Archive for the Inoculation Category

What Do Katy Perry And Hurricane Irene Have In Common?

Posted in Cryptojournalism, entertainment, Inoculation, popular culture with tags , , , , , , on September 3, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

Mind control.  Wow, shortest blog ever.

Now that we’ve got out of the way, link up to Rhyme and Reasonable’s Facebook page and, well, Like it.  Sorry, I’m contractually obliged to Globochem to promote the page for the next 36 months.

We Own Everything So You Don't Have To!

Before we actually get on track to poor Katy Perry’s susceptibility to mind control or the consumption shell game dubbed ‘Hurricane Irene’ I’m contractually obliged by the Pac12 conference to make fun of their unbelievably shrewd crassness.  Time to wander into my imagination for a moment.

In a perfect world…..I’d have persuaded more than one person (The Rat Pack’s Joey Bishop) of the virtues of a 9/11 10th Anniversary Memorial Gathering.  With dual ice luges.  Symbolism, people.  If we don’t party, the terrorists win.  That’s the gist of the newly minted Pac12 Conference tethering their league debut with the 10th anniversary of 9/11, right?  College football IS tailgaters heaven, right?  RIGHT?

Dual commemorative ice luges: Joey Bishop approved

Enough yelling.  I could also point out the money grubbiness of the NFL’s salute to the ‘American spirit’ on Nine Eleven.  Yeah that’s right.  Their PR mavens recognized ‘American spirit’ as the go-to-phrase.  Alas, I enjoy football too much to truly criticize.  Any word which commandeers a global sport (soccer) is as American as Patrick Bateman, or Betty White.

I’ll guarantee tho, fans will have every opportunity to purchase memorabilia emblazoned with the commemorative ribbon logo.  And people kept telling me side by side ice luges (symbolism!) that may or may not have a toy plane flown into them at the end of the evening was in poor taste.

Picture them standing upright. Or terrorism wins

Apologies for prattling on about this stupid ice luge idea.  I just want to get this out before the 10th anniversary of 9-1-1 for posterity.  And in case any sociopaths are looking for a good party theme next weekend.

Now if you’re a partying sociopath, you may have heard of cocaine.  Apparently it’s some sort of party drug.  The LA Times reports on a seizure of 36 pounds of cocaine.  Dat’s a lotta yayo.  Something vexed me.

Of course it did.  This wouldn’t be cryptojournalism if there wasn’t some oblique nugget to put on blast.  That IS cryptojournalism, after all.

Department of Homeland Security, also called DHS in the biz, valued 36 lbs. of the white stuff at $324,000.  Which to my peasant ears, does not sound like much.  It comes to equal $9,000 per pound.  A pound containing 453.6 grams, that’s $19.84 per gram.  Good wholesale price in the states, whatever that means.  Now here’s where things get a little murky.

I don’t do coke.  So I had to look elsewhere for street valuation for a gram of cocaine.  As someone who puts words out into the internet, I do not really trust the web.  Do you?  Don’t.

This website claims a street price of $100 a gram.  Then throws out an assumption on how much a dealer will step on the package.  In more mundane vernacular, how much a drug dealer will cut his product.  In other words, how much filler the coke a consumer purchases contains.  Enough word play.

Now this website claims a diluted product selling between $20-$100 per gram.  Woo-ba-doo.  Another website emphatically boasts EXACTLY $94 a gram on the streets.  Right.

Forgetting the foolishness of regurgitating internet ‘statistics,’ I cast the net out to a few friends I was confident might know a street price.  A few people came back with a ballpark figure between $25-$60, with more than a couple honing in on $50 a gram.  Of cocaine.  I’m going to run with this.

In a perfect world….that $50 a gram fetches $22,680 per pound.  Not quite the $9,000 DHS claims, is it now?  In this fictional world of $50 grams of pure coke the Mexican seizure fetches $816,480.  This does not take into account “The Wire” logic.  Put otherwise, pop culture, TV and movies tell me people step on packages.

Tell it, Stringer.  Mr. Bell is talking about degrading a degraded batch of drugs.  So let’s, for shits and giggles, assume the cocaine on the street is 1/3 filler.  I’m being generous.  All of a sudden, there’s 48 pounds of cocaine.  At $50 a gram.  That $324k seizure, through the magic of presumption, aspirin, baking soda and hypothetical numbers, is $1,088,640.  More than triple the reported street value.

Which just goes to show how valuable the black market is.  I won’t even vouch for that million+ figure, since I have no clue how much coke is actually cut, or what it’s really worth.  Tacking on an arbitrary wholesale number is strange, even for a government bureaucracy.

Speaking of ineptitude, let me give a shout out to all those naive people who stocked up for the storm of all storms, the devastator and precursor to December 21, 2012, HURRICANE IRENE.

Here’s an after the fact, posthumous example of how swiftly and blindly shoppers shopped at the drop of a Pavlovian computer model trotted on the TeeVee.  This was Monday morning at a PathMark in North Babylon, New York.  An area where there was barely minor damage.  After the storm had been long gone.

I can’t say this was surprising.  To hearken back to the aforementioned Facebook page, I chose “Gimme the Loot” by Biggie Smalls as the theme song for Irene.  Yup, I’m plugging the shit out of that page, no homo.  The song was a perfect fit.

Only paraphrasing a tiny bit:

Lock your windows, close your doors

Hurricane Irene, I’m a bad bad storm

The cynical conclusion I immediately jumped to was this hurricane was being used as a ploy by Lowes and Home Depot to boost sagging 3rd quarter numbers.  Only time will tell if we see those “surprisingly strong” third quarter figures.  I’ll let you know.

Employing scare tactics and computer assumptions models to compel shopping is a fairly obvious form of mind control.  No, not MK-ultra mind control.  Sorry, conspiracy theorists of the web.  Good old fashioned Bernaysian manipulation and sheeple shepherding.  To the stores.  To purchase bottled water, plywood and batteries for your flashlights.

I’m not downplaying the damage.  There was damage.  People died.  But a whole slew of people went through the motions of buying whatever the fuck they’re told to whenever the fuck they’re told to.  All fucks aside, that’s not the only place where mind control was on display last weekend.

That’s right.  I’m talking about the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.  Were I, say, L. Brent Bozell, I would have plenty to bemoan.  But I’m not a preachy douche, so I’ve only got one, ahem, point (using the term as loosely as possible) to make.

If you’re a Katy Perry fan, um, what the hell are you doing reading this?  And, you should probably close your browser asap.

I’ve never been one to really believe in the force and power of mind control.  After seeing the train wreck that is Katy Perry, I’ve done a rhetorical one eighty.  Not to be mistaken with the going nowhere fast and often misspoken 360.

No person in their right mind would present themselves in public looking like poor, poor Katy.  It’s impossible. Only someone under the sway of powerful mind control could so easily be swayed towards presenting themselves in such a foolish manner.

If it pleases the court, allow me to enter into evidence Nicki Minaj’s Cobra Commander outfit.

COBBRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

When you’re competing with (and trouncing) a fashion statement which says, “I’m dating Cobra Commander,” you’re on another planet.  Planet Mind Control (bang a left at Neptune, cruise for about 10 light years, it’s on your right).  Your honor, with the next few photos, you should see my point.

And no, this is not simply railing on a pop tart for looking like a nitwit.

Good look. For an anime with tentacled vagina monsters

I’ll admit, it’s kind of a hot look.  In a blithering idiot sort of way.  Now if that was it, I wouldn’t have batted an eye.

Oh, that’s not it.

Ixnay on the urplepay

No, that’s not it either.  But it really brings out the crazy in her eyes.

I’m going so far as to say, “Drum roll, please.”

The money shot in Dali's wet dream

I’m not simply assailing a gullible singer’s poor choice in clothes.  Watching her accept the acclaim, admiration and awards from her contemporaries revealed someone who looks like she doesn’t comprehend her surroundings.

MTV has her acceptance speech with Kanye West: Corporate Lobbyist on their website.  Consider this a suggestion to watch it.  It’s amazingly awkward to watch her eyes darting around, trying to process what’s going on around her.  Almost as amusing as this gem.

“Tonight has been a night of firsts.  This is my second moon man.”  It’s my affinity for Rickyisms (aka nearlyisms), but that tickles my funny bone.  The premise that a person is so desperate for attention from other they will wear whatever the fuck they’re told when they’re fucking told to betrays a mental weakness I do not grasp.  We ARE talking about super famous Katy Perry, not some nobody.  Being so susceptible to whatever some misguided designer or person tells you looks good or is right, that’s mind control.

In a way, Katy Perry’s the perfect embodiment of the regular American schmuck.  Ready and willing to do whatever they’re told on command.  Giv’er a round of applause, folks.

I'm just a sucker for a gal in a smart lookin' hat

Inoculation, or How to Fight Terrorism

Posted in Cryptojournalism, defense, Inoculation with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2011 by The Cryptojournalist

Today I’d like to take you down memory lane, to illustrate an example of inoculation.  For this, we need to travel back to a different era….the 80s.  Specifically, let’s reminisce about a grand year, 1985.  In case you were not alive then, there were some significant differences between then and now.  In that ancient time, people used to employ catalogs to order their goods and products.  Internet wasn’t even a word!

This is where our tale will begin….a mail order catalog.  In this prior era, there existed a great retailer, Montgomery Ward (apparently they still exist today).  As fate would have it, your enterprising author was a catalog model.  Scope the pic.

The apex of my fame.....

In case you’re wondering, yes, that is Megatron on the PJ’s.  As a youngster, I did not truly process what was going on.  My mother would pull me out of kindergarten and first grade classes early all the time.  She’d take me into Manhattan for casting calls.  Above is pretty much the culmination of my modeling career.  A young, precocious sprout with fiery red hair, my mother saw a product with a unique selling point (USP, for those in the know, winking condescendingly at every advertising and marketing student).  So what?

For a long time, it meant nothing.  Until I went to college, in the quaint provincial town of Boston.  Yup.  I used the word town to describe a major American metropolitan city.  Y’see, something had taken place all those years ago, constantly taking the LIRR into the City as a child.  Unbeknown to me, I had been inoculated to big buildings and bustle.  Where some people are taken aback, amazed by the mass and scale of  a city the size of Boston’s, it was nothing big to me.  All those years of childhood exposure to the Big Cit-ay had made me immune.

By the time I had reached college, I had been inoculated to metropolitan life.  Click the link for a technical definition for the word, but for this cryptojournalism exercise, the word will mean to acclimate and anesthetize to an idea.  Early on, I had been acclimated and anesthetized to the New York City, which in turn inoculated me to urban life.

Enough groundwork, this is cryptojournalism.  In the upcoming paragraphs, we’re going to discuss how inoculation takes place in television particularly, and how this can probably help us win The War On Terror-error-error.

More than any force on Earth, television has the greatest capacity to inoculate a people.  Without giving too much away, The Vigilant Citizen touches on this topic with a recent article on, of all things, GI Joe, titled “How the Animated Series G.I. Joe Predicted Today’s Illuminati Agenda.” The gist of what he’s saying is also the same point I’m trying to make here: exposure to things and ideas has the ability to inoculate people to said ideas and things.

Try and consider popular culture as a weather balloon, floated to gain a reading on future forecasts.  By now, I hope you enjoy my intentional vagueness.  By pointing out what he sees as symbolic allusion and foreshadowing, and contrasting it to contemporary times, VC shows that a seed of an idea from long ago might contribute to forming and shaping minds and opinions in the future.  80s cartoons produced by Claster Television in particular seem to be heavy on featuring inoculating ideas.  A graduate student in tandem with an extremely lax university could easily produce a cultural study of action figure based cartoons from the 80s.  Easily.  It would probably be hailed as “groundbreaking” and “ahead of its time” while being flowered with the sort of adulation only a monosyllabic culture can give.

Regrettably, there is all sorts of foreshadowing and inoculating to be found, if you look hard enough.  Prison Break, the Fox drama revolving around brothers Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows battle against the shadowy Company provides great grist for the cryptojournalism mill.  For the type who believe the James Bond classic Goldfinger is warning of some sinister plot to liquidate American wealth (as Bill Still mentions in The Money Masters, since Ian Fleming had ties with MI6), the Fox series is a scary nightmare.  Outlaw Federal Agents running around and killing for a shadowy cabal of multi-national corporations is every 10th Amendment advocate and anti-NAFTA wing nut’s worst nightmare.

Let’s jump deep into the series, halfway through the fourth and final season.  Episode 15, titled “Going Under,” should illustrate my point.  Straight on, not obliquely.  Sorry to disappoint.

Here and here are the clips of the episode we’re discussing, apparently from the hinterlands of Wrestlemania.  Without getting bogged down in too many details, this elite cabal of the super-powerful have medical technology we haven’t even seen.  That’s the nut.

Doctor Tancredi hasn't head of this procedure...and she's a doctor!

IF you believe in fiction foreshadowing real life, then you believe the globocrats have some next generation technology not-quite-ready for public consumption.  Only time will tell.  Leaning toward the side of cynical skepticism, let’s assume something along these lines is out there.  Fiction is the best medium to anesthetize people to this (potentially) condescending life fact: if you don’t have the clout to get in The Company offices, you don’t need to know about this.  Has it ever been another way?

Inoculation in standard broadcasting is fine.  It’s in kids shows where shit can get real hairy.  Last time, I mentioned the 21st Century Olson Twin, iCarly.  That’s right, I’m back on THIS topic.  Before you click over to a video of a cat trying to fight a goldfish, hear me out.  Lemme put it this way…..if I was a junior in college, there’s a 50/50 shot there’d be an iCarly poster on the wall.  Don’t forget rule #16: college guys are perverts.

If this poster is on your wall you're a 10-year-old kid or a 20-year-old perv

Now here’s where we begin to dovetail our theory of inoculation with the wider War on Terror-error-error.  Gee, I really love that echo effect.  A kids show on Nickelodeon should be benign enough, right?  Well this wouldn’t be cryptojournalism if that weren’t a rhetorical question.  Keep in mind this is TV-Y.  Which is exactly what makes it such a great inoculating influence.

There is (and should be) a general disconnect between kids’ culture and their parents’ tastes and values.  Honestly, wouldn’t it be creepy if mom and dad liked what little Bobby and Emily were into?  That’s the sort of, and I hate to use this word, infantilization of the adult mind which might lead you to pose as a 23-year-old to have sex with a 13-year-old when you’re really 36.  It reminds me of American wordsmith Chris Rock:

If she tells you she’s 26 and looks 26, she’s damn near 40

Parents who want to be friends with their kids instead of parents?  I might consider that to fall under the umbrella of the Kardashian Phenomenon.  It has a fair chance of being a terrible life choice.  Anyhooo, we were on the topic of iCarly as an inoculating agent.  But inoculating to what?  Inoculation usually has some sort of point.  Like my early days in Manhattan made me take huge skyscrapers and throngs of people for granted, what does a kids show about a girl living her life on the Internet, free from parents accomplish?

I honestly cannot say that I know.  All I know is that during the holidays with some family, I had the good fortune misfortune of viewing an episode titled “iBeat the heat.”  I know you’re expecting it.  No, I’m not going to make a meat joke.  Whoops.  This strange odyssey into Utopian theory is definitely odd.  If you have the stomach to sit through 22 minutes of Nickelodeon programming, I would suggest watching it.  It’s like rubbernecking.  Cultural rubbernecking, seeing the wreckage via internet video.

Since metaphors are fun, think about the classic “Hang In There” poster, of an adorable kitten hanging onto a branch.  I always remembered its counterpart poster.

Hang In There!

Some see a cute, fluffy kitty cat.  Others see a wry joke.  Even now, I can only make one conclusion from actually watching this hot mess.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

But first….hyper summary.  This kid’s got the only apartment in her building with air conditioning.  Everyone tries to pile in.  Antics ensue.  Be good neighbors, blah-blah-blah.  A lesson is learned on utopia (as young Carly is working on a project, a Utopian city of the future)  What that lesson is?  Ask a tween.  Et cetera, so on and so forth.

THIS is what found its way onto YouTube.

If you look at the comments, things get a little squirrelly.  Commenters give hints on, um, video playback.  And who says Americans aren’t a smart bunch of rubes?

Clearly I’m employing a truly filthy bias, but that’s the point.  This can be pointed out, according to some cultural morays, as being clearly over the line.  That, my friends, is our tactical advantage.  It always comes back to Mariah.

Mariah Carey.  Pop star.  Musical legend.  Long Island’s finest.  Might have heard of her?  I can only vouch for Western Europe.  But if it’s Christmas time and you’re in any European city, you will eventually hear “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”  It’s uncanny.  Again, I can only speak for what I’ve seen.  I do not know if people in Algeria or Singapore are listening to the sweet tunes of Ms. Nick Cannon.  Our proclivity for exporting culture may be the strategic break we need to cut the budget and end some senseless killing.

America's Secret Weapon

We’re cultural exporters.  We learned from the best (wink and a nod to the British Isles) that being the global cultural hub is a pretty cushy gig.  Don’t be mistaken.  America still to a disproportionate degree apes English culture.  Ask Ricky Gervais or Simon Cowell.  Or that revolting woman from The Weakest Link.  We’ve just got pre-eminent facilities and a bigger marketplace.  America: quantity over quality.  Hell, we even export our cultural flotsam.

In another realm, Richard Seymor sacked Eli Manning

Like some people, I recognize that our current multi-theater war in the Middle East is an unprecedented financial boondoggle.  So much money has already been spent, it might be time to consider a new approach.  Since words like ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ are so fluid and easily manipulated, let’s settle on a different tactic.  Call it Voice of America on HGH.  I like to call it a cultural inoculation.  NOT cultural indoctrination.

Cultural inoculation.  Think of the ‘news’ from Baghdad last year of the re-emergence of the pornography market in Iraq over the last couple of years (and its social implications) as cultural inoculation.  Make people take out of the ordinary things for granted.  Which brings us back to kids shows.

Well, not just kids shows.  Network TV.  That’s our secret weapon.  First, a little background color, to help tighten this picture up.  People, such as Robert A. Pape, writing for Foreign Policy, believe our military occupying Muslim territory is a prime cause of our problems.  Baithullah Meshud, one of the panoply of groups calling for resistance, put it this way:

“We will continue our struggle until foreign troops are thrown out. Then we will attack them in the US and Britain until they either accept Islam or agree to pay jazia (a tax in Islam for non-Muslims living in an Islamic state),” Mehsud Stated in an interview.

It actually relates to a belief in Islam, Dar al-Harb.  Nutshell: we fight you till you believe.  Although there is a great deal of context I’m missing there.  We’re looking for a magic bullet, and this is cryptojournalism, so for this case let’s roll with the premise of radicals wanting us out of the Middle East.

Fine.  I say leave.  Take all our troops out of Muslim countries, stack everyone in Israel.  Fuck it, why not?  Then?  Like Voice of America all roided up, we begin to culturally inoculate the whole region.  Think of it as benign-ish television.  Benign-ish to us, but we’re inoculated.  Think of the endless possibilities?  A pro-American channel, but unlike Alhurra, we would give the people what they want.  Actually, we would give the people what Americans want.

Indeed

There would be a strict criteria to make it onto America Presents Entertainment, or APE for short.  What makes a show suitable for inoculation is if it shows in some way a complete ambivalence towards society.  This can manifest itself in many ways.  Some APE-worthy shows would be the dregs of daytime television.  Maury Povich and Judge Joe Brown are EXACTLY the type of material that could inoculate people in quite a rough manner.  Really, Drew?  You want to win the hearts and minds with Judge Joe and Maury?  Oh, no fringe.  This would be a most rigorous type of undermining.

Have you ever watched an episode of Judge Joe Brown?  If you’re unemployed, elderly or socioeconomically underprivileged, you probably have.  For the contributing members of society, let me fill you in on a little secret.  Judge Joe likes the ladies.  Instead of casting a brollock dude as his bailiff, he picks a tall, leggy hot Spanish mami, Sonia Montejano.  He also likes to pack his audience with cute girls.

If it pleases the court….

Exhibit A

The people would also like to submit an American hairdresser and an assortment of pretty girls in the audience into evidence.

Exhibit B

With the treasure trove of ambivalent, borderline programming we’ve got at our disposal, APE could be beaming internationally in days.  Some other benign-ish television that is up to APE standards would be iCarly (for the kids, of course), The Golden Girls (Blanche Devereaux would be a cultural nightmare in a society which loves to protect and shield its women), Sister Wives (an unheralded gem), Keeping With The Kardashians (what’s undermining and corroding a peoples’ culture without the Kardashians?), Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and American Gladiators (the original, not that Hulkster tinged remake) would be a good starter platter.

Inoculation works most effectively through obvious subtlety.  The instantaneous flash of too much upper thigh on an episode of SVU, or the blatant double entendre of Dorothy Zbornak, given time, will prove more powerful than fifty battalions of troops.  If you can’t win hearts and minds, well, it’s much easier to inoculate minds.  Once something is taken for granted, most of the leg work is done.

Consider my childhood inoculation.  If I’d grown up in South Carolina or Kansas, Boston would have seemed like Tokyo or Mexico City.  Don’t take your own inoculation for granted.  That’s how we’ll lose the War on Terror-error-error.  If the Vigilant Citizen article cited earlier is worth anything, it’s worth realizing something to which you were exposed (if you were a boy who grew up in the Eighties) and probably have no recollection of.  Intriguing inoculation, some of those G.I. Joe episodes.  Here’s one, titled The Greenhouse Effect, which seems crazy as a cartoon plot.

Jet fuel that makes fruits and vegetables grow into mutated giant killer produce?  Nope.  Can’t say that I’ve ever heard of anything like that before.

Whoops.

And if you think I’m joking, I bet the Department of Defense could get some choice syndication rates.  Think about the savings and the long term payout of psycultural warfare.  Episodes of iCarly and The Hills have got to be cheaper to carpet bomb a nation with than munitions.  Do not sleep on the power of the obviously subtle.  It would be a real mind fuck.  This sort of underhanded tactic would clash with the idea of dar al-harb.  Check out these two blurbs, from the same website.

How do you counter-attack The Golden Girls?

 

If you’re going to fight a perpetual war against an unseen foe, your best bet is to go light on materials.  Airwaves and syndication fees have the potency to bring anyone to their knees.  It’s just a matter of how long it takes to inoculate.  How long does it take to anesthetize and make a people generally ambivalent?  It took America about 35-40 years, so we had better get cracking!

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