Category Archives: MEDIA STUDIES

US, THEM AND CYBERNETICS IN CYBERSPACE

After taking a break from Twitter for a few weeks my brain began to reflect on what Twitter is, or rather, how it seems to be functioning in our society.

Twitter, despite its wide breadth, eventual collapses into “flattened” cybernetic loop that we may be able to customize, but it is one that we do not control…

Cybernetics is an extremely deep science of study and I don’t claim to have mastered it. But I’ll share some thoughts on what I understand and how it is at work today. In cybernetics the idea is that a closed-looped system exists when you have an environment, a control system, and a way to evaluate the results of changing inputs to the system.

For us the system is our Twitter feeds which we initially curate. From there we follow friends and commercial accounts which prompt the Twitter (and other social media platform’s) algorithms to offer us new choices similar to what we are already following. I.e., a cybernetic loop what we participate in creating.

Despite having access to the “entire world,” no one’s twitter feed actually encompasses that. Even if you try and expand your feed it can be difficult or impossible to get a wide variety of inputs, in many cases we don’t even want that.

Social media data mining is a known quantity at this point. That said, how often to people take to the time to notice the directional “flow” of news stories and conversations online?

 I can tell you that there definitely are certain people who study the directional “flow” of conversation online. Some of those people even toy with the idea of influencing that flow.

Cybernetics is the study of control of man and the machine. In the 21st century the man and machine exist as embedded parts of each other. Online cybernetic loops continue the same process initiated by radio and television. We buy their products. We buy their logics. We buy their “truths.” We buy their despair. They record the data of our actions and interactions and dependent on the prevailing themes of desires of the day, “they” (advertisers, media companies, politicians, and others) inject inputs into the social media system in order to sell to us, promote us to think certain things, and influence our cognition.

Theorists of the past 70 years have gone out of their way to propagate this idea through their writings and inventions. The technocrats racing to the top of our social pyramid believe this to be true as well. The singularity of thought influencing and social engineering is what they naively expect to take place.

The main input remains the machine (soc media) and the results are read “IRL” as we the actors respond to changes in the loop.

So, what does the controller system want?

It wants to be able to eventually predict behaviors.

Now, Twitter, and all social media apps, run algorithms which track and monitor everyone’s preferred streams of information. We already know that FB and other apps have run actual psychological test studies on users.

Concerning Twitter we can see how news stories are injected into the ‘system’ the ‘environment’ is altered and our comments, shares, and likes provide feedback to the controllers as to the result of the injection. “They” can move on to creating new inputs, altered inputs, and other forms of coercion to change the environment and how we act in it. This type of action is literally what people back in the day were imagining: Forms of unobtrusive social control and influence.
Shadow banning, news advisories, site and content warnings, and even suspensions are a form of operant conditioning.
If Twitter or your browser ‘warns’ you about a site or its content, there are many ppl who will follow that directive without thinking. Not all warnings are legitimate but intended to alter and control your behavior.
 News stories flow through the system and using influencers and shares propagate ACROSS communities in a way that wouldn’t be possible if we weren’t online. In this regard you can spread “outrage” like a virus. You can spread disinformation as a virus.
Follow that up with another input from the “controller system” as cable news outlets follow up with the same content and reinforce the ‘reality’ that has been created in cyberspace.

Daily, it seems, we have a story that refreshes a prior story. A new tidbit of information to argue and get angry over, and a continuation of meta-themes of the time.

Day after day people engage these topics, either seriously or in jest…

Image result for twitter trending

Once it is complete, as if it is not already, “they” will be able to program and deliver: outrage, fear, introspection, doubt, suspicion or obedience. Where does it all end?

How do you get off this train? Can you beat or join or Them in a domain where they made the walls, mirrors, floors, doors and they control the lights?

Welcome to the West World of the Western World as it exists within the confines of a cybernetic loop erected in cyberspaces…

 

HISTORY IN 4D – HEURISTICS FOR THE AGE OF INFORMATION WARFARE

ABSTRACT

This is the latest in a series of essays concerning a concept known as History in 4D. History in 4D on one hand is an assessment of the modern information space as being overwhelmingly influenced by political, corporate and military intelligence actors who through guarded communications with the public craft a version of reality using narrative structures embedded in mass media communications. On the other hand, History in 4D is a set of heuristics for use by students, teachers, analysts and information seeking citizens as they attempt to make meaning out of the endless waves of narratives thrown at them. In total, History in 4D is a method of viewing history and current events in an effort to improve media literacy and one’s general awareness about history and how the world operates. If 2016-2018 has proven anything they have proved that the Information Age has given birth to the Age of Information Warfare and our minds are all in the crossfire.

Keywords: Media studies, Narrative history, Politics, Content Analysis, Mass media, self education, History, Journalism

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HISTORY IN 4D – PANOPTIC PERSUASION

 

ABSTRACT

The influential power of narrative story telling throughout human history was a topic I touched upon in the first essay of this series. In the following installments I examined how the Nazi’s methods of mass media communications directly influenced much of what we consider ‘normal’ media relations today. That was followed by an examination of the figures in American Intelligence who spearheaded bringing that style to the American controlled theaters during WWII and throughout the Cold War.

This essay will examine an example of the means by which the e-State went about gathering the data they would use to craft images and narratives that burrowed right to the heart of human cognition. Employing a mixture of advertising, marketing, and psychological warfare techniques the powers that be have raised a Tower of Babel using fiber optics from which it broadcasts its soliloquies 24 hours a day in every direction imaginable.

“The e-State is the transnational collective consisting of powerful financiers, media companies, “mainstream” elite academia, globe spanning political networks and the military industrial complex.”

Key Words: Mass Observation, Sociology, Psychology, Edward Bernays, Ministry of Information, U.K history, US history, Public relations, Public Polling, Gallup, Cold War, WWI, WWII, Mass Media Communications, Propaganda, Narrative history, Media analysis, Social analytics

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HISTORY IN 4D – WARLORDS OF THE INFORMATION AGE

ABSTRACT

The overt and covert battle of ideologies known as the Cold War should never be viewed as too far disconnected from the events that gave birth to it which are World I and World War II. This essay, which is part three of a series, Part I, and Part II, explores the backgrounds and thinking of some of the people involved in crafting the US projection of self through narrative after WWII. The last essay in the series made the argument that the Nazi’s methods of mass media communication and indoctrination were utilized by the West after the war. This is an exploration of some of the historical facts which undergird that premise and an examination of the divergence between presentation and reality concerning historical ‘defenders of democracy’. 

Key Words: Allen Dulles, James Angleton, Edward Lansdale, Henry Kissinger, Cold War, WWI, WWII, Mass Media Communications, Propaganda, Narrative history

HISTORY IN 4D –

WARLORDS OF THE INFORMATION AGE

Who are spies? Where do they come from? What are some real world implications of what they do?

The gathering of intelligence and production of effective counter-intelligence methods are as ancient as the act of war itself. Cross cultural Information warfare grew in concert with the spread of mass-media communications in the wake of WWI and WWII. The Cold War was fought on every conceivable battleground from the physical to the ideological.

The cultural Cold War that was waged included CIA, MI-6 and KGB funded art, literature, film and other myriad business interests and in many ways was just as impactful as the proxy wars fought all over the world by the two super powers of the era. Utilizing its network of agents the CIA wove itself into the very fabric of US media outlets. High ranking members of the CIA and other US intelligence agencies were already acquaintances, business partners and family members with the doyens of media, finance and industry as the latter largely hailed from the same class of American aristocracy.

One thing that spies spend a lot of time doing that the average person may be unaware of is write. Spies write news, they write movie scripts, consult on television shows and occasionally even have their hand in our music.

Having covered how the Nazi model of mass media psychological indoctrination was studied and applied by the Anglo powers in the last essay, the topic of discussion in this edition will center upon the American spies who had a large influence in the modality of communication by the e-State. These are the architects of the way the history of the 20th century is narrativized in the West to this day. 

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RESPILLING OLD TEA: A SURVEY OF NEWS STORIES ABOUT PAST PRESIDENTS 5 YEARS BEFORE BEING ELECTED

The reality show that is the US presidency is one of the most ostentatious and expensive productions the world has ever known. Its producers are massive corporations, political parties, financial institutions and military interests. Its actors hail from the best universities, families, and fraternal societies across America. Seeing an actor give a tour de force performance in a movie or television show can have the effect of coloring your opinion of them from then on. Making it hard to distinguish or appreciate them when they play another role. Other actors are trapped in their past and end up typecast into a series of roles based upon the character they’d played at some prior date.

The public image of any president, for better of for worse, is dramatically altered by the time their terms are up. Examining the maelstrom of media coverage concerning current president Donald Trump. media analysts may, if they can remove the chastity belts of partisanship the wear so proudly, look to investigate the media’s presentation of presidential hopefuls in the past and how public perception shifts over time. Ensconced in a hyperreality of mass news and social media communications we now experience the phenomenon of public figures ‘coming out of no-where,’ juxtaposed with the actions of known public figures either being buried or constantly reintroduced into the news cycle.

Due to the power of narrative driving by media outlets, which nowadays seek to run parallel with public trends rather than serve as somewhat non-partisan reporters, candidates can be recast in new roles with a speed and efficacy never before imagined. In this last election we saw a New York billionaire braggart transformed into a populist hero going to Washington to drain the swamp of career politicians and greedy oligarchs.

That character ran against another media invention. This time it was a humble woman of the people, public servant and feminist who — despite being having been a well known political figure and source of controversy for decades — had been reborn as a as a kind, loving, hot sauce in her purse carrying, strong female leader unafraid to wage war wherever and whenever possible. 

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HISTORY IN 4D – VISUALIZING THE FUTURE – HOW THE NAZI’S MODE OF MASS MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS BECAME THE GLOBAL STANDARD

The introduction to this series of essays, “History in 4D – The Birth of The e-State,” can be found here.

Abstract

History in 4D is a series of essays examining the concept of the history of the 20th century as presented through the “public forum,” consisting of literature, film and mass media communications. These essays will investigate, analyze and present observations based on the assumption that in the 20th century the influence of state and corporate sponsored propaganda, government information classification strategies and the influence of the military industrial complex’s on television programming, news, and films has left us with hologram version of history which they present as factual.

Key Words:

Narrative history, Philosophy of History, Mass media communications, Media Studies, Narrative History, Literature, Intelligence Community, Military Industrial Complex, Cold War, Stylistics, Psychological Operations, Public Relations, WWII, Nazis, Allies, Axis

Word Count: 3263

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HISTORY IN 4D: BIRTH OF THE e-STATE

 

The e-State is the transnational collective consisting of powerful financiers, media companies, “mainstream” elite academia, globe spanning political networks and the military industrial complex.

Abstract: History in 4D is a series of essays examining the concept of the history of the 20th century as presented through the “public forum,” consisting of literature, film and mass media communications. These essays will investigate, analyze and present observations based on the assumption that in the 20th century the influence of state and corporate sponsored propaganda, government information classification strategies and the influence of the military industrial complex’s on television programming, news, and films has left us with a hologram version of history which they present to us as factual.

Keywords: Narrative history, Philosophy of History, Mass media communications, Media Studies, Narrative History, Literature, Intelligence Community, Military Industrial Complex, Cold War, Stylistics, Psychological Operations, Public Relations

Word count: 3002

 

 

HISTORY IN 4D:

BIRTH OF THE e-STATE

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THE INFORMATION AGE: SHRUGGED

THE INFORMATION AGE SHRUGGED

If you had to describe it, what stage of the information age are we in?

Pondering this while running a cursory google search for some quick information served as the impetus for this essay. Following up on something that caught my eye during a documentary I knew that I’d have dig through the results a little bit. The topic was a figure from WWII and some of his exploits after the war. Due to some recent news the searches were only pulling from stories going back to 2015 (within the first 5 pages) and not coming close to stories that provided the information I was seeking. By altering the date settings I eventually found more on the topic. Through this exercise I realized something, Google search is “flattening,” time. Studies show that people don’t often go beyond the first few pages of search results, in fact, Google hopes that your answer is the first result shown to you. With the myriad of articles these days routed through AMP, AP, and Reuters, based on templates, you’ll get literally hundreds of articles based not only on the same topic, but sharing very similar text and story lines.

As a society have we hurtled past the actual desire to know things, and now are in the “utilization or implementation” stage of the Information Age? Never before has the world known as much nor had as much information available to the layman as right now. Yet the signs that, not only are we NOT smarter as a human society, but the wide availability of so much data actually tends to cause people to huddle into information silos. Awash in waves of data, opinions, facts, fake news and alternative realities, the root of all human imagery is the most under attack. That root lies in words. I heard someone say once that “Language is a technology that man uses to trap Time.” Through the act of delineating time via the use of language with terms such as past, present, future, and then planning, wading through and finally arriving at that “time” Man has trapped it, and himself, in language. Breaking time down into vocabulary is actually what created the tableau of time upon which Man measures the past, experiences the present and plans for the future. What is the technology of language being used to do in the Information Age?

I would posit that we are at the realization stage of this Era, where it becomes evident that the Information Age is about one’s ability to discern the true meaning of scenarios and even terms on your own amidst the maelstrom of words and images coming our way with no end in sight.

THE ARCHITECTURE OF MEANING

George Orwell famously wrote, “It’s a beautiful thing the destruction of words.” In this stage of the so-called Information Age that statement rings truer than ever before. Neologisms flood our world and bring with them variants on historical thought, culture and human nature. Intellectualists have always bumped heads with others concerning a perceived elitism regarding intellectual pursuits. One of these pursuits is colloquially referred to as being a “Word or Grammar Nazi.”  Such pejoratives are usually deployed to silence the speaker, belittle their point and alienate them from the debate’s observers. However in a language like English the actual definition of a word can not be ignored. The problem is that it can take a quite erudite person to engage and defuse such tactics in open conversations. Part of the Information Age’s effect on language has been the introduction and major of use of terms related to computing, commerce, and political actions. These terms naturally have embedded themselves into the minds of the users and in many ways created tableaus more in line with what the powers that be would like for us all to be thinking and saying.

Languages work in many ways and English is a language where the specific meanings are encoded in specific words. Contrast this with the German language which utilizes compound or multi-syllabic words which communicate a statement. For example, shadenfreude, which is defined as, “is the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another.” The term is a compound of Schaden ‘damage, harm’ and Freude ‘joy.’ In English we’d probably say the person was evil, a hater, or petty. Yet one can glean from the usage that shadenfreude includes a sense of righteous ‘hating,’ to a degree and that the joy taken from other’s failure is deserved. Therefore it’s akin to celebrating the hubris or arrogance which lead to the failure of a foe.

An example of definitional complexity in English is found in the term, palimpsest, which means “a manuscript page, either from a scroll or a book, from which the text has been scraped or washed off so that the page can be reused for another document.” Another example would be some walls that contain hieroglyphics in Egypt. Modern scholars have found their prior views to have been misinterpretations of symbols due to the realization that some marks had been scratched out and written over producing designs which our era then mis-read. Walls in ancient Egypt were palimpsests. While you can take the time to describe this concept, if the word is understood by your audience you can save time and space, as well as use the term symbolically and literarily to create further meaning. Colloquial English generally remains divorced from higher level academic and technical English via this mechanism of higher order concepts being encapsulated in advanced ‘terminology.’

HOW WORDS WORK

A study of language in any depth soon uncovers the manner in which all languages continually change and evolve. Slang notwithstanding many terms end up ‘meaning’ something they weren’t intended to. This happens because of the manner in which words and their definitions tend to be treated in our daily lives.

There are three ways in which word meanings are used and understood:

(1) a standard or dictionary meaning,

(2) a colloquial or “average person” meaning and

(3) how the term is used during political or public speaking.

In our times these three layers of meaning are all used quite often due to the high level of media technology and the speed and reach of social media outlets.  We are bombarded with a cascade of words and meaning on nearly a minute by minute basis. And while many people today are more aware of media bias, spin and even psychological operations, we can see as the vitriol and debates continue to rise, folks still are not on the same page. Partisanship, especially in the U.S., has promoted further group segmentation, creation of vernacular, and manners of speech meant to connote one’s allegiance to some ideological faction or another. Disturbingly people seem to be more focused on their own lexicon rather than noticing how there has been a national creep towards anti-intellectual discourse.

WORDS HAVE MEANING?

Words have always been weaponized and used as barricades to understanding. A subtle trick of the use of ‘words’ in this stage of the Information Age has been push to use abbreviations of headlines and media speech. This reason this matters is due to the influential part media has to play in colloquial speech these trends invariable become encoded in our language and the catalog of how history is verbally negotiated. Abbreviations serve to communicate a series of words more quickly, yet it also has the effect of minimizing the scope of the matter.

As many a ritual and verbal affirmation across cultures require, the ‘saying of the name,’ the delegating of that action also has an unseen effect. Saying POTUS instead of the President of the United States creates the feeling of big cartoony icon buttons with rounded corners on your iPhone update versus old attempts by Microsoft to look sharp and futuristic with clean straight lines and drab blue and grey default options. OBL just doesn’t sting like Ossama Bin Laden. Watching a journalist or politician say it almost can feel like a comical way of dancing around saying the name of a local bully. These abbreviations and buzz word embed themselves into the architecture of speech and slowly push anti-intellectualism to the fore in our discourse. This happens as the result of simplifying issues and ideas into memes and quips produces very few results, let alone truly enlightening debate or discourse.

At the level below the voices of the media and the State, rival intellectual factions have always had their own code words and vocabularies. In our current age the interplay of social media promotion and cable news networks fanning the flames of partisanship by the winds of gusts they create attempting to keep up with new truth of online news preeminence, coalesce into purposeful Orwellian attempts at word alternation in real time. Certain groups attempt to repurpose invectives from Trump into slogans, terms like “woke” are used by numerous factions both in mocking and duplicitous ways. In addition you’ll notice blatant Orwellianisms like “Patriot Acts,” “Regime Change,” and “Humanitarian Interventions,” applied to legally repugnant legislature, military backed coups, and preemptive wars, funneling into the speech patterns of regular men and women on the street. Once couldn’t ask for a greater infiltration of thought through language than to have someone who claims they are a lover of peace defending one President’s “wars of humanitarian intervention,” as more just than a President’s wars for “regime change,” and “nation building.” Over the years the media has injected evermore terms from the worlds of advertisers, corporate financiers and the military that many of us speak in the voices of the those entities without knowing it. How does one express disagreement with the powers that be when you’ve subtly become to communicating amongst yourselves in their language?

To be continued…

 

 

DIGGING IN THE CRATES #2: “The Image” by Daniel Boorstin

“Digging in the Crates” is a series of posts related to reading done either for research or personal edification taken from texts of the past. Many of these will be refashioned posts created from threads I have posted on Twitter. I’m not sure how others do threads but I tend to make them more ad-hoc than finely tuned, on purpose, which coincides with how I view Twitter as a more immediate and improvisational medium. Not all agree with my view of Twitter but that’s how I see it and use it. In this series I will transpose some of those Twitter threads but also reserve the right to embellish and update the topic matter on this site. The subject matter usually concerns themes which connect the past and the present through various ‘evidences’ of connections I ferret out from my research.


 

1) THE NEWS – A Thread: The promotion of “news” outside of the gossip of the average person has always been political. There is an endgame (all-ways).

2) Daniel Boorstin argues that a Graphic Revolution took place in the late 1800s which brought us to our current state. Yet the MO is old.

 

3) Focusing on the American scene he discusses “pseudo-events” as the basis for what we call News and Public Relations, its bastard child.

4) America is a special in many ways. An important way is the method of “public sphere creation” using the media.

5) The lofty ideals of journalism, honestly, were never being used on a mass scale. The “newspaper” has always been a tool of political aims.

6) Ask yourself, “why?” would elites share information with the subjects they largely want to keep under thumb? In order to in-form you…

7) Reporters, editors and writers, “decide” the angles of “stories” they chose which they deem “new worthy” and they always have.

8) The tenor of the language proliferates into the public sphere, and if the news isn’t enough the academics and pundits ensure it does.

9) Writing in 1962 he was basically called our present out. At that time he said the “news” was full nonsense for 50 years already.

10) This pseudo-event concept is useful. In his view most things we take for news or information aren’t really either.

11) Boorstin’s definition of a pseudo event in 4 parts. It is planned, promoted, presented and then commented on.

The loop is reinforcing

12) Very quickly the desires of the public 2 remain ‘informed’ when no big events were taking place led 2 the industrial creation of events

13) And of course we have Edward Bernays, nephew Sigmund “freaky” Freud, on the scene waving a visibly hidden hand…

14) Bernay’s features heavily in the entire US and western canon concerning commercial promotion, ad psychology and public psyops

15) Hired to promote cigarettes he dubbed them “freedom torches” and hired women to perform a fake march in NYC…

16) The idea that smoking was a revolutionary act for women at the time was enough to write ‘stories’ about. Yet in reality, it was staged.

17) Now turn to modern ‘daily’ ‘local’ news. What % of that is usually crime? Crime not even in your city, or country? Is that truly news?