There’s an indistinct building in an indistinct field full of indistinct people. Employees enter the lobby and shake hands with the palm scanner, then they say “good morning” to the voice transcoder, and finally they look into the eyes of the retina interpretator before the airlock admits them into the bowels of the building. Here they begin to sort through the files that need to be woven into the pages of history, and the files that need to be weeded out.
Whenever the Powers That Be speak suspiciously, the little people start to get confused. In times of old, the powerful people that misspoke would apologise and rectify their mistake. The little people would get confused, lose their faith and change their tack. No one could ever get anything done!
The times of the apologists made way for the times of the revisionists. Nowadays, when the Powers That Be misspeak, we can just change what was said. History is only a way of conveying information, and information is just ones and zeroes. It’s the job of the indistinct people in the indistinct building to change a few ones and zeroes.
No, it’s not like book burning at all! No one reads THOSE things any more!
Today the Art Gallery of the Confederated Territories is holding an exhibition of Mannerist paintings seized during the conquest of the Hedonistic Western Hordes. There are works by Dali, Picasso, Michelangelo and Rembrandt; there is Mondrian and Van Gogh; Monet and even Warhol. Anyone who knows what’s what knows that none of those painters are Mannerist. No matter. I just change a few ones and zeroes and suddenly Dali lived in the sixteenth century and Michelangelo was his roommate.
Yes, I’m responsible for the history of art and culture. Without art and culture, the little people are not distracted and they become uneasy. There are some amongst them though, that read those nasty old books, educating themselves in the way of the artists of yesteryear. As long as I stay away from those angry people, I am free to act with impunity. The pages of history are mine to rewrite.
A report arrives on the desk of one of the indistinct people the following day. It’s a news headline: “Indistinct Official Found Dead, Art Terrorists Suspected.” A decision needs to be made. The person at the controls barely thinks twice.