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.
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)
- 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:
- Vicki Bennet (aka People like us) People like us / Apocalypse Now
Kendall Jenner / Charlottesville Cutup. Source
- Ieshia Evans standing up to riot police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Also the time someone deleted Trump’s Twitter for half an hour
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.