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As Above, So Below Teaser #2

After the Great Progressive Purge of the 2020s quite a lot of classical and popular books, movies, TV shows and musical albums became unavailable. There were some people who became collectors and curators of all the offensive and unsafe material in physical format, since the erasure had effects mainly over the digital editions. Mad Mike (pictured) is one of those. Through the decades he accumulated a gigantic stash of (previously considered) dangerous stuff, such as cult horror movies, stand-up comedy shows, sitcoms and, above all, 19th and 20th century books.

The Great Progressive Purge was just the way the process was later labelled, though there was never an authority actually doing the “purging”. Concerned “progressive” activists used the increasing power of social media – with the support of concerned traditional media, concerned governments and concerned corporations –, and coerced people to avoid the work of many authors and quite a lot of themes, deemed “problematic” and “unsafe”. Consumers were led to believe that liking that kind of content would turn them into fascists, and they sheepishly avoided “wrongthink”. Authors themselves steered clear of certain subjects, by fear of being deplatformed or cancelled. Companies were afraid to divulge “problematic” works, and those gradually became unavailable, even if they were never prohibited by law.

In fact, The Great Progressive Purge was much more insidious than state censorship, as people would likely rebel against that.The world never quite turned into an Orwellian 1984 dystopia – it was closer to a mix between Huxley’s Brave New World and Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 –, the public shunned thought-provoking art and entertainment, because it made them feel uncomfortable and unsafe. In the end, there were very few book burnings; authors, either led by fear of being cancelled, or goaded by the masses demanding uniformity of thought, self-censored their work, and corporations secured mass stupidity by spewing out inane, fatuous (but “safe”) contents. People in general were happy and comfortable about the end result and sat there consuming, obeying, conforming and watching holovision. Luckily, in this fictional setting, a substantial part of the population eventually became rather bored and dared to seek thought provoking art again. Quoting Kurt Vonnegut (who, obviously, was among the “purged” writers): “so it goes…”


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