Exactly no one is excited about cleaning their clothes or scrubbing a stain from the carpet. If you own a pet, you never look forward to their accidents on the rug or their decision to put their dirty paws on your best trousers. Cleaning up messes, figuring out how to get that stain off the couch cushion, getting the carpets cleaned, these are chores we all do, but we don’t look forward to them. It’s just a part of life, like cutting the grass or cleaning the gutters. No one goes on lawn care vacations or stain removal holidays.
If you are in the business of selling soap, you have to get over the fact that the mere mention of your product makes people think about a boring task or the dog leaving a pyramid on the rug. No matter how good your product is at doing its thing, if it brings negative images to the mind of the customer, they will associate you and your product with unpleasant thoughts. It why portable toilet vendors pick cheeky names for their companies. They want you laughing when you think of them.
The infomercial guys, who sell miracle cleaners, are good examples of people who understands how this works. They are super upbeat and they do small things to flatter the viewer. “You have frequent parties and one of your guests spills red wine on your brand new carpet!” He’s saying you have good tastes and people like you, which is why everyone comes to your house to be sophisticated and cool. It’s cheesy, but flattery works for a reason. The pitchman makes his audience feel good about the sale.
These guys also know how to avoid negative associations. They love using the red wine example, even though their typical customers drink domestic beer from a can. Well, red wine is a stand-in for blood. If they used a severed hand to drip blood on the white cloth, people would be horrified and associate the product with a negative image. No one fondly remembers getting their hand caught in the snowblower. Instead, the pitchman uses wine and all the happy talk about you being the cool kid on the block with lots of parties.
The thing is, everyone has had a mishap. You’re working around the house, something goes wrong and you’re running for the first aid kit. In the process you made the hall carpet look like a crime scene. Or, you’re at work and you don’t notice the paper-cut and now you have blood on your favorite shirt. That miracle product to get the red wine stain out is just what you need, but you don’t want to be is reminded of it by the happy pitchman on television. It’s why the good pitchman avoids creating negative associations.
Even the high energy super-positive TV pitchmen runs into a problem of negative associations. That’s because Americans associate the lone pitchman with the grifter, the con artist and the guy who takes advantage of the foolish. That’s because we have a long tradition of these guys. The snake oil salesman, the patent medicine salesman, various door-to-door salesman, are all stock characters for the disreputable sharpie who blows into town and sells you a monorail.
You may be the most honest guy on earth, but as soon as you get out there to sell your soap as the fast talking pitchman, most people are going to think you are, at the minimum, a liar. It’s unfair and unjust, but you will never change that perception. You can be the most honest and forthright soap salesman on earth, but that view of you and your kind is etched into the culture. It’s why those TV guys always rely on allegedly objective authorities or unimpeachable demonstrations. They know you don’t trust them.
Life is unfair sometimes.
The point of all this is that if you want to sell a product, you have to avoid associating it with negative images held by the public. That means you are going to have to use red wine instead of a severed hand to demonstrate stain removal. No, you will not be true to your faith, but you will get customers. You also have to accept the fact that a lot of stuff happened before you came along. If you associate yourself with confidence men of the past, people are going to assume you are a con-man too. That’s reality.
Good salesmen never lose sight of reality. That’s the problem with outsider political movements. They allow themselves to be trapped in narrow ideological ruts so any sales effort, that deviates in the slightest from dogma, results in civil war. The only pitchmen the ideologues accept are the guys waving around the severed hand, talking about how their product is great at cleaning blood stains. Any concession to public sensibilities is treated like heresy. The result is a self-ghettoization of the movement.
This has always been the problem with the libertarians. You can get a large audience in favor of limiting state regulation of commerce, but you are never getting a critical mass around the idea of abandoning paper money. You can talk people into loosening up marijuana laws, but no one is signing up for legal meth sales. That’s why the limit on libertarians is to have some of their language appropriated by Buckleyites. Otherwise, they are seen as a collection of eccentric weirdos.
That’s what’s happening with the alt-right and its fellow travelers. The core believers refuse to give in on basic tactics, like banning Nazi gear or minimizing the JQ stuff. The result is anyone that tries to soften the image is attacked as a traitor. That’s what you see with the Stormies. Anglin can’t accept even the token compromises at a site like Gab, so he goes to war with it. This ensures that his followers never stray from the ghetto that he has created for them. It also means potential recruits have a reason to ignore him.
This does not mean the alt-right is condemned to having fat guys in their tighty-whities, dancing around at their events. To avoid that fate, they need to produce leaders with the credibility to swat down guys like Anglin, when he gets out of control, but also aware of the fact that growing the movement means appealing to the general public. That means softening the pitch and making some compromises. They don’t have anyone capable of doing that at he moment, but they better find some.