Red Letter Norms

The RLM guys are experts at one particular species of cultural tree, but have spent so much time looking at the one tree that they can’t see how the health of the forest is killing that tree.

Naturally, that tree is cinema and the forest is the wider culture.

When it comes to the pictures shows, those guys really know their stuff.  Their tastes may leave something to be desired – and here we pause for a parenthetical head shake at Jay’s love of grotesqueries – but you gotta give them credit for their expertise when it comes to story structure, characterization, editing, and the visual aspects of the medium.  They clearly love film and the theater going experience in general, despite a now decade+ long slide into a default preference for their home theaters.

In a recent video lamenting changes to the industry over the last twenty years they offered up some keen insights and righting the cinematic ship.  Unfortunately, they measured the situation using all of the utterly safe and normie-tier yardsticks, which led them to lukewarm band-aids that can only hope to prolong the suffering of their terminally ill corporate patients.

At root, they fail to recognize that theaters dying is only one minor symptom of a much greater disease.  The host is dying, and as it does so, all of its systems are slowly shutting down.  You can’t save the culture of cinema without looking at the wider culture of America.

To be fair, they lightly touch on the matter in two cases. The first when they mention the steady decline of IQs in America.  Note that I didn’t say “the American IQ”, as Americans are as smart as ever.  But as the demographics of those living in America changes to include more and more third-world tastes, you can rely on film producers and the cinema experience to meet those tastes.  The second, the natural consequence of the first, is the fracturing of the market.  The addition of sixty million consumers to the American economic zone might have lead to overall market growth, but those sixty million consumers don’t come cheap.  They have different tastes and that means you have to make different movies to get them into the theaters.  Put these two together, and you have a recipe for disaster for fans of smart films.

The biggest movies have to get dumber to appeal to a broad cross-section of the new and dumber market.  But the need to craft niche films for minor markets of foreign tastes siphons off what profits used to go to the minor market of smart tastes.  If you want smart movies, you need to have a smart culture, and for the smartest movies you need a common culture large enough to earn profits capable of subsidizing the clever and daring experiments that the RLM guys respect most of all.

Fix the culture, fix the cinema.  It’s just that simple.  Not easy – but simple.

Perhaps the Wisconsin crew is too normie tier upper Midwest nice to notice.  Maybe they are too polite to say out loud what they notice. And maybe they know their income depends on the good will of their YouTube masters, and so check their tongues to save their jobs.  Whatever the reason, it’s hard not to notice that there is one demographic that they are comfortable calling out by name.


The explicitly, and repeatedly, use tween white girls as a placeholder for demographic types who ruin the theater-going experience.  To emphasize their point, they include several shots of young girls excitedly dancing and singing along in the darkened showing of… a Taylor Swift concert documentary.  They might as well have blamed theater nerds because of how they behave at the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  It’s one of the dumbest things they’ve ever done, and I’m saying that as man who had to watch Rich Evans faux-masturbate with a Star Wars toy.

I am become death, destroyer of industries.

If these little gals wind up destroying Big Hollywood, maybe they aren’t so bad.  God does often choose the least likely forms of his destructors, after all.

Swifties know how to read a room.  They know when and how to behave.  Following the herd is their whole schtick, and when they go to the kind of movie the RLM guys like, it’s never them that’s the problem.  Perhaps they mean to use Swifties to underscore the point of declining IQs rather than a clash of cultures, but that’s little better.  These are twelve-year old girls.  Twelve-year old girls haven’t changed over the last fifty years, only the names of their idols and their hairstyles have changed.  Pinning the decline of the experience on them is, frankly, a little embarrassing.

Let me leave you with a little hope.

These guys are passive consumers.  They are smart enough to recognize that something is wrong here, and they are smart enough to start sniffing around the issue.  They clearly recognize that the problems in movie theaters are related to wider trends in the culture.  RLM is noticing.  They are just a little behind regular readers of this blog.  And in that, they may serve as a useful bellwether.  Watch to see if these nice Midwestern boys ever start to give voice to the root causes of the decline of American film, obliquely at first and then more openly.  When they start to advocate, undoubtedly through sarcastic Gex-X humor, for the necessary pains and not-nice policies that would restore an American mono-culture, then you’ll know that the rest of the normies aren’t far behind.


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