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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:05 pm 
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Some scattershot thoughts on the topic of conspiratainment inspired by recent podcasts

As Jasun said 2016 was the year conspiracy went mainstream. This was clear to me when Trump went on Alex Jones, speaking to an audience that would've been deemed too fringe to cater to before. We can see now that in the 15 years between 9-11 and the 2016 election internet conspiracy culture had grown to the point where it was inevitable that someone would capitalize on all that distrust. Meanwhile Hillary Clinton’s attempt to keep up was to say “UAP” instead of “UFO” on a comedy talk show . . .

I was listening to Ann Diamond and Jasun talk about the issue of credibility. http://auticulture.com/liminalist-134-ann-diamond/ She seems more interested in the process and healing than being presented and perceived as credible—a memoir approach as opposed to Jasun's journalistic approach. There's a built in obfuscation with trauma victims, an inherent unreliable narrating, and like-wise the deluge of conspiratainment comes with plenty of built in subterfuge... Really could the waters get any muddier than they are now? Of course  they will. Soon it will all be mud . . . I'm reminded of the contrast between 1984 and Brave New World. 1984 being a world where information is suppressed. Brave New World being a world where there is so much information that any truth is lost in the flood.

I keep wanting to claim a new genre for my podcast Notes from the Uncanny Valley called "Post-Fiction" or "based on a post-true story" or something . . . Like Jasun said about transhumanism, it's difficult to satirize something that comes pre-satirized. So I don't even try when I write. I just present it all as I see it without inventing. I can't imagine why anyone would be writing fiction when we live in a reality that is more imaginary than any fiction. 

. . . Also interested to hear thoughts on this idea that I hear more and more lately--that conspiracy theory is optimism because it means that somewhere beyond chaos there is control.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:38 pm 
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Gib wrote:
As Jasun said 2016 was the year conspiracy went mainstream. This was clear to me when Trump went on Alex Jones

I saw yesterday the Daily Grail tweeted blaming Jones for the Comet Ping Pong 'shootings' - surprising since DG is supposed to be an alt-media site but it was expressing the viewpoint of the mainstream, i.e., conspiracy theories are DANGEROUS.

Seems that Trump and the emergence of the Alt-Right has been powerful in getting conspiracy researchers to back away from the crime scene: suddenly they are affiliated not with the progressive margins but the regressive mainstream and so have to switch tracks.

Gib wrote:
There's a built in obfuscation with trauma victims, an inherent unreliable narrating, and like-wise the deluge of conspiratainment comes with plenty of built in subterfuge...

In your email to me, you used "MKULTRA victims" which is more specific and I think more accurate to your point. Trauma victims are everywhere but they aren't necessarily fragmented into alters and overtly self-sabotaging in the way (I think) people who have been traumatized by MKULTRA are.

Gib wrote:
I'm reminded of the contrast between 1984 and Brave New World. 1984 being a world where information is suppressed. Brave New World being a world where there is so much information that any truth is lost in the flood.

I have long thought that the two books need to be spliced together, like Brundlefly, to get an accurate picture of our predicament viz a viz social engineering. This would be some feat, to map the ways in which neither the fear- and brutality-based totalitarianism of 1984 nor the drug and distraction based control of BNW would be effective without the other to balance it out and prop it up. Carrot & whip style.

Gib wrote:
I keep wanting to claim a new genre for my podcast Notes from the Uncanny Valley called "Post-Fiction" or "based on a post-true story" or something .

I was trying to do the same with "liminalist" or transrealist fiction, which had to do with how the act of writing shapes the experience being described, thereby erasing a line between fiction and nonfiction (writing makes facts into fiction but it also causes fictional constructs to bleed into factual reality). But while working on The Kubrickon today, I pretty much decided it's pointless to try and solidify such a concept by drawing attention to it, and that it may even be a way to neutralize its power. Maybe stealth is really the way to go? Why telegraph our intentions or methods when all that does it allow the mind (of both ourselves and the reader-listener) to get a handle on it and turn it into something familiar again?

I think what I noticed in my own attempts, surprise surprise, was a kind of latent narcissism: a way to draw attention to me the writer, rather than keep it on the subject. Of course, I the writer am always the subject, but is that really desirable?

Gib wrote:
So I don't even try when I write. I just present it all as I see it without inventing. I can't imagine why anyone would be writing fiction when we live in a reality that is more imaginary than any fiction. 

Sounds like a similar realization: Just strip it down to testimony on whatever is being examined and described, and minimize the commentary because that is always going to be self-serving.

The challenge is how to write or talk about the self without it serving the false idea of the self, i.e., how to testify to one's own perception and experience as factually and impartially as if one were describing someone or something else. Your podcasts do have that particular quality & it's perhaps even what I like about them the most.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:32 pm 
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Quote:
"MKULTRA victims" which is more specific and I think more accurate to your point. Trauma victims are everywhere but they aren't necessarily fragmented into alters and overtly self-sabotaging in the way (I think) people who have been traumatized by MKULTRA are.


Yes, absolutely. Should read MKULTRA

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how to testify to one's own perception and experience as factually and impartially as if one were describing someone or something else. Your podcasts do have that particular quality & it's perhaps even what I like about them the most.


I think this is where depersonalization comes in handy in the writing—removing the self. Like the question in the questionnaire "Do you feel that you are just a pair of eyes?" This has been a good approach for me—the ghost observer.

Maybe we should start this thread by defining Conspiratainment and see if a larger discussion comes out of that? It's your term so I'm curious how you would define it? When I was growing up alternative publishing like Feral House and Amok Books offered a counter to official narratives presented by say The New York Times. It's a much bigger and more mainstream industry now—I'm thinking of Info Wars and Coast to Coast AM, both of which seem considerably dumbed down—an important element for the "entertainment" side of the portmanteau, I suppose . . . It was interesting that Jones' lawyer called him a performance artist at his divorce trial. One wonders to what degree his listenership is aware of the performance? I'm guessing some would acknowledge a certain entertainment value involved in his show . . . Occurs to me that we're now talking about reality thrice removed—a media figure who claims the media is fake is himself a fake according to a media item, which is also probably fake. And one more wrong turn and we should be right???

. . . So entertainment means enjoyment and amusement (and also being captivated) for profit—there's certainly a thrill involved in any speculation about shadow histories. Maybe you can talk about that function in conspiracy culture?

In the Ann Diamond podcast you brought up the term in the context of the importance of having journalistic standards (reliable sources, evidence, etc) to stand out from the bottomless speculation that's maybe become too common? Shit/shinola . . .


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:18 pm 
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Alright, conspiratainment.

Obviously adapted from "infotainment," which came into use when news shows became less and less about rigorous reporting and more and more about soundbytes and audience-grabbing tidbits. Juicy headlines, shocking images, easy to follow summations. What's the difference between spending an hour cooking a healthy meal and ordering in a pizza? Both are food, but beyond that it's about as large a gulf as you can get. Unless it's gourmet pizza...

With information, the medium is the message. Does it really matter how true anything Alex Jones says is, information-wise, if everything about the guy is a lie? The baby has to go with the bathwater because no baby could survive a second in such a toxic bathtub.

Branko Malić makes a great, simple point in this video, near the end (start at 36 mins)



"One has to think about mentality one possesses before applying this mentality to facts. This mentality brings about precisely what it shuns."

Even the best sorts of conspiracy research looks at the who, the what, the when and the why, but it leaves out the how. Why? Because the how gets to the effects, and the effects of "conspiracy" (i.e, the long-term machinations of a ruling class) are going to be most pertinent, and most profound, in terms of ourselves. But researchers never look at this, unless it's things like TV propaganda (which they are smart enough to see-through) and why do I have to pay taxes (ditto)?

Conspiratainment, in a nutshell, is what we get when people are analyzing & presenting "conspiracy" data, using the exact same mentality that has been conditioned into them via the conspiratorial agendas they are supposedly exposing. Puppets being manipulated to point at the masters.

This is how the culture generates narratives that will entertain people who are starting to become aware of being trapped in a culture-generated narrative. They/we need a higher kind of entertainment, a live action video game in which we get to feel like we are waking up, without any of the discomfort of getting out of bed.

I enjoyed Mindhunter a lot. And The Matrix, obviously. But I know it's corporate created entertainment and it's only as good as it is because, the more sophisticated we become as information junkies in the post-Internet age, the more sophisticated we need our distractions to be.

Quote:
there's certainly a thrill involved in any speculation about shadow histories.

Yeah. I don't know what to say about that. At this point I only read for a) leisure and b) research for writing. I wouldn't read conspiracy stuff for pleasure, and I wouldn't read it for research either, because, barring a few exceptions like Branco, it's too tainted.

I never quite understood the argument that people want to believe in global conspiracy because at least someone is in control. Maybe it's that people want simple models for understanding the world we live in, because I know I fall for that too easily. When I listen to someone like Branko, and he says things like, "the word capitalism the way most people use it doesn't mean anything," I think, Fuuuuk. I am sure he's right but there's no way I am going to learn all that political background stuff so I can use it better. So then I probably need to stop using it at all.

My focus is more the arts, culture, and here in my chosen field, I love how complex it becomes once you start to try and map it. I think there is a simple design to this stuff at base, because human beings are all made the same way and so one principal, if it's profound enough, can be applied to all. But finding those simple "levers" entails an immersion in a very complex set of data. David Icke or Alex Jones are not going to get us anywhere near the levers in our own souls. They are geared to keep us away from them, focused outward on the world. In this way, they have to make it seem comprehensible - basically that it's about a few rotten apples who have taken over the barrel - because otherwise people would lose interest and turn away.

Conspiratainment is more pernicious than entertainment because it makes people believe they are getting closer to truth and to changing things when they are just killing time. Also, and worse, unlike TV and movies, it doesn't help people relax, it gets them fired up to act while instilling them with the belief that they are powerless to change anything. Naturally this makes them angry at the powers-that-be and want to blame (scapegoat) them for their sense of powerlessness (which they already had before, being what drew the to conspiracy moshpit in the first place). So then they start to unconsciously adopt the mentality of their abusers, because it makes them feel more powerful to fight them. But since they can't ever identify them, they are just fighting (fragmenting) themselves.

Hence, "This mentality brings about precisely what it shuns."

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:05 pm 
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I happened to watch Winter Kills recently, the 1979 film satirizing the conspiracy theories surrounding the JFK assasination. The film neatly sums up the conspiracy theorists dilemma- a world saturated with disinformation precludes the resolution of any conspiracy. Anthony Perkins character, a Dr Strangelove/James Clapper type states: "While you sleep, we continue. Information. Black holes of information. Galaxies within galaxies. Multiple expanding universes of information. Aren’t you glad you came?”

Robert Anton Wilson had the right idea with discordianism and operation mindfuck, but then that's been preempted by the peak absurdity of a reality tv show host for president. And everyone is aware on some level that they live in a virtual if not literal blood bath. A world of black op sites, mass incarceration, epidemic drug overdoses, middle eastern genocides. The unconscious overhang would be of Hindenburg proportions if our minds weren't already fully colonized by electronic media. It's no surprise that one's default position becomes that everything is fake, there are no tragedies, we're all cynical operatives. What better way to crush dissent, in addition to criminalizing it.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:20 pm 
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I always enjoyed William Burroughs pulp mashup absurdities. Reading this recent piece in counterpunch had me wondering if he would have bothered to write fiction in that vein in our present day:

"Within Technical Services MK-ULTRA projects came under the control of the Chemical Division, headed from 1951 to 1956 by Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, a New York Jew who received his doctorate in chemistry from California Tech. Born with a clubfoot and afflicted with a severe stammer, Gottlieb pushed himself with unremitting intensity. Despite his physical affliction he was an ardent square dancer and exponent of the polka, capering across many a dance floor and dragging visiting psychiatrists and chemists on terpsichorean trysts where appalling plans of mind control were ruminated amidst the blare of the bands.

Gottlieb and his wife, a fundamentalist Christian, lived on a farm in the Shenandoah Mountains in northern Virginia. Their house was a former slave quarters, and Gottlieb rose every morning before sunrise to milk his herd of goats."
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/17 ... -gottlieb/


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:54 pm 
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On a sidebar note- apart from the totalizing paranoia of conspiracy theories, I suspect there's something of the confused mystic going on. A longing for the unexplainable, the ineffable, within the false resistance, the opposition/bid to control.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:48 pm 
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Chris wrote:
I happened to watch Winter Kills recently, the 1979 film satirizing the conspiracy theories surrounding the JFK assasination. The film neatly sums up the conspiracy theorists dilemma- a world saturated with disinformation precludes the resolution of any conspiracy. Anthony Perkins character, a Dr Strangelove/James Clapper type states: "While you sleep, we continue. Information. Black holes of information. Galaxies within galaxies. Multiple expanding universes of information. Aren’t you glad you came?”

Creepy. I recall finding that movie impossibly gnomic. I think i went to see it at the Ritzy in Brixton when I was twenty.

Chris wrote:
Robert Anton Wilson had the right idea with discordianism and operation mindfuck

I don't think so, RAW had too many creepy affiliations and affinities (Leary & Crowley being the obvious ones) and Discordianism bleeds too easily into "crazy wisdom" chaos magick sex n psychedelic self-trauma stuff. I also read RAW in my early 20s (right after Castaneda) and I should have known better once i read about him freezing his daughter's head after she got murdered. It's all head-stuff.

The whole thing of blurring the line between fact, fiction, and myth seems in accord with the general intell-run operation mindfuck, to me.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:42 am 
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Right, it's possible that RAW was a trial balloon. I don't know. The whole counterculture of that era can be dismissed in that way. Still I can't imagine a movie like Winter Kills ever seeing the light of day today, it's a weird anomaly.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:49 pm 
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Every time I've read the comments at The Higherside Chats I wonder what it takes to see hearing about hideous evil plans as 'Getting my fix :grub: '...

Are people just happy to not feel alone in thinking (rightly) that something is very wrong? And/But is that their primary concern?

[Gib] Also interested to hear thoughts on this idea that I hear more and more lately--that conspiracy theory is optimism because it means that somewhere beyond chaos there is control.

I wouldn't call it optimism, maybe a frustrated stockholm syndrome.

[Jasun] I have long thought that the two books need to be spliced together, like Brundlefly, to get an accurate picture of our predicament viz a viz social engineering. This would be some feat, to map the ways in which neither the fear- and brutality-based totalitarianism of 1984 nor the drug and distraction based control of BNW would be effective without the other to balance it out and prop it up. Carrot & whip style.

I'm finding the following, otherwise light (as in not heavy) blog, increasingly compelling these days. A post with 1984/BNW stuff here:

https://thefrailestthing.com/2017/11/09 ... eady-here/

Of course, the right wing already has its answer in soft-totalitarianism:

http://www.theimaginativeconservative.o ... ohnen.html

So, 1984 but where the dissenters ('the pills don't work anymore') kill themselves...

[we interrupt this program...] In your latest post you talk about how to recast Levenda's work in a way that defuses his high information content, or something. I've found that asking the question 'What is the actionable content?' useful. I thought David Graeber's 'Towards an anarchist anthropology' was a great read (being partial to anarchist political thought) but the only AC was 'forget national borders and lets get rid of money'... (It doesn't matter if you agree with doing that, that really isn't the point - strangely, truth isn't the most important thing. Context always is though.)

I gave up on conspiracy culture after seeing a video of protesters at a Bildeberg conference - The Bilderbergers were inside, presumably planning how best to continue their pursuit of globalization and optimize management of the human resources of the planet, whilst the 'protesters' were outside listening to David Icke telling them not to identify with their own culture and to put aside the 'artificial' boundaries that separate them. [Actionable content alert].

And the global workforce cheered.


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