Tokyo Damage Report


The entire concept of ‘Hate-watching’ is amazing to me.


It’s amazing that TV execs, confronted with an audience fed up with crap, even conceived of this as an option: “Hey, what if we made shows where even people that hated it would tune in anyway?”


It’s even more amazing that they were successfully able to do it – if it’s too crappy, you’ll lose the half of the audience which was non-ironically watching it, but if it’s too sympathetic to the main characters, you’ll lose the OTHER half – the people who watch it because they hate the main character.


It reminds me of Colonel Kurtz’ monolog about the snail crawling on a knife’s edge and surviving.  It’s incredibly difficult: the editing process is full of exactly the kind of subtlety, balance and nuance which is MISSING FROM THE ACTUAL SHOW ITSELF!


I couldn’t write even one episode like that, yet these people write entire series, entire seasons, entire GENRES like this, and succeed.  Which makes me wonder, what if all that talent had gone into, I don’t know, writing TV shows that weren’t crap to begin with?


That’s the problem with capitalism:  the opportunity costs are a mother. With that amount of talent, we could have produced a whole generation of Shakespeare-level TV by now.


And now these same media assholes are giving us the Trump campaign.


Here’s now hate-watching is effecting the election (beyond simply making Trump possible):


You’ve got 2 candidates with historically high negatives. The high negatives means they can’t convince undecided voters that they have anything good to offer, so they both resort to a message of I’M NOT THE OTHER PERSON, WHO IS WORSE. With every new gaffe, every leak or conspiracy theory, all the other, positive campaign messages become untenable, until I’M NOT THE OTHER MONSTER is the only message left.


And that’s the hate-watch angle:  look at this horrible person! See how awful they are! Hey honey, get a load of this freak-show!


But again, there’s this opportunity cost: every minute we discuss how horrible so-and-so is, is a minute we’re NOT talking about the serious issues facing the country and the radical new solutions we need.


And there’s another, even worse opportunity cost: the more the election degenerates into I’M NOT THE OTHER MONSTER mud-slinging, the more voters will turn on each other.  Dems, Repubs, Greens, and Libertarians – whose voters share common goals like ending the wars, getting money out of politics, and avoiding TPP – wind up divided and conquered.


At the end of the election cycle, the media, the political consultants, pundits, pollsters, and other dongs will be much richer, but the rest of us will inherit a country where no matter who wins, half the people will regard the other half as subhuman traitors.


So, without further ado, here’s my new list:




More room on the right – Trump’s done but he permanently made people like Clinton, Cruz, and Walker, etc. look sane in comparison

  • Election results will be regarded as illegitimate no matter who wins
  • Politics as simple entertainment (with everything that implies, such as personality over policy, facts are irrelevant, objectivity is not something to strive for in journalism etc.) mentality is the new normal
  • Blue / red / third-party voters more divided against each other, and barely regard each other as human
  • With the GOP wrecked, Clinton will attempt to make America a one-party state (at least at the federal level)
  • Racist hate-groups emboldened
  • People trust the media even less

2 Comments so far

  1. Autism Alternative Mom October 28th, 2016 6:34 am

    I think a big factor is that for the first time ever two candidates have their entire private life laid out and flipped inside out to where every single thing is visible. There isn’t one thing that’s private at this point plus there’s been all these other conjecture and rumour and horrendously gross stuff added on top of that. I think if we were witness to elections in the 1940s or 50s with this kind of transparency That we are saying in today’s USA it would just be sheer pure Everest size piles hate. In a way I think we are fortunate today. There are enough decent and alternative people to mobilize en masse.If not against the government then at least on a local level. But I agree that in a Third World version of ancient Rome that the public and media symbiosis is going towards violent excess.

  2. jonno December 9th, 2016 11:32 am

    Yes, it is an elaborate and distracting dance. You are saying that the problem is not in the performance itself, or the observing of it, but rather the staging and production. It seems to me that a reasonable portion of the problem is that on both levels there are divisions of perspective. On the base level it is between liking something or liking its failure. On an abstracted level it becomes a division between appreciating the disparity of the base perspectives and finding them counterproductive. The self-reflection can continue, of course, and each layer multiplies on the prior. I personally think that the focus should be on removing these layers, destroying the polarization, and overall simplifying the social landscape.

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