I’ve been ranting about various topics since 2012 so it’s quite apt that I end with one. I’ve really enjoyed drawing caricatures as well as writing reviews, satirical articles, and polemics for What Went Wrong With and What Went Right With, two sites that were founded on promoting the underrated and mocking the overrated. Irrespective of how much time and energy I’ve put into these websites, ironically, I find myself in that very position; clearly talented but ignored, disregarded, or misunderstood by the masses. Like most of the music I listen to, I’m perfectly fine with being underground, but at some point you have to ask yourself: where’s this going and what effect is it having?
We’ve come to the point where media, business, and government have converged to create a hierarchical society of boot-lickers cowering to the prick above them. This results in an all-powerful construct that controls almost everything we consume. We have certain infallible celebrities and untouchable subjects as well as approved stances that everyone must abide by. We’ve slowly allowed corporate giants dictate what we read, listen to, and watch; search engines and social media determines what we see and potentially think, and blue-ticked twats reinforce every mainstream idea. Companies blame certain events for their censorship of the internet and thanks to terrorism, suicide, coups, and Covid-19, we no longer come across something which challenges our thoughts and beliefs. In addition, everyone in a position of power are obsequious dick-suckers and being a conformist therefore, is promoted as the only way to “make it”. Everything from YouTube to terrestrial TV, digital to print media has therefore, become as dull as urine after an STI.
As this website approaches its 10 year anniversary, we’ve also come to the point where the public have become fake-activists, businesses tell us they’ve changed their unfair and prejudicial practices, and new hollow celebrities have been astroturfed into existence. Everyone wants to be woke but nobody actually is.
Things I’ve written about, including Hollywood whitewashing, the N-word, post-9/11 Islamophobia, racist and militarised police, animal cruelty, the poppy, prejudiced award shows, bigoted celebrities (to name but a few) have over the years become accepted as mainstream trains of thought and yet back when I first stated my opinions, I was told I was wrong. One of the first comments I got was “please stop having opinions” from some white cunt in Scotland defending a white woman in America using the N-word. 🙄
Over the years I’ve been told I should “write for Rolling Stone or The Guardian” but I have also been advised that I “cannot write to save my life”, I’ve been called a “CAC” (Cracker Ass Cracker) and a “nigger”, and labelled “leftie” and “right-wing” and yet clearly I can’t be all these things. People love to project their own prejudices and anxieties; if my opinion is opposite to theirs, I must be an opposing demographic and therefore something to be dismissed.
So why should someone take flack for being the first to say something when the viewpoint itself inevitably becomes watered-down and then accepted by the masses given enough time? If some upper-middle-class white boy in Shoreditch or Kensington is saying something today that I said a decade ago, what was the point? It gets tiring telling commenters why they’re wrong but they almost always are. But once they come back and admit they were incorrect, the only thing that’s achieved is a waste of my time.
As a society, we’ve become experts at suppressing alternative views and deft in creating dismissive nouns: “hater”, “contrarian”, “edgelord”, “elitist”, “woke”, “conspiracy theorist”, “anti-vaxxer”… instead of allowing a differing opinion into the conversation, the public with the aid of corrupt corporations have become arbiters of viewpoints – this is what we should think and say – censoring what the status quo don’t approve of or mocking those who persist in their unpopular opinion by calling them names like a bunch of schoolyard bullies. I mean for fuck’s sake, we have lawsuits over retweets! Daft obstacles are put in place so people are dissuaded from airing an unpopular or unorthodox opinion online (and it’s working extremely well given I’m shutting this shit down).
It can’t be ignored that we’re in a culture vacuum; entertainment is heavily reliant or nostalgia, and there’s an atmosphere of pure mediocrity because this sector puts profit in front of creating (and celebrating) original and distinctive art. Almost half of cinema is Marvel and DC or reboots and remakes, and once-credible musical genres like Hip-Hop and Grime have been so watered-down, they’re almost tasteless. Supposed anarchic celebs are faker than a six pound note, and TV commentators and so-called satirists are so spineless that they probably need their suit stapling to the backdrop before they read from the comity-approved autocue. Diss one of these banal pricks however, and you get attacked online or banned from social platforms, when all the while, their fame rises and they become richer. It’s like throwing a tiny brick at a talentless cliff.
While it was fun creating a little blog back in 2012, as What Went Wrong With has become a fully-fledged site, it’s becoming more and more evident that money has to be involved. Over the years WordPress.com has become ever-more profit-focussed. Back when I started, all you needed was a domain and an idea, now they want you to subscribe to a “plan”. Back when I started you just had to reach a certain visitor threshold in order to generate income but now, they require you to pay them before they give you a share of the advertising revenue which is nonsensical. Plus their new interface is an utter mess but for some reason they want you to ditch the superior classic editor for blocked confusion. Just one issue in a plethora of digital bullshit. But I digress.
It seems only yes-men and arse-smoochers on YouTube and Instagram make enough cash to become full-time “influencers”, not ordinary people. Similar to when I graduated at the top of my class in university, I wasn’t head-hunted or offered an internship, because living in some forgotten town that rich Londoners couldn’t give a fuck about, in addition to being an ethnic minority (and someone who refuses to wear a suit and “network”) meant I got nowhere. Same thing here. A fringe site with an alternative opinion, and a blanket refusal to kiss arse is automatically at a disadvantage (I won’t be getting a celebrity endorsement for one). You can call me defeatist, jealous, or whatever other contrived bullshit you can muster but the question is: can I write, can I illustrate, can I draw caricatures? Fuck yeah, and better than most, but when it’s tied to an unorthodox opinion and alternative comedy, the mainstream doesn’t get it and it therefore gets nowhere.
Approximately a week into this shit I recall receiving the comment “5 followers lol”, and yet amidst the constraints of linear time, this is how it works for everyone; counts go from low to mo’ but whatever numbers I eventually hit, it’s never the magic highs of mainstream recognition. Hitting some arbitrary threshold of followers or views whereby you suddenly become credible and worthy of praise, is such an idiotic system. 1.2 million views, 1000 followers, 363 articles, and 1 death threat later, this is still not enough for some people, especially when compared to the bog-standard bullshit that plagues the internet, which says nothing special but gains millions of fans… “don’t forget to click and subscribe!” …zzzz.
Make no mistake: everything is about money these days. You require time to do something like this and it’s only money that affords people free time. I could set up a Patreon, I could start selling t-shirts and merch, I could move this site to a different host and start selling more ad space or get into affiliate marketing and all this could then pay toward marketing this website, but given how much I’ve ranted over commercialisation, I’m hardly going to sell-out now. Plus it’s quite clear that if you don’t promote a commodity the way the corporate gods want you to, there’s no place for you in this business. I tried to become a tad more mainstream, hell, I even applied for Rotten Tomatoes as an individual film critic and like many companies these days, their application was smothered with a fake-inclusive pretence. If you’re a minority or an unrepresented voice you apparently have a chance of acceptance but all I’ve heard so far is crickets chirping. And hey let’s face it; what would be the point in me contributing to the very establishment that helps overrate all the shite I despise?
After everything I’ve written over the years, it was the review for WW84 that got the most hits, not articles on discrimination or societal wrongs. What’s clear by looking at this site’s stats (above) is that mainstream subjects and “normal” posts such as film reviews garner more views (whereas writing about topics such as Islamophobia or bashing social media sites does the opposite). Concentrating on movie reviews has had a positive effect on visitors and clicks but as the views increase so too does the establishment’s radar. I won’t go into detail but I’ll just say I was scrutinised more and targeted more (as an example, this site without any explanation, was mysteriously dropped by Bing around the 12th or 13th of November this year, after which I got no further impressions – and therefore clicks – from the search engine).
I don’t want to be at the whim of raters and rankers or at the mercy of a corporation, whereby a faceless company dictates what they deem worthy of reading. Thankfully, this was Bing and not Google, but if one of the more major determiners of content ever decided to demote or remove this site from their platform, it would be like I never existed, and I can therefore, foresee all the problems that’d be encountered in the future. Instead of being dragged down from popularity, I’d rather not be in their sights at all. I’d rather end on a high like River Phoenix. I’d rather pull the trigger myself like Kurt Cobain. Plus I don’t want to burn-out like Richard Pryor.
All I can say is thanks to everyone who ever supported, visited, shared or enjoyed this site, and whether some of us may have fallen out over comments, I gotta say thanks for every visit, every read, every positive reply or message, and every follow. At the same time: fuck everybody else who “randomly” navigated here and who disliked or were appalled by my articles. I assume you were looking for the BBC, ITV, Fox News, CNN, Sky News, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Independent, Empire Magazine, Total Film, HipHopDX, Pitchfork or whatever other mainstream mouthpiece regurgitates the same tried-and-tested spiel day after day.
So remember: you don’t need me to tell you your opinion is correct. Whatever your gut-feeling is, stick with it. Don’t let the first page of a search engine result or your social media feed dissuade you from your genuine, heartfelt opinion, whether that’s about entertainment or government policy. Fuck what everyone else thinks. They don’t matter.