“Ditto,” said Tweedledum.
“Ditto, ditto!” cried Tweedledee.
– Lewis Carroll, Through The Looking-Glass
Sometimes a trifling contretemps can open a window onto significant issues.
As a case in point, The New York Times, a newspaper that regularly publishes U.S. propaganda without a bit of shame or remorse, recently reported on a controversy involving Simon & Schuster and Bob Dylan’s new book, The Philosophy of Modern Song. The report with the same information was repeated across the media.
The publishing company had offered limited-edition, authenticated, hand-signed copies of the book for $600 each. Nine Hundred collectors and die-hard fans bought a copy, many, no doubt, caught in hero worship and the thought that a Dylan-penned signature would grant them a bit of his fame through the touch of his hand upon their lives.
The quest for immortality takes many forms, and the laying on of hands, even when done remotely through a signature, has long been a popular form of sleight-of-hand.
I once shook hands with an Elvis hologram impersonator and the thrill vibrated for days.
But these Dylan aficionados noticed something strange about the signatures: They didn’t seem to be actual signatures individually written with a pen by Dylan. As anyone knows from their own handwriting, no two signatures are the same, since the human hand is not a copy machine. These signatures were identical.
It turned out that those who smelled a deception were right. Under pressure from astute purchasers, Simon & Schuster had to come clean – sort of. They offered to refund all purchasers for the deception. They released the following statement:
To those who purchased The Philosophy of Modern Song limited edition, we want to apologize. As it turns out, the limited editions books do contain Bob’s original signature, but in a penned replica form. We are addressing this immediately by providing each purchaser with an immediate refund.
This statement is a perfect example of double-talk, and more.
Then Dylan also apologized, saying that he used an auto-pen since he was suffering from vertigo and “during the pandemic, it was impossible to sign anything and the vertigo didn’t help.” His apology seems sincere compared to the publisher’s double-talk, but then again, so did his signatures. And the controversy has spread to the limited edition prints of his artwork.
“Limited edition prints” – a deception in itself, as if limiting the number of copies of an original painting makes them more original. Ten dittos instead of eleven.
However, I am not primarily concerned with the nuances of this tempest in a teapot, which might disappear as fast as yesterday’s bluster, or it may forever tarnish Dylan’s reputation, which would be a shame if it also damaged the genuine greatness of his songs.
I would like to focus on the following matters that I have seen through its window: language usage, a society of copies, reading texts closely, and the degradation of literacy, all of which are tangled together with non-stop government propaganda disseminated by the corporate mass media to form a major social issue.
First, language. Note in the Simon & Schuster apology the words: “As it turns out, the limited editions books do contain Bob’s original signature, but in a penned replica form.” This is a clear deception twice over. The books do not contain original signatures; they contain machine copies of it. Phrasing it that way allows the company to plead innocent while also apologizing for its innocence as if they consider themselves guilty. What exactly are they saying they are apologizing for? Deceptions dittoed?
And the phrase “As it turns out,” implies that Simon & Schuster was surprised that the signatures were machine generated, which is highly improbable. It also suggests they are not responsible; such verbiage approximates the common, passive introductory phrase “it so happens” or the equally non-literate “hopefully” to begin a sentence.
“It so happens” that I am writing these words and “it so happens” that you are reading them…as if we are victims of our own free choices. Passive language for victims of fate who have learned to write and talk this way to avoid responsibility even for their own hope, as in: “I hope.” Or maybe the widespread copycat use of “hopefully” is an unconscious attempt to deny pervasive hopelessness. No matter how many times you repeat something doesn’t make it true.
The use of such language is a reflection of an age in which determinism has for decades been repeatedly promulgated to extinguish people’s belief in freedom. Ditto: Saying “the exact same” doesn’t make the same more same through redundancy. You can’t get any more same than same since same means identical, or any more opposite than opposite even if you say “the exact opposite.” The English language is suffering.
To top it off, an esteemed book publishing company nearly a century old concludes with a sentence that a high school freshman – circa 1960 before all the dumbing-down of schooling – would realize was redundant with the words “immediately” (misplaced) and “immediate,” as if repetition would emphasize their contrition. “We are addressing this immediately by providing each purchaser with an immediate refund.” Ditto.
But who notices these things?
Discerning readers – whether of the examples above or of a subtle controlled- opposition media article suggesting one thing while meaning another – are becoming rarer and rarer. Ideology, political party allegiances, and plain stupidity block many from grasping propaganda and media claims made out of thin air.
Anonymous sources, subtle phrasing, real or imagined intelligence sources, the use of words such as may, might, possible, could be, etc., are a staple of so much writing and broadcast news that they fly by people used to the speed of the digital life with texting and internet browsing where repetition and copying are king. Yes, speed kills in so many ways. The repetition of talking points across the major corporate media, something carefully studied and confirmed years ago, has become so obvious to anyone who chooses to take the time to investigate. It’s not hard to do but few bother; they are too “busy.” Thus propaganda and gibberish pass unnoticed.
Just as “The Real McCoy” (see the opening “Refrain” of Hillel Schwartz’ The Culture of the Copy) was a fake and the phrase came to represent the genuine to supposedly confirm authenticity, we are now living in an era of the counterfeit everywhere. Counterfeits of counterfeits. Imposters. Actors playing actors. Counterfeit traitors. Fabricated reality and copies of copies. Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. Lies about not lying. (See The New York Times’, The Guardian’s, etc. deceptive, hypocritical, and self-serving joint letter asking the U.S government to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.)
The Dylan controversy is a very minor example of a major issue that is little appreciated for its devastating impact on society.
For another minor example, we may ask how many times does one have to see the replay of Christian Pulisic’s recent goal against Iran in the 2022 World Cup to grasp its brilliance and to see that he was injured? Two, three, five, ten? And this is a sporting event, not some mall shooting or serious issue of war. In a digital high-tech world repetition is the norm. What does repetition do to the mind?
What does repetition do to the mind?
Despite the great sportsmanship shown by the players from both the U.S. and Iran on the pitch, U.S. Men’s Soccer executives, by deleting the Islamic Republic emblem from Iran’s flag on its social media sites, and the U.S. media tried repeatedly to politicize the game into a battle between the good Americans and the evil Iranians, even while a U.S. regime change color revolution was being attempted on the streets of Iran.
What does repetitious propaganda do to the mind?
Technology has not just allowed for machine signatures but has made us in many ways machine people who need to be hammered over the head time and again – and to like it. To go back again and again for more. Everything but life has become repeatable.
Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby’s reply to Nick’s statement In The Great Gatsby – “You can’t repeat the past,” Nick tells Gatsby, who responds, “Can’t repeat the past? Why, off course you can!” – perfectly captures the “reality” of a digital screen culture of illusions in which many people have unconsciously come to believe that you can instantly replay life as well.
Indeed, to make people into machines is the goal of trans-humanists Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum with its Great Reset and the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda. Artificial intelligence (AI) for artificial people. While there are innocent examples of repetition, the use of it is a fundamental tactic of propaganda, whether that be through words or images. And we are drowning in repeated media/government propaganda about the U.S. war against Russia in Ukraine, Covid19, Iran, China, Syria, etc.
It’s as easy as pie to innocently repeat, as I learned recently when my wife asked me to use her cell phone to take a photograph. Bumpkin that I am who despises these machines, rather than briefly hitting the button I held it down for a few seconds and took the same photo 67 ½ times. It just so happened.
But the propagandists’ repetitions are no accident. You can’t condemn Julian Assange year after year for posting U.S. war crimes – the Afghanistan War Logs – and then try to save your own ass after the man has been persecuted for more than a decade and counting. The media who did this and then wrote the recent letter are counterfeit traitors to the truth and agents of the war criminals. To call them journalists is to misuse language: They are imposters.
What does repetition do to the mind? asked Tweedledum to his identical twin Tweedledee.
Tweedledee replied, Look what it’s done to us.
17 thoughts on “Our Authentically Fake and Hypocritical Society of Copies”
This reminds me of a discussion some years ago about phrases often used like “very unique” or “extremely unique”, emphasizing the “degree” of uniqueness (uniquity?). These may be useful in advertising, but something is either unique or it is not. The word does not suffer modifiers.
Another word brought up in this regard is “elegant”. It is less obvious, but still perhaps applicable that something is either elegant or not. The issue is less cut and dry (see what I did there?) as it is subject to one’s opinion whether to consider something elegant or not, whereas it is theoretically provable that something is unique.
At any rate, Ed, I enjoyed your uniquely elegant treatment of this topic.
We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false – William Casey, CIA Director 1981 (as scribed by one of his staff).
““The observation that vaccinated individuals discriminate against those who are unvaccinated, but that there is no evidence for the reverse, is consistent with work on the psychology of cooperation,” said leading author Alexander Bor, a political psychologist at the George Soros-funded Central European University (CEU).
A Psychological Explanation
Such prejudice can be explained by a psychological mechanism against “free-riding,” according to the study. In other words, a highly polarized and moralized sentiment surrounding COVID-19 vaccination activated this mechanism in vaccinated people, causing them to see those who refuse to get the jabs as morally-failed “free riders” of a collective effort.”
The George Floyd murder video is an example of footage that was watched by many repetitively leading to a false interpretation of that story. I shared it on Facebook with a warning that the video was extremely violent and suggested my Facebook friends might elect to read the text of the event . I found it to be accurate. Over time I have come to believe the repetitive watching of so many of that brutal moment in time has led to a collective mental coma. Floyd and the cop knew each other and worked as security in the same bar on the same days. Chauvin worked outside, Floyd inside. One CBS news story unveiled this reality along with the fact Chauvin was angry at Floyd over money. Floyd was tasked with paying the cop and Chauvin felt he was shorted payment on one occasion. A few online comments from locals attached to a couple of early stories exploring all this i found interesting. Was Floyd part of a counterfeit money operation? Was he spending counterfeit money he was told not to? Why was he so terrified to get in the car with Chauvin? Did he know he was to be taken on a “joy ride” of some sort? One commenter insisted that everybody knew that precinct was known to be in on the local drug trade….Why was all of this not explored by the press? The CBS story fell through the cracks. Early on its hard for power to control all the coverage. They got the bouncer, who worked alongside both Floyd and Chavin to retracted his story with the ridiculous claim that he mistook Floyd for another bouncer. Must be another 6’7′ Floyd look-alike…..That ridulous retraction shut down all follow ups. I did my best searching and the next day retraction shut down all published inquiries….even though in the original story the lead reporter said he talked to others like the bouncer with similar stories. They were afraid to go on camera though he said……What I”m seeing in all this is the CIA using this story to help them engineer the black/white divide. By painting the murder as a racially motivated killing they could temper down the “divide” as it was getting out of control. Now we had a public conviction of a rascist murder. That’s what they wanted not another unveiling of police corruption. I”m speculating. On what little info I have because the press backed down to power. Those in the press that weren’t yet aware of the “relationship” the press has with the CIA……back to the repeated 8 minute torture and murder of Floyd. I think it to be a fine example of a repetitive visual leading to a repeated narrative leading us all to a common sigh…..”At least now they are getting this right!!!” ……No they are not. How racist was the cop. Who knows. All I know is he brutally stayed on George’s neck for a long time and killed him. Was Chavin there to deliver a message? Did he intend to kill him or deliver a very harsh message but lost it? The little reporting on Chavin shows is a long time disturbed figure. ….
Thanks for delving into that mess. Speaking of Julian Assange and company, I’ve started reading “Secret Power: WikiLeaks and Its Enemies,” by the Italian investigative journalist Stefania Maurizi, originally published in her language more than a year ago and released in English by Pluto Press a few weeks ago. It’s wonderful. Reading for people looking for a thorough review of his case. Looking for some reviews of it and may write one myself.
Spectacular Deception of Fascism in our Post-Enlightenment* West
Though sociologist Alexander Dugin could probably explain this better than I. . . it is worth noting that the 19th century French sociologist Emile Durkeim wrote, to the effect, that: a contract between two parties can only become if and only if both parties subscribe to common norms, common values, . . . put another way, share some semblance of similar morality or moral system. In other words: a contract is already [or can only be] a contract before it is a contract — given common value systems, the essential prerequisite; otherwise, there is nothing. Ever. Period. And as with communication in complex industrial society.
As evidenced by Pope Francis’ recent despicable remarks about certain Russian nationals, even the western Pope is captured by western hubris, western ‘exceptionalism’, western forms of nazi-istic world views, and so on and so forth.
More on point: western Pope is captured by western Nihilism.
Conflict and terror collective west, including Pope Francis, by the way, foists on Russia can meaningfully be understood within context of Durkheim, here. . . this obviously also includes the various and sundry narratives of which Time Magazine’s man of the year epitomize. [Why didn’t they just name Bandera instead of Zelensky?]
To borrow and amplify Santayana y Borrás: Those who never learned history are condemned to learn it.
Marx neither first nor last to perceive westernistic disaster capitalism: anti-thesis of a social system, and all that this implies.
Gangster Capitalism at this later stage, perhaps is less opaque conceptually, to at least a few more, perhaps many more, living in our sea to shining sea insane asylum.
L’Étranger by Camus laid it all out with brilliance.
The normalization of the Absurd is a contradiction in terms, yet here we are. And since Absurd can never be the norm, then normless-ness it is.
Anomie, social sphere. Alienation, individual.
Or, to be less “literal”: Lawlessness. Moral Turpitude. As “the norm.”
Scholar Luciana Bohne writes about this in some dimension, including about prospects of transcending the “this” in her studies on Neo-Realism in post WWII European Film [from 1945]. [[” in the end, was neorealism but a portent that interrupted habits and raised questions?”. . . that “grasped for new ways of seeing reality, hitherto distorted by the spectacular deception of fascism.”]]
FN: post-enlightenment for me better captures meaning of what often labeled “post-modernism.”
“The commodity in the stage of its abundance attests to an
absolute break in the organic development of social needs.
The commodity’s mechanical accumulation unleashes a
limitless artificiality in face of which all living desire is disarmed.
The cumulative power of this autonomous realm of artifice
necessarily everywhere entails a falsification of life.”
“Just as early industrial capitalism moved the focus of existence from being to having, post-industrial culture has moved that focus from having to appearing.”
– Guy Debord, from The Society of the Spectacle (1967)
“I once shook hands with an Elvis hologram impersonator and the thrill vibrated for days.”
“As it turns out” – “it so happens” that I not only appreciate your insight and nuanced observations about the world, but also your sense of humor Ed.
Classic Curtin ! Thank you Ed. – ‘Priceless!’
I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate.
I am also currently writing about “Rare & Unique”, as they influence or distinguish between ‘cost’ and ‘value’. If my coffee table is the only POSSIBLE one of its kind, there can be no measure by which ‘cost’ can be established. I guess that is where the word “priceless” comes from.
And the beat goes on: Today!
Ukraine’s supreme court has ruled that the symbols of the infamous 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, also known as the 1st Galician Division, are not Nazi and therefore not banned in the country.
The top court upheld an earlier ruling on the matter, ending a years-long legal battle over the controversial legacy of the notorious formation, comprised primarily of ethnic Ukrainians.
“S” means “super” and “S” means “serving.” That’s right, Super Serving Nazis.
Language & Symbols.
All PT Barnum, 2022 style: A Sucker or Mark or Victim Born Every Nanosecond.
Ironic, no, that there are so many programs in colleges around effective perception management, propaganda, err, communications and journalism classes from another mother.
New entries into Merriam Webster? Ghosting, Shadow Banning, Trigger Warning.
Of course, censorship is now updated as – the process for which overlords, governments, media outlets, corporations, schools decide what can and cannot be seen, heard, spoken, written, filmed. That old time religion – War is Peace, and Lies are Truth.
Imagine how many languages have gone extinct, with the dirties languages of the world – English, Spanish, French – sucking culture and life out of a people’s meaning. Like a virus, the languages of the world are chipped away and ended.
Until we are here, with Anglo Saxon transactional bs language, the language of the lawyers, the CPA’s, the lot of them.
I saw Jimmy Dore’s piece on FTX criminal, Sam FB. Watch this fellow’s blinking and stemming and lying and his flat affect. Jimmy isn’t always in tune with the real world, so this FTX cheat is on the autism spectrum, for sure. That says a lot about how he navigates social cues, how he navigates ripping off investors, all the parties and drug use.
Business as usual.
The English “language” and Media Mauling Communication, along with the inept and inarticulate and boorish politicians, create a dead world. Eutrophication of the soul and the mind with endless empty calories, all those double-and-triple speakers of the world. Where nothing is said in five minutes on the air, where nothing is articulated with 100-page white papers. Until we have 350.org, McKibben and others in that green pornography outfit, saying war is good for the soul, sort of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Sending a UkroNazi ZioLensky more bombs, bullets and bucks is good for the environment.
This is it with the complete viral load of meaningless people and their causes as they – environmentalists – align with Blinken-Biden-Nuland-Kagan- et al? In another post, well, I could explain what is happening to guys and gals in the 350.org camp, but that would again warrant a trigger warning, a prepublication ban, prior restraint, and out and out digital cutting and rewording through algorithms.
Thanks for your work, and, this is my work, too, not Hal or Andy the AI writer.
While holding, ‘NO WAR’ signs in town, and thinking of this post title; I recalled the short story by Mark Twain; The Mysterious Stranger…, always worth another read.
Ahh, thanks for the work, Ed. My last comment posted never made your cut. Hmmm.
Oh well, censorship follows the crowd? I hope not for your sake, Ed.
Yeah, repetition is a killer…just ask someone who has worked on an assembly line. Measuring tiny widgets all day long and to notice not a dent has been made in the widget pile and looking forward to 5 more days of this mind deadening process. Then a new bin of widgets to measure to look forward to. Dylan doesn’t need to worry about paying his bills. Schwab is a slobbering homicidal socio-path and we sit idly waiting for the next sock in the jaw. Gurdjieff frequently referred to humans as machines, mechanical man, since we are not as conscious as we think we are. We are addicted to a sock in the jaw. We escape into nothingness until the next sock in the jaw. Can we become aware of ourselves? Every movement, every sensation, while we blink our eyes and watch our mind wander aimlessly, looking for the next mode of escape from ourselves. We’re already lost and so how do we discover who we really are?
“Not only has man accepted his enslavement; he has even become proud of his enslavement, and this is a terrible thing!”
Bowdoin College, some dump many locals are very proud of for some reason, sponsored 2 speakers on the Ukraine issue. It would have been easier and more honest to simply turn on the TV and let the audience watch and listen to the B.S. When I see the Bowdoin campus, I see 6 varieties of organic apple orchards that could be growing on the space ‘occupied’ by that stale ‘business’ whose only job is indoctrinating young minds so to perpetuate the madness. How many students escape the effects of the local vatican?
Ahh, the great snake oil and sucker born every nanosecond United Snakes of Chaos/Amnesia.
I know some of my former clients have been ripped off by fines, tolls, taxes, fees, late fees, failure to pay, code violations. Many were in jail or prison for debts. And, then, of course, there are 14 million people who have lost driving licensces for unpaid debts, nothing to do with driving under the influence or moving violations.
The number of scams foisted upon vulnerable people — who are these? The old, the infirm, the poor, the young, the traumatized, sick, under-educated, poorly educated? We have a society of robo calls and identity theft and liars in high office getting away with the grift. The states attorneys general have entire centuries worth of work on all the money stolen from people. Financial abuse they may call it, but it is out and out highway robbery.
Language, as in naturally permed hair? It might be funny, but here, we have FTX, and all that is behind that guy, the inside job, all the people wanting 10, 15, 29 percent on their investment? Language, as in hedge fund? What does that mean, other than rip-offs, and the fact these people with algorithm high IQs and math prodigy prowess, well, does it matter when their motivation is sociopathic?
Here, that freak of humanity, and the scams, dirt, democrats, Ukraine, all of it. Now this is on Jimmy Dore:
“With each passing day new details of the malfeasance and outright thievery at the heart of the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX and its founder Samuel Bankman-Fried. Perhaps in an effort at damage control, Bankman-Fried agreed to an interview with ABC host George Stephanopoulos but the results were… not pretty.”
Now, Jimmy makes a point of pointing out the Sammy boy’s “strange” blinking and mouthing before responding to a question. Stemming, and, darn, the flat affect, and, shoot, someone like me — journalist, teacher, union organizer, environmental writer, case manager for homeless and those living with developmental disabilities, and more — knows the signs of high functioning autism. Do we give these guys a pass for their intellectual, developmental and psychological disabilities?
Does that give Sammy a get-out-of-jail card?
The grift and scam and rip-off are the foundation of this country, Jamestown, 1609, onward . . . the entire landscape has been one giant rip-off and murder incorporated. A petri dish on how rotten people from EuroTrashLandia, and those are mostly Anglo Saxons, were/are when illegally entering Turtle Island.
Yeah, the genocide, for sure, at over 100 million indigenous folk on the cutting block.
Giving Dylan a pass, well, that’s something else too. Millions, maybe a billion, in various schemes, banks, Bob has collected.
Imagine all the language, the language of McKibben, the language of 350.org. Again, Hitler might have gotten some LEED platinum awards if his gas chambers were all constructed with sustaible, recylced, repurposed materials, all the energy generated by solar panels, all the water reused, and zero or negative waste certification.
The 350.org founder Bill McKibben characterized Vladimir Putin as “evil” and said that the Biden administration had “played its hand wisely in the buildup to [Russia’s] invasion,” which it had actually helped provoke.
Wasn’t it Liz “I am a Capitalist” Warren touting the greening of the military, you know, French fry recycled oil to run a stealth bomber, and, darn, why not recycled metal for those full metal jackets?
Here, climate activists for war:
Sadly, many leading climate justice groups have cheered on the war in Ukraine—undercutting their environmentalist mission.
On March 1, 2022, 350.org, an activist organization committed to a transition to renewable energy, published an article by Julia Krzyszkowska on its website that might as well have been published by the State Department, CIA or Defense Department.
The article was entitled “Solidarity with the People of Ukraine.” It proclaimed that “Ukraine, a peaceful democratic nation, is under a brutal military attack by Russia’s President Putin.”
However, Ukraine is not a peaceful democratic nation—its democracy was usurped in February 2014 when the U.S. backed a coup overthrowing the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych—and its current leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, has banned 11 opposition parties, hunted down dissidents, pressed to ban the Russian orthodox church, and muzzled opposition media while slaughtering thousands of people in eastern Ukraine.
Language, man, and shadow banning is now the new phrase, and ghosting, the new word for the Merriam Webster dictionary. For 2022.
Thanks, Ed, for the column! Cheers,
Hello Ed. The Psychology of Totalitarianism, this AM i found the Unlimited Hangout distillation by three of your fellow Working Group members. Is this dovetailage(yeah i made that word up)? Recently heard Maria Ressa on Fresh Air, she mentions Chris Wylie(Camb Analy. whistleblower) who said essentially the Phillipines in 2016 served as the petri dish for the US 2016 election shape shifting(Russian bent the spoons in ar’ head mama!!) . Have you ever read the line, Cognitive infiltration for Beneficial Cognitive Diversity(1st I is SHORT, NOT LONG)? The individual who crafted that line went on to be a Recipient( not Winner- think Medal of Honor, no winners) of the Nobel Prize. I’ll send you a hand written letter, but understand that i graduated in 1978 from BC High where in four yrs i had no religion classes or midterms or finals-curious? Maybe that’s why my soccer coach is in Mountainview Correctional Facility. Don’t worry i’ll write PRETTY ONE DAY;)
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