Is what you’re creating you, or is it just a reaction to something you dislike?

I love this from filmmaker Jon du Toit in an excellent piece called “How to Level Up in the Culture War.” Read the whole thing, but here’s the part I want to focus on:

Let me define what I mean by “anti-fare”. Anti-fare is any media produced as a direct response to other media that is perceived as a threat. For example, Hollywood has been producing (admittedly very entertaining) media for decades now that, collectively, represents a threat to the Western way of life, rotting it out from within. One must admire the brutal effectiveness of Hollywood.

As a rebel, the natural response is to create similar media but with a directly inverted message, as a form of protest. An obvious example would be the pro-Bush documentary FahrenHYPE 9/11 (starring David Frum), created in response to Michael Moore’s smash hit Fahrenheit 9/11.

Can you guess which one people remember today?

What anti-fare like this does is 1) appeal to a narrow segment of the population to the exclusion of all others 2) delude its creators into a false sense of accomplishment 3) reinforce the thing you’re responding to as superior and allowing it to set the tone of public discourse.

Anti-fare is counterproductive. Anti-fare is self-sabotage. Don’t get tricked into producing anti-fare.

I could not agree more. Anti-fare is bad persuasion and bad rhetoric. It’s the “Dems R real waycis!” of art. It’s knee-jerk whining and a clear signal that what your enemy is doing is getting under your skin.

Screw that. Make your own art instead. Reinforce the messages and values you want to see. Sometimes you harm your opponent the best by ignoring and dismissing them as irrelevant.

This is why the NPC meme is greeted with such offense and vitriol.

This presents a once-in-an-eon opportunity for Artists who value Truth and Beauty to get their art in front of audiences who are now bored with the entertainment monopoly’s output.

Real Artists don’t create anti-fare. This doesn’t mean that you can’t criticize anything or deconstruct sacred cows. It simply means not mimicking something that triggers you, making it more effective in the process.

The time is now, and the time has never been better. We’re seeing this in the humble spheres of sci-fi, fantasy, and comic books.

Make your own stuff and bypass the gatekeepers. Don’t give money to people who hate you, and don’t let them set the agenda. Find like-minded people in your field, connect, get better, and produce.

Mr. du Toit has written a manifesto for these times. And he ends with some of the best advice I’ve read in a long while:

Real Artists wrestle with their art, digging deep into their own experiences and imaginations, seeking fresh ways to communicate universal truths that appeal to large swaths of your fellow man, inspiring them to live better lives and ponder deep thoughts. Real Art is spiritual. This doesn’t mean that it has to be uplifting only. It can be frightening. It can be morose. It can be infuriating. Let it reflect the times in all its nuance.

In fact, read the Bible — the epitome of Art, the inspiration of countless celebrated masterworks spanning a wide variety of artistic disciplines — and you will find all these emotions within.

If all you seek is to change someone’s political opinion, you are a propagandist and you probably won’t appeal to anyone but your political base.

Instead, let’s look beyond winning the next election and start leveling up in the culture war. Let’s turn from rebels into pioneers.

Our children need us to.

We are alive in these times for a reason. Never lose hope and never give up. Things are dark, but not lost. Things will get tough, but not impossible. You will fail at some things and will have hard times, but you will get back up and succeed.

Let not your heart be troubled.


  1. I don’t mind well-done parody and satire. Weird Al is a genius at it, but he also makes his own original music and plays the accordion. So he is a true artist. His longevity gives credence to that.

    Bad parody and art meant only to mock others gets boring really fast. I love comedy, but it has to do more than mock. It has to highlight human absurdity such that we end up laughing at ourselves, the human race, and not just “those other stupid people.” Anyway, I love to write comedy; to me, that is beautiful. But the book I’m writing right now is serious….yet still light-hearted. I guess The Minavers

    Liked by 3 people

    • Weird Al is a perfect example of parody and satire done right. In fact, his parodies are by and large loving and could almost be seen as compliments. Kurt Cobain apparently LOVED Weird Al’s spoof of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

      “ I love comedy, but it has to do more than mock. It has to highlight human absurdity such that we end up laughing at ourselves, the human race, and not just “those other stupid people.””

      I could not agree more. This is why so much modern comedy leaves me cold. There are no jokes or insights, just utter meanness, which isn’t even offensive. It’s just boring.

      Liked by 3 people

      • There were a lot of Christian rock bands in the 80s and 90s marketed as “soundalikes.” They’d basically tell parents “replace your kids’ Metallica tapes with this, same thing, good message!” As if stuff is all interchangeable. A lot of bands stood apart from that, though, and are still around playing festivals. People remember the ones with their own identity vs the ones that sounded exactly like someone else. I remember they had a Prince clone, and as a kid I was kinda like “what? Prince is prince, this is trash that’s not prince.” The band I was really into was the crucified, they were a hardcore punk/thrash metal hybrid with a debut I bought in 89 and listen to to this day. I used to wonder how bands who had obviously studied new(at the time) bands hard enough to emulate them near-perfectly had any business telling people “don’t listen to them, listen to us!” Because they’d obviously spent a great deal of time listening to them. 😂. Now I know it was all about suits making cash grabs. It’s also why white power bands are generally shit, because it’s a PRODUCT, or an advertisement for one anyway. It’s not there because some kids had a dream and practiced in the garage to make their vision come true.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am utterly unaware of the Christian Rock soundalikes. I grew up and still am Christian, but the Orthodox Church tends to not completely retreat from and reject the world like some other churches do (which I kind of respect about them), so the separate Christian pop culture subculture is a little new to me.

        I hear you about “product” though. When the bean-counters are in charge of ANYTHING creative, chances are it is gonna suck.

        Also: Who is this Prince clone? I have to know!

        Liked by 1 person

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