Virtue Seppuku Revisited- How American Capitalism Dies

Virtue Seppuku Revisited- How American Capitalism Dies

Way back in September 2017, I wrote a piece about corporate suicide through the questionable practice of extreme virtue signaling. Examples included Target, Macy’s, Google, the NFL, and Camping World. All of these companies in the post election days and months took hard line stances not only against Trump, but his many supporters as well. The CEO of Camping World in particular went as far as to suggest Trump supporters not shop at his business.

Please note this sentiment.

Although he issued a half-hearted apology, the anti-American insult resonated with Camping World’s former customers. After stocks peaked three months after his first statement in November 2017, the company’s value started a long decline losing over half its value falling from $46.36 a share to its current value of $13.80 today. The company struggled throughout 2018 as investors fled the RV and camping supplies retailer.

Is this solely due to consumer disdain over Camping World’s unnecessary virtue signaling? Not exactly, but in the final analysis, it certainly did not help.

This weekend, Disney finally released its 2018 annual report and the 10-K revealed what critics long suspected. The company lost big on its Star Wars offering and the franchise, which should have led the year’s earning next to Marvel, sputtered out.

At issue was the ham-handed way in which the mouse house denigrated the Star Wars legacy by pushing unnecessary anti-conservative jibes with its over-the-top politically correct haranguing. When fans complained the company was sacrificing coherent story to score brownie points, the Lucasfilm brass blamed the fans for being unsophisticated reactionaries.

“It’s clear to most people that the brilliant strategy of telling your longtime hardcore fans that they’re an aging, racist and unwanted minority hasn’t paid off,” opined Star Wars critic Ethan Van Sciver in his YouTube analysis. “I mean, it’s a brilliant gamble. It’s thinking outside the box – telling you customers to go away but in this case: snake eyes.”

Sciver, like many other critics, believe Disney’s fetish for unattractive “body-positive” design and otherwise poor execution helped bring down Toys R Us in 2018 because children were uninterested buying toys of slovenly and incompetent characters.

Also in the entertainment world, computer game company Electronic Arts stumbled into one of the worst game roll-outs in industry history when it revealed its Battlefield V game, known for its both its realism and historical accuracy, whitewashed men out of historical operations and even used included a woman with a robot arm as a playable character.

When fans complained that the series was betraying historical accuracy, the company reframed their concerns as nothing more than misogyny.  In an interview, EA Chief Creative Officer Patrick Soderlund explained, “We stand up for the cause, because I think those people who don’t understand it, well, you have two choices: either accept it or don’t buy the game. I’m fine with either or.”

So, fans did not buy the game. By Christmas, Battlefield V was selling in bargain bins for a fraction of its original cost. This was after the company was hit with several changes in leadership (including the firing of Soderlund) and a massive exodus of investment.

In general, 2018 has been very unkind to the pop entertainment industry owing in large part to its demonstrated disdain for its own customers.

But some companies are too big to feel the repercussions of their elitist colonialism. Case in point: Gillette’s new anti-male advertising campaign. This is one instance where “Get Woke, Go Broke” will likely not apply owing to the sheer monolithic size of Gillette’s parent company Proctor and Gamble.

In the realm of shaving alone, P&G owns the brands for  Braun, Fusion, Gillette, Mach3, and Venus. With Tide, Gain, and Downy also under its control, the company effectively controls nearly half of your average laundry aisle. In total, it owns over 32 brands of products you use daily around the house.

It has been an interesting watching the phenomenon of virtue seppuku play out over and over, each time with another corporate c-suite running smack into the reality wall as if the corporations in America were being run by vaudeville acts mimicking the same slapstick routine.

And each time I shake my head and wonder, aside from impoverishment, what do these companies expect to get out of these exercises?

But watching the P&G behemoth today makes it clear that virtue signaling has less to do with virtue and more to do with control. Western corporate leadership is obsessed with the Push concept and believe it their responsibility to use their largess and power to colonize traditional people (Americans included) with their values, mindset, and culture.

This project is not however designed to deal with resistance. Because there is no philosophical backing to explain their world view, when confronted these harbingers do not engage, they simply silence the opposition. Theirs is the right way because shut up.

We have seen this mentality demonstrated over and over again in companies like Camping World, Yeti coolers, the entertainment industry, and Silicon Valley. These people are motivated by a vision of the future which they believe is enlightened but almost everyone else understands as degenerate and enslaved.

So there is no arguing with your corporate overlords.

This goes even when what they argue makes no logical sense. It is not men of shaving age that are engaged in mean girl cyber bullying of children, but Gillette’s commercial makes it clear that male adults are the cause of this misery.

For my part, I can remember when getting picked on in elementary school was an opportunity to build character. Monolithic multinationals did not have to swoop in to save me from “toxic masculinity”.

Indeed, I never formally renounced my maleness like Proctor and Gamble want so maybe I am part of the problem after all.

The commercial promises the type of changes it plans to make through cultural colonization will be permanent. “There is no turning back,” promises Gillette. North American Brand Manager Pankaj Bhalla (who should be fired) reports the company feels “compelled to address [toxic masculinity] and take action of our own.”

This is an odd sentiment to voice considering the current status of men in society today. Not only do women comprise the majority of college students, but today it was announced in Bloomberg that the jobs recovery has mostly benefited women while male employment participation numbers have been weak.

“Toxic” masculinity should be at an all-time low in terms of shared social spaces like work and school. Yet the corporations are acting like the streets are running with testosterone. How is this not an effort to strengthen control through demeaning stereotypes?

Men fight the wars, and die at work at rates much higher than women, but when we are denied even the privilege of providing for our own families because our very genders are somehow damaged, that desire for adversity and self sacrifice does not simply dissolve away like so much shaving cream.

If Gillette’s goal was actual virtue, the company could have committed to fighting any one of these issues at virtually no cost to their image. Veterans issues such as homelessness and failing health care at the VA overwhelmingly affect males. Or, if you really wanted to let men know they matter, you could start a charity fund for widows and orphans of homes where the father died in the course of work. Such a fund would help victims of industrial workplace hazards, fallen first responders, and killed military members alike.

Seeing as the beneficiaries of such services would be mostly non-consumers of razors (the women and children Gillette purports to care so much about), this charity would be seen as a sacrifice to its bottom line in the name of a truly greater good.

In the light of all this, the course from “How do we sell more razors to men?” to “Let’s establish the dick-traitorship!” seems separated by unfathomable depths of stupid. How to explain the seeming non-functioning cortex of otherwise lucid and ambulatory corporate executives?

The only explanation is that they are not that stupid.

Most people would not recognize the reporter from far-Left Armenian genocide deniers The Young Turks among the “news” clips featured in the ad, but by the end the political motivation becomes crystal clear. When the voice over talks about a young boys learning to behave like model man-hating globalists, the screen if filled with a picture of little boy’s face. Great care was taken to make him look exactly like a younger version of Baron Trump, even down to the haircut.

Gillette is not really concerned about social issues. Gillette is concerned about anti-globalist sentiment threatening its multinational grip on the world market and fluctuations in the price of cheap steel.

Like the CEO of Camping World, they view the current President’s agenda as a threat to their bottom line and are trying to associate these forces with an immediate threat of their own imagining. In essence, the ad is an attempt to persuade you to vote for someone else because President Trump is “yucky.”

There are prices for social manipulation on this scale.

The suicide rate among young American men is at historic levels.

In Japan, when brilliant men were unable to get jobs suited to their skills, instead of languishing they ended up in the hands of cult leader Shoko Asahara. The Aum Shinrikyo would eventually orchestrate a deadly sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway thanks to all that latent expertise in Japanese society.

When the communist government of China instituted the one-child policy, it set into motion a demographic nightmare where there are now as many as 33 million Chinese men who will never marry because of the shortage in Chinese women.

In France, we see how our would-be overseers sow their own demise through their own power mad and self-righteous desires.

Arbitrarily toying with the lives of men for the sake of eliminating something that never really was a problem in the first place is unwise. Ultimately Proctor and Gamble may experience no negative effects when they roll snake eyes with this insulting ad. Too bad we cannot say the same for the rest of America.

The Failure of the West's Institutions. Politics, Business, and the Church

The Failure of the West's Institutions. Politics, Business, and the Church

David Balat: The Demise of the ACA

David Balat: The Demise of the ACA