The Washington Post, owned by Amazon head Jeff Bezos, ran a hit piece Saturday attacking the genre of “dystopian fiction.”
Ironically, the Post’s headline reads: “Dystopian fiction makes people more willing to justify political violence. Should you worry?”
The Post piece is behind a paywall, which is one Wall the newspaper respects.
This is an actual passage from the actual article, written by University of Maryland government and politics professor Calvert W. Jones:
“After this first experiment, we did not know what to do with these results. Would dystopian fiction really have a significant effect on what people thought ethically acceptable?
In our first experiment we tested two dystopian stories, the Hunger Games series and the Divergent series, to make sure that it was not only a special story that is unique. And both caused similar increases – about eight percentage points – in support of violent political action and the belief that violence is sometimes necessary to achieve justice.”
Jones’ Washington Post passage ends
There is not much that can be said about the irony here, because it’s not funny. It is deeply disturbing that our corporate/government overlords’ favorite newspaper is attacking dystopian fiction for making people too violent.
Will this study be used to justify some government program, some new regulation, some new digital book-burning practice?
Dystopian novelist Philip K. Dick said the following:
“Today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.”
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