Skip to content


So, how did governing powers deployed strategic methods of control over the public? It started with a mix of a few influential people: Sigmund Freud + Edward Bernais + John Nash.

Lets step back:

THE PANOPTICON – How we learnt to police ourselves

The Panopticon is a prison. It is designed to make all of the imprisoned feel like they’re constantly being watched. There is a guard tower in the center with dark glass covering the windows. The prisoners around the outside cannot tell if there is a guard there watching them, but they always feel like they are being watched.

In Discipline and Punishment Foucault uses the Panopticon as a mepahor for how society functions. The Practice of Everyday Life by Michel de Certeau references this essay in his second orientation. He says Discipline and Punishment studies the mechanisms, the apparatus used to exert power over  a repressed group.  The Panopticonic mindset essentially comes down to ‘feeling like you’re being watched when you’re not being watched.’ This idea of an over-looker, that can keep the crowd at bay, trickled over into many aspects of government. It Blossomed into self-policing.

People start to police themselves when they think they could be caught. Institutions like the Panopticon exploited this to make people behave. Have you ever had that ‘I hope the metal detectors don’t go off’ feeling when leaving a store? Ask, why is that a thought in your mind? Because of our panopticon-ic relationship to our environment. A lot of security cameras in England are just empty boxes. And these exist:

This Panopticonic self-policing, this psychological trapping. It planted a seed. People could be guided by psychology alone. By creating a structure strategically they ‘engineered concent’ ( among the group within the structure. The group within the structure had to use tactics within it to disobey it. In the panopticon notes could only be passed via the windows that looked outside, otherwise the guards might see. This tactical procedure is the only option within the confines of the structure built strategically by it’s governing body. This ‘manufacturing of consent’ has since spilt out into advertising and politics.

EDWARD BERNAYS  – You do what I want

Freud devised a new perception of people. People were actually driven by unconscious desires. People weren’t simple, they were complex emotional mechanisms. Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, helped advertisers in the US  sell their products using Freud’s principles. Bernays is hailed as the founder of PR (public relations). American society at that time was very industrious, and cars were seen as industrial objects. You needed a car to get from point A to point B. That was the sell. Bernays convinced car companies to sell cars to the ego’s of the male’s, using sexuality.

(9 second long car comercial)

In the 1930’s America started to shift from a needs-based culture to a desire-based culture. This shift was carved into the American psyche by exploiting Freud’s theories.

People became trapped in this new world of desire-driven purchases. People began to want. We are all currently trapped in a world that runs in large part on advertising and consumerism. The ability to make people buy things they don’t need became a sought after trait.  Bernays was the go-to guy for advertisers that wanted to figure out how to sell items.

One example of Bernays at work: Men smoked cigarettes; women didn’t. There was a taboo against it. Cigarette companies wanted to tap into the female-market since that could raise revenue by 50%. Bernays created a moment that made this happen. He sent 8 women to the New York City parade and told the press that some women were going to light torches of freedom to express women’s rights. On Bernays’s signal the women lit their cigarettes, and the press were there to take pictures. They published stories about the event, and it worked. Cigarette sales went up among women. He manufactured consent.

This trickery , this deceit, it worked wonders. We are fed images from magazines that tell us what is important to have. Having a Rolex on your wrist is a powerful statement. We tactically choose our attire based on strategies set up by industries.

Bernays then went onto politics, helping with ‘propaganda’. ‘Propaganda’ was not a bad word when he first started using it. When it became a bad word he started using the term ‘Public Relations’, instead.

JOHN NASH – Our government thinks we’re all paranoid schizophrenics

John Nash worked for the RAND corporation, a political think tank. He helped create a depressing perception of human beings. John Nash said people were all selfish. People are only looking out for their own self interest. All people are constantly in a tension, acting to place themselves in a better position over those around them. Life is a struggle. A war. He helped disseminate Game Theory into society.

Game Theory is an overarching term, but one example of it (The Prisoners Dilemma) can be explained as such:  :: :  Two burglars agree to a deal. One steals a jewel, the other pays him for it. They do not want to meet and have agreed on an exchange: the burgler will leave the jewel in one field and, at the same time one,  the buyer will leave the money in a separate field.  While leaving their item they both realize they could gain both the jewel and the money, or risk losing both, if the other doesn’t hold up their end of the deal. If the Jewel thief leaves the diamond and the buyer doesn’t, the jewel thief loses out completely. If the jewel theif takes the jewel with him he could gain both the money and keep the Jewel. John Nash said all people would make the rational decision and take the object. He projected this onto all social situations, and said all people are constantly in a battle with others.

The RAND think-tank asked the secretaries at the company to take to try and prove this hypothesis, but the results did not align with their perception of humanity. The secretaries were naturally compassionate (or, naive, based on the Game Theory mindset). RAND ignored the test results.

John Nash was soon after diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia and placed in a hospital. His theories were already the backbone of a lot of RAND’s concepts. They kept building on them.

CONSTRUCTING REALITY – How we became individuals

The RAND corporation saw people as completely individualistic, working for personal gain. Compassion was not a part of the equation. This hyper-individualistic perception of people was also a part of Bernayes’s advertising strategies. Selling to the desires of people makes them take on a ‘make yourself better than other people by buying our products’ attitude. Politicians and advertisers both began a construction of strategies to sell and to govern based on this perception of people. Believing this, they made it true.

Our perceptions of who and what we are changes with each societal moment, and this moment is as peculiar as any other. We are all living in the land of freedom, the land were you can pull yourself up from your own boot traps and buy that shiny new car. Anything counter to it becomes counter-culture, an offshoot. You can’t change a system by being outside of it; we are all stuck inside of it.

We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine
And the machine is bleeding to death (lyrics)

We cannot escape the structures. We can only use tactics to progress within these structures, and try to be aware.

Re-Mix Culture, copyright law. (Rip!)

The rules of copyright are antiquated. They no longer apply to this new digital domain in which they operate. Copyright was originally created to protect and empower artists. They are now being used, particularly by the RIAA, to impart unfair power over artists work they control. This is an attempt to scare people into abiding by laws that need to be re-evaluated for this digital time. The re-evaluation of these laws might destroy large record industries that the RIAA are in the business of protecting.

The RIAA tried to sue a 30-year-old single mother 3.6 million for downloading 24 songs. At the end of the lawsuit the RIAA ended up getting $222,000 from her. For downloading two dozen songs. This is an absurd injustice. The RIAA saw that she had shared the songs 1700 times, and so they were suing her for each person she shared it with. If you just install Kazaa, the program she was using, download a few songs and leave it running it will automatically share thongs songs with others. Thats how Kazaa is designed to work. Most users don’t go through the preferences and disable sharing music with other people. The RIAA are using lawsuits like this one to scare people into not sharing. It is a definitive example of scare tactics. “DON’T DOWNLOAD MUSIC, OR ELSE WE WILL SUE YOU AND RUIN YOUR LIFE”.

Girl Talk just released his new album for free.

“While posting the album as a free download on the Illegal Art label’s site allows [the new album] to reach his fan-base quickly and with minimal cost, Gillis spent more time on this album than any previous release and considers it the most fully realized and evolved manifestation of the Girl Talk aesthetic.” (

Girl Talk samples an insane amount of songs and blends them together in a creative symbiosis of sound that is unlike anything else. His new album is 71 minuets long and samples 372 different songs. His music tests copyright laws. Anyone that hears Girl Talk can’t argue, it is an artistic work of originality and creativity. It doesn’t make sense to make it illegal, but it doesn’t really fit within the black and white perception of copy-right law the RIAA wants the public to believe in.

This re-mix culture wants to share, chop up, re-attribute and re-create whats already there. To make something illegal is to drive it underground. It does not stop it from happening, it just incriminates a section of society. Entire audio tracks are being removed from youtube video’s because a small section of the video might contain a song by a band. It is a pointless destruction of this creative cultural moment. After 3 years, 5 months, and over 41,883,433 views, Rick Astley has finally asked Google to pull his video from YouTube after making no real money from it. This is all that remains.

This remix culture is being prosecuted at its base: the illegal download. Thats where the evil people hang out, trading files. Sharing is a basic part of being human. Blocking it off unnatural.

“Why go after someone when clearly they’re just trying to make music.” .. “These laws are just inhibiting the flow of culture and music.” – Gills. (

In 2005 a law-suite, Bridgeport V Dimension Films, set copyright law to say ‘you cannot sample without paying for it’. A song by the N.W.A. took two seconds from a Funkadelic song, slowed it down, and looped it. They did not ask permission and did not pay anything for this two-second shred of sound. The court ruled in favor of the company that sued on behalf of Funkadelic (Bridgeport).

The ruling read:
“Get a license or do not sample. We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way.”

“If you sample, you license, period.” A lot of people called this the death knell for hip-hop because sampling was so prevalent.

Girl Talk has not been sued yet, which is strange in light of this 2005 court case. It goes against what the courts said. You can buy Girl Talk CDs in record stores. Girl Talk sold his first CD, had a pay-what-you-want model to download his second (including $0), but his new CD is completely free. There isn’t even a donate button, just a download link. I feel like this is an interesting statement from him on the issue. (

Hopefully Lessig will come through!

May I have your attention please? (Hyper VS deep attention).

Moving images capture us, pull us in.

But the plot keeps us watching.

As television technology advanced so did plot. The intricacies of shows have increased drastically. In Everything Bad is Good for You Johnston contrasts the plot lines for early TV shows with later. Shows in the 70’s like Starsky and Hutch follow a very linear plot line. Each episode contained two characters moving in a linear direction toward a conclusion.

Tv has gotten a lot harder since then. To keep up with an episode of 24 your brain has to keep up with 10 or so plot-lines, and crazy character-relations. It demands our brain pay attention to keep up. Video games are also discussed in the same vein. They force your brain to figure out how to interact with a world with different physics, and each game has different rules. (Gladwel talks about this idea of television making us smarter in The New Yorker).

Hayles talks about the down side of this. Games and TV are training our brain to be hyper-attentive. We have to focus on 10 plot lines, or 10 enemies. Our brains are being trained to multi-task. Reading books is on the decline. The deep-concentration needed to read a book is a learned/trained ability.

Linda Stone goes into a detailed analysis of this societal transition to hyper-attention-minded. At the end she points out that many people in the west are currently experimenting with meditation and yoga. Studies on meditation have shown it actually alters the structure of the brain by “[increasing the] thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input.” (Harvard Gazette). Scientists believe meditation activates the anterior cingulate cortex, which is associated with attention deficit disorder. (PsychCentral).

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

If we do not practice ‘deep-focus’ that part of mind dwindles.

We take it upon ourselves to eat in a balanced way. That makes us healthy. Similarly, we should be aware of the types of media we absorb mentally. The type of cognitive exercise you get from video games and TV are completely different than that of the book. Books give you an in-depth analysis of a subject. There is absolutely no replacement for the mental role it plays. You cannot get around reading books. The same mindset should be displayed towards video games. You should not marginalize the acts of deep-concentration or hyper-attention.

“Being “smart” involves facility in both kinds of thinking—the kind of fluid problem solving that matters in things like video games and I.Q. tests, but also the kind of crystallized knowledge that comes from explicit learning” – New Yorker

Hayles asks what we should do about the generation who’s brains are being primed by media that leads to a hyper-attentive state of mind. They could be medicated into a state of concentration, like fighter pilots, with methamphetamines (Ritalin/Adderall). This type of relation to mind-changing drugs is something we must question as a society. Whats wrong with taking a pill to put you in an incredibly concentrated state? Its refered to as cosmetic neurology – the ability to alter mind states as easily as we alter our appearance  with makeup. Its a huge ethical debate. Another option is to study and institutionalize meditation, since it helps develop the section of the brain that is used during deep-concentration.

Whatever the answer, the craziness of todays communication technology is not going to let up. Society is swept up in this hyper-alert mode of operation. Perhaps having an institutionalized ‘downtime’ isn’t a bad idea; thirty minuets of the day to sit and reflect. We need it to help our brain-box’s cope.

The Exploit | Networks

Networks are everything.

1. Ants | Distributed Network

It took a long time for scientists to figure out how ants organize themselves. No one understood how such a large colony could function with what seemed like no communication. Then someone figured it out.

Ants give off pheromones to indicate what they’re doing. There is a different scent to say ‘i’m gathering food, i’m taking out the trash, i’m going here, i’m going from there’. When an ant walks around, doing its duties, it picks up on the pheromones of its neighboring ants. These local interactions gives the ant a feel for what the whole colony is doing. This local feedback mechanism paints a picture of the whole colony and keeps everyone doing their thing.

This is an example of a distributed network.

Deborah Gordon talks about it here.

2. Mice | Decentralized Network

Bradley Griffith and I wanted to have a network effect on the crowd at SXSW. We bought poster boards and wrote the word ‘MICE!’ in large letters. Below that we wrote “Ask me how!” When someone asked us how we told them that we had eyeliner, held out eyeliner, and offered a face-painting to the inquirer. If the individual wanted to participate, we drew three whiskers on each cheek, and a black spot on the tip of their nose.

Pics are on Flickr

We also explained to the people being “miced” that if they had eyeliner with them they could “mouse” anyone they wanted. I had several blank signs in my backpack so people could create their own “MICE!” signs and walked around independent of the original group. We were trying to create many micing hubs that were separate. The only rule was simple: if you saw any other mice you had to high-five them.

We set out to impose a dominant network effect on the public at SXSW. We wanted this network effect to be self-sustainable. To do this, we had to exploit several aspects of the social network. The only way to exercise power on a social network is to use tactical strategy. The imposition of power cannot be reserved to the status of a property that one group can own and implement. Each mouse at SXSW created a tension between the mice and non-mice. The non-mice began to question their relation to this new mice-network.

Because of our understanding of network theory Griffith and I knew not to give up after the first hour or two of lackluster results. At first very few people were receptive to the ‘mouse’ idea. We understood that the more mice we created, the more we would be able to create. The more mice that were added to the network, the harder it became to avoid exposure to mice.

We also understood that getting several mice to stay with us was a key part of the movement’s growth. If people became attached to us onlookers would see many mice clustered and be more inclined to take part. Barabasi says “we find that real networks are governed by two laws – growth and preferential attachment” (Linked, p86). New mice attached themselves to our ever-growing group as it was the easiest place to mice new people. The number of new people we miced was directionally proportional to the number of current mice both wandering around the SXSW environment, and at our central-micing location (Linked, p88).

3. (killing) The Music Industry | Centralized Network

An important concept Galloway and Thacker introduce is that of the symmetrical and asymmetrical conflict. Symmetrical conflict is two identical systems battling it out, like a tank versus a tank. A major symmetrical conflict occurred within the record industry in 1939. At the time, ASCAP was the only entity that controlled the rights to all popular music; they raised their rates by 448% in eight years to the dismay of broadcasters. Another entity called BMI was created to do battle against ASCAP. In 1941 ASCAP cracked after BMI proved to be a success. Competition in this vein is common and we can easily make sense of it.

An asymmetrical attack occurs when one system is undermined by a system playing by different rules. The bit torrent users have created an asymmetrical attack on the record industry. An asymmetrical attack is the historic response to the centralization of power (Galloway p21). The record industry has positioned itself as a powerful unit, which Galloway says will only increase “the chance of a single asymmetrical attack penetrating straight to its heart” (Galloway p17). The bit torrent users are not going away. Altering the code of the mp3 to restrict use in the form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) is also an attempt to exert centralized, coercive control (Galloway p45). Due to the flexibility and the survivability of a network, the illegal downloading cannot be stopped.

Looking at this purely from a network effects perspective, we can liken the bit torrent users to an emerging infectious disease. (Galloway p93) As more people download an mp3 the download becomes faster for all, and it becomes harder to stop the sharing of the file. The record companies are dieing from this disease. If we personify the infectious disease and contemplate its perspective, it would revel in the ease at which this transformation of power is taking place without consciously understanding its full implications.

4. Fin
Spanning all of the things The Exploit covers is difficult. Networks make up everything, and every network is a little different. They all play by the same basic rules: protocols allow for interactions, and hubs form out of these protocols.

|||||||||||||||||| Mediated |||||||||||||||||| Spaces ||||||||||||||||||

The most digestible example of a mediated space is one that has a degree of fantasy, like Disney World. The over the top character of the landscape both visually and audibly attempts to pull you in. We can also talk about department stores.

The department store Staples have spent a lot of money on store design. Their goal is to make everything as easy to navigate as possible. Staples studied to see how customers reacted to signs at different levels, different fonts, different store-flows, and who knows what else. After meticulous tweaking the stores layout puts itself in the background, a space that mediates the user to the environment in the most immediate way. Wandering around Staples should be as thoughtless as possible. There is no need to ask employees where anything is; this is akin not needing a user-manual for a computer program because its interface is so simple to navigate.

Bolter and Grusin (sort of) draw the line for classification of a mediated space as any establishments with operating hours. These are referred to as non-spaces, as places that shut down. Places like this would be creepy at night. Everyone is familiar with the creepy-night-time-theme-park shots in films.

This is a hard line to draw and it seems to come at the relation to space from a city-human relation instead of a nature-human relation. Ecological anthropology set out to study human beings from the stance of nature-to-human, but the field has been criticized for its scope falling too short. There seems to be a point that society crosses where humans become self-contained and removed from nature. These spaces are heavily mediated, and the nature-human lens stops being useful. Heavily populated Cities and suburbs that are entirely human-crafted are examples.

I think this video is important because it shows a space that surfaces once a year. It allows the different sections of the area to mediate their dismay towards one another via a horse race. Note the horse is allowed to enter the Church-space.

Some cultural tropes are build so deeply into man that they resurface in each new cultural moment. The American event that parallels the above would be the Superbowl, Europe has the world cup, and on a world scale; the Olympics. The Olympic stadium is perhaps the most notorious example of a  non-space. The building is constructed entirely for one event that is 16 days long, with an opening and closing ceremony to mark the ‘opening hours’ and ‘closing hours’ of the stadium. (Obviously the stadium is used for other activities afterwords, but that falls outside of the scope of the cultural moment that is The Olympics).

I think the one thing (sort of) left out of both the remediative lens and the anthropological lens is the purpose for these mediated environments existing.This is likely because the topic of study is genealogical, and the intentionality behind the creation of each non-space has to be analyzed on a case-by-case-basis. These environments have been created for a reason, and that reason differs and evolves with culture.

The intention of a Staples store is one of efficiency. People want to find what they need and leave as seamlessly as possible.

The intention behind Disney Land lies in escapism. The landscape is close enough to that of a city to give the environment a familiar feel, although it is entirely constructed. Because the environment is entirely constructed it can be a giant theatre production. Actors playing roles and music altering moods, pulling you in to the world of magic.

It’s the whole concept of “onstage” and “offstage” for Disney. The whole idea is to create a fantasy world for the guests and they feel that the only way to do it is to maintain the illusion no matter what it takes.
There are specific areas designated as “onstage” and when we are in those areas, we are basically playing a role. Once we get “offstage” though anything goes.
This is also the reason why we are not called employees or workers, but everyone is known as a cast member.
Link To Post

And the workers don’t wear uniforms, they wear “Costumes”.

All of these concepts have trickled down to the Disney Store in malls. Every morning there is a store opening display, with a key.  Every Morning.

Disney-Spaces were created because of the American Cultural moment of the 50’s. I’m not that well versed in the 50’s political and social climate so I can’t go into why that would be.

The creation of spaces for sports like Football Stadiums are born out of some innate desire humans have to battle it out, which is probably born out of some monkey-mind thing we have going on.

These spaces all exist for a reason tied to the cultural moment they occur(ed) in.

Art in the age of the network and the mechanical

Art in the age of the network is of an act, a process. Since its a process, variables of the process become a part of Network Arts  (or Social Arts) makeup, its language. Variables like inclusion, exclusion, interactions, routines, procedures, iterations, protocols.

A process through a network adds another layer of elements; hubs, connectors, permission givers or pace makers; there are lots of names. The simplest diagram of the network effect of the social network is laid out by the tipping point, here:

  • Connectors are the people who “link us up with the world … people with a special gift for bringing the world together.”[6] They are “a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack [… for] making friends and acquaintances”. [7] He characterizes these individuals as having social networks of over one hundred people. To illustrate, Gladwell cites the following examples: the midnight ride of Paul Revere, Milgram’s experiments in the small world problem, the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” trivia game, Dallas businessman Roger Horchow, and Chicagoan Lois Weisberg, a person who understands the concept of the weak tie. Gladwell attributes the social success of Connectors to “their ability to span many different worlds [… as] a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.”[8]
  • Mavens are “information specialists”, or “people we rely upon to connect us with new information.”[9] They accumulate knowledge, especially about the marketplace, and know how to share it with others. Gladwell cites Mark Alpert as a prototypical Maven who is “almost pathologically helpful”, further adding, “he can’t help himself”.[10] In this vein, Alpert himself concedes, “A Maven is someone who wants to solve other people’s problems, generally by solving his own”.[11] According to Gladwell, Mavens start “word-of-mouth epidemics”[12] due to their knowledge, social skills, and ability to communicate. As Gladwell states, “Mavens are really information brokers, sharing and trading what they know”.[13]
  • Salesmen are “persuaders”, charismatic people with powerful negotiation skills. They tend to have an indefinable trait that goes beyond what they say, which makes others want to agree with them. Gladwell’s examples include California businessman Tom Gau and news anchor Peter Jennings, and he cites several studies about the persuasive implications of non-verbal cues, including a headphone nod study (conducted by Gary Wells of the University of Alberta and Richard Petty of the University of Missouri) and William Condon’s cultural microrhythms study.
  • Un-related graphic:

    Social, or Network art forces people to function in certain roles according to the logic of the network. Social art engages. It interacts with the environment. Street art is an example because it changes the observers relation to their environment:



    Twitter and facebook status posts are examples of people relating to written text in an ephemeral way. Before this digital moment text was a permanent affair. This phonemic break-down of verbal flow sat forever on a page, waiting for an eye to cross it. Now many words are thrown up on twitter without the expectation of an observer. This pulls the ephemerality of spoken conversation into the arena of the written, phonemic alphabet.

    McLuhan says “Electric circuitry is recreating in us the multi-dimensional space orientation of the ‘primitive’.”

    The textual form of communication adopting key principles of verbal communication is an example of this new (or old) orientation being revived.

    This excerpt best describes the sociale feeling this digital moment fosters:

    “The cell for citters to cit in.”
    The idea of detention in a closed space as a form of human punitive corrective action seems to have come in very much in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries – at the time perspective and pictorial space was developing in our Western world.The whole concept of enclosure as a means of constraint and as a means of classifying doesn’t work as well in our electronic world. The new feeling that people have about guilty is not something that can be privately assigned to some individual, but is, rather, something shared bye everybody, in some mysterious way. This feeling seems to be returning to our midst. In tribal societies we are told that it is a familiar reaction, when some hideous event occurs, for some people to say, “How horrible it must be to feel like that,” instead of blaming somebody for having done something horrible. This feeling is an aspect of the new mass culture we are moving into-a world of total involvement in which everybody is so profoundly involved with everybody else and in which nobody can really imagine what private guilt can be anymore.

    This new interconnected digital territory comes with one key difference from the connectedness of a tribe. That is, anonymity.

    The digital arena allows for a type of communicative platform that lets people relate to each other in a way that is in a sense more honest, as the participants are masked. Oscar Wilde said, “Give a man a mask, and he’ll tell you tell you the truth.”  There are several of sub-cultures that have cropped up online that became a powerful force in the real-world. This strengthens the communal/tribal bond between these strangers. A good example of this is the internets communal revolt against Scientology, due to Scientology law-suite happy way of dealing with problems. It can be read about here:

    Another example of the Global Village at work:

    Reddit is a website with a lot of of sub-cultures. They tend to randomly do some randomly amazing things. The latest random thing they did all stemmed from one comment:

    Link To Comment

    I’ve had a vision and I can’t shake it: Colbert needs to hold a satirical rally in DC.

    submitted 19 days ago by mrsammercer

    I was woken in the middle of the night by this(along with the sound of my cat getting ready to pee on the rug).
    Think about it. It’ll be just like Colbert’s mockery of GW Bush at the 2006 White House Correspondent’s Dinner, but 500,000 people will be able to participate with him. We’ll all stay totally in character as teabaggers. The kid with the microphone that interviews all the idiots at these things can come by and we’ll ramble into his microphone.
    This would be the high water mark of American satire. Half a million people pretending to suspend all rational thought in unison. Perfect harmony. It’ll feel like San Francisco in the late 60s, only we won’t be able to get any acid.
    I know you’re out there somewhere, Stephen, watching LOLcat gifs along side us. We need you. There’s no way to have a logical public discussion with the teabaggers. The best we can do is to mimic them. Show them a mirror and hopefully some will realize how ridiculous they actually are… Or maybe they won’t even realize that they’re being mocked, which could be even more awesome.
    Note: This is a repost. First one never popped into New.
    EDIT(Finally): The response to this post has blown my mind. I really did jump out of bed at like 5AM and type this thing up. Then I checked from work and it’s front page and there’s a Facebook page and people are emailing one of the Executive Producers. I was just hoping some people would get a laugh out of it, and now it has over 6,800 upvotes? It’s like I cracked the best joke of my life in a public place. 😀
    But to be fair, both pugsworth and hobbit6 posted the general idea before me in that Jon Stewart thread. I just fleshed it out a little bit. Anyway, I don’t really know what to do or say about actually trying to make a Colbert Rally happen. I’d sure as hell be there, and I think I’d opt for the “Go back to the rug store with the rest of the Afghans” sign.
    I just wanted to say that I’m really happy that so many people got a kick out of it. And the thought of Colbert himself actually maybe seeing this is probably the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me so far in life.
    EDIT 2: vinhboy has created a wikia page… Nothing up on it yet, though. Please feel free to change that! members wanted to convince Stephen Colbert to host this rally. Stephen is a board member of a non-profit called Reddit have so far donated $264,622 to DonersChoose. Hillary Clinton has been campaigning to raise funs for this charity since 2008 and Reddit beat out her total current amount raised in 8 hours  ($29,945).

    Stephen Colbert and John Stewart are holding a joint-rally on october 10th 2010.

    Silly thoughts like that, that someone had at 5 in the morning, can only survival and become something in this digital period. Being more connected makes the world smaller.

    After Reading | On Memory (Electronic or Otherwise) – Vilém Flusser

    By focusing on the moment between Oral and Written culture Flusser calls upon an important historic transition in Human history. All of a sudden the law was not an agreed upon cultural conversation. Instead law became eternally carved in stone, forever stating its dictum upon the culture.

    In Phaedrus Plato argues that written language is inferior to its spoken counterpart because the written word is dead. It cannot be conversed with. When someone commits a crime in Oral culture, the group reacts. The whole village gets together and reacts against the crime with some congregative punishment, depending on its severity.

    In written culture the ‘book of rules’ has a higher degree of social gravitas than the people in the area. There is no conversation. Instead there is a set list of protocols that are followed. Law is dictated to society. We have a ‘carved-in-stone’ relation to the ‘book of rules’. The concept a law becoming outdated is far more difficult to contemplate when it becomes a written word, instead of a cultural process. The law simply dictates itself the culture. Changing it is a matter of bureaucracy; a conversation among an elite group. Not a conversation among the public.

    In this shift to Electronic we are moving away from the message being written in stone. The written word on a screen can be copied and edited, altered, changed, re-mixed. Messages on a material support (paper) are dictated to the reader. Messages on a screen act as a part of a process, rather than an endpoint (the book). The digital document acts more like a message-in-circuit, ever-changing. If the law was written on a wiki, constantly being updated due to recent discoveries and ethical evolutions, the way we prosecute would be radically different.

    In conversation, any ambiguity that exists is parsed via a process of agreement and disagreement. The feedback look that exists in conversation between ‘statement’ and ‘response’ is fast. The feedback loop that exists in responding to the written word is slow and often caught up in bureaucratic processes. The electronic document is a hybrid of these two moments. The digital support for text allows for a response to be immediate, and conversations to occur in an ephemeral way. Text on the screen is not carved in stone.

    Some Social Implications of Modern Technology :: By Herbert Marcuse

    Thoughts :: What hold do technologies have on our current society?

    The policing of selves became trusted to computational evaluation since the human-driven evaluation, psychiatry, was cast into un-trust because of a study done by David Rosenhan.

    Society took its position to police outsiders early on in our development; crazy people where put on boats and shipped of too sea. No one wanted to catch the crazy bug.

    The modern day version of the ship is the psychiatrist. We now understand ‘crazy’ isn’t a bug that can be caught, but a mental disorder. People with mental illnesses like schizophrenia, manic-depressive psychosis, bi-polar disorder, and so on, got confined to a psychiatric hospitals and fed brain-changing pills (pills: a technology).

    In 1973 David Rosenhan conducted an experiment to test the legitimacy of these psychiatric hospitals. 12 ‘pseudopatients’ went to different hospitals and all said they heard the word “thud” in their head. All twelve of the pseudopatients were accepted into the hospitals; 11 with schizophrenia and 1 with manic depressive psychosis. They all acted completely normal once inside the hospitals, and said they didn’t hear anything; that the “thud” sound had gone away. They were all kept there; the shortest for 7 days, the longest for 52.The average stay was 19 days. They all had to take their pills and pretend to get better before they were dismissed. Non were identified as imposers by the staff, although the some patients of the hospital identified them as such.

    Once this study was published, distrust was felt towards psychiatrists. They were no longer seen as some elite agent with the learned to ability to diagnose other people. New methods of psychological evaluation were put in place.

    This new system could not rely on the patients symptoms being broken down and interpreted by other people. The people who were supposed to do that, psychiatrists, apparently couldn’t; a new system had to be devised.

    Psychiatrists began using checklists of symptoms to interpret patients instead of attempting to interpret patients behavior. Patients were asked questions and boxes where dashed or left blank. This essentially created a ‘yes or no’, binary interpretation of an individuals. The relation of man to the concept of self, to who you are, has been mechanized.

    Marcuse, in “Some Social Implications of Modern Technology” talks about individuality succumbing to the mechanical apparatus man interacts with on a daily basis. We have to abide by the protocols of the mechanical apparatus to get things done. These external authorities (technology/machines) have worked there way into our lives in a frighteningly fundamental way. Marcuse talks about the inability to get lost when driving a car due to signage and roads being paved through the country side, dictating our direction and destination. We now have GPS-driven navigation. Being lost is a dead art.

    Marcuse states “…individual rationality has been transformed into technological rationality.” … “This rationality establishes standards of judgement and fosters attitudes which make men ready to accept and even to introcept the dictates of the apparatus.”

    Society has handed the baton of self-analysis to mechanic protocols, making ourselves ‘Happyness Machines’; we predict our erroneous aspects of self using technologically crafted check-lists and then use this diagnosis to regulate our brain-states with drugs like Prozac. (Adam Curtis – The Trap, Part 2 “The Lonely Robot” ).

    Marcus goes on to say “Lewis Mumford characterizes man in the machine age as an ‘objective personality’, one who has learned to transfer all subjective spontaneity to the machinery which he servers, to subordinate his life to the ‘matter-of-factness’ of a world in which the machine is the factor and he the fulcrum.”

    By creating these symptom-based checklists society has created a standardized framework for human performance. The measurement of what ‘self’ should be has become externalized. “…today the apparatus to which the individual is to adjust and adopt himself is so rational that individual protest and liberation appear not only as hopeless but as utterly irrational.” (p145) Anyone that does not squeeze into this framework, this narrow perception of ‘well-adjusted-person’ (that society has policed itself into believing is real), is drugged up. Thought patterns are being standardized. Marcuse goes on to say “…man has learned to adjust his behavior to the other fellow’s down to the most minute detail.” In the 1940’s this meant a fairly superficial reaction to your immediate environment. People changed their attire, attitudes, and habits in an attempt to fit their social surroundings. Now brain patterns are being altered to guarantee every human fits into the ‘square’. We don’t want any circles or stars.

    I just want to point out i’m not lambasting all brain-drug regulations as they do have a very real and very important place in the treatment of those with serious conditions. We’re just overdoing it, and killing certain personality types because of it.

    There is one story that places this refinement of personality types into a very comprehensible lens. Ken Robinson talks about it in a TED talk titled Schools Kill Creativity.

    Briefly overview: A female student can’t sit still at school so her mother got called in. The councilor, mother, and student talk in his office for a while. The councilor asks the students mother if they can talk outside the room for a bit, leaving the student alone in his office. While they’re leaving the councilor puts the radio on. The councilor tells the students mother to pear through the blinds, and they both watch as the girl dances alone in the room to whatever music is playing. The councilor says “She’s a dancer.. send her to a dancing academy or something.” That girl went on to choreograph Phantom of the Opera and Cats. If this councilor had abided by a mechanic-checklist of protocols, this girl would have been given brain-focusing-pills and the beautiful bits of art she choreographed would not have been made.

    This is what individuality is: Thinking for yourself. Making decisions based on brains, not on checklists.