie Amour,” plowed under in history as a result of Stevie’s “Music of My Mind” to “Songs in the Key of Life” tour-de-force. Yes, prior to the seventies Stevie Wonder made classic music, and here Frampton gets the funk just right, you cannot listen without nodding your head.

Now on Spotify no track on “Peter Frampton Forgets The Words” has a million streams. As a matter of fact, only one cut has over two hundred thousand streams, Peter’s take on Radiohead’s “Reckoner.” Six of the ten tracks don’t even have a hundred thousand streams, indicating almost no one has heard it.

But you should.

If this were still the sixties, people would know about this album, one of your friends would buy it and you’d go over to their house after school and they’d be playing it on a fall day and it would feel just right and you’d have to own it too.

Everybody’s all caught up in the new and different, trying to impress their friends with their hipness and what they know. But that’s not what Frampton is delivering here, no one is going to foam at the mouth thinking about it, but if you listen to it, you’ll be stunned. This is the music you know, but it’s not old, as a matter of fact it’s positively alive and breathing, and in some cases kicking.

Word of mouth on this stuff starts slowly. And it hasn’t started yet. But once you hear the album, you’ll be talking about it, because you’ll keep playing it, for the mood it puts you in, because it’s not an assault but a companion without being background noise. “Peter Frampton Forgets The Words” could be the sleeper of the year, an award-winner as time goes by. But who cares about trophies, we’re all just individuals. I’m writing this on Saturday afternoon, which is conventionally lazy, Sunday even more so… Immediately pull up “Peter Frampton Forgets The Words,” you’ll be stunned that it feels so right, that it’s what you’re looking for, even though you weren’t even looking.

Tower Of Babel Society

“Elon Musk is being brought in to save SNL’s sagging ratings. He could sink the show in other ways. – In the entertainment and business worlds, there is an argument in favor of the unorthodox host — as well as plenty of warnings”: https://wapo.st/3nXWs1Q

Trump united us.

Elon Musk is crazy, unsocialized like many scientists. He’s often spouting inanities, but he has changed this world markedly. GM couldn’t get the world to go electric, but Tesla has, it’s nearly remarkable. Furthermore, the government is moribund when it comes to space, but entrepreneur Elon single-handedly moved the ball forward, albeit with an injection of government cash, and government incentives at Tesla, but I don’t want to get into a debate of Musk whatsoever, this is really about SNL.

I’m gonna check out Elon’s appearance on SNL, not that I expect him to be good. His delivery is kind of slow, his speech doesn’t speed up, and it’s kind of flat, all of which argue against comedy gold. But for train-wreck value, I’ll take a peek, almost definitely not in real time, maybe on the DVR, most probably online.

But that’s not what interested me in this article. It’s the ratings drop.

Prior to the presidential election, SNL was averaging 9 million viewers. Which is quite substantial, especially when compared with other network fare. But after Trump was gone, the audience slipped to 4 million, LESS THAN HALF!

It’s not like the show itself radically changed. As a matter of fact, it’s employing the same formula it used back in the seventies, opening skit, monologue, musical performance, news… But the world changed around the show. The concept itself was no longer new, and therefore it was no longer a cultural phenomenon. You can only maintain your status as a cultural phenomenon if you change. If you stay the same, you can run on fumes at best. David Bowie and Madonna changed, they had long careers, almost everybody else didn’t. Even MTV switched it up. Adding a game show and “The Real World.” But much of the old audience hates change, if you try to crawl out of the box the naysayers will go full throttle, most people cannot combat this, they cave, even Springsteen brought the E Street Band back.

So the truth is during the insanity of the Trump presidency, people tuned in to SNL to see its spin. Whether it be Alec Baldwin as Trump or Larry David as Bernie Sanders… We were all exasperated at the behavior of Trump and SNL provided the joke and the water cooler, we could connect, we felt that we belonged. But that paradigm no longer applies.

Mass appeal events are cratering all around us but no one cares to look at the causes, no one cares to look at where we’re going, they just keep lamenting what we’ve lost.

Like awards shows. Not only were ratings declining, but this year they cratered, essentially by half. But little of the analysis was about the audience as opposed to the institution or the show. Turned out when you give people options, they take them. Everybody scattered to their own little niche, which they were happy to inhabit. The truth is the wants and desires of human beings are vast, and if choice is limited they can be corralled, but if it’s opened wide they run free.

Therefore, everything mass has lost a huge chunk of its audience, EVERYTHING! The only thing everybody is aware of and has an opinion on is Trump. But now that he’s no longer president and is off Twitter and Facebook, most people are doing their best to ignore him. Or as Bret Stephens said on Bill Maher’s “Real Time,” it was like a jackhammer was blasting outside his window for four years and now that it’s gone it’s a relief, he can think, he can sleep…and Bret Stephens is a right-winger!

And this devolution of mass has implications in all walks of life, especially entertainment. Turns out there is no mass entertainment, it doesn’t exist, even though they keep telling us it does.

“‘Gutfeld!’ beats Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’ throughout April

– The Fox News program has also scored more viewers than Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers, and James Corden”: https://fxn.ws/3baLUHm

Jimmy Fallon? America’s fair-haired boy, who knows politics should not be discussed at work, yet now goes there, safely, because someone else paved the way?

Turns out Fallon only drew 1.395 million viewers. Whereas Colbert leads the pack with 1.991 with the other Jimmy, Mr. Kimmel, in between at 1.579. And let’s never forget that it was Lorne Michaels who groomed Fallon and ultimately delivered this time slot.

Fallon is a man out of time.

Like so many in the entertainment business. 

Now let’s not go deep into the numbers, the demographics, clips on YouTube, let’s just say Gutfeld’s show, which was universally panned by critics, which narrowcasts, is beating Fallon, who broadcasts! Turns out you get more people when you go for the niche!

So everybody thinking their career is about world domination, that you’ve got to be fearful of pissing off a potential customer, is just plain wrong. As a matter of fact, you’ll probably do better if you do piss of some potential customers! Turns out your edge will appeal to a large enough crew to give you a substantial artistic and economic footprint.

And the way to go into the mass business is to be a clearinghouse, to be a distributor servicing all the niches. This is what Netflix does. It delivers for the brainy as well as the brain dead. Superheroes and foreign dramas. Low and highbrow documentaries. Netflix knows it’s in the mass. Netflix also knows that it’s not about any individual show, just making sure people subscribe for the package and don’t disconnect.

Which means if you’re a musical act, the album is just part of the package. If it’s not generating that much income, even if it doesn’t have that big a reach, it may not matter, as long as you tour and participate on social media and release enough new product to satiate those who do care. You’re not playing to radio, you’re not playing to the looky-loos, you’re playing to the hard core, who will stand by you, you don’t want to alienate them, and you hope they spread the word and you get lucky. But if you try to jam it, try to make everybody pay attention, the audience is turned-off, if they’re aware at all, today you can shoot up a school and it can be off the news in a matter of days!

So, major record labels pursue limited genres leaving the landscape open to competitors in every other genre. To their detriment. Same deal with movie studios, they make mass appeal movies to play around the world and it turns out most people don’t care and tune out, don’t even bother to go to the theatre at all. Sure, the press tells an opposite story, the press is a tool of the entertainment industry, but the truth is the hoi polloi, the average consumer, is totally disconnected from the press. The regular folk get their news and opinions online, oftentimes from individuals as opposed to mass outlets. And you wonder why everybody in America is on a different planet.

This is what the Republicans don’t understand. They believe if they fire up their base it’s enough to win. But that is patently untrue. You need a big tent to win today. The Democrats need AOC and Joe Manchin. You’ve got to get along if you want to build a coalition to succeed.

So the Republicans are now trying to tilt the table, rig the game, with voting restrictions. They don’t realize that most people have lost respect for the game itself, and the more you mess with it the more you lose control. Like with vaccine reluctance, many people no longer trust the government, full stop. Just like lawyers got a bad name after Watergate. Everybody’s looking out for themselves.

And it turns out we don’t have a cohesive government anyway, this is what Covid-19 proved, it’s not only Trump, the government systems couldn’t get it together to enact a comprehensive plan that the public would adhere to, therefore the United States ended up with an untoward number of deaths and ultimately sacrificed the confidence of the populace even more!

We’ve become Balkanized, it’s amazing the United States even works. Which is one reason authoritarianism is gaining traction around the world, many people want someone to make sense of an unsensible world.

But the most interesting disconnect is between those with the communication power, who had a perch in the old world, and the public. Hell, the news missed the rise and appeal of Trump completely. They thought there was no way he could win. They had no idea what people were actually thinking.

Same deal with the Democrats and Bernie Sanders back in 2016.

But it’s not 2016 anymore.

Everyone in America is out for themselves, thinking about themselves, which is why no one else is. Everybody believes they’re entitled to an opinion and it’s just as valid as anybody else’s. Anybody with a profile proffers an opinion and zillions of people come out online excoriating it. Gal Gadot, a Hollywood hero, comes out with an inane “Imagine” and there’s a backlash, it hurts her profile. How can this happen to a movie star! VERY EASILY!

And sure, Trump is still in our peripheral vision, we’re keeping track of him, if for no other reason than the GOP’s desire to depose Liz Cheney, but we wonder is it a sideshow we can ignore or is it a harbinger of future control of all of us which we will abhor?

Yes, people are afraid they’ll have to go back to a three network world. That they’ll have no choice. That it’ll be like communism. But the truth is communism isn’t even like communism anymore. You can be rich in China. And Russia is just authoritarian, there are elections but you can’t get rid of Putin.

And the more you sit at home and watch the shenanigans, the more you’re both enraged and prone to lay back and let it all sail by.

And now with Trump gone, most people believe the imminent threat has disappeared so they’re going back to their lives and it turns out, all those lives are different. They don’t need to tune in to the old stalwarts, they don’t have to follow the news 24/7, they can relax and do their best to satiate themselves.

This is what the internet has provided, a world without boredom, where you can find like-minded people in every nook and cranny, where you can even make a living just appealing to the nook and cranny. The country is no longer top down, but bottom up.

But no one in power seems to realize this. They’re no different from ancient rockers who believe Spotify is the devil, forgetting that they can make the music for free and distribute it online for almost nothing and tour at inflated ticket prices while they stay in touch with their audience online. But that does not mean people will care anyway, if you want to be alive you must prevent yourself from dying, you must innovate.

And for two decades the innovation all came from Silicon Valley, first in hardware and then in software. But the truth is these tools have now been harnessed by the public, to the point where those who own the platforms can’t even control their usage. The public has run away with the conversation, and it’s all about conversation, opinions, no one debates how Facebook works, the pipes, it’s about what you can do with it.

So this is where we’re headed. A Tower of Babel society where everybody speaks a different language and people can’t communicate. Look at politics for a prime example. Why should it be any different in entertainment?