The Revolution needs to be commercialised

By | September 22, 2009
Kitty is approaching Critical Mass
Image by Dr Stephen Dann via Flickr

There’s a bigger story that is worth noting that has to do with the way the cultural struggle for a better world is carried out. In short, the right wing is very aware that political power grows out of people’s beliefs and hopes and dreams and they support their cultural warriors unstintingly. Our side thinks in terms of “issue campaigns” and leaves its cultural workers to work second jobs or take out mortgages to support their projects. We may wish to rethink this strategy.

Northland Poster Collective: Northland Closes (Accessed Sun Aug 02 2009 20:33:35 GMT+0800)

Cultural warriors on full paid salary versus the ad-hocery of the volunteer, several jobs and too many more commitments social change activists.  If we’re going to compete, we’re going to need to compete in some of their marketspace to at least block, parry and counter.  One Keith Olbermann does not a revolution make.

The question is – how do we commercialise the left-wing, centre (bi-partisan moderates) and moderate right (liberal social justice) to be able to counteract the heavily rating driven shock-extremism of the commercial entertainment industry?

One aspect is to divide the objectives into a partisan commercial focus, and a non-commercial bi-partisan operation.  Let the news, policy and debate that generates ideas for real change and solutions be conducted outside of the mainstream media, away from the 24 hour news cycle, and through the blogs, twitterstream, articles, long form magazine posts and pdf files.   Then bring a dedicated set of frontline icons to present a 24-hour, all-partisan, all social revolution, all the time entertainment focus to the fore.  Use the FoxNews entertainment model for creating a compelling taster dish for the real deep main courses of a more bi-partisan future on key issues.

At the moment, there’s a sense that the entertainment, edutainment, and news entertainment media is beneath the left-centre-moderate right, and that coming down to the grass roots showdown is sullying the good names of the movement(s).  Unfortunately, it’s called mass media because it’s for the masses – and if it remains an uncontested zone where bi-partisan means supporting Republicans in and out of elected office, it’s a going to be a problematic place for society.

It can be done.  The left, social-justice liberals, and the centre allegedly has the comedians, the entertainers, the showpeople and the firepower. It’s a question of commercializing it to the point of sustainability, and making it sufficiently socially sustainable as to continue in perpetuity against the professional cultural warrior circuits.

The commercialisation will add two elements.

1) First, with sponsors comes credibility – whether that’s justified, justifiable, a tragic indictment on our society or anything else, it’s one of those things that’s basically just an annoyance to work around until the system changes.  Think of it like a download patch for upgrading societal views – a large slice of the general public uses social cues found in the forms of endorsements from third party trusted sources as short cuts for decision making because they want to be secure in their position in the majority.  This we know from consumer behaviour theory, from innovation adoption theory, and the stunning success of films that aren’t that good, but which receive rave reviews from known sources.

2) Commercialisation brings money to the side of light, good and counter-evil ass kicking.  Instead of relying on spare change, donated time and vapours (fuel, or attacks of the), bringing money to the fight means full time staff, research cadres who can dedicate their time to providing the ammo to the frontline entertainment units.  Cash, commercial interest and resources means the chance to turn progressive into professional progressive, and to not walk away at the end of an issue campaign.

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