The revolution will not be televised, it’ll be live-streamed, monetized, and sponsored by a megacorp and then it will turn out that it never really happened

Venusian fluorescents bled across the greasy monitor, illuminating a grainy, handheld view of the Ministry buckling under a tide of bodies. Or were they extras, hired by the hour to flesh out the revolution aesthetic? The caption, pulsating in a font stolen from a discount cyber-goth store, read “End The Feed! Power To The Proles!” – a slogan as pre-chewed and digestible as a corporate news soundbite.

Martian fur corsets shimmered on every vid-phone screen, a holographic Che Guevara hawking protein shakes behind them. This wasn’t your grandpappy’s communist uprising, no sir. This was Revolution Inc., a meticulously curated clusterfuck brought to you by Big Pharma and McStache, with a tagline that promised “Individualism Through Collective Action (brought to you by McStache Fries!)”.

The algorithmically pre-approved dissidents, their bios pre-written for maximum outrage-clicks, railed against a system that simultaneously funded their very rebellion. It was a Möbius strip of dissent, a Ouroboros of corporate control. Every Molotov cocktail lobbed at a Starbucks was secretly a viral marketing campaign for their new line of “Revolution Roast” coffee beans. The tear gas, a specially formulated haze that left a lingering scent of Che Guevara cologne.

A nagging suspicion, cold and metallic, snaked through your gut. This wasn’t CNN’s finest hour, it was AMYGDALA Prime, the alt-reality channel funded by a consortium of megacorps so vast, their tendrils strangled every facet of life from your morning latte to your therapist’s designer chair. The commentators, their voices a manic blend of faux-revolution and boardroom jargon, buzzed about “disruptive social movements” and “strategic engagement with the malcontent demographic.”

Beneath the surface, analysts at shadowy megacorporations chuckled into their microbrewed kombucha, meticulously monitoring the GINI coefficient and tweaking the narrative in real-time. The revolution was a ratings juggernaut, a goddamn Super Bowl of social unrest, with bonus points awarded for property damage and brand mentions.

Suddenly, the feed froze, replaced by a holographic pop-up ad: “Feeling the Bern? Feeling the Rage? Quell your existential angst with Che Guevara Energy Chew! Packed with actual Bolivian coca leaf for that authentic revolutionary kick!” A sardonic chuckle escaped your lips. Che, the capitalist shill. The revolution, a meticulously curated consumer experience. Was this dissent, or just another meticulously focus-grouped flavor of rebellion?

Võng wasn’t sure what flickered first, the tear gas stinging his eyes or the superimposed AR icons advertising designer gas masks. The whole damn revolution was a goddamn spectacle, a meticulously curated shitshow for the retweet-hungry masses.

He remembered the whispers in the dark corners of the encrypted chatrooms, the grainy memes that promised a paradigm shift, a toppling of the oligarchic pyramid. But somewhere between the molotov cocktails and the #resistance trending topic, things curdled. The megacorporation that sponsored “Revolution-X,” a name suspiciously devoid of vowels, plastered their logo across every burning barricade. Influencers with sculpted cheekbones hawked gas mask fashion lines between dodging rubber bullets. Was this liberation or the ultimate product launch?

Võng coughed, the acrid air thick with the mingled stench of revolution and desperation. His phone buzzed, a notification from the Revolution-X app. “Upgrade to Premium for Exclusive Livestream! See the Faces of Change! #EndOfEmpire.” He scoffed, the absurdity burning hotter than the flames licking at the corporate headquarters in the distance. The revolution, it seemed, was as manufactured as the outrage it purported to overthrow. Just another cog in the machine, another monetized spasm in the death throes of a decaying empire. Võng spat out a mouthful of tear gas and grime, a single, humorless chuckle escaping his lips. The revolution would be televised, alright, but only as a goddamn commercial. The real fight, if there ever was one, would flicker on in the flickering anonymity of those same encrypted chatrooms, a revolution forever on the verge, forever unsponsored, forever out of fram

But here’s the rub, chum: just like those reality dating shows where the “perfect couple” implodes the second the cameras stop rolling, the revolution fizzled faster than a follower count after a celebrity scandal. One day, the vid-phones flickered, the Che Guevara hologram flickered, and then… poof. Silence. No catharsis, no new world order, just a vague sense of anticlimax and a lingering Che-scented cough. Everyone, pivoted seamlessly to their next manufactured crisis, leaving the would-be revolutionaries with nothing but a participation trophy (courtesy of McStache) and a lifetime supply of McDissident McNuggets. The revolution never happened, it just streamed real good for a while.

As the feed flickered back, the Ministry was pristine, the protestors dispersed. A holographic news anchor, her smile brighter than a thousand flashbangs, chirped about “a healthy exchange of ideas” and the “importance of civil discourse.” The revolution, it seemed, had been efficiently commodified, packaged, leaving behind a vague sense of unease and a lingering craving for Che Guevara Energy Chew.