How to sell a nightmare.
Subcomandante Marcos essay – Them and Us : “Part II – The Machine in almost two pages”
The salesman speaks:
It’s amazing, very “cool”, you understand. It’s called “neoliberal globalization version 6.6.6,” but we prefer to call it “the savage” or “the beast.” Yes, an aggressive nickname, one with initiative, very grrr. Yes, I learned that in a self-help course called “How to sell a nightmare”… but let’s get back to the machine. Its operation is very simple. It is self-sufficient (or “sustainable,” as is sometimes said). It produces, yes, exorbitant profits… What? Invest part of those profits to alleviate hunger, unemployment, lack of education? But those shortages are exactly what makes this baby run! What do you think of that? A machine that produces the fuel it needs to run: misery and unemployment.
Of course, it also produces goods, but not just that. Look: let’s say that something completely useless is produced, something that no one needs, something without a market. Well, this gem doesn’t just produce useless stuff, it also creates a market where that useless stuff is turned into a basic necessity.
The crises? Of course. Just press this button right here… no, not that one, that’s the “eject” button… the other one… yes. OK, push that button and ta-da! There you have the crisis you need, everything is right there, with your millions of unemployed, your water cannons, your financial speculation, your droughts, your famine, your deforestation, your wars, your religious apocalypses, your supreme saviors, your jails and cemeteries (for those who don’t follow the supreme saviors), your tax havens, your aid projects with theme songs and choreography included… of course, a little bit of charity always looks good.
But that’s not all, let me show you this demo. When you put it in “destruction/depopulation-reconstruction/restructuring” mode it performs miracles. Look at this example: do you see those forests? No, don’t worry about those indigenous people… yes, they’re Mapuches, but they could be Yaquis, Mayos, Nahuas, Purépechas, Mayans, Guaranís, Aymarás, Quechúas. OK, press the “play” button and watch how the forests disappear (and the indigenous people, but no one cares about them), now watch how everything becomes a wasteland, wait… here come the machinery and voila! There you have your golf course that you’ve always dreamed of, with its exclusive parking and the works. Ah, it’s wonderful, don’t you think?
It also comes with the latest software. You can click here where it says “filter” and your TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube will only show psalms and praise for you and yours. Yes, it eliminates any sort of commentary, writing, image, noise, all the bad vibes that every now and then those anonymous, dirty, ugly, bad, rude proles try to slip in.
It has a lever on the floor (even though you can put it on autopilot with just one click); a heliport; no plane ticket, because sometimes there’s no place to run to, but it does include a spot on the next departing space shuttle; it also has a super-hyper-mega exclusive mall; a golf course; a minibar; a yacht club; a framed diploma from Harvard; a summer house; an iceskating rink… yes, I know, what would we do without the modern Left and its quick wit? Ah, and with this gem you can be in “real time” simultaneously in any part of the world, it’s as if you had your own exclusive global ATM.
Hmm… yes, it includes a papal bull to ensure you a V.I.P. spot in heaven. Yes, I know, but we’re already working on immortally. Meanwhile, we can install an accessory (at an additional cost, of course, but I’m sure this isn’t a problem for someone like you): a panic room! Yes, you’ve seen how those vandals think they have the right to demand what’s theirs with that “the land belongs to those who work it.” Oh, but you have nothing to worry about. That’s why we have rulers, political parties, new religions, reality shows. But of course, that’s an assumption*, because if they fail at some point? Of course, when it comes to security, no expense should be spared. Of course, let me write that down: “Include Panic Room.”
It also includes a study for TV, one for radio, and an editor’s desk. No, don’t get me wrong. They’re not for watching TV or listening to the radio or reading newspapers and magazines, that’s for jerks. They’re for producing information and entertainment for the people who run the machine. Isn’t that neat?
What? Oh… OK… yes… I’m afraid that problem hasn’t been solved by our specialists. Yes, if the raw material, I mean, if the plebeian masses revolt nothing can be done. Yes, the “panic room” could be useless in that situation. But we shouldn’t be pessimistic, just keep in mind that that day… or night… is very far off. Yes, I also learned all that “new age” optimism from a self-help course. Huh? What? I’m fired?
(to be continued…)
From any corner of any world.