I used to consider myself an American. As of today, I am not. I am a US Citizen. What’s the difference you may ask? Until recently, being an American implied being a citizen. I'm not referring to immigration status, I mean the behavior required of a citizen. A US Citizen knows the Constitution of the United States of America that define our democratic republic.
Naturalized citizens take a test to assure they understand the expectations of the public, including elected officials who make up the public. Natural citizens are expected to learn it in school, but in reality, it is learned by the behavior they see. This means, as a US Citizen, your actions define citizenship for others, especially children, who need to learn citizenship for themselves. Today, American has come to represent separatism. This is as anti-democratic as it get and therefore the moniker should be retired. I know American is fewer syllables, but freedom based on democracy has never been easy. A couple of extra syllables to support it is worth it.
I believe the USA can survive 2020. It was just a wake up call. Let's focus on creating a strong democratic republic to face the challenge and future. Facing a challenge and overcoming sounds glamorous, being a citizen doesn't. It does not sound like an exciting thing to watch, therefore it is difficult to sell as an entertainment product. Patriotism conjures up exciting images because it implies physical fighting. It's tangible. In reality, avoiding a fight takes strength. Resorting to fighting is failure. Avoiding a fight takes a lot more work, thought and commitment. Commitment to maintain and strengthen our democratic republic, is a patriotic as it gets.
The biggest heroes in the past four years have been the people who fought for our democratic republic. It is not well known that individuals working in election commissions were faced with a challenge like no other. These simple, quiet folks in unglamorous positions saved our democracy. They avoided a fight through years of hard work and commitment. They are true heroes and patriots. They are just being good US Citizens and are able to do so because they understand citizenship and the service required to make it work. They accepted the responsibility and made good on it. These are the heroes to celebrate.
Entertainment is a top US industry. As exported products go, entertainment is a huge chunk of change. Maybe some entertainers should figure our a way to glamorize patriotic citizenship. Something that takes a little more thought than giving an American a gun to shoot on screen. Something showing what people do in a well running democracy. Take it as a challenge.
A good writer knows for a to sell, it must follow a specific sequence...
The beginning starts with character development.
- A principle is posited.
- The characters take different positions on the principle.
- The protagonists and antagonists become clear.
Some actions occur.
- The protagonist fights for the good principle.
- The antagonist fights the protagonist.
- The protagonist is nearly defeated but becomes victorious in a blaze of glory.
Big budget films follow this pattern, or risk being failed ventures. Investments are hundreds of millions of dollars, risking the return on this investment by deviating from this script must be done carefully. Not following the recipe requires marking a sequel to finish the recipe. That is why Marvel’s Infinity War needed to release End Game immediately after most people viewed it. Marvel has trained audiences to wait until AFTER the credits to see if the story has actually ended. Because the story never really ended, all of the movies remained marketable, until the recipe was complete.
It seems Americans have been fooled into being characters in a movie in daily life. When an entertainment company is criticized for marketing culture that begets bad behavior, the company claims they are just representing what culture already is. The company does not take responsibility for creating the culture it portrays. This is bullshit and laziness.
Given that the American entertainment industry markets culture, it must have a culture that is full of protagonists and antagonists. Regardless of whether they fight for good or not. A really evil antagonist sells a lot of entertainment. In real life, an evil person gets a lot of news coverage. It’s exciting. It keeps people yelling at the TV and gives them motivation to wade through inane commercials about drugs you need. In fact, the drug commercials are entertainment in themselves. Due to requirements to list side-effects, every drug commercial has entertainment quality because the drug will probably kill you. I suppose taking it is exciting because you are cheating death... Last I checked I needed a doctor to prescribe drugs, so drug ads are just propaganda, basically manipulation. It's stupid. But I digress.
I think it’s time to make being a citizen cool again. More than that; It’s necessary to make being a US Citizen cool, because Americans are not cool. An American who is not a citizen is just an asshole. Glamorizing assholes was fun for a while but it’s not fun anymore. It’s not even entertaining, it kinda pisses me off.
Given that we spend so much time watching big screens and little screens, what we watch is important. Watching stuff will remain a big part of our lives. We must recognize that content creators sell product and consumers are responsible to create a market for the product. Americans are becoming citizens again. Content creators understand that this is a new market. They just need to create interesting content to utilize it.
How? Well, look at the recipe. To make this shift, the creators need to find new principles the characters fight over. It must become a principle citizens identify with. This requires education to define what a citizen does. It seems that such things aren’t obvious. That’s cool. Content creators have a lot of material to write.
It may not be obvious, but being a content creator is the most lucrative vocation available today. Good content generates recurring revenue. Truly wealthy people understand that cash flow is more important than capital. You can’t have cash flow without capital. But you cannot remain successful without a positive cash flow. Wealthy people create a machine that generates a positive cash flow without them servicing it. That’s why big budget films are often called franchises. A good franchise generates revenue “ad infinitum”.
So, as a US citizen I think it’s cool for people to fight for good things. I even think it’s cool to fight against asshole Americans.
You know what I want to see? Stories about a US Citizen who fights and wins against career politics. A shift from movies that show corporations as villains to movies that show villains taking anti-civil actions. Figuring out how to do this will take some effort. Take it as a challenge.