Don’t blame Dale Carnegie.

After all, he never emphasized the “flu” in influence.

Instead, he imbued Americans with self-confidence and helped them overcome the (still) widespread fear of public speaking. That’s why the eponymously named “Dale Carnegie Course” remains popular today, almost seven decades following his death. 

Also still popular is his best-selling book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which he wrote in 1936.

But so-called “progress” now seems at odds with the enduringly popular principles of Dale Carnegie.

 The advent of ironically misnamed “social media” has eliminated many in-person encounters. 

The Internet Age now shortens the narrative, sharpens the imperative and reduces the mission statement to two words:  influence people.

As a result, internet advertising has spawned “clickbait,” inspired super short videos of five, 10 or 15 second duration and created the “influencer.”

Our friends at Grand Canyon University educate us on the basics, found in an article posted to that institution’s Performing Arts and Digital Arts Blog almost one year ago.

GCU scholars say a “social media influencer is someone who has a reputation of authority or expertise in a particular area and uses that authority to engage with large numbers of social media followers.”

The Antelope Academicians sum it up simply:  “Essentially, a social influencer is a 21st Century advertising guru.”

Accordingly, Grand Canyon now offers a bachelor of arts in social media to better prepare students interested in pursuing this new profession.

Today’s social media students, and others that may follow, could very well spend time studying a pair of recent real-life advertising incidents. And the lessons provided from these marketing missteps will reinforce what not to do.

This space recently chronicled the self-inflicted actions that knocked Bud Light from its perch as America’s top-selling beer brand. That column categorized the advertising ailment as “woke fever,” but a more descriptive diagnosis now emerges: “influencer influenza.”

Simply stated, the ill-fated decision to feature self-described transsexual Dylan Mulvaney as a new “brand ambassador” made faithful Bud Light drinkers sick...and the brand may never recover. 

While Mulvaney has made a mint — and attracted internet followers — with misogynistic “performance art,” portraying a ditzy adolescent who recently celebrated a year of “girlhood,” that online fame didn’t translate into long lines of new beer drinkers clamoring for cases of Bud Light.

It seems that today’s “cultural contagion” has spread to all sectors of our society, including an institution critical to protecting our national survival: the United States Navy.

The Navy has proven that it is “out to sea” — or more fittingly, “out to lunch” —  by feasting on the latest leftist psychobabble. 

The Navy’s goal is to attract “the most talented and diverse workforce.” That’s why the Pentagon marketing geniuses actually preceded Bud Light into rough waters by charting a course for “Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (DIE).” From last October through this March, five new “Digital Ambassadors” set sail on the internet, led by Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley.

Previous press accounts inform us that Yeoman Kelley identifies as “nonbinary,” and performs as a drag queen who goes by the stage name, “Harpy Daniels.” 

Ironically, news of the Navy’s “DIE initiative” coincided with the 12th anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s “elimination,” courtesy of Navy SEAL Team Six. Rob O’Neill, a SEAL who shot Bin Laden twice, did a double-take when he read about the recent recruiting “innovation.”

Some of O’Neill’s tweeted comments are not suitable for this family publication, but three sentences accurately reflect his alarm and concern:

“The U.S. Navy is now using an enlisted sailor drag queen as a recruiter. I’m done. China is going to destroy us.”

Increasing international tensions and our own institutional delusions sadly lend credence to O’Neill’s assessment. Should it come to fruition, our freedoms will die, as will many of us. 

And Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” will be replaced by another book: “Quotations from Chairman Mao.”