From time to time I still run into aspiring authors who dream of signing a Big Book Deal™ with a New York publishing house. Similarly, there are still cockeyed optimists who are convinced that Hollywood poz factories will go back to making wholesome entertainment as soon as a particular trouble-making executive is removed.
Think about everyone who bought the narrative. You want to be a reporter? Go to college and study journalism. Work hard and get good grades. Network and build relationships. Intern at a news organization at every opportunity and build those relationships. Find important stories and break them. Your purpose is to inform the public and be a critical part of our democracy. Anybody can work hard and attain the highest position. You can do it yourself, you just have to work hard.
Imagine the person who did all that, applied for that job, and saw it just given to this guy, for no discernible reason. Imagine the hundreds of other applicants who did that, and all had been led down a pathway that led to failure, because they believed what the system told them.
“Led down a pathway that led to failure, because they believed what the system told them” would serve as a tragically accurate epitaph for the Millennial generation.
Now look at Hollywood. You want to be an A-list actor? Go to Hollywood and work hard and perfect your craft, and you can be a star. Do you really think those plum positions, where you work six months, get paid $20 million dollars, and can express your political views to affect the public dialog are really given out randomly? How many have sacrificed their life as they chased that dream, never knowing it was all a scam?
How many have lost their lives to the scam?
The scams being run in journalism, publishing, Hollywood, etc. don’t work in isolation, either. They’re each part of a mutually reinforcing narrative. Think about how the lives and career paths of legacy pub authors are absurdly romanticized in movies. According to Hollywood, every pro author wears tweed jackets with leather elbow patches and flits around lavish book release parties hobnobbing with celebrities when they’re not brooding in their Swedish Modern apartments in Manhattan waiting for a visit from the muse.
It is tough to say how much control is exerted over all of these areas, but more and more, it seems quite extensive. And if that is so, the greatest crime is the wasted potential of all the people who could have made everything of a higher quality, if only they understood that the system was always rigged, and doing what it told them was a waste of their time. There is no meritocracy at the top. They would have been better off focusing their efforts elsewhere, where their drive could have been more productive, and where their efforts would have tangibly improved society.
Attention, aspiring authors: Don’t end up like the Confederacy of Dunces guy. There has never been a better time in history to be an author than right now. Skip the rejection carousel, stop querying parasitic agents, and go indie.
Readers, don’t pay to be propagandized. Support the fun and honest work of independent creators who answer only to you.
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