Something funny happened in Castle Rock over the past 18 months. The escapism of being able to slip away from 24/7 Trump hysteria into one of the most intriguing fictional towns ever, was snatched away by the incessant tweeting and virtue signalling of the same guy who invited us to escape the insanity of everyday life, even just for a little while, in this fictitious town in the first place.
You used to go to Castle Rock for the thrill of being trapped in a Pinto while a rabid St. Bernard tried to get in, or to go on a boys own adventure in search of a body. Now the main source of fear when one opens a Stephen King book is that the author will allow BLM to burn half of Derry to the ground, or allow Antifa to shut down a speech because Jordan Peterson was invited to the town hall to pontificate about the archetype of Randall Flagg.
Sometime midway through last year, Stephen King began a concerted effort to p**s off half his fans. There’s not really any other other way to explain it. He was setting fires all over Twitter like Charlie McGee.
The guy who once wrote with so much empathy and understanding about Dud Rogers, the custodian of the local garbage dump in Salem’s Lot, and countless others down on their luck, characters waiting to vent their frustrations with career politicians by turning over the political table, now apparently has no such empathy for these colourful characters in his novels.
A cursory look at King’s Twitter feed up until at least a few months ago will show you one of the most brand damaging collectives of 64 character proclamations in literary history. They aren’t particularly well thought out, literary, or creative. It is evidence of just how badly pathological, one-eyed champagne socialism can effect the mind and functional ability of even one of the greatest authors of the past century.
This is what happens when you used to be the counterculture, but find yourself a firmly entrenched acolyte of the establishment (that destabilised Libya and Syria, took money from the Saudi patriarchy, and pillaged Haiti) one day after falling under the influence of a mysterious object in the woods.
King seems to have settled down quite a bit recently, hopefully at the behest of his agent.
But it may already be too late. He didn’t even use the safety net caveat that more self-aware celebrities do when asked for their opinion. Something that perhaps showed equal disdain for both candidates. Impartiality in its own way. People like Bill Burr and Joe Rogan did this, and came out of the end of it smelling like Rose Madder, with twice the comedic material and integrity.
King literally did everything that someone who makes all of his money from average people could possibly do wrong during an election, and the election aftermath. He made his disdain for them and their gesture of discontent with the way things had been playing out for the past few decades very clear indeed.
He wasn’t even savvy enough to frame himself as a Bernie Bro. Much like the very safe career strategy of equal contempt for both candidates, he could’ve made his Stand on Bernie, and pointed out the obvious similarities between the Clintons and Greg Stillson.
If King had been tweeting about Bernie everyday instead of simply being a sycophantic shill for the Neo-Con Democrat candidate, the retweets alone may have made the DNC rethink their strategy of fixing the race against a guy who was basically the Beatles to voters compared to Hillary’s third rate Monkees cover band.
But he didn’t. Just like the rest of the entertainment and MSM elites, his detachment from the everyman clouded his vision. He went all in for ‘her’. And then to pour fuel on the Overlook while it was burning, he threw the same Twitter tantrum that all of these well-heeled progressives did when democracy actually worked the way it was supposed to.
This tweet was the straw that broke the camel’s back for many King fans. Sure, a dramatic change in government can be of concern for the most disadvantaged members of society. But for a man with a net worth of $400 million to be worried about his own life being affected in any measurable way, or even that of his children or his grandchildren merely because someone new moved into Pennsylvania Avenue and changed the drapes? That was a bit rich.
A writer’s tears indeed.
King’s conscious, deliberate detachment from the legions of deplorables who voraciously devoured his novels for decades, snatching them from drugstore racks as the more high brow readers that he now panders to in tweets (who at best ignored him as irrelevant, and at worst branded him a hack) is nothing short of staggeringly ungrateful and short sighted for someone whose stock and trade is literature for people who either don’t have time to read a lot, or don’t read a lot.
The people at New York dinner parties never read Cujo. The glitterati of L.A never read Salem’s Lot. Few things are as pathetic as watching someone pander to a club that will never accept them as a member or an equal.
Hillary Clinton or Debbie Wasserman Shultz didn’t pick up the copies of Carrie and everything else that followed for King to move his young family out of a trailer and into a more stable situation. Millions of average people took a leap of faith on a young author, much like they later took a leap of faith on an outsider in Washington.
Artists whose work is overtly political suffer relatively few examples of collateral damage. Most conservatives can’t stomach the likes of John Oliver or Lena Dunham, but then again it’s safe to say that most conservatives wouldn’t be drawn to their work to begin with. Annoying conservatives is actually beneficial to their careers. Likewise, Anthony Cumia or Milo tweeting something that is offensive to everyone that voted Democrat only helps their career trajectory.
The problem arises when the likes of Stephen King or J.K. Rowling see Lena Dunham tweeting something progressive, see a new season of Girls green lit with no risk to the revenue stream, and are emboldened to share their own political musings, inexplicably dissatisfied with the adoration of fans and in need of further validation.
It’s a mistake. Girls is progressive claptrap. A tweet about rape culture from the star is better than a thirty second Super Bowl spot. Dunham’s audience laps it up. For Dunham or Oliver, it’s good business. For King or Rowling, not so much.
When at least half the people who came to read about Pennywise or Voldemort either aren’t particularly interested in your musings about how stupid the President is, or refugees, or actively dislike you because of them, that isn’t a good thing.
I used to buy everything Stephen King wrote. Then he started tweeting. You can always ignore these things for a time of course. People on the right are used to that. We turn the other cheek a lot with entertainers.
But at some point it goes from ‘we can agree to disagree’ to ‘ok, now it’s personal’. My being a person somewhere to the right of Jane Fonda, King has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t even acknowledge me as a life form. I’ve known of his politics for decades, but had a live-and-let-live attitude toward him, and had hoped that he did toward me.
But when the disdain of celebrities for people like me becomes so overt and unmistakeable, it isn’t necessary to make a song and dance, or call for an apology or a boycott or anything of that nature. Like millions of others who believe in a free market society and economy, I simply choose to put my wallet back in my pocket and quietly walk away.
In the long run, a quiet gradual exodus sends a stronger message than an overt boycott. A vocal boycott is seen as an irrational tantrum. Just ignoring what they’re peddling and finding a friendlier alternative shows you’re serious.
The Dark Tower just bombed. It isn’t the first time a King adaptation has bombed, but it is the first time an adaptation with such a fanatical fan following has bombed. Quality is irrelevant. Other King adaptations with loyal fan followings, like It and The Stand, have been a bit wonky production wise, but made a ton of money. We wanted to like them, so we did.
The Dark Tower seemingly bombed due to disinterested King fans quietly walking away to go and see a friendlier epic whose creator wasn’t telling them how much they sucked in Dunkirk.
The linked Variety article attempts to diminish the success of Dunkirk to soften the blow in favour of the more progressive film that deliberately cast black English actor Idris Elba, just to trivialise a character that by this point had achieved near mythical status among fans of the book series, and had been clearly envisioned as looking anything BUT like Idris Elba by the author himself.
I loved The Green Mile. But I probably would have liked the film adaptation less had they cast Tim Robbins as John Coffey and made a few changes just to please the Andy DuFreynes fans, or if they’d cast Morgan Freeman in the Tom Hanks role.
Credit where credit is due, even King seemed mystified by the casting choice. But he was of course quickly cuckolded into a suitably cryptic virtue signalling P.C. endorsement.
It’s important to note that despite assertions from Variety that ‘The Dark Tower edged out Dunkirk’, the Christopher Nolan epic exceeded all box office expectations. A film that showed a modicum of respect for the demographic that was going to see it, not to mention their ancestry and ideals.
What’s up next for King? I really don’t care to be honest. I’m looking for a new horror author to keep me up at night, preferably one that doesn’t do it with incessant virtue signalling.
It’s your XYZ.