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April 30, 2018

Are Comics Fans and Pros Showing Us How to Win a Culture War?

As I've mentioned a few times, I'm a big fan of the YouTube channel Diversity and Comics. Even though I'm only a little interested in comics, I watch the channel because it's funny, and it counter-attacks Social Justice Warriors, and now -- for the past six months -- it's been winning.

I'll talk about that more another time. But part of my fascination with the channel isn't about comics per se: It's about how to lead a grassroots viral rebellion against Social Justice Warrior takeover of a "key nodes and infrastructure" of the cultural battespace, and it has me wondering: Can this model be duplicated? Are there lessons here for winning the cultural fights on other fronts? Are there even lessons for fighting political fights?

Like I said, I'll talk about Diversity and Comics more another time. Right now I wanted to turn you on to another guy who's blowing up on YouTube by taking on another Social-Justice-Warrior captured cultural artifact: Star Wars.

Ethan Van Sciver -- until recently, exclusively with DC, doing mostly the Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps series, now taking a break to revisit his first creator-owned character, Cyberfrog -- can't really say anything about DC or Marvel, because he'll probably be working there again soon, but he can go after "SJW Star Wars." (Though, I always want to ask him: Why do you think Marvel won't be angry at you for going after another Disney-owned franchise?)

Anyway, his channel was already good when he was offering viewers informed and entertaining lessons on drawing.

It got funnier when he asserted that there were too many female characters in media, and decided to strike a blow against the Matriarchy by gender-swapping female characters to make them male-- She-Ra turned into He-Ra, Isis turned into I-Bro, Harley Quinn turned into Charlie Quinn. And Rainbow Brite transformed into a sword-wielding murderhulk, Rainbow Brute.

He then topped himself by gender-swapping My Pretty Pony into My Girthy Stallion.

Because -- seriously -- male pony characters are seriously underrepresented in cartoons. Google it.

But, about Star Wars. Last month he saw The Last Jedi and was "disgusted" by it and has turned his channel into 90% attacking Social Justice Warrior, "The Force is Female" Feminized Star Wars.

The way he gets away with this is that he's funny when he does it.

Inspiring his wrath the most is the "dumpy scowling feminist midget" character Rose Tico, who is widely acknowledged to have no point for existing except for Feminist Empowerment points.

Noting that Hasbro/Disney produced huge volumes of Rose Tico toys that sit "rotting on the shelves," as World Class Bullshitters earlier noted, almost as if Habro/Disney had a political agenda in producing huge quantities of a toy they could reasonably predict that few would want (Note, that's not Ethan Van Sciver, just another guy noting the same problem of overproduction), Van Sciver began buying up Rose Tico toys and reviewing them.

Spoiler alert: Not a fan.

This one's I think his first, when he was merely annoyed by the figure.

Then they put out a second Rose Tico toy when no one even wanted the first one, and he began to become slightly unglued.

People began to worry about his sanity when Hasbro/Disney shit out a third Rose Tico figure, after the first two basically drove Toys R Us bankrupt with their dumpy, scowling formless failure who doesn't have to look pretty just to appease your oppressive Male Gaze.

Now sadly driven insane by the feminist agenda of SJW Star Wars, he topped himself by buying 15 Rose Tico toys and looping them into a an hour long video of the toys being unboxed, and sometimes dismembered, proceeding through the emotional states of boredom, anger, rage, and finally, the exhausted acceptance of a broken man.

By the way, though it's an hour long, presumably for meditation purposes, it's actually just a five or so minute sequence looped a bunch of times, so you can just watch five minutes.

Do get to the scissors, though.

At any rate, as I said, this phenomenon of cultural critics savaging SJW tropes with humor is not only entertaining to watch, but it seems to be effective.

And I keep wondering what lessons other political commentators and agitators can take from this.

The only points I've gotten so far are pretty obvious, but maybe in need of re-learning.

Note that the people I'm talking about really aren't seriously political; but I'm looking at them as a potential model for actual political agitation.

1. The best weapon against a sanctimonious, pretend-pious, self-important Wannabe Priest Without the Collar is ridicule. These people -- SJWs, the media Truth Warriors, and yeah, the NeverTrumpers -- believe they carry a dignity and importance the rest of us just don't believe they do. We think they're fools. Other people would also think they were fools, if they were alerted to the fact that most people do think they're fools -- it's just that they control the means of communication and it's hard to get the word out that they're idiots, charlatans, and moral poseurs.

The Emperor's New Clothes and all that.

Stripping them of that false dignity and importance reduces them. It also drives them absolutely bananas. Because they really do conceive themselves as an Elect elevated above the deplorable masses.

2. You can get away with this if you're funny and biting and yet not angry or (overtly) mean-spirited. Watching Diversity and Comics, for example, I've noticed that when he's actually pissed off and emotionally invested in a topic, he's not nearly as funny, nor is he as persuasive. Emotional distance is required for ridicule to work -- it's funny if you're actually laughing at someone. If you're too pissed off to actually be laughing at someone, then it just sounds like an angry guy venting.

3. The culture war must be fought by asymmetric methods. The social justice warriors, the Establishment, the TDS media actually command all the "key nodes and infrastructure" of the culture wars. They have too much power and cannot be dislodged or even damaged by conventional means. There is no alternate media remotely large enough to directly challenge the leftist media. The war against them must be a guerrilla sort of affair of subversion and psyops, critique and ridicule. (Rush Limbaugh and others have been doing this for years, obviously.)

4. The most important take-away is just that the fight can be won. Disney is at a bit of a crisis point amidst widespread audience revolt over The Last Jedi; if the Solo movie fails -- which Van Sciver only refers to as "Soylo" -- Disney will actually have a fullblown crisis.

Marvel comics is attempting a negotiated treaty with fans in revolt -- as Diversity and Comics puts it, they're still giving readers the identity politics they don't want, but largely confined to their own identity-politics appeal books. Regarding the main books, they're putting less Social Justice Warrior/identity politics stuff in them.

Many people think Marvel is backsliding, and we'll have to see how this goes. But with the Editor in Chief Axel Alonzo fired and most of the Social Justice Warrior books canceled (or at least with the SJW characters put together into team books, where readers can have one-stop-shopping for completely ignoring them), at least some concessions to audience revolt have been made.

5. If you believe, as I do, and as Andrew Breitbart did, that most people who are "liberal" are really just "default liberals," and are not really political at all but will adopt whatever politics they see pushed by the media, then the importance of ridiculing progressivism and turning it from the default position to a joke seems obvious.

Remember, people who don't care about politics pick their politics according to the quite-rationale criterion of which politics will result in me being bothered, bullied and ostracized the least. With the intolerant, illiberal left pushing a militant form of neomarxism, people who don't much care about politics will adopt or at least accept a militant form of neomarxism as the standard, accepted form of politics. The politics of Least Cost and Least Effort. The political path of least resistance.

Battles that look a little silly -- fighting over whether or not Marvel comics pushes feminized male characters and masculized female characters, or whether or not Star Wars features nothing but Women in Command and incompetent cucks obeying their every order -- might actually be a bit more serious than they appear to the casual observer.

Politics is downstream of culture, of course, as Andrew Brietbart's central thesis had it.

6. Circling back a bit: Given that on the surface these particular culture wars -- over comic books, over Star Wars -- do in fact look a little silly (or very silly), then really, the only way to engage with them is to do so in silly, humorous ways, lest you look very ridiculous yourself by engaging seriously and heatedly with a silly-looking complaint. But responding to ridiculous Social Justice Warrior propaganda with ridicule -- laughing at them rather than fulminating against them -- seems to be the right kind of tactic for the job.

Cultural critics who appear too serious have always looked to me to seem a bit silly. Even though I know better, and realize that culture is the most important part of politics.

But cultural critics who engage the ridiculous with ridicule seem... persuasive.

7. As there's barely any chance of something with a larger budget like a TV show carrying this fight forward, it's going to be almost exclusively a battle fought by one-man or small-group operations on low-entry-barrier sites like YouTube. (Although, of course, that is hugely problematic: Google/YouTube are one of the left's greatest prizes, and will not permit a YouTuber to become too threatening to the left. An alternative to YouTube is needed.)

8. The way the media propagandizes is by packaging political messages inseparably from content about other matters. D&C, Comics Artist Pro Secrets, and a dozen similar sites (Just Some Guy, World Class Bullshitters, DICK in Comics, etc.) are doing a very similar thing, talking about a non-political matter, Star Wars or comics or Rose Tico toy reviews, while adding in some political commentary.

As Instapundit has observed dozens of times: If a Republican donor really wanted to make a huge impact in this nation's voting patterns, he'd start up a women's magazine about fashion and make-up and all the rest of it which just happened to have a very light, very occasional, stealthy conservative political outlook.

That used to be how liberal outlets did it, until they realized they had no other competitors and could now be stridently political 70% of the time, because where else could conservatives or moderates go?

9. Honestly, although people have been saying "blogging is dead" for years, I think maybe blogging is dead, and video commentary is the new blogging. Personally, I don't think I have the desire to do that or the particular talents, but that seems to me to clearly be the only front that matters any longer.

Anyway, those are my thoughts -- obvious as they might be.

And I realize that by taking this all a bit too seriously, I look a bit ridiculous right now myself.

So to take the edge off that: Below, your one hour of unboxing useless terrible dumpy scowling feminist midget Rose Tico toys.


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posted by Ace of Spades at 07:40 PM

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