"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 10 October 1995. Updated every WEEKDAY.

A Better Use for Bullshit

[Propagandistic GIF]

Flashback: April 19, 1995.

Timothy McVeigh has just

spectacularly hosed the Oklahoma

City Federal Building, an event

whose toll would be felt not

only in the loss of 167 lives,

but also in the relentless

squandering of thousands of

column inches dedicated to the

"Militia Movement" and its

supposed net ties. But while

self-appointed cyberjournalists

warned of the ready availability

of electronic bomb-making

tutorials, a far more explosive

text was being planted at the

Minneapolis College of Art and



The problem with partisans like

McVeigh and the Unabomber is the

shallowness of their appraisal

of military technique. Any jerk,

given enough pluck and

fertilizer, can build a bomb,

but true tacticians realize that

the most prized munition in a

warfare strategist's arsenal is

the written word. Refined

marksmanship in this field is a

tough skill to acquire: expert

practitioners are almost always

rewarded with enviable positions

of power (you may have already

helped elect one or two).




The PolitProp site demonstrates a

better use for bullshit:



Smart, faux-official design

frames a simple concept here -

psychological manipulation

techniques as taught by the

masters. The method employed by

PolitProp is deceptively

straightforward, using wholesale

reproduction of classic military

texts to great effect. And you

can trust the experts called

upon by PolitProp - works by US

psych warfare mastermind Martin

Herz and Nazi counterpart Joseph

Goebbels provide colorful

entries to the PolitProp papers.

PolitProp, like a post-war Leni

Riefenstahl, takes no

ideological stance on the

content presented, sagely

claiming it as an artform worthy

of appreciation in and of



[Commericial Propaganda]

Some of the documents read like a

cribbed checklist of the tactics

employed by Suck and its

bedfellows. Take Herz's "Leaflet

Lessons" as a case in point:

"Always target your propaganda
at the marginal man who does not
believe everything we say, but
who is interested in our message
because he does not believe
everything our opponents say

This statement encapsulates the

relationship of HotWired's Flux

to its readers quite perfectly.

You know better than to extend

your trust to the likes of "Ned

Brainard", and Ned, in turn, can

rely upon his targets (both

red-rimmed and red-faced) to put

into question their credibility

on an almost pathologically

daily basis.


"It is also an axiom of all
propaganda...that the language
used must be truly that of the
recipient, and that any
queerness of idiom severely
distracts from the effectiveness
of the message."

You may think it to have been

disingenuous for certain

employees of Time-Warner's

Pathfinder to give purveyors of

its site "the finger", perhaps

fingering themselves in the

process, but, given the context,

wouldn't this have been your

reaction? The Netly News is

clearly portraying itself as a

mouthpiece for the people.

"Do not deny lies disseminated
by the enemy. By doing so you
merely give it additional

Or to put it another way: Our

take on recent allegations and

scandalous innuendo involving

your buddies at Suck? No

comment. No problem.


But myopic self-satisfaction

amongst those on the forefront

of the commercialization of the

"digital revolution" is nothing

new. The point is that now you,

too, have access to these same

tools, designed to transform the

party line into the bottom line.

We're still learning to craft

the ultimate bankroll-begetting

hype, but why wait to see if we

can pull it off? The most

important elections will not

take place in '96 - they're

happening all the time and are

measured in many ways...


[Artistic Counterpropaganda]

If all the readers of Suck with a

little time on their hands were

to put the PolitProp teachings

into practice, the feds might

finally have something worth

losing sleep over. And the

self-appointed cyberjournalists

of the world (ahem!) could very

well start writing about

something moderately interesting

for a change.

courtesy of the Duke of URL