Telling it like it is: more news from the dead centre

Modern civilisation may have no central command … but it acts as if it does. VIVID thinks it should come clean and set up a reality newswire, which tells us straight what’s being decided at its hypothetical, brain-free centre. This month we’d have:

The PSOG (Public Sedation Optimisation Group), a division of the the IPCE (Institute of Public Confusion Enhancement), which is indirectly funded by the government’s DJFIP (Department of the Justification for Foreign Invasion and Pillage) is celebrating its latest bench-marking results, which reveal that we are fast approaching our stage 1 goal of widespread, medium-level, public sedation. This was revealed by a recent exercise undertaken with the help of a most accommodating partner in the White House.

Even we were surprised that the global public barely raised a collective eyebrow at the fact that the 2009 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize won it while waging multiple wars of aggression abroad. This latest result from such a long-established test of public alertness levels shows that, despite the occasional grumble from a few troublemakers at the sidelines, our sedation and obfuscation techniques are working well and the majority of the public remain conveniently convinced that the man in the White House is the new saviour of all mankind.

The PSOG is currently undertaking an internal consultation (at the cost of no more than a few hundred thousand to the tax-payer) to assess the likely benefits of renaming our group to the more impact-laden Full Spectrum Stupefaction Group (FSSG), which will reflect our goal-oriented, target-focused approach to public engagement and our enhanced, value-added, ambitious vision. We will report to selected media representatives, under strict embargo, on the outcome of these exciting strategy discussions in due course.

We will at that point also reveal draft plans for the third and final stage in our programme of public education, which will plunge public awareness to an even more valuable level. At this point there will be a final renaming process for our group which, in a unprecedented display of committment to public engagement, will be turned over to the by-then fully-adjusted masses, in a new and exciting, online, interactive, pay-to-vote competition, which will also act as the ultimate bench-marking test.

A public information campaign before the competition will sow the seeds of appropriate names for our group into the public mind-space. The voting results will reveal just how receptive, unquestioning, compliant, manipulable (and blind to the true beauty of deep irony) the masses really are. Third-stage name options currently under consideration for this public information campaign include ‘Strictly Come Orwell’, ‘Xtreme Orwell World’, ‘I’m a Wake Get Me Out of Here’, and the guess-what’s-behind-the-acronym teaser ‘TFPOG’.

Valuable investigations into the irrelevant (or plain obvious)

In other news, the IKCPMK (Institute for Keeping Control of Power, Money and Knowledge) reports a positive new development in the UK, in the form of another wad of public money being siphoned successfully from the country’s coffers in a move that reinforces the message that expert-mediated science is necessary for telling us things we already know. No less than £5 million is being ploughed into the new Centre for Environment and Health, at Imperial College and King’s College London, which will work out whether the ‘modern living and working’ environment has any damaging effects on human health – and if so what on earth they might be – as goodness knows we need to remind people out there how baffled we all are about this still.

This clever move takes the spotlight off the idea of actually improving environmental conditions, and enables money and time to be usefully wasted analysing ‘the health of people across the UK and how this is affected by aspects of the environment in which they live and work, from traffic fumes and noise from overhead aircraft, to chemicals in the environment’. This move should successfully delay any need to discuss expensive, anti-capitalist government action on these issues, since any such action must, of course, be evidence-based, which means it cannot occur until it has been informed by the results of this research. We hope that by the time the results are published, the environment will have degenerated yet further, so the studies will need to repeated to assess the new levels of adverse impact on human health.

Other funds being channelled neatly into science and technology for apparent humanitarian benefit are revealed on the new Food Security web site from some UK academic organisations and a research council. The IKCPMK is keen to see the site raise awareness among the media and public of the essential need for more scientific research to mess about with crops, soils, watersheds and the DNA of life itself, ostensibly to feed all those extra billions of humans coming to a town near you soon.

The site includes a canny push for the meat industry, in the form of the unproven but thrilling suggestion that feeding these extra billions will need an 85% increase in global meat production by 2030. Elsewhere the site offers other, faux-intellectual, well-crafted promotions for the industries that line the pockets of those-who-matter — industrial agriculture, agricultural chemicals, and biotechnology — while conveniently diverting public attention from the notion that the extra billions of people are not here yet, could be prevented, are not in any case supportable, and will likely perish prematurely and horribly as a result of war, floods, droughts, a hostile climate, and a whole host of other things connected with the collapse of human society and the ecosphere due to massive resource depletion, whether or not we’ve developed a new strain of golden sausage hog.

(Of course, access to free contraception for all women worldwide would be a more useful development — to the women as well as the planet — but there isn’t any money to be made there, so don’t let on.)

Rice work if you can get it … but not just yet please

The DPESRE (Department for Propping up Exploitative Systems of Resource Extraction) is concerned that plans for the rich and powerful to co-opt, purloin or otherwise take control of the land of the poor and not-so-powerful – so that the rich can better feed themselves at the expense of the poor (known in heretic circles as ‘off-shore farming’ or the ‘global land-grab’) may be muddied by the dabbling of inappropriate feet in the paddy.

The ultimate aim is for all of the fertile land on the planet to be controlled by our partners and allies and for the yields that come from that land to be sold on our markets to the highest bidders (mainly our partners and allies, but who cares as long as they pay our prices) — which requires delicate, behind-the-scenes negotiations. What we don’t want at these early stages is for unexpected organisations to start chipping in, since they bring unwanted attention from the irritating little pundits who put spanners in the works based on trendy concepts like ethics and equity. One of those organisations that seems to be jumping on the band-wagon prematurely is the international rice research institute IRRI. Of course we like their rice-yield-optimisation research very, very much! But we don’t want their presence to raise the red rag to the do-gooders, at least not until it’s too late.

For now, we are reminding those happy researchers to carry on looking like their interests lie with the farmers and poor people, and leave the corporate profit-hunters to make the deals on the ground that will keep the important people in rice until kingdom come. IRRI, please re-check your brief!


  1. Hi Steve, yes my ‘News from the Dead Centre’ posts were rather superseded by Wikileaks – three cheers for Wikileaks! and all power to Julian Assange!

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