What Happened to the Critic?

I found this is in my draft folder. It was going to be a Yeah, It’s Gonna Suck about Birds of Prey. Apparently, I had forgotten to publish it. I was about to delete but then I looked it over and decided it actually had a few useful observations about the roll of the Critic in modern pop-culture. Basically they don’t have one.

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I see that Birds of Prey is coming out and yeah it’s gonna suck.

I know that because they have Ewan Kenobi out bitching at the misogynistic man-babies. He is attacking the regular fans and interestingly white male critics.

Normally you don’t attack critics in advance of your film’s release for the obvious reason that you want them on your side.  Which means the test screenings are indicating they won’t be and need to be informed of the political consequences of giving the most empowered heroine in the DC-verse a bad review. 

Studios didn’t used to try to muscle film critics but times have changed for a couple of reasons. 

  1. There didn’t used to be all that many of them. 

Back when reviews were only published in papers critics were worried about maintaining their reputations.  It was also in the paper’s interest to maintain a critic’s reputation, so they would back the critic against bullying.  Besides which, there was no such thing as a film with a quarter of a million dollar budget. Muscle costs money and the studios didn’t have enough to beat the critics into submission. 

Now, due to the internet any asshole with a blog can be a film critic (Cataline tugs guiltily at his collar).  And there are billions on the line if a major tentpole film breaks and brings down the tent. It’s worth their while to bring in the muscle. 

 Studios used to be able to buy their percentage with a marketing blitz and just ignore bad press.   Due to the death of popculture as we knew it, that can’t be done anymore. 

  1.  The critic as we knew him is dead.  

We live in the age of “influencer” now.  And as anybody who knows anything about the Fyre Festival will tell you, those assholes are easy to buy. 

The Influencer is pretty much on his or her own and if the studio cuts them off, they no longer have timely content.  That is the death of their “influence.” So they are all too happy to play ball in exchange for swag in one form or another. 

The other thing that the studios have discovered is just how hilariously easy it is to program the NPCs.  Those drones won’t turn out to support a boring film but they will storm out their hive to protect a Social Justice film. Producers have discovered the power of the twitter mob to squelch negative criticism. 

The first time we saw that was with that godawful reboot of Ghostbusters.   The stars weren’t out there saying, “this is just as funny as a original. The fans are going to love it!” They were saying, “the fans are racist, sexist, middle-aged man-babies living in their mother’s basements! All criticism of this movie is the product of 4chan and the Alt-Right!” 

There is no denying it was an effective strategy.  They hauled in $230 million world wide for a flick that should have left nothing but a smoking crater in the boxoffice.  Sure it lost money but it was a controlled loss. Ghostbusters wasn’t in John Carter territory. 

The NPCs are as absolutely mindless as flatworms if presented with the right stimulus.   Their actions are so reliable that they can actually be reliably and predictably measured, then presented in a boardroom meetings. 

Take a look at the difference between Black Panther’s marketing campaign in which it was clearly felt there was little need to call critics racist (it happened of course but there was really no driving force behind it).  And Captain Marvel’s marketing campaign. 

The producers know they’ve got a turkey on their hands. So they needs to do two things.  One, squelch all criticism. Critics, on top of being 75% White Male are close to 99% Lefty. They have now been informed by the Ewan McGregor that if they say a word against it they will be denounced as sexists.  Two, insure that feminists who normally wouldn’t care about a superhero movie turn out to see this one. 

But I strongly suspect that this tactic has had it’s day.

The simple truth is even Woketards can figure out if they are watching a bad movie or not and by now they’ve been trained by Pavlovian conditioning that they are being ordered to watch yet another shitty movie.

Yeah, it’s gonna suck.

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