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Lewis Carroll’s White Queen would have a career in the media today

Alice and the White Queen, drawn by John Tenniel

“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.

“Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Lewi Carroll – Alice Through the Looking-Glass

Lewis Carroll invented the White Queen as an absurdist emblem of a refusal to deal. But now that deluded lady would slot right in at the BBC, CNN, Guardian et al. In fact to live in the mainstream western culture of today we need to be able to believe a lot more than six impossible things before breakfast. We need to plug into an entire matrix of the unreal, never happened, never could happen and purely ridiculous.

There is now almost no point of contact between the world described in daily mainstream news and social commentary and the actual veridical experiential world in which real people really live. The most basic “facts” upon which they operate are almost completely false. They produce hours and hours of comment and analysis based on events that never occurred, words that were never said, a history that doesn’t exist. It’s not about explaining reality any more, it’s about making it up.

In this world Russia is an “outlaw” for helping to defend an elected government in Syria, and the US is an emblem of law-abiding decency while it has spent 70 years carving up the world and murdering people it doesn’t like – and moreover is currently enabling terrorists and illegally occupying a swathe of Syrian territory.

In this world Putin, having cleaned up a good deal of the lawless mafia-rule that characterised the Yeltsin years, is a “kleptocrat” and a “gangster” while Yeltsin was a “democrat.” Facing an election with 60-80% popular support, Putin is a “tyrant” who needs to fix the vote in order to win. With reckless disregard for even the basics of narrative consistency he is portrayed by turns as an ignorant “thug” and a political mastermind. So brilliant he swung the US election using 13 lowlife trolls and a restaurateur, and so mindbogglingly stupid he had Boris Nemstov, the political nobody, gunned down for no reason right outside the Kremlin so that even more stupid western analysts could say “Putin must have done it because it was right outside the Kremlin!”

In this world Navalny, another political nobody, polling 2% popular vote is “the opposition”, cruelly silenced by being ruthlessly convicted of the fraud he almost certainly actually committed, and sent to the Gulag given a suspended sentence and the freedom to bullhorn his remedial-level “anti-corruption” narrative (designed primarily for western consumption and TV soundbites btw) to all twelve of his regular followers.

In this world even mass-shootings are starting to look like movie versions of themselves, and the victims interview each other, exchanging cliché mass media talking points, and improbable personal narratives that sound like Facebook statuses, while waiting to die.

Because reality is something even those living it in its rawest form can no longer process or recognise for what it is.

So, we have to salute Mr Pozner for his refusal to partake in this increasingly macabre farce. Maybe we should all follow his example, be like Alice, just walk away from the Mad Hatter’s tea table and let the lunatics continue to sit there, babbling empty memes at one another. They probably won’t even notice we’ve gone.

(and yes I know the White Queen and the Mad Hatter are not in the same chapter or even in the same book)


  1. Vera says

    1) Catte speaks Russian

    2) Catte always defends Putin

    3) Catte never denies it when it’s said she is Putin’s gf

    • George Cornell says

      After finding the People section of the old Time magazine was the most read part, it spun off People magazine for those just interested in the gossip.

  2. Neil Youngson says

    This seems appropriate…

    “The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.”

    ~Aldous Huxley – Brave New World Revisited.

  3. Frank says

    It seems not altogether implausible that the very top of the social-political hierarchy know perfectly well that what they profess to believe in is in fact largely fictional. Those who do actually mouth these nonsensical platitudes, the outer party partisans and fanatics, probably do believe it, or are simply cheap opportunists on the make. Journalists, politicians, opinion formers of various hues form are a contemporary priestly caste who function as force of legitimation for the ruling elite and its social order, as was this case carried out by the church during the middle-ages. The fanaticism of these people – the outer party – often borders on actual insanity. Rachel Maddow being the archetype. These people are the Defenders of the Faith with mission is to root out heresy and defend the status quo from the destablizing effect of free-thought, objective enquiry and even common sense and its transmission.

    ”As long as a society is stabilized on the basis of authority and social prestige is only accorded only to the achievements of the upper stratum, this class has little cause to call into question its own social existence and the value of its achievements … it is not until we have a general democratization that the rise of the lower strata allows thinking to acquire public significance. This process of democratization first makes it possible for the ways of thinking of the lower strata which had no public validity to and prestige.” At this stage, ”the lower strata are for the first time in position to confront the dominant ideas of the ruling strata.” (Ideology and Utopia – Karl Mannheim)

    Heaven forbid! The post-modernist middle class left and right, liberal and conservative – who in fact are neither liberal or conservative – have become mobilised using every weapon available but principally informational and propaganda techniques. But this is only the first stage. Other and more direct methods are available if things really begin to get out of hand. Thus far these methods have been used on people in third world countries or to a lesser degree in Europe – Yugoslavia and Ukraine – but let no-one be under the illusions that something similar might happen at the heart of empire. See Thucydides – The History of the Peloponnesian War

    • milosevic says

      Those who do actually mouth these nonsensical platitudes, the outer party partisans and fanatics, probably do believe it, or are simply cheap opportunists on the make. Journalists, politicians, opinion formers of various hues form are a contemporary priestly caste who function as force of legitimation for the ruling elite and its social order, as was this case carried out by the church during the middle-ages.

      To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.

      — George Orwell, 1984

      The fanaticism of these people – the outer party – often borders on actual insanity. Rachel Maddow being the archetype.

      If they were functioning rationally, the contradiction between their actual social function, the ideological legitimation of the ruling class and the capitalist social order, and their delusional self-conception as courageous, principled defenders of justice and decency, would be too much for them to bear. Fanaticism and insanity is their defence against self-understanding, which would result in the catastrophic implosion of their entire personality.

      As many people have experienced, the best way to get a preview of this outcome, is to confront them with the overwhelming evidence for the 9/11 event being entirely a US government operation. In many cases, this has the effect of reducing them to actual foaming-at-the-mouth psychosis and rage. It’s quite startling when you see it. This tactic, if it were practiced more widely, has real potential for disruption of the prevailing ideological order. They have absolutely no defence against it which does not result in exposing their utter intellectual fraudulence and bankruptcy.

  4. BigB says

    Jeremy Corbyn has not long completed his own White Queen moment: half way to betraying the democratic principle; havering on our reclaiming of national sovereignty (LOL!); “ratting”, to use Frank Fields word, on 70% of the constituency referendum vote; selling out the Northern working class for the “London vote”; all for a commitment to a Customs Union bespoke negotiated no-tariff/no-rule deal that is disassociated from reality and is unlikely to be made available by the EU. You put your left foot in: no sooner had he made the commitment, his team clarified that it was not a commitment ¿¿ Shall we believe six things at once: or more? He who tries to appease both the immiscible valencies of Leave and Remoan in the name of “electability”: makes a complete hash of his lifelong anti-EU principle. Can two opposing truths both be true at once? The White Queen would be proud.

  5. The New Labour New Statesman has gone one better than the White Queen. She herself believed impossible things but she was too wellbred to call Alice a nutter for not sharing her belief. But one of the NS Blairite hacks recently called people nutters unless they believe that burning paraffin can melt steel.

    • PS The masterly John Tenniel has caught to perfection the distraught and dotty look in that old Lady’s eyes; she may be daft but she’s not fanatic. Whereas everyone remembers Old Demon Eyes, who was not only a Believer but also willing to kill sheep and people alike by the million for his beliefs. Perhaps the faithful at NS prostrate themselves in front of those impossible eyes three times before breakfast?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says

      The New Statesman jumped the shark long ago, but went ‘jump the sharknado’ when it led with a story on the universal infamy of ‘Judeophobia’. At least they got that term correct. Look behind any Western Establishment onslaught, particularly in regard to Iran, Russia, Syria and even China (a civilization that Zionists will never control as they do the West)and it will not be long before you find the Judeo-fascist push, controlling, vilifying, wrecking careers, hate-mongering and destroying Freedom of Opinion.

  6. America dumbing down is in absolute free fall at this point. Should our elites be so foolish as to begin WWIII through this endless doubling down on the Russiagate nonsense, I have a premonition that many Americans will be oblivious to our terminal reality to the very end – quite likely taking selfies of themselves with the nearest mushroom cloud in the background and posting them with hashtags like: “Awesome!” or “How cool is this?” Unfortunately, like the White Queen, most Americans have absolutely no problem believing “6 impossible things before breakfast.” Such an ability is in fact the requirement necessary to assert beyond doubt one’s claim to – “normality.”

    • Mikalina says

      Hence the rise in serious mental health issues in teenagers in the UK. They ‘know’ something is wrong but all around them the crazy world carries on with its ‘normalities’. They blame themselves for their inability to conform to the madness and lies; a pressure to conform which is re-enforced by pills and ‘the talking treatment’. Like most teenagers, they just want to be the same as everyone else – so they slowly go crazy with the conflict.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says

        Just imagine what will happen when the popular mass finally realise that the ecological Holocaust is about to sweep them, their families and their societies away. There will be such an outburst of fury, which, no doubt, the elites will endeavour to turn against others, to protect themselves, that one trembles to contemplate it. Those who denied all the ecological rises will be particularly at risk.

  7. rtj1211 says

    Perhaps you could recall the infamous fate of J Robert Oppenheimer, father of the Los Alamos project and then wishing to seek peace rather than start a nuclear arms race? He was vilified by McCarthyites as a Communist, hung out to dry, just so the ambitious little Teller could build his Hydrogen Bomb?

    It is as old as the hills, power trumping principle.

    We after all are animals, not Gods……

    • That we can name ourselves, and likewise define (judge) our world and others in terms of the self we assume and accept true, is a peculiar human development of a subjective dissociated consciousness. A mind of ‘define, predict and control’ that overrides and generally denies what we assign to ‘instinct’ or indeed intuition. And with it our belonging in Self, each other and World.

      The powerful events that were seen to make high the low places, and bring low the high places, by our ancestor survivors is cast into the darkness of an over-rational compensation for unconscious terrors – that nonetheless project forth, leak out or run as ‘shadow’ power that we know not what we do BECAUSE our surface persona operates the dissociation and displacement that we experience as clinging to life against pain, loss and death..

      The lid of a masking civilised persona is in some sense a conflicted power struggle and power structure of attempt to maintain the privilege of insulation from pain loss and death. However, the distortion and fragmentation of humankind is more in the order of a communication breakdown, than fact made flesh.

      That the ‘god’ (self) idea broke from an earlier sense of embracing connection within abundance or need-lack, is replicated in every human birth. I believe it also has an archetypal basis in our collective experience but that the ‘escape’ into the rational manipulation of the world is its own blindness to what is being ‘escaped’. The charged conditions that generate movement are rarely seen but through a narrative that is inherently manipulative in terms of a filtering distortion.

      If you would embrace your instinctual energetic as a spontaneity of embodied act, then look to the structures of self conscious inhibition that actively block or deny such a freedom in being.
      The regressive urge to revert to an unconscious state is not possible for more than moments of loss of self that seem to be a gratification, but actually hollow out or undermine the quality of human recognition – which is your brother as yourself, and recognition of Self in all.

      Clearly the word ‘self’ here can be posited on a spectrum from appetite driven gratifications (discharge) to an embracing acceptance of a wholeness in all its parts. That what we call consciousness likewise shifts rapidly among various states under a sense of narrative continuity is also directly observable to any who withdraw from the drama of diversion to the embracing awareness of what is in act.

      The idea of power OVER other or world, is the idea of subjection – hence the subjective urge to regain a sense of lost power, or avenge a sense of power denied. But still within the ‘god-idea’ of ‘power-over – instead of the god-idea ‘power-with’. Our mind in drama has no sense of power-with except as the idea of collective alliance against.

      You may not appreciate any of the perspectives that my response embodies, but that is your freedom to accept or not. I can only relate to you in peace, in freedom. But because I do, I gladly do.

      • milosevic says

        Look! Russian meddle-bots in action!!!

        • Who shouts first while pointing the finger has the most to hide.

          Perhaps you do not need to understand what I wrote. But nor do you need to project your own fears onto what you don’t at first understand.

          • milosevic says

            A characteristic feature of bots and shills, of course, is the total irrelevance of their pronouncements to the context in which they appear. A related feature is that their pretentious verbiage often dissolves, on examination, into utter meaninglessness.

            These characteristics are connected with the essential purpose of bots and shills, why they are created, funded, and directed in the first place — to disrupt, derail, and discredit discussions which their hidden masters perceive as threatening to their interests, and would prefer were not occurring.

            One may therefore infer the identity of the bot-masters and shill-captains, by considering who it is that would be most threatened by the discussion that they have been sent to disrupt. It is rarely the case that the logical conclusion of this inquiry is “Russians”.

  8. Jen says

    For a brief moment on seeing the title of this post, I thought it was going to be about Katherine Viner lording over her fiefdom with Mad Hatter Jonathan Freedland hovering nearby.

    But yes, if you read The Guardian first thing on waking up, you will be believing more than six impossible things before breakfast.

    • Yonatan says

      The sign of a True Believer is the capacity to believe and support at least three mutually exclusive explanations simultaneously.

  9. John A says

    The MSM are behaving exactly like a compulsive gambler on a desperate losing streak. They keep doubling down on their stake in the hope of winning back their losses and getting deeper and deeper in debt instead.
    Unfortunately I fear, the White Helmets are going to stage a chemical attack false flag that will immediately get Trump, Haley, Macron and May steely determined to finally ‘get’ Assad except Russia quite rightly has his back.

    • Mikalina says

      Today’s Guardian:
      Local doctors and monitors said a suspected chlorine attack in the rebel-held area outside Damascus had left 18 people injured on Sunday evening, as residents condemned the international community’s inability to put an end to the fighting.

  10. melissawolf says

    Can you address this issue?

    melissa Something I have come to understand slowly over my lifetime is that nature, earth, the world—whatever you call it—is not simply something I am on but something I am. It is not outside of me: it is me, and I am it. There is no outside.

    —Paul Kingsnorth, “The Witness”


      • milosevic says

        Help! The Russian meddle-bots are massing for the final assault!!!

        Alternatively, perhaps they’re false-flag meddle-bots, and emanate from an entirely different source.

        • Mikalina says

          Or another Lewis Carroll character, the March Hare?

          Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse – next month is March.

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