Leaders Without Vision and the Death of Hope

Corruption and Lies Economics Spirituality Uncategorized

When I was a kid every Sunday evening in the fall and winter was reserved for sitting in front of the television as a family and watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and the Wonderful World of Disney. It was entertainment that my parents knew that they could watch with their kids and not have anything questionable on the screen. The experience was safe, universally positive, and fun. What has happened to Disney? I think the problem is that they put people in charge who didn’t understand the theme, the product, the dream, or even how to manage the customer goodwill that they had developed. All they understood was making money. They are what I call Amoral Capitalists.

I call them Amoral Capitalists because they have nor morals and to distinguish them from Moral Capitalists who desire to make money but our governed by their own morality.

Freedom Troopers, you know me. It is a fact that capitalism has raised more people from poverty than any other economic system. But it must be tempered with morals. When you have amoral capitalism, and too many have abandoned morals and virtue today, you begin to get capitalism that resembles the one Marx warned about. Marx’s philosophy has repeatedly failed in history and all of his predictions were false because of the amoral and atheists who never understood human nature. Marx did not see the positive effects of religion on society because he was too busy hating it. In the last few years, I have come to realize what our founders said hundreds of years ago. Our constitution is sufficient to govern a moral people but not an amoral one.

Bob Iger has greatly expanded Disney’s portfolio but the expansion has nothing to do with Walt Disney’s dream and he put Disney in debt to do it. So much debt has endangered the dream. Like so many who understand money and finance, he has no feel for science fiction or fantasy and under his leadership, Disney has destroyed Star Wars, Marvel, and even the traditional Disney products and fan base. He has alienated or fired people who defended the dream and promoted those who he deemed would maximize profit. Like so many woke corporations today he was wrong.

Once these properties became popular they began to come to the interest of the people who didn’t understand them but who wanted that money. Unfortunately they, like Bob Iger, have killed the goose that layed the golden eggs time and time again because they didn’t know what the goose wanted and refused to admit that it had unique needs that they didn’t understand.

Disney and Lucasfilm began killing Star Wars when they decided that the historicity of the world didn’t matter. I, and others, don’t bother reading the new products because the Jedi don’t act like Jedi, the smugglers don’t act like smugglers, and the authors don’t know the Clone Wars from the Sith War. The fans of these products are not racist. The people I know are more tolerant of others than any other single group. That is because we have been marginalized and looked down on for our interests all understand them in the slightest but they saw they were making money of our lives. In the 1960s I read my comics and Doc Savage books, Heinlein, and Tolkien and people thought I was weird. I also paid attention to the news and in junior high 60 Minutes and Star Trek were my favorite TV shows. I guess that was weird too. But as I got older my interests in history and politics allowed me to carry on conversations with people who didn’t understand Star Wars and Tolkien but I noted that there was a gap there.

Each of the franchises that have been ground into the dust had such loyal fans that it took a major effort to turn them off but under Bob Iger Disney has managed to do it. It would be disgusting if he was the only one but everywhere these businessmen and financiers who realized that our precious dreams were starting to make money took them over and then proceeded to make them generic to “broaden their appeal.” they had no clue that they catered to a niche of society that was nurtured imagination and followed these products precisely because they did NOT appeal to the mass who are satisfied by a “bread and circuses” world.

A key part of these dreams however is their internal consistency. The worlds work to stimulate the imagination because they have believable characters, distinctive histories, and internal rules that make the world work. All of these are dispensed with by those who only want to make money.

These amoral capitalists never had the imagination to understand the properties so, in their minds, they can do anything because these fantastic worlds don’t make sense anyway. But they do. They are internally consistent. The Amoral Capitalists and Leftist Ideologues who took over Lucasfilm, Marvel, Star Trek, Disney, and so many other properties think they can do whatever they want in worlds they never understood. They don’t understand the appeal of the original properties and they don’t understand that the people they appeal to are not the “mass” of humanity. These properties touch the imaginations of scientists, technical professionals, writers, and those who want to escape from the mundane problems of “reality.”

This does not mean they are just escapists. Star Trek has a history of tackling sticky political and social issues but they tackle them in a “safer” universe than the one people live in every day. Their commentary is more effective because it enters through the back door of imagination before people realize that it’s discussing today’s problems and today’s reality. When people with no subtlety take over they replace this subtle commentary with direct preaching. I remember being excited at the Batwoman comic and I bought the first issue I saw. She didn’t stand for justice or fight bad guys. I was treated to a monologue that lasted for the entire comic about her political and social views. She was so busy monologuing that she had no time to save people who were being robbed, raped, or assaulted. That was the last comic of hers I bought.

After they ruin a franchise with their leftist preaching or clumsy maneuvering they then try to deflect responsibility by saying “We glutted the market” and “People are just bored with it.” The only ones bored with it are those who own the property and they were bored with it before they saw dollar signs in it and decided they could “make a buck.”

As for myself, I am not bored with it and this is a lie. I could easily watch Star Wars, Marvel, and other science fiction/fantasy and traditional Disney movies several times a week. What I am bored with is the poorly written drivel purveyed by writers who never bothered to learn the genre. I am not willing to waste my time watching junk with star wars or Disney looks that betrays the genre and “feel” of those properties. When it reached the point where they announced a new show and I assumed that, without even seeing a preview, it wouldn’t be done right or would betray “the dream” I stopped making the effort to watch. People who never cared about great franchises such as Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Star Wars, Marvel Comics, Aliens, and a myriad of others do not understand the importance of the story or history. One of the acts that destroyed Star Wars were declaring that there would be no canon or history and that anyone could write anything. This didn’t “open up the market” it strangled it. For fans of these properties, you cannot just place something in a setting that looks vaguely right and expect the fans to be happy. These fans don’t just watch shows for entertainment they become highly invested in these “worlds” and they expect them to make sense of the other rules around which the worlds were built and to fit within the “history” that is established. That is what makes the dream work.

People like Bob Iger whose chief interests are making money and sports will never understand, just as he didn’t understand why the major expense of his building a sports hall of fame in Disneyland flopped so horribly. It wasn’t part of the dream. When you put people in charge who don’t understand the dream and who only dream of dollars and football (what the Romans called Bread and Circuses,) they make the mistake of thinking that anything will work and anyone can write for them. This is dead wrong.

It doesn’t take a lot of looking to notice that each of these shows from Aliens to Witcher has fans that talk for hours about the universe in which these worlds thrive. Not only do you have dozens of shows that go into the minutiae of the universe but they go into the history, characters, and other lore as well and they have millions of cumulative viewers. These fans are not a “necessary burden” to the franchise it is what keeps it going. This niche group spends hundreds or even thousands of dollars on “the dream” that touched their imagination. When you kill the dream to “normalize” it and make more money you lose the fans (a word derived from fanatic,) and replace them with casual observers who won’t spend any dollars on the merch. That is the worst marketing strategy possible. It makes sense to the financiers because they have used it over and over again. It works for 80% of the populace. However, it doesn’t work on the 20% who have made the fandom popular and profitable by buying everything they could find that fit “the dream.”

These current deadly custodians of our dreams are what a friend of mine has always called the “bean counters” of the world. They only care about the bottom line and only became interested in these dreams when they started making money. Yet these financiers will never understand that these worlds are not just stupid stories that they can substitute any other stupid story for and have the fans be happy. They dismissed them as stupid before they started making money and still thought them stupid even as they took the helm. But they are coherent worlds with their own rules and when you start ignoring the rules as Rian Johnson and Kathleen Kennedy gloried in doing with Star Wars and Les Moonves did with Star Trek you lose the fans. This isn’t because the fans are misogynists or racists or any type of phobe. It isn’t misogynist to want the female characters to put in the same time and have the same heroic arc as the male heroes and not be a “Mary Sue” who can do anything without the learning curve. The curve of development is a key part of the hero’s journey but a world that has no real heroes can never understand that. Cowards hate heroes and will do everything they can to tear them down. I had waited years to see Lando Calrissian on the screen again, as well as the main characters, and I was hoping to see what exciting things he had done in the interim. But in this, like nearly everything else in the sequels, fans were disappointed.

But these Amoral Capitalists don’t understand virtue or morals and they don’t understand heroes. Being physical cowards themselves they don’t understand putting your life on the line to defend others. It just seems stupid to them. This is why they tear down every hero or icon they find. Instead of looking at the flaws of the hero and taking heart that despite the flaws Jefferson wrote one of the greatest documents ever about human rights, Washington defeated the most powerful empire in the world, and Luke Skywalker toppled an Evil Empire, they can only see flaws and if they don’t find them they make them up. They did this to Luke Skywalker. Taking the most positive, idealistic, and rightly motivated character in Star Wars and turning him into a nothing curmudgeon is a common tactic of curmudgeon writers everywhere who hate anything that looks to them like ideals, courage, or hope. I heard Denise Praeger say that cowardice is the human norm. That is why we highlight heroism. It is an ideal to be aspired to. But the worst of the cowards hate heroes because they highlight their shortcomings. The problem is not only bad writing and consistently breaking the rules of the world, ignoring the unique history, betraying the consistency of the characters, and destroying the dream. Because they have no dreams but money and no heroes but the robber baron J.P. Morgan. But this is not a new story. It accompanies the decline of every major civilization in history. The death of ideals and dreams.

This is the key. You cannot let people who have no hope, no dreams, and no imagination write or guide these properties or they will kill it. That is the problem. When these properties are successful they come to the attention of people who see nothing but dollar signs who buy the property to get rich and not because they love it. This also happened to D&D when it passed from the hands of Gary Gygax and company to the Usurers of the Coast. I abandoned D&D when each edition cost me hundreds of dollars in more books and added nothing to the gaming experience.

I am not surprised. When the Greedy Dragons of the Coast took over I said that D&D was finished. They would milk it for every dollar they could get from it and once they had destroyed their goodwill they would leave the husk rotting in a field as they ran off with their money to destroy another property.

Bob Iger is one of these Greedy Dragons of Amoral Capitalism and he has ridden Disney into the dirt.

In the early and mid-20th Century CEOs, on average, only made 60 times what the worker made. I think this is reasonable because the CEO takes all the risk, makes the investment, and keeps myriads of workers employed. But today’s CEOs (like Bob Iger,) make so much that they cannot even conceive what it is like to be an employee of his company nor does he have a clue what it is like to be a customer. In our great grandfathers’ day, those robber barons who leeched thousands of times the profit off the labor of others were marginalized. Rockefeller was so hated that he had to hire a public relations firm to save his image. Now such robber barons have declared themselves normative. But they are not.

Just as Star Trek assigned Moonvess to run herd on Discovery and flopped. So Iger runs herd on Disney. Moonves made no bones about the fact that he HATED Star Trek. What kind of idiot puts someone in charge who not only doesn’t understand but hates the property? Discovery paid the price for the attacks it received. I still have friends who refuse to watch it although I have told them it’s not so bad – if you take it for its product. It is not the actor’s fault it is the amoral machines’ fault. They think anyone who has made money can make more money with these properties and it has always crashed and burned. The same can be said of Kathleen Kennedy’s Star Wars and, as I have said, Bob Iger loves sports and money but doesn’t understand the Disney legacy.

Next time we will look more closely at the problems that face Disney and the Man Who Killed Disney. What has happened to that dream?

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