Those of a certain age will probably recall when they were taught the difference between the great man theory of history and modern history. The former claimed that events were driven by individuals, while the latter stressed events. Those great men we read about were products of the events around them. If Napoleon had never been born, some other man would have filled the role. Therefore, history is about the narratives that shaped the people, including the great men.
A similar thing happened in content creation. In the middle of the last century, the content creators working for newspapers and news gathering organizations decided that the basics of events were insufficient. They needed to create a narrative to explain those events, to put them into proper context. In his book, Banana Sunday, Chris Munnion described how content creators would arrive in Africa with scripts, looking for quotes and images to complete them.
The scandal business has undergone a similar transformation. It used to be that when a famous person got into trouble, he did one of two things. Either he presented the facts in order to explain his behavior or he went away in disgrace. Then narrative creators came along to present a third option. They would create a story for the person to tell that would contextualize his actions in such a way as to make his accusers into the bad guys and himself into the victim.
That last bit seems to have had a mesmerizing effect on the managerial classes, as they no long respond to scandal in the old way. Joe Biden is as crooked as a ram’s horn but displays no shame nor an inclination to explain himself. Instead, the content creators in the media have created a narrative to contextualize his corruption as part of a partisan plot against him. In this age, facts are no longer important, because they are controlled by the prevailing narrative.
You see the power of narrative in this story about January 6th. It is about content creators suing for access to video of January 6th. “Without full public access to the complete historical record, there is concern that an ideologically-based narrative of an already polarizing event will take hold in the public consciousness, with destabilizing risks to the legitimacy of Congress, the Capitol Police, and the various federal investigations and prosecutions of Jan. 6 crimes.”
In other words, the claim here is that without the proper narrative, people may come to an unwanted conclusion about the events of that day. Most people would read that and think the content creators are afraid of having their lies exposed. That may be part of it, but the main reason for the letter is they think narrative is reality. They think Tucker Carlson will create a new narrative to supplant the old narrative, which is the reality in which all of them exist.
What we are seeing with our ruling class is they have come to think of their tall tales as reality, while reality itself is a conspiracy theory. In the case of January 6th, they think the insurrection story is real. In that story, cops were killed by an angry mob trying to overthrow the government. It is a conspiracy theory to point out that the only person killed was a white woman executed by a black man. The former is their reality, while reality is a reckless conspiracy theory.
We see the power of narrative everywhere now. The Ukraine war is a perfect example of how their own fantasies have supplanted reality. Content creators make up whoppers about how the Ukrainians are destroying Russian tanks with slingshots, while the poor Russians are forced to fight naked in the snow. Putin is a maniacal dictator holding together his rule with brute force, while his country crumbles. This is the reality of the people running the West.
Events on the ground have no bearing on the thoughts and opinions of the ruling class because they are excluded from the narratives. It is as if the people in charge think that if they tell the story the right way, with the right amount of enthusiasm, it will change reality to match the narrative. As we see with the Tucker Carlson story, these people think reality is literally a creation of their imagination. Whoever produces the best tale gets to shape reality.
This is what drives them to rewrite history. We get movies about Vikings featuring African actors because the past is just a story. That means they can change the past by writing Africans into Beowulf. You go girl can be the reason men walked on the moon, simply by creating a narrative in which you go girl wrote all the software used to get the astronauts into space. For the managerial class, these tales they spin for themselves are more real than reality itself.
As insane as it looks to the normal people on the outside looking in on these people as they create these whoppers, it is not without logic. In a world dominated by words, rather than deeds, a good story is better than a good deed. Look at the resumes of the people running the West and you find no one who has done anything in his life other than talk to others in his class. The resumes of these people are stories about themselves that contain no truth value.
Can a society run with a ruling class living in an alternative reality? Clearly in can for a little while, at least until reality intrudes on the fantasy. Perhaps the people who live in reality and make the world possible will keep on providing the energy to keep the system going. Maybe the system is on autopilot now. Alternatively, reality could be prepping for its violent return to the main stage of life and the storytellers are headed for a terrible end to their own narrative.
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