Red Skull panel with Donal Trump Quote Source

At this point in his pres­i­dency there was still this hope that Trump would be­come presedential”, some­how grow into the of­fice”. This was when a lot of com­men­ta­tors re­alised that he does­n’t know any­thing and is in con­trol of the nuclar weapons.

The ti­tle of the lec­ture comes from Steve Bannon of course (in an in­ter­view with the Hollywood Reporter of all places)

Darkenss is goo. Dick Cheney. Darth Vade. Satan. Thta’s power. It ony helps us when they [the lib­er­als and the me­dia] get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re do­ing

We see Bannon’s en­ter­tain­ment back­ground (film in­dus­try). These fig­ures de­ceive, ob­scure, op­er­ate in the shad­ows.

Of course this also de­scribes the ba­sic strat­egy of the mod­ernist avant-garde: Dadaists, Futurists, Surrealists, Vienna Actionists. Shocking, keep­ing of bal­ance, work­ing against the au­di­ence. Fascists are re­ally good at in­fil­trat­ing cul­tures and us­ing them. See what the Nazis did to Beethoven, and Caspar David Friedrich - it took gen­er­a­tions to en­gage with these peo­ple again with­out think­ing about blood and soil etc.

[teargas im­age]


Real power is - I don’t want to use the word fear


What you’re see­ing and what you’re readin is not what’s hap­pen­ing

CIA 1949 Psy-Ops Handbook (A hand­book of psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare)

  1. MODERN APPLICATION. Thre is, then, noth­ing fun­da­men­tally new about the prin­ci­ples of psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare. What is new is the im­proved tech­n­ques of the sci­ence of psy­chol­ogy, the sys­tem­atic study o fhow men’s minds work, the vastly ex­panded me­dia for dis­sem­i­nat­ing the spo­ken and writ­ten word

Psychology here ref­er­ences be­hav­ioural psy­chol­ogy (see also Mindhunter), which is the idea that if you push cer­tain but­tons in peo­ple, they will re­act in the same pred­i­cat­ble way. Of course this does­n’t al­ways work out in prac­tice, but it has in­flu­enced com­mu­ni­ca­tion, mar­ket­ing, pro­pa­ganda.

The RAND cor­po­ra­tion recog­nises that the main ad­van­tage about hav­ing an or­bital plat­form (ie a satel­lite) is that it would ter­rify peo­ple. Sputnik (1957) did in fact do this (even though all it could do was beep) The Russians were say­ing we can put this thing over your air­space, and there is noth­ing you can do about it. The guy who de­signed Sputnik (Koralev) knew that Sputnik was go­ing to be in a mu­seum, so he made it round and shiny.

This is me­dia war - no-one is hurt, but it’s still a huge cul­tural vic­tory for the Russians.

The same year Sputnik launches, The Hidden Pursuaders (Vance Packard) comes out. This is one of the first ar­tic­u­la­tions of be­hav­ioural psy­chol­ogy (as ap­plied to mar­ket­ing). Also in­tro­duces the idea of sub­lim­i­nal mes­sag­ing (BUY COKE). This con­tin­ues to to­day:

[Understanding Culture is our Business HSBC ad]

THis hap­pens to mash to­getehr two McLuhan booksL Understandning me­dia and Culture is our Business

In 2008, the WHite House puts out a pa­per on Cognitive Infiltration. This out­lines how the gov­ern­ment might in­fil­trate con­spir­acy web­sites and start spread­ing ridicu­lous the­o­ries to in­val­i­date all of them.

More re­cent: Cambridge Analytica uses Facebook data to pre­dict peo­ple’s po­lit­i­cal opin­ios (this is no dif­fer­ent to Packard). Christopher Wylie, Edward Snowden.

To go back to [last week’s lec­ture]: Burroughs, Brion Gysin’s cut-up method.

Burroughs (1972) in Electronic Revolution

Remember that when the hu­man ner­vous sys­tem, un­scram­bles a scram­bled emssahe, tis will seem to the sub­ject…

George Romero (1978): Dawn of the Dead. The tele­vi­sion stu­dio keeps broad­cast­ing lo­ca­tions of non-ex­ist­ing shel­ters (because that’s the only thing that will keep peo­ple watch­ing).

Both Burroughs and Gysin look back to Hassan I Sabbah (the head of the his­tor­i­cal as­sas­sins). The one state­ment that is at­trib­uted to him is:

Nothing is true - every­thing is per­mit­ted

Buroughs elab­o­rates in 1970:

If every­thing is an il­lu­saion, then every­thing is per­mit­ted. When things be­come real, def­i­nite, then they are not per­mit­ted.. That is the whole stand of the re­ac­tionary es­tab­lish­ment: make every­thing true and per­mit noth­ing

Tristan Tzara (1920): How to make a Dadaist poem.

Some con­tem­po­rary artists do­ing cu­tups:

jenner Kendall Jenner / Charlottesville Cutup. Source

What power fears most is anony­mous, gen­er­alised re­bel­lion. The me­dia im­age of the ter­ror­ist works hand in had with the po­lice in the de­fence of so­cial peace. No mat­ter whether the cit­i­zen ap­plaud or is scared he is still a cit­i­zen, ie. a spec­ta­tor.