Fear, loathing and deranged bullsh!t
I remember when political correctness was a joke of the Left. It was the 1980s, and it wasn’t even called political correctness yet. The contemporary term of art was ‘ideologically correct’. It was usually deployed with a smirk against comrades and fellow travellers who were so performatively uptight on matters of doctrine that their resulting anal pucker had its own gravity well. When the term—or at least the concept—was mainstreamed, ‘ideological’ became ‘political’, and all sense of nuance and whimsy was lost. That happens when you weaponise things, and political correctness was definitely weaponised; by the bad faith and cynicism of rightwing grifters, many of them employed by Rupert Murdoch, and sometimes by the wooden-headed cluelessness of leftwing numpties, without whom old mate Rupe wouldn’t have a business model anymore.
Business was good in Grifterworld this week, thanks to a new shipment of minty fresh cluelessness all the way from Numptyland.
It must have been a relief for Rupe’s army of shrieking pikelets* to start gurning on about Roald Dahl instead of Dominion Voting’s unsealed brief in that company’s multibillion-dollar defamation case against Fox News and the House of Murdoch.
The Roald Dahl Estate announced that the author’s books would be re-printed with hundreds of aggressive edits and even structural changes suggested by sensitivity readers. Many of these changes are, er, a little insensitive to the original text. In the same way Russian cruise missiles are a little insensitive to the structure of the Ukrainian childcare centres, they’ve been aggressively changing for twelve months.
The Dominion Voting company alleged that based on thousands of internal News Corporation documents extracted during the discovery process of its lawsuit against Rupe-n-Co the company deliberately amplified dangerous election lies that it knew to be lies. Why? To avoid losing viewers to even crazier rightwing cable networks.
Last minute twist in the pilot ep?
The Roald Dahl Estate used to be the author’s family, but they sold all of Dahl’s IP to Netflix in 2021, and the estate is now simply a division of the maximum streamer. So the culture war horror edits to The Fantastic Mister Fox and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were commissioned and paid for by one of the biggest and most ruthless corporate operators outside of, well, News Corp.
So, there we all were, about to get all super-mad crazy pants in the brain because some transsexual hipster bully was going to surgically vaginate poor Mister Fox.
And it turns out it was Dave Chapelle all along!
This almost certainly means Mister Fox is free from the scalpel-wielding woke mob. Netflix is a business, and most businesses chase profit, not pyrrhic victories in culture war battles. Watch for this story to quietly go away. Except that…
For NewsCorp, culture war is the business now. As Roger Karloff, senior editor at the Lawfare blog, explains, squirrelling down into the Dominion court papers.
There’s a lot more in that thread. Still, boiled down to essences, the emails and memos flying around NewsCorp revealed that everyone from Rupert Murdoch down knew that reporting straight facts, such as Biden’s narrow victory in the swing state of Arizona, was a threat to the network.
An extinction-level threat.
They had been so successful at turning fear, loathing and deranged bullshit into a roaring geyser of gold doubloons that they couldn’t afford to offer a product that wasn’t fearful, loathsome and utterly deranged. Their audience wouldn’t have it. The audience they created.
It’s why the Roald Dahl story will run and run and run on Fox and Sky, but the story of how one of the largest media companies in the world decided to get behind psychotic liars, violent insurrectionists and straight-up traitors will be harder to find than a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
* Shrieking Pikelets is a registered trademark of the Ronni Salt Corporation and is used here with permission.