Can’t leave a cult

Ever since the 1980s days of BBS and Compuserve, the web has been a team sport. Every forum on every subject has Team A and Team B, and woe betide the unfortunate novice who tries to walk in the DMZ.

After you figure out the gradients, you either slide quickly onto one team, or you just leave the forum. After you’re locked into one team, you’re in for life. You KNOW what happens to Mr InBetween.

Budweiser and CNN have experienced this trap recently, in different ways. Bud was passively on Team B without really trying. They tried to favor Team A without joining. They got firmly rejected by BOTH. CNN was solidly on Team A for 30 years. Now they’re trying, or pretending to try, for fairness. Again they’re getting flamed by BOTH.

For a while Substack was home to some DMZ types, who were sincerely trying to avoid the agent provocateurs on both sides. I’ve made a point of paying those folks when I find them, but they are fading out. Maybe it’s an effect of Substack’s new Twitter-like ‘Notes’. Maybe it’s lack of subscribers. Maybe they’re just tired of fighting both sides at once.

Yet again it comes down to a basic fact:

Reality has no commercial value, because people can gather reality without assistance.

Older media recognized this fact powerfully, and radio sternly rejected news for many years until FCC required news. Even then, news was unsponsored because sponsors recognized the lack of value. Entertainment has value because we can’t tickle ourselves.

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