Well, it looks like we’ve somehow managed to survive another year of diabolical Putin-Nazi attacks on democracy. It was touch-and-go there for a while, especially coming down the home stretch, what with Jeremy Corbyn’s desperate attempt to overthrow the UK government, construct a British version of Auschwitz, and start rounding up and mass-murdering the Jews.
That was certainly pretty scary … but then, the whole year was pretty scary.
The horror began promptly in early January, when Rachel Maddow revealed that Putin was projecting words out of Trump’s mouth in real-time, i.e., literally using Trump’s head like a puppet, or one of those Mission Impossible masks. And that was just the tip of the iceberg, as, despite the best efforts of Integrity Initiative, Bellingcat, and other such establishment psyops, Internet-censoring sites like NewsGuard, and an army of mass hysteria generators, Putin’s legion of Russian “influencers” was continuing to maliciously influence Americans, who were probably also still under attack by brain-eating Russian-Cubano crickets!
While Resistance members were still wrapping their heads in anti-cricket aluminum foil, Putin (i.e., Russian Hitler) ordered Trump (i.e., Russian-asset Hitler) to launch a coup in Venezuela (i.e., Russian Hitler’s South American ally), probably to distract us from “Smirkboy Hitler” and his acne-faced gang of MAGA cap-wearing Catholic high-school Hitler Youth, who were trying to invade and Hitlerize the capital. Or maybe the coup was meant to distract us from the un-American activities of Bernie Sanders, who had also been deemed a Russian asset, or a devious “Kremlin-Trump operation,” or was working with Tulsi Gabbard to build an army of blood-drinking Hindu nationalists, genocidal Assadists, and American fascists to help the Iranians (and the Russians, of course, and presumably also Jeremy Corbyn) frontally assault the State of Israel and drive the Jews into the sea.
As if all that wasn’t horrifying enough (and ridiculous and confusing enough), by early Spring there was mounting evidence that Putin had somehow gotten to Mueller, possibly with one of those FSB pee-tapes, and was sabotaging the “Russiagate” coup the Intelligence Community, the Democratic Party, the corporate media, and the rest of the Resistance had been methodically preparing since 2016. Liberals’ anuses began puckering and unpuckering as it gradually became clear that the “Mueller Report” was not going to prove that Donald Trump had colluded with Putin and Julian Assange to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton and transform the United States of America into a genocidal Putin-Nazi Reich.
Meanwhile, the anti-Semitism pandemic that had mysteriously erupted in 2016 (i.e., right around the time Trump won the nomination) was raging unchecked throughout the West. Jews in Great Britain were on the brink of panic because approximately 0.08 percent of Labour Party members were anti-Semitic, as opposed to the rest of the British public, who have never shown any signs of anti-Semitism (or any other kind of racism or bigotry), and are practically a nation of Shabbos goys. Clearly, Corbyn had turned the party into his personal neo-Nazi death cult and was planning to carry out a second Holocaust just as soon as he renationalized the British railways!
And it wasn’t just the United Kingdom. According to corporate media virologists, idiopathic anti-Semitism was breaking out everywhere. In France, the “Yellow Vests” were also anti-Semites. In the U.S.A., Jews were facing “a perfect storm of anti-Semitism,” some of it stemming from the neo-fascist fringe (which has been a part of the American landscape forever, but which the corporate media has elevated into an international Nazi movement), but much of it whipped up by Ilhan Omar, who had apparently entered into a “Red-Brown” pact with Richard Spencer, or Gavin McInnes, or some other formerly insignificant idiot.
Things got very confusing for a while, as Republicans united with Democrats to denounce Ilhan Omar as an anti-Semite (and possibly a full-fledged Islamic terrorist) and to condemn the existence of “hate,” or whatever. The corporate media, Facebook, and Twitter were suddenly swarming with hordes of angry anti-Semites accusing other anti-Semites of anti-Semitism. Meghan McCain couldn’t take it anymore, and she broke down on the Joy Behar Show and begged to be converted to Judaism, or Zionism, right there on the air. This unseemly display of anti-anti-Semitism was savagely skewered by Eli Valley, an “anti-Semitic” Jewish cartoonist, according to McCain and other morons.
Then it happened … perhaps the loudest popcorn fart in political history. The Mueller Report was finally delivered. And just like that, Russiagate was over. After three long years of manufactured mass hysteria, corporate media propaganda, books, T-shirts, marches, etc., Robert Mueller had come up with squat. Zip. Zero. Nichts. Nada. No collusion. No pee-tape. No secret servers. No Russian contacts. Nothing. Zilch.
Cognitive dissonance gripped the nation. There was beaucoup wailing and gnashing of teeth. Resistance members doubled their anti-depressant dosages and went into mourning. Shell-shocked liberals did their best to pretend they hadn’t been duped, again, by authoritative sources like The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, MSNBC, et al., which had disseminated completely fabricated stories about secret meetings which never took place, power grid hackings that never happened, Russian servers that never existed, imaginary Russian propaganda peddlers, and the list goes on, and on, and on … and hadn’t otherwise behaved like a bunch of mindless, shrieking neo-McCarthyites.
Except that Russiagate wasn’t over. It immediately morphed into “Obstructiongate.” As the corporate media spooks explained, Mueller’s investigation of Trump was never about collusion with Russia. No, it was always about Trump obstructing the investigation of the collusion with Russia that the investigation was not about, and that everyone knew had never happened. In other words, Mueller’s investigation was launched in order to investigate the obstruction of his investigation.
Or whatever. It didn’t really matter, because, by this time, Assange had been arrested for treason, or for jumping bail, or for smearing poo all over the walls of the Ecuadorean embassy, and The New York Times was reporting that a veritable “constellation” of social media accounts “linked to Russia and far-right groups” was disseminating extremist “disinformation,” and Putin had unleashed the Russian spywhale, and “Jews were not safe in Germany again,” because the Putin-Nazis had formed an alliance with the Iranian Nazis and the Syrian Nazis, who were backing the Palestinian Nazis that Antifa was fighting on behalf of Israel, and Jews were not safe in the UK either, because of Jeremy Corbyn, who Donald Trump (who, let’s all remember, is literally Hitler) was conspiring with a group of “unnamed Jewish leaders” to prevent from becoming prime minister, and Iran was conspiring with Hezbollah and al Qaeda to amass an arsenal of WMDs to launch at Israel and Saudi Arabia, and other peaceful Middle Eastern democracies, and Trump was finally going to go full-Hitler and declare martial law on the Fourth of July, and he was operating literal “concentration camps” where immigrants were being forced to drink out of toilets, which looked almost exactly the same as the “detention facilities” Obama had operated, except for … well, you know, the “fascism.” So who had time to worry about the corporate media colluding with an attempted Intelligence Community coup?
Then, in August, right on cue, some racist whack job murdered a bunch of people, and so now, as if the mass hysteria hadn’t already been jacked up to the max, America had “a white nationalist terrorist problem,” or was in the throes of a “white nationalist terrorism crisis.” Trump was now officially our “Nihilist-in-Chief,” and “a white supremacist who inspires terrorism” and was basically no different than Anwar al-Awlaki. It was time to take some extraordinary measures along the lines of the Patriot Act, except focused on potential white supremacist terrorists, or anyone the Editorial Board of The New York Times might deem a “threat.”
This sudden outbreak of “Trump-inspired terrorism” and the manufactured “fascism” hysteria that followed got the Resistance through end of the Summer and into the Autumn, which was always when the main event was scheduled to begin. See, these last three years have basically been a warm-up for what is about to happen … the impeachment, sure, but that’s only one part of it.
If you thought the global capitalist ruling classes and the corporate media’s methodical crushing of Jeremy Corbyn was depressing to watch … well, prepare yourself for 2020. The Year of Manufactured Mass Hysteria was not just the Intelligence Community and the corporate media getting their kicks by whipping the public up into an endless series of baseless panics over imaginary Russians and Nazis. It was the final phase of cementing the official “Putin-Nazi” narrative in people’s minds.
For the sake of anyone new to my columns, here’s how the Putin-Nazi narrative works …
The Putin-Nazi narrative has two basic parts, or messages, which are constantly repeated: (1) “Russia is attacking our democracy!; and (2) “fascism is spreading like wildfire!,” both of which parts are essentially fictions. This official Putin-Nazi narrative was introduced in the Summer of 2016, and replaced the official “War on Terrorism” narrative, which had run for fifteen years, and which was just as fictional. It has been methodically reinforced and repeated by the neoliberal establishment, the corporate media (and, more recently, the alternative media, and even by extremely intelligent anarchist anthropologists like David Graeber) for the last three years on a daily basis. At this point it has become our “reality,” just as the War on Terror became our “reality” … as the Cold War had previously been our “reality.”
When I say that this narrative has become our “reality,” I mean that it is now virtually impossible to refute it in any mainstream forum without being dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist,” or an “anti-Semite,” or a “Russian asset.” It has become axiomatic and is taken for granted that we are experiencing an explosion of anti-Semitism, and fascism, and that Russia is out to get us (so axiomatic that someone like Graeber falls into the trap of defending Corbyn by relying on, and thus reifying, the very “fascism” hysteria that was used to destroy him).
Never mind that the entire planet continues to be ruled by global capitalism, transnational corporations, and supra-governmental bodies, and that most of it is occupied by the U.S. military, NATO, and other GloboCap allies, and assorted corporate military contractors. Never mind that Russia isn’t “attacking” anyone, and that the “Nazis” haven’t taken over anything, and that no one is rounding up and murdering the Jews, or the Mexicans, or anyone else for that matter … because when have facts had anything to do with maintaining an official narrative?
The answer, in case you were wondering, is “never.” We are, all of us, living in a fiction. A fiction authored by those in power to serve the interests of those in power. That’s what an official narrative is. It makes no difference whether we believe it or not. It functions as “reality” regardless. If you doubt that … well, just ask Jeremy Corbyn. Or watch as the Labour “anti-Semitism crisis” evaporates into thin air, as the War on Terror did in 2016, once it no longer served a useful purpose.
As for 2020, I’m afraid the manufactured mass hysteria is only going to get worse. The global capitalist ruling classes are determined to snuff out this populist rebellion, and to make sure it never happens again, or at the very least not on this scale. Anyone who gets in the way is going to be branded an “anti-Semite,” or a “fascist,” or a “Russian asset.” Politicians who do not toe the line are going to have their political careers and personal reputations destroyed. (Did you notice how it took less than two days after the crushing of Jeremy Corbyn for the smearing of Sanders as an anti-Semite or “soft on anti-Semitism” to begin?)
Mainstream journalists who dare to question the official Putin-Nazi narrative, even in the most respectful way, are going to come under increasing pressure to tone it down or suffer the consequences. Putin-Nazi paranoia will metastasize. Dissident websites will be deplatformed and demonitized. The Internet will be increasingly monitored for any and all forms of non-conformity. Dissent will be increasingly stigmatized. “Reality” will be increasingly policed. It’s all going to get extremely unpleasant, and that’s assuming that civil war doesn’t break out.
And as for me, I’m just a political satirist with a barely respectable cult-sized following, so they’ll probably let me get away with continuing to cover the whole ugly show (as long as no one starts to take me seriously). I’ll try to find the humor in it, but honestly, just between you and me, what’s coming may not be all that funny.
December 18, 2019
Photo: The Eye of Faith
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, or Volume I of his Consent Factory Essays, 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.
16 thoughts on “The Year of Manufactured Hysteria”
Thanks for yet another brilliant article, C.J.! “The idea is to break the Black Iron Prison’s power by revealing more and more about it.” —Philip K. Dick, The Exegesis
I think you may have just written what will come to be seen as the “definitive history” of the last several years C.J. A really great post – thanks!
Meanwhile here in the States I’m steeling myself in an effort to cope with the semi-rabid “holiday season” accusations from friends and family that I am some variety of – “Putin-Nazi-Denialist.”
I’m no prognosticator, but I can even envision an event that could take place around the time of the Democratic Party convention in which the DNC brings in the OPCW inspectors, leading to the top OPCW officials issuing a definitive report accusing the Sander’s campaign of a “chemical weapons attack” for having used chlorine sani-wipes to clean the convention center kitchen after a rally. It could happen!
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What a shame about David Graeber… I still have huge respect for him, and I trust his professional work (such as “Debt: the First 5,000 Years” and “Bullshit Jobs”). But now I am alert to a huge blind spot in his political vision.
Mind you, as I get older, I am reconciled to the understanding that virtually no one is all good or all bad. Even Noam Chomsky gives Israel far too much benefit of the doubt.
Graeber does outstanding work and deserves respect. It’s not about good or bad. We all miss things, fall into traps, and make mistakes from time to time. Hopefully, we learn from our experiences, and sometimes from our critics.
Chris Hedges is using the phrase/term “Christian Fascists” (Intercepted podcast with Jeremy Scahill). He self-reports that he chose the word “fascist” to describe right wing Christian extremists after a lot of deliberation. What are your thoughts on this? Is Hedges using hyperbole to make his point?
Also, he describes Trump as a cult leader and Trump’s most devoted fans/voters as cult followers. I can see why he uses this framing. I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and now live in a major city in Texas (aka Jesus Loving, God Fearing, Flag Waving, Gun-toting Country)!
2020 looks to be the year of “I don’t need your facts interfering with my opinions.”
When Corbyn was elected I said that he was the best thing to happen to the Conservatives since the Duke of Wellington joined them 200 years ago. That Corbyn would destroy the Labour Party (which he has for at least 10 years). He’s exactly the kind of privileged patrician working class people despise for a number of reasons. Socialists hate Blair, working classes hate Corbyn. Blair won three elections, Corbyn wouldn’t win one in a million years. Socialists are completely incapable of grasping that reality.
Corbyn completely capitulated in the face of the ludicrous anti semitism allegations and the demand for a second referendum. He’s useless even as a socialist. He’s so bad it has flickered through my brain that he is an (unwilling) intelligence asset.He refused to support widely reported allegations of child abuse in his constituency and was perfectly placed to report to MI6 on his numerous terrorist and communist allies* back then.It’s bizarre that an MP could be so totally opposed to the policies of his own party. Also a sworn blood enemy of the EU. He’d have been the strangest prime minister in the galaxy.
* IRA, PFLP, Hamas, the Sandinistas, Hezbollah, Chavez,Castro to name a few.
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Great summary of 2019, but I fear The In House Satirist may soon have to hang up his hat:
“We used to stand up to Putin and Russia. I know the party of Ronald Reagan used to. That’s why we support Ukraine with the military aid that we have,” Schiff continued. “The President may not care about it, but we do. We care about our defense, we care about the defense of our allies, and we darn well care about our constitution.”
With elected officials saying things like that is there anymore need for satire?
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Funny… I’ve read many opinion pieces and stories stating as absolute fact that one of Putin’s greatest desires is to weaken, legitimize and destroy the EU… So shouldn’t the Putin conspiracy mongers have been saying that he was doing his nefarious utmost to make sure Boris won? He was the Brexit boy, and one would think that getting one of the larger nations to break out of the EU would be quite a coup for Putin. But somehow we’re supposed to believe that Corbyn was Putin’s Supermarionation puppet. They don’t even respect us enough to tell us plausible or remotely logical lies anymore, do they?
Oh, I don’t know…throwing 8 million disabled/elderly off disability sounds kinda Nazi-like…
Reagan did it and thousands died. Death panels?
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FUCKING PRICELESS, C.J.!!!
I’d love to meet you in the pub, because there seem to be so few people who are capable of devil’s advocacy. In my trapezoid of Aquitaineans, I can think of ~2.3 entities who are capable of the hithertoaforementioned.