There is an anecdote about how, in Stalin era USSR, everything would somehow be blamed on Trotsky. Soviet economy didn’t meet 5 year plan output targets? Trotsky’s fault. Collectivization of agriculture has unintended effects on food supply? Trotsky’s fault. Building collapses? Trotsky’s fault. Factory machinery stops working? Trotsky’s fault. Fall down the stairs? Trotsky’s fault. Etc.
Now, as applies developments in the USA, it may be said that a similar pattern appears in evidence.
You didn’t like the latest Star Wars films? Russian hacker’s fault.
Criticizing The Last Jedi online is, it would seem, an unpatriotic act. You *dare* to feel that the plot’s a bit wtf perhaps due to the studio having other priorities – and worse, to express these views on social media? YOU ARE UNDERMINING THE VERY FABRIC OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, CITIZEN.
I’m not even kidding. This is *actually* what is being said.
To be sure, it is not exactly a new thing in the ‘popular culture’ and ‘creative’ industries – when an audience doesn’t respond positively (or, perhaps, as ebulliently positively as some might like) to a work, to declare that it is because they “don’t get it”. That they are, perhaps, “unworthy” of what has been placed in front of them, and lacking in whatever critical faculty of discernment is apparently required to see the masterpiece fo what it “truly” is.
Although I cannot help but note that that is *also* how the “new clothes” are sold to a certain Emperor in the old children’s story. [replete with, as almost invariably gets left out, the corresponding ‘aesop’ at the end, where the child who dares to disrespect royalty by pointing out he’s buffoonishly naked in public, is imprisoned for that most turgid crime of speaking the truth – and especially where others may perhaps dare to hear it and respond accordingly].
Yet this is not even at the level of that famed maxim of Bertolt Brecht – the one about how, if ‘the People’ have lost the Confidence of their Government … it would perhaps be simpler to simply dissolve ‘the People’ and elect another than to get the government in question to change course.
For this is not a case of a great artist losing confidence in his audience, for being lacking in quality and taste.
But rather, a fairly explicit statement that if you don’t just meekly go along both in thought and in word and ‘declaratory’ deed with the Company Line (whether this ‘company’ is Disney or the Democrats) … that you are a subversive! That you are a traitor! And worse than that – that you are either *directly* in league, in cahoots with the dastardly ‘”post”-Communist’ ideological enemy across the sea … or you are *actually* an unperson. Simply some sock account or automated troll-bot, whose genuine opinion can be safely ignored or actively weaponized against what you support. That most supreme of ‘de-legitimations’ – being reduced from ‘personhood’ to some ungainly combination of ‘marionette’ and ‘clockwork’.
And all of this, over a cash-in film trilogy intended to appeal to children and aging nerds with a surplus of disposable income for the TIE-in marketing.
The next step, of course, will be the targeting and identification of these “subversives” – those who have already *dared* to implicitly sabotage a Hillary Clinton 2020 Presidential Run by expressing unfavourable opinion about a forgettable movie three years before.
After all – if it is easier to believe that the problem lies with the intended audience rather than the ‘product’ [whether a film or an extensively/excessively choreographed and staged political candidacy], then considering the significant numbers involved, it is far easier again to believe that the ‘problem’ more pointedly lies with entities not even really *part* of the ‘intended audience’ – yet who nevertheless exert a most malefic and difficult to counter psychic influence over those you covet in support.
With the insidiously broad scope and spectrum of who is liable to be subpoenaed and hauled in for questioning in the context of Congressional and FBI probes into alleged “Russian interference” in the *last* Presidential election … it would perhaps be sensible to suggest to ordinary Americans on social media that they consider adopting, for their own safety, the advisory maxim indigenous to Stalinist Russia:
“First, do not think. If you think, do not speak. If you speak, do not write. If you write – do not publish. If you publish, do not, whatever you do, sign/do so under your own name.
And if you *do* publish under your own name …
… don’t be surprised.”