Words ‘n shit: A means for control

To my gentle, simple-minded readership

This site, at its core, is the finest thing that has ever existed when it comes to communications and Spaceship Earth.

See, this baby right here…

/slaps the site on the hood and kicks a tire

This baby right here is where the secrets get divulged.

Don’t get too excited, too fast. It’s not the secret of how Area 51 is the boogeyman of secret government Areas. Nor is it the secret that publishing will get me jail time for (yet). It’s also not the secret of the little tiny mouse that sits on a platform inside Boris Johnson’s skull and drives it around London. Additionally, it isn’t the Secret of NIMH, for those of you who love action-packed children’s films that are a bit too dark for their own fuckin’ good.

Nah, bruh. This right here, this effort of Mean Ol’ Publius Minimus, is where the communications secrets come to roost. The technical secrets. The trade secrets. The hows and whys of where and when things got sooooo fucked up in relation to how modern society understands events, actions, individuals, systems and our own goddamn timeline.

And, much to my delight (and to your dismay) ALL Y’ALL MOTHERFUCKERS ARE PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE. Technically, all US motherfuckers, but it stands to reason that since I’m the oneswriting, and you’re the ones reading, then we’ve already come around to our part in all this.

As a quick aside… Not to sound indelicate, but CAN you read?

Now then, that slight ramble aside (it’s only aside, meaning it’s coming back), the purpose of this overall site will be – if I can stay on task – to take a dive into what’s going on in the world and focusing on how that thing or things are being communicated, and whats more, I’ll even give you a ride around the lot to show you how and why The People (Peace Be With You) are eating that miserable fuckin’ shit right the fuck up.

But Publius, you bleat, how can we be sure you are who you say you are?

Sweet summer child, I answer, that it doesn’t matter since we never claimed to be anyone. I can only show you how these communications strategies, methodologies and tactics are affecting the modern world. And how they’re doing it on purpose (and sometimes, to the shareholders’ delight, by accident).

But Publius, you sniffle, how come swear so much?

Because curse words are the spices that aid the million words in the language we’re communicating in. (That’s English for most of you, but apparently translated into Albanian moreso than any others. FREE KOSOVO!)

That’ll get the censors clacking.

Let’s walk down this road a bit, shall we? I’ll do a brief overview of how we got where we are.

Killer Fact: This is going to remain at the 50,000 foot level. This is the extensive version. We can do intensive versions individually later, but NO PROMISES!

Communications in the new millennium can be successful, but only positive in a historic sense if undertaken with the care given to authenticity and integrity. The changing mediums, demographics, consumption habits and verification processes (where they exist) all demand that society revisit our communications strategies.

But society is slow to change. Society, like government (and we know y’all are gonna hate this) is supposed to be a behemoth; a lumbering giant that you can see a mile away. Know why that is? Because those types of things can’t sneak up on people, or their rights. Lumbering behemoths can’t NOT be transparent. Giant institutions can’t keep secrets as well as small ones.

Killer Fact: Now you’re wondering if that’s the reason why right-leaning politicians have tried to convince the public that we need “businessmen” in government, because “They know how to get things done.” Yes. That’s exactly the reason. And businessmen can “get shit done” because they don’t have to work on behalf of ALL the public. Just their shareholders (PEACE BE UPON THEM). 

Whether you like it or not, the bureaucracy present in both (yes, both) society and government helps slow things down just enough so that the people have a fighting fuckin’ chance. That’s a feature, not a bug. Or at least, it has been. Change happens because progressives (those arguing for progress, not necessarily those in the left wing) are constantly agitating against the system. Regressives want to keep things the same, or worse, go backward.

Consider this: From Benjamin Franklin’s time to the era of Facebook, the Public Sphere has changed considerably. Back in the day, when Franklin was riding out the war chasing French skirts, the mediums of the day – even when they printed #FakeBylines (looking at you, Silence Dogood) – were fairly reliable. You could go down to the printers and at least ask the motherfucker “What gives?!” Now, you’re lucky to get a response from customer service of why your paper was late or why your image got appropriated by a shitty political group on Facebook.

There’s this thing that happens. Let’s just assume that you’re all from the U.S.A., (minus you Kosovar Freedom Fighters). This thing that happens is called “Bad Information,” and it plays a role in society.

In the age of Franklin, Bad Information was limited, and any decent person of moderate common sense and critical thinking skills could track it.

In the age of Facebook, it got messy. This was also a feature, not a bug.

feature

Lookit that cute lil sumbitch.

This happened more or less in line with the need for the Power Structure (the politicians, CEOs, religious leaders, and more) to keep the population under control. Kinda hard to do when they’ve got free, instant access to the all the world’s information, innit?

For most of human history, we didn’t have formal systems of communication. It took a while for language to take hold, and even longer for written patterns to emerge.

Estimates put humanity between 100,000 and 250,000 years old. For the sake of argument, I will go with 100,000 since that’s less liable to melt your brains. It’s still early, you see.

For most of that 100,000, we communicated using the oral tradition. Stories passed down through generations. Interestingly enough, those works that stayed alive long enough to be recorded were analyzed by a guy named Joseph Campbell, who found that throughout all of the different cultures, mythologies and religions of the world, there were patterns in the story-telling. But that’s another story. One that’s good enough to tell on behalf of Campbell, and one that’s sure to make the world just a little smaller.

So, this oral tradition continues to this day in the form of old folks passing along stories of their people to grandkids and such. But, for most of humanity we ONLY communicated that way. Until around 15,000 years ago (give or take) when some random guy left his mark on the world and started using his hands and whatever else he had on site (blood and ash, most likely) to make cave paintings.

This was widely considered to be very silly indeed.

So you get about 85,000 years into humanity’s lifespan before the first non-verbal, non-body language communication shows up. It took another 10,000 years until cuneiform came around in Sumeria and is the first major societal use of “written” language. But, the Power Structure understood that if all the people knew it, then they’d be less easy to control.

This type of thing continues for a bit until someone discovers paper! OH BOY! This transforms language again, and gives an easier ability to the ruling class to transfer ideas, at least among themselves. And that’s where it’s kept for the next few thousand years until BLAMMO! The printing press!

This was widely considered a bad idea. At least by the ruling class. Because from here on out it gave the opportunity for more books, which could get into the hands of the people, which could teach them to read, and therefore, TO QUESTION!

Luckily, probably more for them then anyone else, they were able to keep a lid on widespread literacy until the last couple hundred years. Then we get a more literate population, who likes to read the fuckin’ paper every morning.

American Morning Routine, circa 1800-1990s:
-Morning paper;
-Coffee;
-Take a dump.

This routine proves highly useful. Later, the morning paper as an external source of information is complemented by 1) The evening news (first on radio, then TV), and 2) The nightly news. While it’s quite a bit of information instead of just the daily (or weekly) newspaper, it’s not too much. Then, Main Street America starts to die. That’s for another tale of Economics, Leisure and Convenience. For now, we’ll just say that it also caused “Newspapers to decline” in that with fewer Mom & Pop Main Street businesses to advertise, there was less revenue. So… papers consolidated. But the overall number of people subscribing stayed the same for quite some time.

Previously, you’d have a few newspapers in a county or larger municipality, right? And you’d have a fair number of people who’d subscribe to both/all. But, when those newspapers started shuttering and combining with others, the total number of overall subscriptions went down, but the number of people subscribing stayed the same. Get it?

And then, it happened.

Widespread cable (and satellite) television that created WAAAAAYYYYYY more fuckin’ channels, and now, a 24-hour news cycle. Previously, the news had been part of the channel on ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS. But with cable TV giving each topic it’s own goddamn channel, it had to start pumping out content ALL DAY LONG. Originally, this was good for news, bad for people. The big stations would have bureaus all over the world that were filled with local subject matter experts. But, it was too much information for a species who’d spent nearly all of its history just talking to each other around the fire at night.

It gets worse when politics gets involved and the stations stake out political territory. This is a bit subtle at first, but after the Global War of/on Terror breaks out, it gets worse, and comes to a fever pitch after one piece of legislation in 2013. I’ll get to that later. It’s worsened still by the AGE OF THE INTERNET!

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Even though we thought the Internet would free us, what happened was the reverse. A handful of major corporations (PEACE BE UPON THEM) had ended up seizing back the means of control, and ended up with near-total dominance of a market that had, at its best, been democratized. The Internet would soon follow.

Future historians will look upon this period with wonder and despair. And it’s always future historians, isn’t it? Like, past historians can’t take a chance and just make a prediction. Assholes.

With the advent of the 24-hour news cycle and the Digital Age, how people consume news and information changes. Remember back on the Serengeti, or in the Black Forest, or wherever your miserable ancestors hailed from, when all information inputs beyond-line-of-sight were told through the oral tradition? That provided people with ample time to consume information being presented to them. So what happens in the future now of timeline ‘Murica 2015, when people are inundated with the following:

  • Morning Newspaper (yes it still exists);
  • Evening and Nightly News;
  • Other news all goddamn day on television;
  • OP/Ed and Commentary, again all goddamn day (some of it masquerading as news);
  • Countless terrestrial and satellite radio stations, and countless more television stations (plus their HD counterparts);
  • Email, for work, business and that sock-puppet account you keep, Brenda;
  • Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all the rest, ad nauseum;
  • The digital apps of all of the above, now with “push notifications.”

It means we can’t fuckin’ shut it off. We’re constantly getting berated by televisions and radios in offices and waiting rooms, plus whatever the family has on at home. To top it off, every 1999 Mom’s Worst Nightmare is coming true and PEOPLE ARE GOING ON THE INTERNET AND LYING, only this time Brenda is abso-FUCKIN-lutely feeding the craze by liking and sharing those hoaxes, real time.

And then, the push notifications. Oh yeah, those.

What is, Publius? you ask, clearly out of your depth.

Gentle-minded reader, a push notification is an action taken by a digital app(lication) on your phone or tablet that sends little messages to your lock screen so that when you’re not actively looking at your phone, it’s trying to sucker you back in. Because the corporations are in control, assholes, and they need your face taking up as much screen time as possible so that the sweet advertising revenue can flow, and they can collect as much personal data as possible.

Also, the fringe benefit (but not first order purpose here) is that if you’re stuck on your digital device longer than you would have chosen to be strictly because your push notifications won the battle with your psyche, you’re now going to suffer from Mean World Syndrome, Overchoice, and Information Exhaustion. But don’t worry, in your confusion you can always count on the snake oil salesmen to sell you the remedy.

Someday, I’ll probably go into things like Mean World Syndrome (updated as of April 2018), Overchoice and Information Exhaustion in more detail. For now, here’s a spirited, and incredibly brief list:

  • Mean World Syndrome is when you’ve consumed so much negative media imagery that you think that the whole world’s gone crazy, and that PEOPLE DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THE RULES.
  • Overchoice is exactly that – too many goddamn choices so people either don’t start, or they regress to something familiar.
  • Information Exhaustion presents similarly as Mean World Syndrome, with a distinction. Whereas Mean World Syndrome makes you wary, pessimistic and sad about everything, Information Exhaustion makes you more apathetic, or even nihilistic. That’s when you believe in NOTHING.
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So they’ll just take the monies you got on you and… calls it even.

That’s all by design, you see? The Economic Masters (and the Political ones, too) want to keep you guessing. They want to appear as the only authentic brands in town, even if their authenticity is steeped in lying and polished bullshit. Because when you can divide a people, you can control a people.

When you have the means of control over communications back in the hands of a very few select individuals, that means that any truth is going to be very hard to sort out. But not to worry, strange and wonderful readers: that’s what Mean Ol’ Publius is here for.

2 comments

  1. […] We’ve addressed this many times, in many ways, before. […]

  2. […] worries though, we shall maintain the same amount of dignified radicalism as […]

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