Our hosting provider, A Small Orange, is the online equivalent of the human taint, also known as the gooch depending on regional dialects. I will often receive all at once several months to a year’s worth of comment notifications or emails sent to me via the site’s email address. One time a terminally-ill author sent me a lovely message asking me to review his last book because he was so moved by my first review of his work. I received it months after he died. I do not know why we haven’t changed providers yet, but I suspect it’s because I don’t stay mad long enough to make it a priority. I also am less active on the site lately and check the back end far less often than I should, so I don’t notice gaps in messages in a timely manner. However, this last flurry of notifications contained a comment that gave Mr. OTC pause, enough pause that he became angry that such a comment had gone months without us seeing it.
“Some asshole is effectively threatening you and this comment sat unseen on the server for months until A Small Orange deigned to send us notification,” Mr. OTC said. “What if he’d said, ‘I’m on my way to kill you!’ and we had no idea?” I suspect A Small Orange, who as a company sucks balls (which, by the way, are near the taint) will not be my host much longer. It should be mentioned that Mr. OTC ultimately was more angry at the taint than the asshole because he understands what is considered an actionable threat and what isn’t, but I was surprised that he was so appalled at the comment. He knows what I write about. He knows that I get terrible comments. Yet he looked at the comment and did not see what I saw. He saw the potential for genuine threat.
Here’s the comment, with the beginning of my reply.
I think most spouses would feel uneasy seeing that their partner receives comments that invoke torture, extrajudicial murder and final judgement for perceived wrong-doing. But I’ve got this. I’ve been doing this for thirteen years and somewhere along the line I learned how to analyze documents in a way that gives me a pretty good metric for whether or not I should be afraid or concerned about what angry commenters say to me when they are especially pissed off.
While it has to be said that I am not a behavioral sciences expert, nor am I a legitimate threat assessor, I’ve been reading the words of madmen and reactions to the words of madmen for so long that I reckon I can differentiate between a threat and a dude who unloaded on me after a really bad day (or month, or year). Rob may have intended for me to feel afraid, but offered no harm that I felt could endanger me or my family.
I’ve had two or three threats I considered legitimate since running my book discussion sites and those messages were radically different than Rob’s. Those comments showed that the authors know who I am, meaning they know my full name, where I live, the names of some of my pets, that my husband is ex-military. They had specific issues with something I definitely wrote, showing that they actually read what I wrote and were reacting to me specifically, and they did not speak in generalities. They made reference to how easy it would be to find me or a specific pet, what they wanted to do to me or the cat, and mentioned a time frame wherein they hoped to do harm to me.
Rob’s comment wasn’t anywhere close to being genuinely threatening. Unpleasant? Yes. Reason to freak out? Nope. I know some people will disagree with that assessment so let’s break his comment down and hopefully I can explain why I think Rob hollered at me online rather than metaphorically kick the family dog after having a bad day, and hopefully this analysis will help anyone else who is periodically frightened by what angry (mostly) men say online. Plus, sometimes it’s just fun to hyper-analyze the hell out of weird comments.
I began a discussion about the creepy WKCR broadcast interruption tape last October and I hate to admit that I still haven’t “solved” it. But I have cleared up a bunch of the names in the video, and still think that I, or anyone else who reads here and takes up the mantle of transcribing the tape, can eventually determine its purpose or its creator. I’ve noticed some incoming links from other sites that analyzed the tape and realized I never shared what I discovered since I last wrote about the case. So this will be a master post that has all of my research and I’ll post any new findings in this entry as I find them. If anyone reads this and has information they’d like to share, please comment. I’d love to hear what you think. Also please feel free to take any of my research and run with it.
My first entry beat down a few of the more unfounded conclusions people had regarding this tape interruption, and in the interests of completion, I’ll pull that data over into this entry.
The lore behind this tape is that in 1994-1996 – the time frame is never clear but is restricted to these years – a kid who enjoyed taping radio shows and listening to them later accidentally recorded a broadcast hijack in a radio program on WKCR radio, the station for Columbia University. He or she rediscovered this strange recording twenty years later and shared it on 4chan. It’s not as well-known as the bizarre Max Headroom broadcast interruption, but is still discussed on paranormal sites, mystery message boards and similar.
Quick description: In the middle of a radio broadcast, the music was interrupted by a strange recording that began with the sound of breath exhaling and soft feminine moans. It’s fairly creepy to listen to.
Initially you can hear a bit of chatter and eventually the sound of chatter increases enough in volume that you can tell names and dates of deceased people are being recited, along with names of the deceased’s family members. Each person’s information ends with a ringing bell. After the recording ends, there’s a brief moment before the DJ comes back to continue with the show’s format and many people, myself included, think the DJ’s voice is identical to the voice reciting names during the interruption.
Multiple attempts to contact WKCR regarding DJs who worked at the station during this time frame have gone unanswered. In fact, the station stopped broadcasting this year and I suspect there is little to no chance any time soon of finding someone who has the time to search such records. Similarly I cannot find anyone who claims to have heard this broadcast interruption as it happened.
My goal has always been to either find out if there is a link between all these names, or if these names could lead us to the person who performed the interruption. I’ve never felt this was a genuine broadcast interruption. Either the radio DJ staged this as some sort of avant garde experiment or the tape was created by the person who leaked it with the purpose of passing it off as an interrupted broadcast. As I listened to the recording over and over (and over and over…), I picked up on some clues the performer seemed to have laid that might lead to her identity or purpose, but I still don’t have the whole of the tape deciphered.
Before I share my research, I want to emphasize that you should not get hung up on the fact that one of these names is of a student who died in the PanAm 103 flight that Libya shot down over Lockerbie. Also, don’t put too much into the fact that one of these names belonged to a famous physicist who was the brother of the father of the Manhattan Project. Though I have not figured out every name yet, among those I have I cannot find any links to terrorism, plane crashes, or nuclear physics. The connection these people share – if they share any connection – I suspect will be the person behind the interruption, a belief bolstered by the fact that the speaker in the interruption specifically states her relationship to some of the people whose names she recites.
I also want to emphasize that the recording has errors in it, either by design or by accident. If this recording was actually aired between 1994-1996, errors could be chalked up to misremembering dates. It could be deliberate, but I tend to think it wasn’t. If this recording indeed happened more than 20 years ago, it’s not like the woman on the tape could look up information on the Internet. When you have to rely strictly on memory because Find-a-Grave and Ancestry.com weren’t invented yet, you’re gonna make some mistakes. I also am not wholly sure who the “my friend” or “our friend” portions refer to, the deceased or the name that immediately precedes such statements of relationship.
So join me under the cut and see what I’ve come up with. And please share anything you think may help or that I’ve overlooked.
Hi, if you’re arriving at this entry via a link from others interested in this recording, I’ve done more research on the names and created a “master post” with all the data I’ve collected. If any of this data is helpful in figuring out the intent of the speaker in the tape, please share. This is a weird and loose collaborative effort, solving this 4chan mystery, with people building on the research others have done. It would delight me if anything I’ve done helps figure out the link between all the names in the audio or the person behind the tape.
And if you’re here just to enjoy the weirdness, both entries are hopefully still readable for those who just want to read something fun and creepy and move on to the next unsolved mystery.
Book:Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy: A Child’s Book About Satanic Ritual Abuse
Author: Doris Sanford, illustrated by Graci Evans.
Type of Book: Children’s book, illustrated, utter fiction
Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Well, it’s no My Friend, The Enemy: Surviving Prison Camp, but it has its moments. Also, discussing the background of this book takes up much more intellectual space than the book itself.
Availability: Published in 1990 by A Corner of the Heart, it’s out of print, but if you have money to burn and enjoy that sickening feeling you get when you realize you have a relic of an entirely different form of child abuse than the book professes to tackle, you can still get a used copy on Amazon. However, the book is so reviled that Amazon will not permit me to link to it directly.
Comments: The late 1980s and early 1990s were a weird time. All over rural and suburban America, white people became very afraid of Satan, and sometimes even “real” Satanists participated in the freak show of Satanic Panic. Some of us listened as Bob Larson, huckster and self-taught exorcist, attempted to exorcise demons out of Trey Azagthoth, from the death metal band Morbid Angel. Glen Benton, front man of Deicide, spent a lot of time taunting Bob, and frankly that time could have been better spent injecting heroin straight into his balls, but, like I said, it was a weird time. Geraldo, Sally Jesse Raphael and Oprah had the pre-cursors of soccer moms convinced that Satanist wolves infiltrated every corner of the planet – but mostly white, middle-class pre-schools, it seems – in order to pass as sheep, ready to savage their children.
It was a very dark time, my sarcasm aside. Families were destroyed because poorly trained and dogma-afflicted therapists and hysterical, mostly fundamentalist Christian, parents believed children could not be led into making up salacious details about abuse that never happened. They believed children when those children, after hours and hours and sometimes days and days of leading and suggestive comments, told impossible stories about abuse that they claimed was heaped upon them at day care centers. The McMartin pre-school case is one of the best examples of the Satanic Panic run amok.
A mother, whom members of the community later admitted was utterly unstable and had a history of making false accusations, was convinced that Raymond Buckey, son of the owner of the McMartin day care center, had sodomized her son. She went to the police during a time when law enforcement was willing to believe such claims without much in the way of evidence, and during the investigation letters were sent to parents of children who attended the day care, asking them to check with their children to make sure Raymond hadn’t, you know, raped them repeatedly. Predictably, parents became hysterical and some of the most poorly trained therapists ever to worry about men in hoods in the woods pressured McMartin attendees until they remembered any number of absolutely impossible situations, involving every McMartin employee, as well as random strangers unlucky enough to be lumped into the group of suspects.
McMartin kids, under the questioning of a therapist who really needed there to be a terrible scandal and shaped one that fit neatly with her bizarre beliefs, insisted that sometimes they were flushed down toilets into tunnels under the school and used in Satanic orgies. They claimed they saw lions and horses killed, as well as rabbits being frequently killed in front of them to make them compliant. They claimed they watched as babies were sacrificed at the local Episcopal church. They claimed Raymond Buckey could fly, that they were filmed naked and their abuse was taped as a game the adults called “naked movie star.” Nary a photo or film clip was ever found. It never really seemed to register with the therapists involved that something was wrong with all these weird stories, not even when kids could not identify Raymond, their supposed rapist who flew and killed rabbits, but did identify Chuck Norris as one of the men who harmed them. No one felt a bit unsettled when the kids spoke of being taken from abuse locations in hot air balloons, or that the kids were taken to cemeteries during the day and forced to dig up corpses, which their day care instructors began to stab repeatedly, hacking the bodies up before forcing the kids to rebury them. Even more bizarre physical evidence was used to prove the accusations of kids who had no physical signs that they had been abused, let alone repeatedly raped, cut, or beaten. The now utterly debunked “wink” anus test was used on little kids, and as a result those little kids ended up being sexually abused by the people set on saving them from abuse.
That’s a problem that comes up a lot in Satanic Panic cases – if the kids weren’t victimized by those accused of abuse, the accusers put the kids through such nightmarish questioning and physical examinations that they were definitely victimized. Some of the McMartin kids have grown into adults who believe the system failed them, permitting the people who sacrificed endless numbers of babies to Satan while raping them and their friends to eventually go free. They feel traumatized and victimized and their lives have been ruined. While a lot of people look at this kiddie book as a real life example of Liartown’s fine book parodies…
…it’s only funny if you don’t know the truth behind it.
As I type this, I know people who really are into Dave McGowan’s Programmed to Kill, the belief that Bush the Elder led a pedophile cult that preyed on kids involved in the Franklin Scandal, and every minute detail from the whole of the recent Pizzagate weirdness are going to come call me a black propagandist, insinuate I get paid by the Podesta brothers to write such articles or accuse me of being a pedophile. Same as it ever was. Every such commenter reads a refutation of their hobby horse and feels it is an apologia for child abuse as a whole when it’s really just other people questioning their intellectual fitness. It makes me glad this book is out of print. Perhaps it’s best they waste their time leaving me silly comments because otherwise they might actually engage in real life advocacy and no one, especially children, needs that.
Now to the book.
Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy is a direct response to the McMartin pre-school case. It even brings up the game “naked movie star.” (The key, or should I say “Kee,” therapist involved with the McMartin case, took a slightly bawdy rope skipping chant and turned it into a tacit admission of kiddie porn involvement – “What you say is what you are, you’re a naked movie star!” Our weird chant when I was a kid was a vulgar variation of the song “Tah rah rah boom dee-ay.” We all had them but, again, it shows a lot about the mentality of the professional adult who immediately believes such silly rhymes mean kids are being gang raped.)
The story is pretty basic – little girl gets Satanically abused at her day care, she tells her parents, who work hard to help her recover, and assure her that God was really sad she was abused.
The illustrations in the book are drawn by Graci Evans and they do a decent job of revealing some McMartin realness.
I’m unsure what to think about Doris Sanford. I can’t really find much information about her, aside from basic obituary-level information – she appears to have died in 2018. She began her foray into self-help books for kids by discussing the impact of parental depression on kids, and how hard it is for kids to process death, both helpful and useful books. Even her books about sexual abuse at home seem charmingly helpful in comparison to Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy. But over time her titles became more… upsetting. How many kids were out there who survived death camps and also had access to American book stores? The kids in Rwanda weren’t gonna see Doris’ book about death camps, nor were kids who suffered in the Balkans. But she wrote a book about it. And she wrote this book, and no matter what alarmists tell you, Satanic Ritual Abuse is rare and hardly has an audience large enough to support a book helping the children who survive it.
Was Doris a True Believer in Satanic Panic? Was she jadedly making a buck off the backs of people who were clearly already willing to torture their kids? I have no idea. Worse, her book may well have been the lesser of several other evils. I remember a woman on my street when I was a kid who would give out Jack Chick tracts and a dime to each kid on Halloween. My mom made me go to her door each year that I trick-or-treated because she wanted to see what lunacy I’d walk back with. I lack the will to look up the exact title, but I remember one year I got a tract about how some kid died and when he went to heaven God showed him every terrible thing he’d done on some sort of celestial slide show projector, and I began to worry if my mom was trying to tell me God had a rap sheet on me a mile long and I needed to get my shit together. Really, she just wanted to see what crazy crap the woman was giving out that year. But I remember being very upset that God had basically set up surveillance on me and was collecting evidence of every sass back, every lie, every thing a child does because she’s a child, in order to shame me when I died. At least Doris’ books had decent production values.
So I guess what I am saying is that people love witch hunts and that will never not be true, and every generation has their own unique way of terrifying kids with images of Satan.
But this book, all kidding aside, is an excellent relic of the time that spawned it. And for all I know it was a legitimate and sincere attempt to address what at the time seemed like a terrible societal ill. But the utter perversity of the accusations, the beliefs people had about well-organized cabals preying upon the most privileged and well-protected children in human history, shows a sort of sickness within that even now people don’t like to address. What do you do if your mother is certain you were sodomized in a tunnel by an American icon like Chuck Norris, who most definitely did not have large chunks of time he could be away from film and TV sets to hang around in subterranean lairs to rape toddlers? How do you cope with the rectal exams you were forced to endure because adults really believed you were taken away in hot air balloons to be raped in the Episcopal church? What does that say about the secret fantasies and moral bruises of those who believed such unbelievable, foul, bloody and sexually perverse things?
I have an answer of sorts in a film I will discuss tomorrow, an animated film inspired by this specific book. See you then.
I’m going to do my best to post a lot before Halloween because indulging in creepiness is one of the things I do best. I have so many creepy books, favorite creepy movies, and creepy sites to share that it would be a shame not to take advantage of this time of the year and write about all the eerie weirdness rattling around in my head.
This entry came about in my typical circuitous “getting lost on the Internet” method of gathering information. I wanted to discuss some really disturbing, dark songs about child predators, and had a specific song in mind, two songs, actually, about a predator assaulting a child and the child seeking revenge, but couldn’t remember the name of the songs or the band that performed them. In my attempts to run the song to ground, I fell into a YouTube hole that completely distracted me from my original goal. I’ll eventually discuss songs about child predation but not today because I found mystery wondering how many songs there are that are inspired by Art Bell’s Coast to Coast AM. (By the way, the band I was originally searching for is G.G.F.H. and the songs are “Little Missy” and “Missy’s Revenge” and while the songs are still outre and upsetting, they aren’t as viscerally disgusting as they were to me when I heard them years ago. I fear I am becoming jaded…)
Discussing Art Bell’s influence on music is really apropos for me this time of year because I always listen to his Ghost to Ghost episodes right before Halloween. I was putting together a playlist earlier this month but when I was searching for G.G.F.H.’s body of work, I found a title that piqued my interest and it turned out to have an Art Bell sample (the Venetian Snares song I discuss below – that is the song that linked me from child exploitation to Art Bell). After listening to the song with the Coast to Coast AM sample, I decided to see how many songs I could find that were influenced by Art Bell in some manner. Art Bell is interesting and somewhat weird in his own right, a man whose life has taken several unexpected turns, and he has been a personal hero of mine ever since he sued Ted Gunderson (who is hopefully right this very minute encountering the Satan he insisted was lurking in every daycare and influencing every politician since Washington) for slandering him as a pedophile.
Art no longer hosts Coast to Coast AM (and while George Noory is okay enough, he lacks a certain edge, I think, that Art brought to the table) but his long tenure on the AM and online radio program featured many bizarre and memorable shows. One of the most memorable was the night a man who claimed he was a former Area 51 employee called into the show in a panic, revealing that the US government was being duped by inhuman creatures posing as aliens from outer space, and that these creatures meant mankind harm. He claimed to be on the run from the federal government and sounded to be completely unhinged by the gravity of his discovery. In the middle of the phone call, something happened to the satellite and at least 50 separate radio stations went dead for around half an hour. Understandably, this caused Art and his listeners to freak out, assuming that indeed the feds were tracking the frightened caller and had interfered with his attempt to share his story. The man behind the Area 51 call eventually called back to Coast to Coast and explained it was indeed a hoax but that he had no idea what had happened in regards to the satellite failure. That, evidently, was just a coincidence. There are some who still believe the Area 51 caller was real and that the later call revealing the hoax is the real hoax, but that is the nature of conspiracy. This episode is called either the “Area 51 Caller” or “The Frantic Caller.”
However real or fake the Area 51 call may have been, it’s now a part of Area 51 lore and anyone who has much interest in fringe or conspiracy culture has likely heard of it. It’s definitely influenced some musicians, famous and obscure. One of the more famous bands to sample the Area 51 call is Tool, in the song “Faaip de Oiad” from the album, LateralusFaaip de Oiad means “the voice of God” in “Enochian” (the supposed angelic language recorded and likely invented by John Dee and Edward Kelley) – Maynard Keenan is a sort of Renaissance man of the weird and I think he runs a winery now, of all things.
“Faaip de Oiad” doesn’t freak me out the way it does many Tool fans. I think that’s because I’ve heard the source material too many times, and had heard it many times before ever hearing this song. But I can see how this would be jarring or alarming to someone who might not know the source of the jangled, frightened man talking in the middle of the song. I link to this particular video because it has the “lyrics” in the upload notes section.
Before I begin to discuss the situation with Varg, I need to make a couple of statements, one for clarity and the other just because it always comes up and it’s tiresome. First, let me tell you how I know Varg. I met him when I was working on a project I started before 9/11 that eventually fell apart because I am sort of chaotic and was even more so back then. I consider him a friend, and I assume he considers me one, too, though we frequently butt heads. Second, despite considering Varg a friend, I don’t share all of his beliefs. I mention this because I get shade from both sides of the fence and it’s annoying, when it isn’t amusing. Some people assume I am an anti-Semite because I like Varg and that makes them angry. Interestingly, some remain angry when I explain I don’t hate Jews because they think I should revile Varg for being an anti-Semite. But then some people who agree with antisemitic ideas find out that I like Varg and that I am not an anti-Semite, and they get angry. Not long ago some dude who thinks he’s like Charles Martel because being anonymous on the Internet is evidently pretty empowering was so annoyed by me that he social media snarked me with, “Oh, you are a multicultural white genocide supporter?”
Isn’t that how journalists used to know they were on to something – when everyone was pissed off at them? That’s what I tell myself these days. So please know I don’t want to hear your opinion about my beliefs, unless you feel that freedom of speech is a bad thing and then I will totally be willing to throw down with you in comments.
Type of Book: Instruction manual for beating children
Availability: Not linking to it. You don’t want to buy it. If you do want to buy it, I will not abet such a bad decision.
Comments: This is one of the wickedest books I have ever read and, given who I am and what I read, that is saying a lot. This is a book so vile, written by a man so degenerate, that there is literally no way for a moral person to discuss it with anything approaching neutrality. It is a book written solely with the intent of breaking the wills of small children, beating them into submission, and it has become a text used by witless Christian parents to beat their “willful” children to death. And Michael Pearl is okay with that because he says those parents didn’t beat their children with love in their hearts or they wouldn’t have struck their children repeatedly with plumbing line until their muscles broke down and clogged their kidneys with biological debris, killing them.
This book is deeply problematic beyond just the content, which we will get to in a moment. This book upsets me so much because though I am an atheist, I know excellent and fine Christians. My grandfather was one. He would have rebuked a man like Michael Pearl and if Pearl beat a child or a dog with a piece of wood, a belt, or plumbing line in front of him, Pearl would have found out what it is like to be at the mercy of a larger, angry man. That is not because my grandfather was some sort of vengeance seeker. Far from it. He was not a man who looked for fights. He would have rebuked Pearl because genuine believers cannot stomach the harms done by True Believers. Many Christians today have the same reactions to the Westboro Baptist Church. This book is so deeply problematic because in fundamentalist, legalistic circles, people use this book in the place of their own judgement as Christians, parents and decent human beings.
This is not a condemnation of Christianity. It is a condemnation of Christians who use Michael and Debi Pearl’s disgusting book of abuse, a book so profoundly horrible that if it was used against prisoners it would be illegal and if it was used on POWs it would be considered war crimes. So if you want to defend Christianity, don’t do it here. Christianity is not what is being discussed here. What is being discussed here is child abuse in the name of Michael Pearl, not God or Jesus, and the way that unthinking faith leads people to do terrible things.
The purpose of To Train Up a Child is to use Amish horse training methods on children, and even then the Amish would likely turn their backs on Pearl if they knew how their methods of taming wild animals were used on children.
Don’t get lost in the details. Pearl in Chapter One lays out a bunch of explanations of how it is that he is not disciplining children, but rather continually training them so he does not have to discipline them. He uses Proverbs 22:6 as his rationale:
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Fair enough, but when “training” consists of pulling a nursing infant’s hair, hitting them continually, deliberately putting them in harm’s way to show them they must obey all commands, even those that make zero sense on any rational level, hitting them if they do not obey quickly enough for your satisfaction, what you are doing is brainwashing your child to follow your demented ideas, not any sort of Godly path. Mindless, shattered, fearful automatons will never depart from the path you put them on.
Michael Pearl (and I refer to him mostly because even though his wife is a co-author, the book is written by him in first person, his wife referred to in the third person) gives a lot of lip service about how one must be calm when beating one’s children. But as he says that a parent must be calm when training their children, he also goes on to say many times that a child must be trained until they are submissive or broken (he actually uses that word). He recommends a course of whippings wherein the whippings continue until the child submits. So as he gives lip service to the notion that a parent must have their head clear when engaging in his training methods, he also insists that training continue – sessions of whippings – until the adult feels the child is broken. The child’s physical welfare is never a part of the parent’s clear mind. In a way, a clear and “Godly” minded person doing this to a child reeks of sheer sadism.
Why should you “train” your children? To make them blindly obedient in all situations, of course.
Training is the conditioning of the child’s mind before the crisis arises. It is preparation for future, instant, unquestioning obedience.
The last quality I would want in any human being is unquestioning obedience but Pearl insists this is to make a child happy because obedient children who have limits are happier. There is truth in this – children with boundaries live happier lives, but Pearl does not teach boundaries. In fact, as I will discuss, he doesn’t even permit them in his home. He insists his children are the best examples of his methods being sound, but when we are finished discussing this book, I will discuss Pearl’s children, one of whom is living a hardscrabble life, engaging in bizarre prophetic visions, barely able to feed her children because her shattered mind and blind obedience made her prey to a man like her father.
People may find this hard to believe, but Pearl advocates beating children when they are infants. Here’s what Pearl did when his babies were able to crawl:
Place an appealing object where they can reach it, maybe in a “No-No” corner or on the apple juice table (another name for the coffee table). When they spy it and make a dive for it, in a calm voice say, “No, don’t touch that.” Since they are already familiar with the word “No,” they will likely pause, look at you in wonder, and then turn around and grab it. Switch their hand once and simultaneously say, “No.”
Pearl says to switch lightly but when you have an implement in your hand to strike an infant, I posit you, the adult, may have little idea what it feels like to have your hand “switched.” On his site Pearl says to test the implement on yourself but given that he recommends repeated whipping sessions, the adult can easily lose track of how hard he or she is hitting.
This post originally appeared on Houdini's Revenge
One of the goals of Houdini’s Revenge is to look critically at how we receive information and come to believe what it is we believe. Because of the way information is disseminated these days, we can no longer expect to read the news and know that we are reading the truth. But it’s worse than that because these days we can’t even be sure that media outlets are even making an attempt to investigate what they are reporting to the public. When dozens of websites republish the same initial report, if that initial report is completely wrong, by the time any errors are noted, the story is already all over the world and repeated without reflection.
On July 16, a friend on my Facebook left me a comment telling me that he had thought of me when he read Boing Boing! I have a lot of strange irons in busy fires, so I had to go comb the site to see what he meant. Within a minute, all was explained. Xeni Jardin had posted a blurb that referred to an AFP article about the French police arresting Varg Vikernes. This is the entire news blurb from Jacques Clement’s AFP article, link to article in quote:
Regardless of what anyone thinks of Vikernes’ politics, social beliefs or his past, we should all be extremely concerned that this news blurb from AFP that became the backbone of dozens and dozens of articles that reported this story has two major problems in just two sentences. The first is that Varg Vikernes has not been known as “Kristian” in almost two decades. Calling him “Kristian Vikernes” and mentioning he goes by “Varg” is like writing an article about “Thomas Mapother IV” and mentioning he goes by Tom Cruise. I have no idea why AFP made the decision to make that strange distinction, but it set the tone for what was to come in the second sentence.
The second sentence is a hoot. Varg Vikernes was “reported to be linked to” Anders Behring Breivik? Ten minutes on Google would have made it impossible for any reporter worth a tinker’s damn to support such an accusation. If nothing else, it would have made for far better reporting to have at least investigated what Varg had said about Breivik before they had run articles about his arrest. Perhaps they could have added Varg’s own words from his websites as a counterpoint to the charges against him. Perhaps Clement could have, you know, reported instead of vomiting up the vomiting up some official reports and adding some sly insinuations to spice up his article.
This post originally appeared on Houdini's Revenge
The post-bombing activities of April 18-19 were strange. Deeply weird. The actions of the Tsarnaev brothers, when verifiable, made no sense and the shooting of MIT police officer Sean Collier made so little sense that is has fueled a lot of speculation that the Tsarnaev brothers were not responsible for his murder at all. The narrative of the murder of Sean Collier feeds a lot of “Dzhokhar Was Framed” theories and is almost a wholly separate conspiracy theory unto itself.
Increasingly, with the exception of the usual conspiracy theory suspects, I really do think the cause of all of the conspiracies created about the Boston bombings and the subsequent mayhem can be summed up in two statements:
1) The FBI has yet again permitted an act of terrorism to occur in the USA due to another complete breakdown in intelligence gathering and sharing, and their investigative choices after the Boston bombing have raised more questions than they have answered. I suspect the FBI has always been this much a mess but before the Internet it was harder for the average citizen to analyze their various errors.
2) The mainstream media in the English-speaking world is mostly a disgrace. I suspect that mainstream journalism has always been this much a mess but before the Internet it was harder for the average citizen to analyze their various errors.
Any analysis of how Sean Collier was shot to death can only come about by exploring the story with those two statements in mind. Worse, given that this is yet another instance wherein the American public has to take the FBI’s word for it that there is proof the Tsarnaev brothers were involved in an atrocious activity, the discussion of Sean Collier has an unfortunate “second verse, same as the first” ring to it. The FBI says they have proof, and more on that in a bit, but even if they have proof, the path to such proof is filled with detours that make it hard to put much faith in the idea that we will ever see anything about this case clearly. As much as I urge everyone to have patience, to wait to see what the prosecution has in store for Dzhokhar, to wait to see what the FBI or the US Attorney General’s Office may eventually choose to share with us, I can see all too clearly why it is so many people are unwilling to wait. Just the media idiocy with the Collier case alone is conspiracy fodder.
This post originally appeared on Houdini's Revenge
I have stated many times throughout my discussions of the Boston bombings that I believe the mainstream media and the details from the official investigation itself have fueled as much conspiracy theory as the “usual suspects” have created. Boston has been notable in the realm of conspiracy theory in how so many people who are not conspiracy theorists have begun to think something is being hidden and that we are being manipulated, or at the very least that everyone involved in the case is incompetent.
They have very good reasons for thinking this way because the media handling of the case and the investigative decisions have been a complete mess. My article on the “Alex Jones-ification of the Mainstream Media” showed dismay at the original reporting in the case and, when I wrote it, I thought we had seen the nadir of the misreporting but I was wrong. Even worse, I was completely unprepared for the official investigative statements that seem to be making everything worse. At this point, anyone paying close attention to the details of the case should be having a hard time believing much of any official narrative about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s role in the Boston bombing, his role in the various shootouts in Watertown and the confession he allegedly gave federal interrogators.
This is worth paying close attention to. The low standards of reporting and the continually changing stories from the investigators as they engage in activities that ten years ago would have been unconstitutional and grounds for prosecution are actual, provable harms. While people are agitating about staged scenes and casting aspersions on bomb victims, while people are making disgusting anti-semitic accusations, the press and the government are legitimately doing terrible things that are less exciting than creating fantastic theories that would be too outrageous even for movies. Were I a conspiracy theorist, I might wonder about the motivations of those who are engaging in such insulting flights of fancy. But mostly I think theories are created for mundane reasons that have nothing to do with being government plants or purveyors of disinformation. But the end result is the same. But while people are contemplating a staged attack that five minutes on Google proves couldn’t have happened, the press are merrily reporting garbage and the investigation is changing their official story whenever it suits them and the waters have been so muddied by the usual conspiracy theory suspects that people are afraid of being tarred with the same irrational brush if they speak out and say, “There are so many problems with the case against the Tsarnaev brothers that I do not know if they were even involved.”
One of the reasons I cannot throw my hat emphatically behind Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a bomber is because none of the evidence that the government claims to have proving he planted a bomb has been seen by anyone who spoke to the press and because the eyewitness identification that led the FBI to identify the Tsarnaev brothers is shaky at best. There are some who think that the FBI doesn’t have a tape that shows Dzhokhar planting a bomb and their suspicions are very much an element of the “Dzhokhar Was Framed” theory.
Let’s begin discussing the whole mess with Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts.