So, here’s a “conspiracy theory” for you. This one is about the global-capitalist thoughtpolice and their ongoing efforts to purge society of “insensitivity.” Yes, that’s right, insensitivity. If there is anything the global-capitalist thoughtpolice can’t stand, it is insensitivity. You know, like making fun of ethnic or religious minorities, and the physically or cognitively challenged, and alternatively gendered persons, and hideously ugly persons, and monstrously fat persons, and midgets, and so on.
The global-capitalist thoughtpolice are terribly concerned about the feelings of such persons. And the feelings of other sensitive persons who are also concerned about the feelings of such persons. And everybody’s feelings, generally. So they’re purging society of any and all forms of literary content, and every other form of content, that might possibly irreparably offend such persons, and persons concerned about the feelings of such persons, and anyone who might feel offended by anything.
By now, I assume you have seen the news about the “sensitivity editing” of Roald Dahl, the author of books like James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches, The Twits, and numerous others. What happened was, Dahl’s publisher, Puffin Books, hired a little clutch of “sensitivity editors” to substantively rewrite his books, purging words like “fat” and “ugly,” and Dahl’s descriptions of characters as “bald” and “female,” and inserting their own ham-handed, “sensitized” language.
What you may not be aware of is that Puffin Books is a children’s imprint of Penguin Random House, a multi-national conglomerate publishing company and a subsidiary of Bertelsmann, a nominally German but in reality global media conglomerate. Penguin Random House is one of the so-called “big five publishers” that control approximately 80% of the retail book market. The other four are Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Hachette, and HarperCollins.
Together, these five corporate behemoths, with their hundreds of divisions, publishing groups, and imprints (e.g., Puffin Books), control the majority of what everyone reads. Pull a few books off your bookshelves at random and look up the imprints to see how many are owned by one of the “big five” publishers or one of their divisions or publishing groups.
Another thing you may not be aware of is the increasing employment of “sensitivity readers” by these publishing conglomerates and their legions of imprints, and by writers aspiring to be published by these imprints. Writer’s Digest describes their function thus:
“Publishers and authors hire them to basically cancel-proof their books before they hit the street, hoping to head off any misspoken messages . . . hoping to depict peoples in an accurate light when it comes to genre, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and more. Sensitivity edits are a publisher’s or editor’s insurance to protect reputation and ward off profit loss, just in case, and an author’s attempt to depict characters in an accurate light. Entities purchase a sensitivity read when the writing is outside of their expertise or experience, or they are uncertain they depicted details properly.”
Penguin Random House recommends “authenticity readers” to any of its authors who are “writing outside their personal experience” (i.e., using their imaginations), to prevent them from “perpetuating stereotypes,” or exhibiting their “unconscious or internalized bias” and creating “patterns of harmful representation,” and so on.
If this sounds to you like some kind of creepy, Orwellian-Ministry-of-Truth-type mindfuckery, that’s because that’s exactly what it is. It doesn’t really affect old farts like me — I wouldn’t let any of the big corporate publishers or their “sensitivity readers” near my writing, which they would never publish in any event, and which would likely cause them to experience seizures, and then stagger around the office looking for differently-abled-Black-transgender colleagues to kneel down in front of and apologize to — but there’s a whole generation of aspiring writers who are being conditioned to accept this as “normal.”
The Roald-Dahl story is being framed as a “woke/anti-woke” culture-war story. It isn’t. And it isn’t an aberration. It’s part and parcel of the new global-capitalist totalitarianism that I’ve been going on and on about. The entire “Wokeness” phenomenon is. Global-capitalist cultural revolutionaries are hunting down “insensitivity” everywhere. In the arts, schools, TV shows, films, social media, et cetera. “Insensitivity” being any and all forms of deviation from global-capitalist ideology, regardless of where they fall on the left/right spectrum. I have described the process as a new form of Gleichschaltung, the systematic coordination of every element of society — or every element that matters — in conformity with global-capitalist ideology.
So, what is global-capitalist ideology?
Well, I told you I had a “conspiracy theory” for you. It is not a very sexy “conspiracy theory,” but it’ll have to do, because it’s all I’ve got. And, forgive me, but I’m just getting started on my second “insensitive” dystopian novel, so I’m going to explain this “conspiracy theory” with a lengthy excerpt from the introduction to The War on Populism: Consent Factory Essays, Vol. II (2018-2019), one of my collections of essays, rather than taking the time to reword it badly. It really is a rather lengthy excerpt, so, if you happen to be reading this at work (i.e., when you are supposed to be working), or if you need to get back to a Twitter-fracas, or if you have the attention span of a gnat, you might want to save it and try to read it later.
Ready? OK, here we go.
‘This conflict (i.e., global capitalism versus a global “populist” insurgency) is at the root of all the madness of the last four years. To understand it, one needs to understand that it is primarily an ideological conflict, a global war for hearts and minds. Trump, Johnson, Corbyn, Sanders, and other so-called “populist” figures, were never a real threat to GloboCap, not in any material sense. They are symbols, figureheads, representations of resistance to global capitalist ideology. It is this resistance to its ideology (from both the left and the right … it makes no difference), more than any particular political leader or movement, that GloboCap has been trying to crush. It needs to put down this “populist” insurgency, so it can get on with the business of transforming the entire world into one big value-less marketplace … which is what it has been doing for last thirty years.
This is what capitalism was built to do. Ideologically speaking, it is a simple machine, one that strips societies of “despotic” values (e.g., religious, social, cultural values … values established by kings, priests, aristocracies, artists, communities, political parties, families, et cetera) and replaces them all with a single value (i.e., exchange value), rendering everything a commodity. In essence, it is an ideological machine, a values-decoding/recoding machine, which transforms societies into markets.
(I’ve cut a bit here, to make it somewhat less lengthy and get to the global-capitalist ideology part.)
Global capitalism’s ideology (i.e., the territory that comprises our “reality”) is unlike any other ideology in the 5,000-year history of ideology. It is an ideological territory without limits, neither internal nor external boundaries. It is a featureless territory, in which anything is possible, because nothing within it has any value, or meaning, in and of itself. It is literally a “desert of the real,” an infinite, seamless desert of values, across the lifeless surface of which the ghosts of values eternally wander, in circles, aimlessly, signifying nothing, going nowhere, for they are already there, in the only place there is to be, because the desert is everywhere, and everything.
There is nowhere and nothing outside of this territory. There is no “outside” where anything could exist. It is one big global capitalist world, one unitary, omnipresent, capitalist “reality” … one big global marketplace, or it will be, once GloboCap finishes destabilizing and restructuring what remains of the post-Cold-War world.
This is the story of the last thirty years. Beneath the distractions of the day, the manufactured mass hysteria, the propaganda, the fabricated outrage, the scandals, the wars, rumors of wars, the deafening roar of millions of voices shrieking gibberish on social media, conspiracy theories, real and imagined, the cheap charade of electoral politics, and so on, right out there in the open, because no one has been paying much attention, GloboCap has been mopping up, cleansing societies of their outmoded values, absorbing them into the global market … implementing ideological conformity.
You’re familiar with this ideological conformity. We all are. You’re probably in favor of many of the “values” it purports to want to promote, anti-racism, equal rights, separation of church and state, et cetera, the traditional liberal agenda. Remember, capitalist ideology is what finally freed us from the rule of despots, kings, aristocracies, priests. (Personally, I’m extremely grateful for that.) As I explained above, capitalism did this by eradicating “despotic” values and replacing them all with a single value, exchange value, rendering everything a commodity. That doesn’t sound very appealing, however. No one wants to see themselves as just a commodity, or live in a world without any real values. So capitalism marketed itself as “democracy,” and that went over much better with the masses.
Here we are, a few hundred years later, and “democracy” (i.e., capitalism) is running out of “despotic” values to eradicate and “liberate” us from. Sure, it still has some work to do secularizing the Middle East, and there are still a few countries that aren’t playing ball, but most of the planet has gotten with the program. Most of the values-eradicating work that remains to be done is right here at home. There are still a lot of Western consumers who haven’t completely embraced “democracy,” and who are clinging to old “despotic” values … racist values, religious values, nativist values, xenophobic values, homophobic values, transphobic values, cultural and artistic values, ableist values, alloist values, shadeism, lookism, ethnocentrism, cisgenderism, anti-Semitism, jingoism, sexism, sizeism, saneism … the list goes on and on, and on.
Democracy (i.e., global capitalism) will not rest until it has cleansed society (i.e., the global marketplace) of these ugly, destructive, despotic values, and implemented a worldwide “code of conduct” (like the ones that most global corporations have) with universal “anti-hate-speech rules,” and “appropriate vocabulary” lists, and has erased any visible symbol of such despotic values from public view, and any references to them from school curricula, and has otherwise transformed humanity into a mass of hyper-conformist consumers who all look like models in a Benetton commercial and talk like customer service representatives.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m in favor of democracy, and I’m not a fan of racism or any other type of discrimination or bigotry. I’m just trying to shed a little light on the forces behind the identity-politics zealotry that has been raging recently, and the “populist” backlash against such zealotry.
This zealotry, this crusade for ideological conformity, is described by many leftists as a movement to establish “social justice,” and by many right-wing types as “cultural Marxism.” It is neither. Or … OK, it contains elements of both, but fundamentally it is global capitalism purifying society of despotic values, establishing that infinite, value-free, meaningless “desert of the real” I described above.’
That’s it. I warned you that it was rather lengthy. It was written in September of 2020, so about six months into the roll-out of the New Normal.
As for the Roald-Dahl dust-up, what will happen now (and what is currently happening) is that A-list authors, journalists, and other official mouthpieces of the global-capitalist Simulation of Culture will make a big stink for a couple days, and then Penguin Random House and the other “big-five” publishers will go on “sensitivity-editing,” and “authenticity-editing,” and otherwise aggressively homogenizing mainstream literature until it won’t really matter which books you read because they will all be minor variations of each other that will resemble nothing so much in their utterly soul-deadening, interchangeable blandness as the lobbies of corporate offices.
Of course, if you are into the literature thing, you can always seek out and read other books by disreputable and “insensitive” authors like me who are unaffiliated with any global publishing behemoths, that is, assuming they haven’t been hidden from you behind these fake “sensitive content” warnings.
February 21, 2023
Photo: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory/Paramount Pictures
DISCLAIMER: The preceding essay is entirely the work of our in-house satirist and self-appointed political pundit, CJ Hopkins, and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Consent Factory, Inc., or 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 Substack page, or his Patreon page, or send a contribution to his PayPal account, so that maybe he’ll stop coming around our offices trying to hit our employees up for money. Alternatively, you could purchase his satirical dystopian sci-fi novel, Zone 23, or Volumes I, II, and III 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, feel free to contact him directly.
11 thoughts on “The War on Insensitivity”
The average joe can’t ‘publish’ anything on craigslist. That’s been the “new normal” for well over a decade now so I’m not about to shed a tear for those who have already made a handsome profit.
1984 is alive and well on Planet Earth…
Writing AND rewriting everything that’s been written is just one instance of the stuff that’s going on.
Being a white, heterosexual, cisgendered, non-handicapped, non- fat male who, to make things worse, is a Christian and a socialist and – dare I say it – a populist, I hang my head in shame and do hereby repent. O wait, I just remembered that I am 80 so if you disagree with me you are an ageist and you belong in secular hell.
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Wasn’t the point of Twitter to finally kill all that tedious, mind-numbing literature? Picture 1984 as a Tweet-thread stomping on your face.
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There is sensitivity and there is sensitivity. Although, I prefer to be referred to as a person with a disability, I do not mind other terms. I do mind being insulted but usually the person is well- meaning when they use a different term.
As for art, which includes literature, I dislike any changes. I read Dahl and did not care for his writing. But I doubt seriously that if the language was changed, it would make me like his writing. As for Dahl, I believe his language should remain since it is his art and expression.
I personally did not like the statue added to the Wall Street Bull of the Strong Girl. It was there to “correct” the idea of women not being in finance, etc. I agree with the artist who objected to the new statue since he designed the Bull with a particular space with particular relationships with the buildings and the area. The new statue changed the meaning of the Bull, and weakened the interplay of the space, statue, and buildings.
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Blablabla kind of useless stupid bullshit…
Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay .
The priests come with their exchange value, the smoothest of the smooth operators.
They will exchange comforting or binding or frightening narratives – for money.
The original exchange value operators, now copied by everyone . . . Media anchor persons, the political class, advertising executives. The modern priests of Free Market Capitalism.
The whole society, culture, civilization, is a collective conspiracy.
Society gives you concepts, narratives, propaganda,
Society gives you political systems, prejudices, divisions and religions.
So you will never be able to look directly, always society will be there to interpret.
No society allows you to see directly.
It always comes in and interprets, and you are befooled by it.
The whole society exists by manipulating others.
That’s why no society allows rebellious people; every society requires obedience, conformity.
No society allows rebellious thoughts that go against their narrative.
Rebellious thoughts make people aware that the whole thing is just a game, and when people become aware that the whole thing is just a game they become dangerous, they start going beyond the society.
Society exists as a hypnotic state, and the hive mind is a hypnotizing factor.
This has to be constantly remembered, as they are fooling you in such subtle manners…
NATO – Five Eyes,’The sanctions are working’ propaganda!
Don Lemon said on CNN ‘This Morning’, that he had gone into a food shop in Moscow recently and had asked for two fillet steaks and a dozen sausages. The shop-girl had answered, “No meat today, my friend.”
“No meat!” he shouts. “No meat! They haven’t got any meat!” He runs into the street with both arms raised, shouting at the top of his voice, “No meat! No meat! They haven’t got any meat!” Then on he continues down the street shouting at everyone, “They haven’t got any meat! No meat!”
He makes such a noise that the police come running. They see him shouting his head off, immediately arrest him and take him off to prison. In his cell he continues to cry out as he shakes the bars, “No meat! They haven’t got any meat!”
“We’ll have to teach this American a lesson,” says the prison officer. “Take him out into the yard and pretend you’re going to shoot him. That’ll soon shut him up!”
So the guard marches the man, still shouting, into the yard. They line him up against the wall, load the rifles with empty cartridges, take aim and fire.
There are a few seconds’ silence and then suddenly the cry goes up. “No bullets! No bullets! They haven’t got any bullets either!”
How the false makes all kinds of propaganda for itself.
The false will try to convince you with all kinds of arguments.
The truth remains silent.
Unless you are ready to receive it, it will not even knock on your doors.
The false is afraid that if much smoke is not created around it, the falsity of it will be seen by you.
So beware of the rationalizations of the false, its propaganda, its argumentation, its proofs.
And also remember the silence of truth, utter silence, absolute silence.
Truth will never persuade you, it will wait, it can wait for eternity.
But the false cannot wait, it is momentary, it can’t be so patient.
It has to persuade you, it has to seduce you as immediately as possible.
The false is very hypnotizing.
Their ways are totally opposite.
Truth is achieved through awakening, and the false is achieved through deep sleep.
The false is like a tranquilizer, it is very consoling, comforting, cozy, secure, safe.
It gives you all kinds of protections, insurances.
It goes on telling you, “Be with me and I will protect you.
I am your guardian, your guide, your friend, your philosopher.”
The truth never claims anything.
Seeing is relevant.
Don’t be fooled by the false lies and propaganda.
They have driven the whole of humanity into a kind of madness.
Can’t you see the mental illness of all the people who are powerful?
Are they happy?
Do you see any joy in their lives?
Can’t you observe the rich oligarchs?
They live a dog’s life, in utter misery!
The only thing to be achieved is alertness, not respect, not respectability.
Because that is one of their tricks, they make you obedient through respectability.
They say, “Just follow the society and the society will pay you much respect.”
This is a mutual arrangement.
The more dead you are the more society will pay you respect, the more alive you are the more society will create trouble for you.
Society needs efficiency, so it makes you more and more automatic.
In everything you do, society says be automatic.
It doesn’t bother about your awareness, your awareness is a problem for society.
You are asked to be more efficient, more productive.
This is how the society fools you.
You become efficient, but your soul is lost.
The whole society exists on exploitation.
Remember, it is everywhere.
Don’t be exploited.
You are not a thing, you are a being.
Change yourself, transform yourself.
The whole effort of meditative techniques is to de-automatize you, to make you again alert, to make you again human, fully alive, not a machine.
The NATO war machine of aggression against Russia must be broken and NATO itself must be dissolved!
The whole NATO – Five Eyes propaganda machine is owned by unconscious Christians who want the apocalypse to happen now with the end of our beautiful world, because in their mental illness they think it will signal the return of Christ.
Consciousness is the only antidote and that has to become your very presence through which you can come out of the darkness.
No-mind is this consciousness, this light, this very moment, here-now, inside you.
If you can go into your consciousness, if you can feel, see, realize the nature of your consciousness, that is the way.
The Russian and Ukrainian people are beautiful people as all people are beautiful.
They deserve the love and sympathy and compassion and help of the whole concerned world.
Meditation is the way.
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Ultimately, the truth is self-evident. It not only needs no explanation, nothing derivative can validate it. An epistemology cannot validate but must acquiesce to the ontological reality.
Christians miss out on what Paul is saying when he usefully observes that there can be no mediator between Ultimate reality and humanity other than Christ. There is nothing more immediate than that interface with reality which is why Christ begins his message with “deny yourself” i.e. deny the self itself.
All infants eventually begin to develop a sense of self. It’s virtually impossible to escape in a culture of self-absorption. It is nothing more than an abstract construction of the mind. It’s a silly idea. It doesn’t actually exist, yet most people become so invested in it that if it were to suddenly dissipate into nothing, they would think they had died because they’re so completely identified with this idea. They don’t see that identification is not identity.
They also fail to note that the body isn’t who they are either. They see that it is their body yet fail to note that there is all the difference in the world between who they are and what belongs to them. They commit grammatical blasphemy by conflating the Verb To Be with the Genitive of Possession. Those who do see this distinction will eventually see that the Genitive of Possession doesn’t apply to anybody at all. In the Christian bible this fact is revealed in, with, and through Christ. All of creation is created FOR him.
When Christ rises from the dead, he does so within “the new creation” who then sees Christ in everyone they encounter. Their life is over and is replaced by the risen Christ ‘in their midst”.
Meditation allows space to develop between “the observed” and “the observer”. The paradox is in noting that within that space there is no observation taking place; only being. As Christ, “the Great I AM” says, ‘the kingdom does not come by observation.’
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a “desert of the real,” an infinite, seamless desert of values, across the lifeless surface of which the ghosts of values eternally wander, in circles, aimlessly, signifying nothing, going nowhere, for they are already there, in the only place there is to be, because the desert is everywhere, and everything.”
That sounds like the religion of ancient Egypt.
Words we know, are instruments that create reality or false reality.
I wonder how far things can go with this attempt to confound language?
A re-arrangement into deliberate confusion and mis-understanding?
What neo-reality is actually going to be concocted out of the nihilism?
It won’t venture further than oppression.
In the gender defying ‘mother’less world for example, what shall be done about motherboards and ‘matter’ for that matter? And matrixes and maternity wards? Will they have to be outfazed as gender hurtful words from crazed Greeks and Romans with languages with feminine and masculine endings, etc.
And then there’s the ‘Mother Church’? And Mother Mary sung about in a Mccartney song.
Shall the politically stunted just upset most people so as not to be ‘insensitive’ or what?
Things are in a nasty pickle. There’s no need to delete for the new generations.
If gender for example, was a colossal blunder – then leave the error on show for all time.
Monuments are there for memory aid and belie accusations of false memory syndrome.
We have a toxic culture which is chasing its own tail for reasons of frustration, when using a toilet becomes a matter of ‘expression’ and assertion of misunderstood ‘gender’.
In an age of riches, the younger generation can’t be fed and clothed without being stalked and compliance conditions being imposed upon them.
That’s what the world’s minds should be focused upon – not on word gaming.
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