The Future of the Spectacle … or How the West Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Reality Police

If you want a vision of the future, don’t imagine “a boot stamping on a human face — for ever,” as Orwell suggested in 1984. Instead, imagine that human face staring mesmerized into the screen of some kind of nifty futuristic device on which every word, sound, and image has been algorithmically approved for consumption by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”) and its “innovation ecosystem” of “academic, corporate, and governmental partners.”

The screen of this futuristic device will offer a virtually unlimited range of “non-divisive” and “hate-free” content, none of which will falsify or distort the “truth,” or in any way deviate from “reality.” Western consumers will finally be free to enjoy an assortment of news, opinion, entertainment, and educational content (like this Guardian podcast about a man who gave birth, or MSNBC’s latest bombshell about Donald Trump’s secret Russian oligarch backers) without having their enjoyment totally ruined by discord-sowing alternative journalists like Aaron Maté or satirists like myself.

“Fake news” will not appear on this screen. All the news will be “authentic.” DARPA and its partners will see to that. You won’t have to worry about being “influenced” by Russians, Nazis, conspiracy theorists, socialists, populists, extremists, or whomever. Such Persons of Malicious Intent will still be able to post their content (because of “freedom of speech” and all that stuff), but they will do so down in the sewers of the Internet where normal consumers won’t have to see it. Anyone who ventures down there looking for it (i.e., such “divisive” and “polarizing” content) will be immediately placed on an official DARPA watchlist for “potential extremists,” or “potential white supremacists,” or “potential Russians.”

Once that happens, their lives will be over (i.e., the lives of the potentially extremist fools who have logged onto whatever dark web platform will still be posting essays like this, not the lives of the Persons of Malicious Intent, who never had any lives to begin with, and who by that time will probably be operating out of some heavily armed, off-the-grid compound in Idaho). Their schools, employers, and landlords will be notified. Their photos and addresses will be published online. Anyone who ever said two words to them (or, God help them, appears in a photograph with them) will have 24 hours to publicly denounce them, or be placed on DARPA’s watchlist themselves.

Meanwhile, up where the air is clean, Western consumers will sit in their cubicles, or stagger blindly down the sidewalk like zombies, or come barrel-assing at you on their pink corporate scooters, staring down at the screens of their devices, where normal reality will be unfolding. They will stare at their screens at their dinner tables, in restaurants, in bed, and everywhere else. Every waking hour of their lives will be spent consuming the all-consuming, smiley, happy, global capitalist Spectacle, every empty moment of which will be monitored and pre-approved by DARPA.

What a relief that will finally be, not to have to question anything, or wonder what is real and what isn’t. When the corporate media tell us the Russians hacked an election, or the Vermont power grid, or are blackmailing the president with an FSB pee-tape, or that the non-corporate media are all “propaganda peddlers,” or that the Labour Party is a hive of anti-Semites, or that some boogeyman has WMDs, or is yanking little babies out of their incubators, or gratuitously gassing them, or attacking us with crickets, or that someone secretly met with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy, or that we’re being attacked by Russian spy whales, and suddenly self-radicalized Nazi terrorists, or it’s time for the “International Community” to humanitarianly intervene because “our house is burning,” and our world is on fire, and there are “concentration camps,” and a “coup in Great Britain” … or whatever ass-puckering apocalyptic panic the global capitalist ruling classes determine they need to foment that day, we will know that this news has been algorithmically vetted and approved by DARPA and its corporate, academic, and government partners, and thus, is absolutely “real” and “true,” or we wouldn’t be seeing it on the screen of our devices.

If you think this vision is science fiction, or dystopian satire, think again. Or read this recent article in Bloomberg, “U.S. Unleashes Military to Fight Fake News, Disinformation.” Here the lede to get you started …

“Fake news and social media posts are such a threat to U.S. security that the Defense Department is launching a project to repel ‘large-scale, automated disinformation attacks’ … the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants custom software that can unearth fakes hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, video and audio clips. If successful, the system after four years of trials may expand to detect malicious intent and prevent viral fake news from polarizing society …”

What could be more reassuring than the knowledge that DARPA and its corporate partners will be scanning the entire Internet for content created with “malicious intent,” or which has the potential to “polarize” society, and making sure we never see that stuff? If they can’t do it, I don’t know who can. They developed the Internet, after all. I’m not exactly sure how they did it, but Yasha Levine wrote a book about it, which I think we’re still technically allowed to read.

Anyway, according to the Bloomberg article, DARPA and its corporate partners won’t have the system up and running in time for the 2020 elections, so the Putin-Nazis will probably win again. Which means we are looking at four more years of relentless Russia and fascism hysteria, and fake news and divisive content hysteria, and anti-Semitism and racism hysteria, and … well, basically, general apocalyptic panic over anything and everything you can possibly think of.

Believe me, I know, that prospect is exhausting … but the global capitalist ruling classes need to keep everyone whipped up into a shrieking apoplectic frenzy over anything other than global capitalism until they can win the War on Populism and globally implement the New Normality, after which the really serious reality policing can finally begin.

I don’t know, call me crazy, or a Person of Malicious Intent, but I think I’d prefer that boot in the face.

#

CJ Hopkins
September 3, 2019
Photo: DARPA

CJ Hopkins Summer 2018 thumbnail

DISCLAIMER: The preceding essay is entirely the work of our in-house satirist and self-appointed political pundit, CJ Hopkins, and does not reflect the views and opinions of the Consent Factory, Inc., its staff, or any of its agents, subsidiaries, or assigns. If, for whatever inexplicable reason, you appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to support it, please go to his Patreon page (where you can contribute as little $1 per month), or send your contribution to his PayPal account, so that maybe he’ll stop coming around our offices trying to hit our staff up for money. Alternatively, you could purchase his satirical dystopian novel, Zone 23, which we understand is pretty gosh darn funny, or any of his subversive stage plays, which won some awards in Great Britain and Australia. If you do not appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to write him an abusive email, please feel free to contact him directly.

15 thoughts on “The Future of the Spectacle … or How the West Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Reality Police

  1. When E.M. Forster wrote that otherwise impeccable masterpiece “The Machine Stops”, he couldn’t realize that there was no need for every individual to be walled up in a little personal cave. Just give them mobile gadgets and they walk around encapsulated just as thoroughly in their own mental worlds.

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  2. So long as the United States can continue to loot the rest of the world by coercive means to then much of its population is surplus to needs. For the controlling elites much of the citizenry is a drag on its security and wealth. Why not just apply the time tested means as in Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya, Afghanistan and just kill the lot?

    Start off will the millions of Americans in prison? Who needs ‘em? Liquidate the lot. Unproductive non-elite seniors, the infirm or medically ill are useless too. All the unemployed. Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia can go too. Most of California. Round up all political dissidents and torch the lot.

    Of course the people working in the prison industry would be out of work. And the medical racket would go bankrupt. Huge numbers of government workers would be out of work. All these would become likely troublemakers so these would have to be put down as well.

    A potential problem would be that many police and military would object to being ordered to kill their families, friends and neighbors. So there’s another whack of threatening people that must be done in. The danger is that this lot have guns and know how to use them.

    Then too there is the challenge that large numbers of American own guns and they might resist. But, you can’t make a new U.S. omelet without breaking a lot of eggs.

    On the other hand, the greater mass of the American deplorable population might decide that it would be economic to more simply expropriate and extinguish the small number of elites and their toadies.

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  3. Yeah, the actual, real, provable wave of white supremacist violence, which has taken hundreds of lives, ruined thousands more, and is continually propitiated by out & proud hate sites, is more or less the same thing as a bunch of dumb, Benghazi-grade Democrat conspiracy theories that go nowhere and that everybody laughs at. And Obama’s concentration camps definitely negate Trump’s concentration camps, which aren’t concentration camps anyway because indigenous, brown refugees aren’t the same thing as European Jewish refugees. Excellent take. Your status as a fringe-audience “satirist” is definitely attributable to the vile machinations of capitalist warlords who hate truth. Tell me, how do you get the text off the parchment & onto the internet? Because obviously there are no evil, globalist, mind-controlling “screens” involved, right? Do you enjoy being this stupid? Does it hurt? Are you happy? You look happy.

    How the fuck do I keep ending up here? Do you keep changing the name of the website or something?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our sincere apologies, Emma, for the stupidity and general evilness of our in-house satirist. We don’t enjoy posting his Putin-Nazi denialism, but we are forced to, as, technically, he owns our blog. Our in-house legal team is trying to reclaim ownership from him, and otherwise totally de-platform or at least significantly marginalize him, but navigating German intellectual property law is not so easy, as you can imagine. In the meantime, if it’s any comfort, know that we, The Management, agree with you about this horrible neo-fascist assault on democracy that was launched more or less the moment Donald Trump won the Republican nomination in 2016, and which, as you point out, the corporate media has been exhaustively documenting ever since. Our associates in the US and the UK have apprised us of the desperate situation in both those countries. From what we understand, one can hardly pop out for a triple cheeseburger or a bag of chips these days without being rounded up by Nazis and dragged off to a concentration camp. In any event, we empathize with your outrage. Please trust that we are doing our utmost (behind the scenes, of course) to foment and maintain a level of mass hysteria sufficient to eventually defeat and severely punish these Nazi swine, notwithstanding our in-house satirist’s extremist-adjacent activities. (We would, however, encourage you not to dismiss the “Russia” factor. Our in-house Putin-Naziologists assure us that Putin is indeed orchestrating this global fascist Attack on Democracy, and has been all along!)

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  4. Regarding Yasha’s book – which I’ve been wanting to read but afraid to if I witness glaring omissions of Silicon Valley’s (I’ve lived in Silicon Valley for decades), and the US’ Pacific Coastline in general, populace surveillance malfeasance1. Does Yasha’s book:

    • Repeat what he once tweeted about blatantly criminal Gmail surveillance (I was so happy he did, but horrified that none of those he was constantly retweeting even backed him up in that).

    • Go into detail regarding Bill Gates? I remember – years before Yasha’s book – reading that Gates allowed deliberate backdoors on his FORCED software which anyone buying a computer was stuck with unless they were a coder? I’ve never felt safe entering personal details on my laptop.

    • Go into any detail regarding Oracle and Larry Ellison? I’ve used the stunningly worthless accounting software and it became quite clear that the database, shared with lord knows who, was a MIC Gem.

    Go into any length on Jeff Bezos, his maternal grandfather, Lawrence Preston Gise (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), etcetera), and his Pedro Pan (CIA sponsored) stepfather, Miguel Bezos (Exxon, for one). It’s ominous that nothing can be found, to my knowledge, on those GLARING connections.

    • Go into length Re Peter Thiel’s mentoring of zuckerf_ck and Facebook’s likely clear connection to Palantir? (Not to even mention PAYPAL).

    • Discuss Lockheed, Boeing and Rand ?

    • Mention Knight Ridder’s (when they published the San Jose Mercury News for decades) implicit support of the MIC – via their tech writers, columnists and editorial staff – and the horrid surveillance we now witness emanating from Silicon Valley, where homeless people line the streets after so many of them were discarded like so much trash?

    • Mention Hollywood’s enormous role in obscuring the whole California Golden State Role in routinely treating citizens as if they’re terrorists.

    I’d have gone on, but my trapped in Silicon Valley PTSD is seriously kicking in, if there’s a shadow government, you can near bet that much off it is located along the Pacific coastline of Western US.

    1. I was highly disappointed that Yasha so easily let wanna be president Ro Khanna (the equally striving and horrid California Governor, Gavin Newsom and Senator, Kamala Harris also wanna be PRESIDENT), off the hook, after rightfully calling him out. And where is the commentary (ANYWHERE) that Khanna latched onto Sanders with the condition that DemoRats (who are even worse than Rethuglicans because they gut from the back and say “Have a great Day”) wouldn’t be trashed, and his ideology that the Silicon Valley Technocracy ‘Meritocracy’ should be spread across the country?

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  5. “Conservatism” in America’s politics means “Let’s keep the niggers in their place.” And “liberalism” means “Let’s keep the knee-grows in their place…”

    Malcom X

    Liked by 1 person

  6. (“I don’t know, call me crazy, or a Person of Malicious Intent, but I think I’d prefer that boot in the face.”) – I’m with you C.J.

    I just returned to southern California after two weeks of camping in the Montana backcountry. One day back I’m already stressed out with having to dodge fellow drivers literally cruising down the freeways while glancing up and down and back and forth at their freaking cell phones like they are some kind of electronic life-support system. Maybe they are. Or maybe I just somehow ended up on the wrong freaking planet. Some days it’s hard to know.

    Thanks for another great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hopkins you dissemble. Do you not think readers should be given context ? You say live in Berlin but you do not say where – a heavily fortified, luxury penthouse replete with compatible and compliant sexual partners, somewhere in Communist held East Berlin is hardly a location that would allow you to actually experience the much vaunted ” reality ” you consistently champion. Have you no shame ? Clearly, the money, the booze, the drugs, the throng of groupies, who apparently flock around you 24 / 7 , have gone to your head. Out here, in the real world, hypocrites like you, the 1 percent of 1 percent are generally strung up to the nearest lamp post. I warn you. Tweeting threats about unveiling all the “benefit cheats ” in Liverpool does not scare me because I am “genuinely” “looking” for “work”. I bet a notorious pillager like you does not know the meaning of “work” If you “genuinely ” intend to travel to LIverpool to carry out your spineless and spiteful threats you will have to beef up your security detail from scores to hundreds, if I am any judge of special operations logistical planning. I predict you will opposed every step of the way. You seem to forget that Liverpool is solidly behind Corbyn’s plan to murder the semitic peoples by gassing them in decent, high quality , modern gas chambers. In this city there is great pride in the fact, that in matters of genocide no expense is spared – there is always room for a burnt out, morally bankrupt imperial shill like yourself – Corbyn has constructed his gas chambers to be of infinite size – as well as being decent and modern. As news of your inter- continental young teen trafficking operation emerges I can not say I am suprised, I have always wondered who was the German end of the Epstein operation. As they say round here ” Come and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough. ”

    yours in antipathy pablomillerunit

    p.s. This is the slogan that got Corbyn elected ” Vote for Jermy Corbyn, he’s definitely NOT a people trafficker “

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  8. C. J.,

    as I went through Unz’s last Pravda article the other day, the thought occurred to me (for the one-thousandth time): the account of World War 2, or the Twin Tower attacks, people are given without problems (meaning they accept it without having a problem with it) features the same truth to untruth ratio all other accounts they chose, and they give (even to themselves), about other events, and their own life.

    It’s the same as what wives who have stopped secreting pleasant hormones at the sight of husbands will relate to family courts to motivate their no-fault divorce request, take half of the assets, a monthly cheque for as many years as they please, and, of course!, the babies/children.
    You see how easily society, men and women alike, accept that? You see how easily the law people, judges, social assistants, all of them, who know very well how “true” testimony is, have agreed to pretend that in the case of divorcee wives all that’s said must be true?

    That is one example, whereto countless could be added. The truth:untruth ratio nearing 0 is a human feature found in all of human recorded/witnessed/believed!, history, be it the history of centuries and whole races and continents, or the history of their “love story”.

    Take for instance Michael Schumacher, sportsmanlike-wise one of the pettiest bully of racing sports history: hasn’t the world’s press agreed to herald him as a sportsmanlike guy? Yes they have. And as an outcome of that, all Formula 1 fans over the world “think” he was a sportsmanlike guy — it’s not like people borrow their preferences and beliefs from the mainstream only when it comes to airplane-stricken skyscrapers or world wars: they need to be told what is what in just everything :)).

    Schumacher is probably the only pilot in the story of his sport to have had in his contract that his team-mate should never have a car matching his one in performance.
    Because Ferraris were so superior to rival teams that the year Schumacher could not race due to injury his team-mate was going to win the championship, Schumacher agreed with team heads and managers that the mechanics of Ferrari do not one, but repeated “mistakes” that were never seen before or after that year, during Irvine’s pit stops, thus assuring he could not win the championship.
    The man was so powerful that his own team accepted not to win the championship that year to please his boundless ego.

    And of millions of fans of the sport I have heard ZERO talk about this. Why? Because ZERO Formula 1 journalists have “noticed” it. Lol.

    So on the upper floor of the human world’s building, a building all made of indifference for truth but mostly active opposition to it, what would you expect to find?

    Go read women profiles on dating sites and see how two thirds say “He must make me laugh, be ambitious and confident”, and about half things like “He must apologize after quarrels even if I was the one in the wrong” and “I appreciate when he makes an effort to know me”: see how they react when you “use a mirror” and start the chat by asking they make the same effort to know you.

    And you would want these people, and the people who accept their bullying, to get more truth about world’s history than, say, the Guardian provides?
    Lol.

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