When I was a kid (this was the 1950’s) the biggest revenue sport for television wasn’t baseball, wasn’t football, it was – bowling! Why? Because all you needed to televise bowling was one camera located behind the lane being used for that match. You didn’t need producers, you didn’t need a big trailer sitting outside the bowling alley, you didn’t even need an announcer. So the whole thing, financially peaking, was net-net.
I was reminded of how the networks used to show bowling when I watched the RNC shindig the last two nights. Virtually the entire program consisted of one camera facing one speaker who stood in front of a completely empty room and talked for a couple of minutes about whatever they wanted to talk about. Which means that if you need 20 speakers every night for 4 nights, you’re going to hit the bottom of the barrel, speaker-wise, pretty fast.
The bottom of the barrel was almost scraped last night in spades when the program listed a speaker named Mary Anne Mendoza whose appearance was cancelled at the last minute after her role as a promoter of QAnon conspiracy theories started getting around. The particulars involved the pushing of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ about how a Jewish cabal controls the world banking system and is currently following orders from George Soros and God knows who else.
This QAnon nonsense has been floating around for a couple of years and is used by the alt-left in the same way that the so-called Antifa conspiracy is used by the alt-right; namely, to create the impression of a really dangerous group whose existence threatens the very foundations of our country if not the whole of Western civilization itself.
In fact (note the word ‘fact’) the Antifa thing started in a coffee shop adjacent to the Berkeley campus and has never been anything more than a few college-age kids who dress up in silly costumes and go wandering around. As for QAnon, this is nothing more than some internet tweets which would have never been noticed had Trump not sent a positive comment to a QAnon follower in Georgia who won a Congressional primary contest last week. The QAnon ‘movement’ has more than a million followers on various Facebook groups. Good for them.
Sooner or later groups like Antifa and QAnon end up on some FBI terrorist list because this gives the FBI something to do besides wandering around airport long-term parking lots looking for stolen cars. The so-called ‘threat’ represented by these websites also gives groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League an opportunity to raise some cash. The bottom line is that these ‘movements’ are websites and if I wanted to, I could promote my website as a ‘movement’ too.
Know who has spent the last four years promoting another phony ‘movement?’ The President of the United States. His so-called ‘movement’ was invented by Steve Bannon, who first began filling Trump’s head with a whole lot of racist nonsense combining alt-right conspiracy theories about Muslim threats with populist anger towards the Deep State.
You would think that with all the internet messaging done by these groups that they would spend some time huckstering various products like extra-strength vitamins, freeze-dried foods, portable air-raid shelters, and other necessities to prepare for the coming collapse. The best they seem able to come up with are those ugly, MAGA hats, which are now selling on Amazon for ten bucks or less.
I can’t believe that Trump is getting free television coverage from every network four nights in a row and isn’t trying at least one time to sell his hats, his neckties, his daughter’s jewelry line or something else. You show me any kind of political ‘movement’ that doesn’t peddle some kind of consumer crap, and I’ll show you a ‘movement’ that either doesn’t really exist or still hasn’t figured itself out.
Meanwhile, TV viewership for this year’s GOP convention is down 30% from 2016.