Bill Simmons’ creative downfall described Part 1 coincides with a general downward trend across American sports. Men across America rediscovered their civic duty and national pride in 2016. The election gave them a cause and purpose, and sports now seem a shallow husk. That’s before considering the how insufferable American sports have been since the Colin Kapernick national disgrace.
Sports media is a vital component of the media industrial complex. Sports provide stimulation, distraction and satisfaction for the masculine parts of the mind that are rejected by modern culture. However, networks like ESPN have lost touch with their audiences by prioritising virtue signalling over national pride. Away from the weak simulation that is sport, men have become more free to focus their strategic and tactical brains, their testosterone and drive, to be ambitious, creative and political.
The Ringer was the perfect opportunity for Simmons to stick it to the establishment media that never appreciated him, but amazingly, the website been a creative an air-ball with a toe on the line. When it came to race-baiting, virtue-signalling and insulting conservatives, especially Trump voter, the website has played it even more safe than the mainstream media. Simmons has employed nothing but blowhard liberals, with the only conservative voice his friend Jack-O, an old school Republican and staunch anti-Trumper. The Ringer does not present a political discussion, only Daily Show-esque sneering superiority towards Trump’s supporters. Attacking straw men placed by the fake news media is not persuasive.
I would never have expected Simmons’ site to be pro-Trump, but in the name of brand differentiation The Ringer could have simply been unbiased and offered a genuine alternative to virtue-signalling ESPN in a misguided bid for journalistic legitimacy. Sticking to Simmons’ formula or sports and pop culture would have been fine.
Simmons used to have a unique writing voice, but now The Ringer is fungible. By the time he realised his vision, it was obsolete and no longer in touch with the zeitgeist. This is why Simmons has failed as a visionary . He also failed to identify and attack the same forces that forced him out of ESPN.
There is a lesson here. Comparisons may be made between Simmons pioneering attempts to go from alternative to mainstream by attempting to redefine the mainstream rather than altering his product, and this post-Trump election period, in which several counter-culture, alternative media personalities are attempting to take over the news media not by becoming the new news media, but by altering how news media works. The leap always risks the loss of edginess, of relatability, of authenticity, unpredictability – all alien to traditional 20th century sports and news media. But the alternative is the constant threat of deplatforming.
Charles C. Johnson, Milo Yiannopolis and Ricky Vaughn are among those banned from Twitter. YouTube recently implemented strict censorship, Breitbart’s sponsors were attacked and of course, Obama did this, which means the internet is no longer under the protection of the 2nd Amendment.
A leader must be a visionary, he must have the ability to see where the puck is going. This was the role Simmons was to fill. This is the role in which Simmons has failed.
This is the role in which the leaders of new media like Mike Cernovich must succeed. Cernovich is the author of Gorilla Mindset, MAGA Mindset and runs the website Danger and Play, . among many other roles. See my Gorilla Mindset review here.
Cernovich is like Simmons in some ways. He came up in what Cernovich calls the golden age of blogging, the 2000s. He expanded from a blog to a podcast and then a book, like Simmons. But unlike Simmons, he has not relied on anyone else’s platform, he has slowly and patiently built his audience through a sophisticated multi-platform approach that is the new template for internet success and sustainability. This model to promote books has also worked for Nick Kelly (formerly Victor Pride) and Roosh V.
Having a totally independent platform has drawbacks, and Cernovich has been reliant of flawed technology, like Periscope, and at the mercy of the censors of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This is fine if your product is blogs, podcasts and books. But there is still this desire for more, and reliable outsourcing regarding a platform. Cernovich is debuting The Right Mindset with Mike Cernovich on Right Side Broadcasting. Perhaps this will be similar to Paul Joseph Watson’s relationship with Alex Jones and Infowars. Perhaps it will be more similar to Stefan Molyneux’s Freedoman Radio.
Cernovich uses Twitter to get in touch with the zeitgeist, the collective unconscious. This allows him to stay in touch, while someone like Simmons becomes distracted by media opportunities. Cernovich understands he must stay niche in order to retain his credibility and authenticity, so important to his brand. Obviously Right Side is not HBO, but this DIY model might be effective in this regard.
Referring back to Part 1, one must note that beneath an unforgivably nauseating layer of lowest common denominator garbage that the record companies have resorted to to sustain themselves, those in the music industry who have thrived in the post-internet apocalyptic wasteland are a kaleidoscopically varied bands who have earned a core audience and respected them. These bands are hardworking, loyal and DIY. They interact with their fans on social media. They do not outsource to be lazy. They sacrifice themselves to reinvest in themselves. They operate by a thread. This is the model that ensures those who do it genuinely love it, or at least can’t do anything else. This ensures quality.
Simmons and The Ringer are committed to going full SJW, adopting a vision from the ’90s that has served its purpose and now must itself be overthrown. When Simmons grew up civil rights styled activism, even rioting, was glorified. Figures like Muhammed Ali and Kareem Abdul Jabbar openly rejected American values and a young Simmons loved them for it. When the Donald Sterling recording was illegally released Simmons approved player boycotts, and was not in any way concerned with privacy rights or the hypocritical disavowal by the other NBA team owners. I’m not defending Sterling. I’m illustrating that to Simmons, this style of journalism/activism is acceptable where the ends justify the means.
While Simmons was distracted pressing flesh, being a parent and building a media empire to realise his vision, the American cultural and political landscape changed and those advocating violent protests are racist domestic terror groups like Black Lives Matter or fanatical, violent leftists like Antigua are nothing like the civil rights activists whose legacy they destroy. This is how quickly you can go from cutting edge to obsolete in the 21st century if you take your eye off where the puck is going. As Warren Buffet said, a reputation takes a lifetime to build and a minute to destroy.
Cernovich knows this. He has rejected selling out many times before. He has always had a quality over quantity approach to his audience, often blocking followers on Twitter and Periscope, and regularly taking stances that threaten to alienate his audience, such as supporting Roosh V, supporting Donald Trump and rejecting the Alt-Right. He is aware of the value of integrity and authenticity to his, and everyone’s, brands in the 21st century, as the old-world facades crumble away. The change is coming. The New Right is gradually making inroads into more mainstream channels. Joe Rogan interviewed Alex Jones. Philip DeFranco can get away with essentially pro-Milo commentary. The most mainstream YouTuber, Pewdiepie, can see that getting serious is the new trend. The New Media revolution is coming. Someone just needs to set the template for the next step.
Read my review of Gorilla Mindset here