I was sleeping on an airport bench and was rudely awoken by a wall-mounted television screen playing a CNN interview with an American politician. I had to scramble to avoid being infected by the politico’s anticommunication and hit my head as I rolled off the bench. What a cruel joke the mob plays on itself by electing cynics to office and then standing by to degrade itself as it watches the farce play out on the news! As if anyone with much more power than you is worth listening to even for a moment; as if he’d level with you, telling you what you need or deserve to know, instead of taking advantage of your weakness. The pundits and journalists feed off politicians like vampires: they’re content to betray their journalistic principles as long as they can be physically near the powers and principalities, to imbibe their inhuman energies, the officeholder’s sociopathy converting into the reporter’s pretense of savviness. It’s a game for the courtiers to play with the crowd that needs to forget its child emperor is running around with no clothes on. Are you one of the ignorant sheeple, fast asleep in your collective psychosis? If you are, you’ll flock to your TV or your Facebook page for the political news, to hear the latest empty sound bite from one of the monsters in charge. If instead you’re a savvy member of the corporate media, who has the stomach for a degree of cynicism that can only fall short of the politician’s, you’ll fawn over the monsters to earn your paycheck, but you’ll pride yourself on being different from the mob. You know better than the gullible viewers; you’re privy to the dreadful secret of democracy. You’ll send out obnoxious signals to the viewers that even though you’re in league with the inhuman demagogues, providing the platform for them to degrade the public discourse with their doubletalk, sophistry, pandering, platitudes, fake statistics, and spins, you’re halfway as cynical as the leaders and so naturally you’re not personally buying any part of what they’re saying. You see through it all and can pick it apart with your insider analysis. You keep it real to enlighten the viewer, so you can face yourself in the mirror and pretend that you’re performing a service for the good of democracy, that a functioning free society is worth having, in which case the voters must be kept informed. So you inform them as much as your limited cynicism will allow. You peel back the curtain only part of the way, because if you could see the whole truth you’d be as crooked as the elected officials. You’d be a player like them, a predator competing for power with your share of dark energy and attracting know-nothing followers in the petty betrayals that pass for honourable conflicts between the emasculated, civilized leaders of a democracy. Instead, you’re a functionary, a useful idiot whose outsized ego the leaders know how to stroke so that you sell the viewers out in spite of yourself as you bend to your masters’ will, lobbing them softball questions instead of shutting down the matrix. Where do politicians go to learn how to speak like a politician? Is there a secret school somewhere hidden from the rest of the world, like Hogwarts? Where do the ambitious snakes learn how to conceal the depth of their misanthropy? What textbook instructs them how to pretend to uphold the ideals of America’s noble lies, to seem like selfless statesmen who respect their constituents? And how toxic and soulless must our leaders nevertheless be for their contempt to spill out in spite of all those self-defenses! What discipline they must have to endure the fraud of making public statements to millions of people, each of whom they despise, to flatter the masses even as the vacuity or dishonesty of their rhetoric reveals that they are, of course, just traitors. There’s no such secret Machiavellian Institute. The predators are born among us. They’re mainly the popular alpha male bullies in high school, the ones who get all the girls and whose rich parents who gift them all the toys, the elites driven to join the impotent student council not by anything as insipid as love for the school, but by their contempt for the majority that never shows any interest in leadership. Their extracurricular activities are so many bogus displays of a well-rounded character, so many disguises for the little psychopaths as they begin to take their first steps across the backs of their inferiors. They fudge their résumé, filling it with bureaucratic business-speak that sounds like it was written by a robot not programmed for human warm-heartedness. And they use their good looks and psycho charisma to fail upward until they’re in position to test the strength of their resentment in an election for high office. If they can prove they secretly hate the other citizens more than their rival parasites can, they’re awarded with the power of that office. And so their journey to the dark side is complete. And all the while the voters cling to the lies spewed by these charlatans—not because they have any interest in policies and not even because they respect their elected representative. No, the political theater provides the masses only infotainment and an excuse to feel like they, too, are discharging their obligations as free citizens. They’re riveted by the fake political scandals that the corporate media thrives on, because superficial political conflict can play out like a slow-motion disaster movie or a wrestling match, which the consumers are trained to favour. But these free citizens are engaged and informed all year round, because they’ve decided to shoot themselves in the foot whenever they listen to what the politicians and corporate media tell them, instead of running for the exits at the first sign of their disinformation. For anyone of good will to voluntarily listen to a single sentence spoken in public by a politician is to commit a crime against humanity. It’s not a question of thinking critically about your sources of information. Merely being there at the receiving end of the politico’s inhumanity is bad enough; merely participating in the charade is dehumanizing. Nothing of value is ever learned from hearing a single word spoken by a politician in the post-television era, since none of that creature’s words is even remembered or is worth remembering. That’s because the inhuman leaders never say anything! Their crafty pseudo-statements cancel each other out like matter and antimatter, leaving only the vague impression that a VIP has just been there on the screen but has since vanished as soon as the viewer becomes bored and changes the channel. What lingers isn’t useful info or a political promise offered in good faith, but the pretense that the democratic society is peaceful and high-minded. See how the leaders are no blood-thirsty tyrants but are suit-wearing, well-spoken men and women, trustworthy professionals who have the public’s best interest at heart! After all, they subject themselves to interrogations by a ferocious press, don’t they? And they don’t storm out of the room or have the interviewer arrested when pressed on some unpleasant subject. No, they merely tame the interviewers, stroking their egos by giving them access to the dark powers that be in the first place; they exploit the fact that American journalism is a business owned by multinationals that profit not from subversive investigations but from infotainment; and they merely ignore any wayward question that slips through the cracks, running out the clock until the next block of ads, with their trusty talking points. Thus together, the politicos, courtiers, and neopeasants preserve the illusion of a functioning, inoffensive democracy. This is the cost of advancing from an old-fashioned tyranny to a free society. We’re free from oppression so we can be ourselves, even as we’ve been degraded so none of us deserves to live; we’re free to speak our mind, even as we have no idea what ought to be said; we’re free to go wherever we want, even as the fraud of our civilization has rendered all places absurd. Wake me when it’s time to vote, won’t you? So I can smear feces all over the ballot.