Reader Mailbag: Disney and Capitalism
A reader writes, "If ‘corporations only care about money,’ as Parker Molloy insists here, Marvel & Disney wouldn’t keep churning out lefty, progressive movies & TV shows that people are ignoring."
Hello TPA readers,
I thought it might be fun to respond to a reader comment today. This one comes from a reader on Twitter in response to Monday’s TPA newsletter, “Blame Capitalism, Not ‘Wokeness,’ For Changes to Agatha Christie’s Books.” The gist of my piece was that corporate interests drive edits, not “the woke mob” (as many on the right like to say). And in the piece, I made the case that if people actually do care about preserving authors’ and artists’ work in its original(-ish) form, they need to stop pretending that gigantic multi-billion dollar corporations are making decisions based on trying to appease some nonexistent “mob.”
Anyway, to this tweet, who, as far as I am aware, is just some random guy (who I’m not trying to mock or “dunk on,” which is why I edited out his handle):
“If ‘corporations only care about money,’ as Parker Molloy insists here, Marvel & Disney wouldn’t keep churning out lefty, progressive movies & TV shows that people are ignoring,” he wrote. “Business owners also increasingly crave social validation from elites in the media, Hollywood, etc.”
What he is describing here is a pretty common sentiment among the right-leaning commentariat: “get woke, go broke.”
“Get woke, go broke” is a phrase that gets thrown around quite a bit on the right (sometimes phrased, “Go woke, go broke”), and seems to have originated in an “Incel Corner” column on Milo Yiannopoulos’s “Dangerous” website back in 2018. Sci-fi author John Ringo used the phrase to describe a now-defunct industry convention.
According to Ringo, the convention then pushed its conservative members out of its planning committee, attendance dropped over years, and it’s now defunct. “Get woke, go broke,” he says of any organization who bows to SJW pressure.
But… is it true? Well, it certainly doesn’t help that, to the people who use the term as an epithet, “woke” tends to mean “anything I personally do not like.” The logic goes as follows: if a company has a Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) program (as… pretty much every major company — including Fox News, for what it’s worth — does), and that company suffers any sort of financial setback for any reason at all, one can chalk that setback up to “wokeness.”
This is what happened after Silicon Valley Bank failed earlier this month. As the bank collapsed following a tech bro-driven bank run, many of the same people who actively participated in the bank run rushed to blame the bank’s DEI and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts for their own actions. In reality, what left the bank vulnerable to a run was, as the Associated Press described it, “poor investment and risk strategies that left the bank with insufficient cash to weather a mass withdrawal of assets from its largely tech sector customers, who have been particularly hard hit in the current economy.”
It’s obnoxious to blame problems that could be addressed by robust financial regulations (rather than the weak regulations that were implemented following the 2007-2008 global economic collapse and were then weakened in 2018) on diversity initiatives. For one, it places blame where it doesn’t belong; beyond that, by not accurately identifying the problem, it makes it impossible to fix said problem.
Still, “Get woke, go broke!” is a slogan that many people seem to love to latch onto. It’s pretty much its own genre on YouTube.
But let’s get back to the specific point that Twitter made about Disney/Marvel. There’s no evidence that it’s true.
If you think Disney does anything it does for any reason other than bringing in the most money humanly possible, then you’re pretty clueless. Yes, Disney makes movies and TV shows it does specifically to make money.