(Justin requests detail on the "extractive apparatus." A discussion of food introduces the structure later applied to entertainment.)
From Berkeley Breathed, we have the quote from a government agent to Bill the Cat: "Are you sure you're not a murderer, a Communist or somebody who thinks McDonald's hamburgers taste like masking tape?"
People seek food to satisfy the need for calories to maintain their shells, and also to satisfy the desires for experiencing through taste sensations the variations in the living world. Fearful minds of sick consciousness lead to the accumulation of human capital in a deathly overcaste (the "elites" of most American post-party-politics perspectives), which maintains its bloated self by legitimizing methods of extracting resources (including labor) from the rest of the world.
One of these resources is food. Rather than producing it themselves, elites come up with the idea of nation-states, races, economies, et cetera, thereby justifying why some people work to produce food and others don't have to. To further the division, and free up even more niceties for the elites, economics are adjusted to make it more plausible (and even desirable, through the use of marketing) for laborers to eat, instead of the quality food they produce, junk like fast food, chips, industrial soy, genetically-stuffed meat, et cetera.
It would break the system--the extractive apparatus--if people were all to begin demanding to eat "real" (high quality; healthy) food. To maintain the extractive apparatus, elites have to maintain a society where the good stuff is reserved for the elites, attainable only rarely by others, and where everyone else ("have nots" or "production class," if you prefer) consumes mostly filler.
This was once accomplished by simply having the serfs grow everything, then cherry-picking the choicest items. However, the evolving notion of "freedom" and "property" required using money, "modern economies," and accounting tricks, rather than chiefship or nobility, to explain why some people would have fancy organic stuff all the time, and others would swing by the KFC on the way home from Job #3. McDonald's and the other fast food chains used laziness (drive-thrus, highways, et cetera), sodium, colorful imagery, notions of Whiteness and grease by-products to popularize eating a different form of crap for sustenance. This was nothing new, except in window-dressing; in medieval times, serfs would eat the tumor-laced piglets while the lords supped on the healthiest boars.
Walmart and Doritos-equivalents still run this model today, with a helpful McDonald's still nearby or inside. The mass production, low quality element of fast food went through another efficient, unhealthy change in the latter half of the 20th century, where chemical cocktails and genetic tampering produced even faster, even crappier beef laced with nastier stuff than even neglected, domesticated nature could provide. It took a few decades for that to work through the system, and is now in the process of evolving its way out.
What's next in being screwed over by food? Just like American liberalism, the monster is an insidious one that you wouldn't expect. It's presented as rebellious, independent, free, and responsible, just like drive-thrus and women's lib and Barack Obama. In reality, it's just a way to popularize a different version of cheap filler to keep a new few generations of workers working. And, like all others at the beginning, it's a hot topic--one sure to rile the sensibilities of anyone who's been following the mainstream line and ready to be defensive about the new best-ever product. It's as un-subtly subtle as the implicit message in the early 2000s to "own your own home," where all forms of media make a protracted show of resistance, then gradually come around to admitting that it's all right, then more than all right, then perfect, to carry on the desired output habit.
Plant-based, nach. By promoting various forms of "vegetable" diet as super-healthy, elites are preparing the laboring masses for the transition away from tens of thousands of years of omnivorous human development and humans' symbiotic relationship with the organisms of planet Earth, and toward the primary consumption of proportionately cheap filler that doubles as an industrial by-product. Just as fluoride was added to toothpaste, so will corn and soy continue to permeate food until they and their associated neurotoxin processing residue are in everything (whoops, they are already) the lower classes are eating.
High fructose corn syrup has started receiving some exposure, which will only make its ultimate ascension seem all the more deserved ("it was challenged, but that's in the past! we got beyond that!"); all the vegan soy goodies out there, laced with hexane residue, are ready to feed 5.8 billion people on post-processing industrial growth. Talk about ruining one of the best natural foods available to man--but hey, when in Rome. Hexane succeeds RBST succeeds plague succeeds slave-cannibalism succeeds infantophagia.
(The big, spooky no-say-um here is the belief that various forms of plant-based diet originated from loving, open-spirited free-thinkers, who created a grassroots movement to respect the Earth and be healthy by eating plant-based foods. That's as cunning a narrative as the idea that the Tea Party was created by hard-working red-staters who realized that something needed to be done. In actuality, the seeds of different forms of veganism were sown by far-seeing elites who knew that it would cut too much into hoarded power to allow everyone open choice in diet. The subtle belief that veganism is "necessary" because there are "too many people" will one day morph into majority, and perhaps requirement, though unthinking majority is far more likely.)
Extractive Structure Modeling
The model for the natural world:
Humans possess need;
Humans produce enough, in symbiosis with their living environment, to satisfy their natural need.
Aaaaaand, we stir elites in:
Humans possess need;
Elites contrive to sate the need with filler material in order to extract the surplus for hoarding;
Everyone else produces even more in a desperate desire to sate the need that doesn't seem to be filled, no matter the quantity;
Elites party; humans suffer, but believe that even more of the same filler will surely fix the void.
This model works for the "food" situation discussed above. It's obvious, but here are some blanks filled in for fun:
Humans possess the need for food;
Elites contrive to sate others' hunger with Budweiser, KFC, protein bars and the occasional trip to Chili's, leaving all the good stuff at "Whole Foods" and finer restaurants and catering services in the world's higher per-capita spots;
Confused by their lack of health and lack of feeling whole and satisfied despite all the crap they shovel into their throats, people work even harder and eat even more crap in a desperate desire to find satisfaction; they also buy diet pills, read diet books, do the yo-yo thing, and start reading about interesting trends in "plant-based" that will surely fix things;
Elites party; everyone else suffers, but believes that choosing the "right" things will start turning that feeling from bad to good.
And for abusive relationships, too:
Sally possesses the need for love and human companionship;
Bob contrives to isolate her from others to force her to work hard to please him, allowing him to receive extra consideration, and also to beat Sally to vent his own frustration; he refuses to let Sally go out with friends, but punches her when she suggests he miss a poker night to be with her;
Confused by how empty it feels when Bob apologizes and swears that he really does love her and is going to change things, Sally tries even harder to be the perfect wife and mother; she visits a self-help bookstore and finds a great new book about relationships that will help her fix things;
Bob drinks and beats Sally to hell; Sally promises her friends that he's changed and things will start turning around as soon as he gets that new promotion.
Entertainment & Creativity
And now, the moment Justin's been waiting for: the extractive apparatus applied to entertainment. The key here is the recognition that the vast majority of available artistic product, like the vast majority of available food product, is filler. People "need" imagination, wonder and creative expression, just as they need companionship. It's not on the same level as "air," perhaps, for the maintenance of the shell, but it is on said level for the maintenance of the ghost.
Here's the model with the variables switched:
Humans possess the need for expression and appreciation of expression;
Elites contrive to sate this need with showy art, droves of instantly popular books and magazines, and Hollywood movies;
Confused by the lack of feeling whole and satisfied despite all the crap they shovel into their throats, people wait even more fervently for the next serial by John Author (TM), the next Transformers movie, the next issue of People, or by God, fill in anything you like here, sure that enough fanfiction and critical reviews published in major newspapers mean they are experiencing great stuff.
The danger for elites, just as with abusive yet wealthy husbands or Bill Gates buying a Big Mac, is that marketing is a two-edged sword. Enough cultural acceptance can get Oprah actually falling for her own line and believing that Dr. Phil's new book, Woody Allen's new movie, or Bennifer's latest breakup, are things of import that help create a rewarding shared culture.
There are very talented, very skilled artists out there who struggle, and do the best anyone could, within the constraints of a filler economy, just as there are very talented chefs who struggle--within the limited confines of the available ingredients and cost-per-unit--to make the latest Sara Lee frozen dessert taste good. Sometimes they even do better than you might expect.
Nonetheless, there the apparatus is. This entire discussion swirls around the point that, if everyone began demanding quality, the system would break. The extractive apparatus can only survive if it is extracting--there aren't any spare billions for fat old investors to go to rap parties with if the rest of the human race is sharing in those billions.
How do we demand quality? To demand quality, one must know it. The vast majority of people, as evidenced by, say, the latest set of movies (applies to any American time period) or the latest Official Major Publication's Bestseller List (or the New York Times,' if you must), are incapable of judging quality. And McDonald's still exists, despite decades of tasting like crap, and coming in a distant second even to a burger at the Joe's Grill in Anytown, U.S.A.
So how do we know it? We experience it. Let a lot of people, without the shame of the price tag, enjoy an organic bison burger a few times, and it might gradually creep into their head that this is something they want. Insert preferred food here. Or to experience the sublime joy of a truly great work of art; to find the soul moved, rather than the mind merely casually entertained by explosions and farts. A culture that experienced those things enough would become accustomed to them, and start rejecting the filler and demanding more from life.
Ergo Sally will never be allowed to have man-friends. And Joe the Plumber will not be doing much shopping at Whole Foods. Bob, or the IMF, stand ready to make sure of that.
Of course, we have the numbers. Ergo this one's original point: the extractive apparatus will not allow much, if any, creativity to come through the pipeline, because if the sans culottes get any kind of a taste for it, the dam breaks.
It's by design. They're not going to let good stuff through, except by rare accident. And when it does come through, they use successively-worsening ghostwritten sequels, or post-author-death bastardization, to suck out any remaining soul and squelch that expression as a rallying cry.