Why We Burn: Kevin Bracken

(As the East Coast begins its preparation to head West for Burning Man, I’m deeply honored to bring you an interview with Kevin Bracken, one of the low-key legends of the Brooklyn & Toronto party scenes. While the name isn’t familiar, if you partied in Brooklyn in the later oughts, Newmindspace & their dope Bushwick loft was a storied institution not to be missed. A member of Opulent Temple, he’s moved up to massive Pillow Fights, Bubble Battles, tangling with the Empire With Ears & bringing a big metal swan to the playa! He’s friends with Ryan & Erika from our first Why We Burn as well, so I hope you enjoy the chat!)

Brack1

By Terry Gotham

1. What’s your favorite Burning Man memory?
My favorite memory was the first sunrise I spent with my wife Marie at the burn, a.k.a. the moment we started dating. I’m pretty sure we both knew even then it was going to turn into something magical 🙂

Not my favorite memory, but my most unforgettable moment: It would be hard to top Paul Addis burning the man early in 2007 while most people were distracted by a lunar eclipse. For those who don’t remember, that was the year that Burning Man allowed Tesla to put an unmarked prototype in the Green Man “Corporate Pavilion.” It was an unmitigated PR disaster that was magically swept away by the deranged actions of a sick man. And even though I do think what Addis did was dangerous and pretty messed up, a tiny part of me does think it was the final chaotic, anarchic action of a Burning Man most people will never experience.

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The Great Public Land Heist Has Begun – Are We Part Of It?

Image: Outside Online

Image: Outside Online

“Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Call me a conspiracy theorist – if you must – but a lot of stories have been hitting my news feed lately related to our favorite little patch of Northern Nevada that surely can’t all be unrelated.

First we had the announcement of a zoning change around Gerlach, that seemed to enable the Temporary Autonomous Zone concept so favored by Larry Harvey and Peter Lamborn Wilson, aka Hakim Bey. That seemed possibly related to Billionaire Burner Larry Page’s BMOrg-endorsed vision to have all kinds of new testing grounds for Google. Not just a TAZ – also a PAZ and a SPAZ (Permanent and Semi-Permanent).

Next, the town of Empire – a “quasi-ghost town in Burning Man’s back yard”, with its abandoned Gypsum mine and potential associated site contamination issues – was sold for $11.38 million.

Then, BMOrg breathlessly announced the long awaited closure of their Fly Ranch deal, with details “coming soon” (of course). Donors put up the money for the purchase of “Nevada’s Coolest and Least Known Attraction”, but they’re not telling us who yet (or, quite possibly, ever). The Burning Man Project (as far as we have been led to believe, that is the owning entity) now has a 3800 acre ranch in an area where the local government just approved groups of up to 500 people to do whatever they want, with very minimal oversight from the authorities:

“Unless somebody comes in and points a finger and says, ‘hey they’re doing that,’ we’re not out there driving around looking for it,” [County Planner Dr Eric] Young said. “We will have an occasion to be out there from time-to-time for various inspections, (but) there are certain things like that where there’s not going to be a county person standing there looking at it.

Online pundits say the De Haviland Dash-8 is the new aircraft of choice. Image: simairline.net

Online pundits say the De Haviland Dash-8 is the new aircraft of choice. Image: simairline.net

Next, we heard that BMOrg have created their own commercial airline, with planes carrying up to 30 passengers at a time. Burner Express Air is imagined to be carrying 2500 passengers per day in and out of Burning Man. Assuming that they only fly passengers in daylight hours, and every flight is full, that’s a minimum of 84 flights per day. Assuming planes start just after sunrise and stop just before sunset, that’s 12 hours a day – or one new planeload every 8 minutes. That’s their vision. $995 per person for a round-trip flight from Oakland, $495 from Reno. A couple of million dollars per day. Fossil fuel and noise pollution be damned! No spectators be damned!

Like most of the aviation world, the flights will be subcontracted out to other operators. Prime contractor Advantage Flight Solutions are hiring 50 new employees to cope with the anticipated load – which sounds like a lot for a week, but more realistic for something that is anticipated to be year-round.

Also in the area just recently, a long-standing case between Burners and a powerful local land-owner (whose $7 million boat, the biggest one on Lake Tahoe, mysteriously sunk at the dock) was finally settled. The court ruled that the abandoned art car, which had not been to Burning Man in at least 4 years and was in a state of disrepair, was not a valuable piece of art work worth $1 million. The Burners lost and had to pay the other side’s legal costs: about $50k.

Remember this Burning Man founder’s claim that it’s because of them that Elon Musk and Bunny Ranch owner Dennis Hof built their Gigafactory in Reno, in one of the world’s biggest free trade zones.

Screenshot 2016-01-28 11.38.13

He recently got a tour of the Gigafactory with Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve and Councilman David Bobzien.

Apple also just announced plans to build a $1 billion data center in the Reno free trade zone.

Is there some Billionaire Burner version of Atlas Shrugged going on, Galt’s Goodell’s Gulch in the world’s hottest new tax haven? A utopian occult colony? A Monte Verita or Woodstock for the 21st Century? Or just “Esalen in the Desert”?

Whichever way you look at it, that’s a helluva lot of dots. I see connections between all of them. Others are pointing some of the dot-connections out too, including Burning Man Founders and the first-ever full time Burning Man beat reporter. YMMV; maybe we’re all wrong. Still, there are a few more dots to come yet in this post.

That recap of recent goings-on brings me to last week’s story from Outside Online (who previously did a must-read oral history of Burning Man called Hot Mess):

The Great Public Land Heist has Begun

Last week, the House committee on Natural Resources voted to adopt HR 3650, the summary of which reads:

“This bill directs the Department of Agriculture, through the Forest Service, to convey to a state up to 2 million acres of eligible portions of the National Forest System (NFS) in it that it elects to acquire through enactment by the state legislature of a bill meeting certain criteria. Portions of the NFS conveyed to a state shall be administered and managed primarily for timber production.”

It’s not just about timber. This sets the precedent for wilderness being sold to developers. Hillary Clinton has been accused of cashing in on this, as has Harry Reid. Donald Trump is opposed to it.

Why is private ownership of vast tracts of land you currently own bad? Well, it’s historically been demonstrated to reduce public access, and moves the land out of any unified, managed or regulated conservation program. Yes, there is a significant financial gain to be had by selling these lands, but that’s a one-off instance of profit from lands that currently contribute massively to local, state, and the national economy. The outdoor recreation industry alone, which relies on land access to exist, employs 6.1 million Americans and contributes $650 billion to the economy annually. The land where you and I currently go to camp, climb, cycle, hike, hunt, fish, and paddle is under threat. 

The Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership—an organization of hunters and fishermen—called the bill an “overt attempt to undermine public land ownership.” Its president and CEO, Whit Fosburgh, went on to state, “Make no mistake, these are the first votes on legislation that would legitimize the wholesale transfer or sale of America’s public lands.”

In fact, the heist is so blatantly anti-American that even Donald Trump opposes it. “I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do,” Trump told Field & Stream. “I mean, are they going to sell if they get into a little bit of trouble? And I don’t think it’s something that should be sold. We have to be great stewards of this land. This is magnificent land.”

[Source]

Federal lands, might get handed to the States and sold off to raise money? Hmmm, wonder if there are any possible connections between BMOrg and that?

Well, we have BLM Special Agent Dan Love, the head of security for the Federales at Burning Man, leading from the front lines in the Bundy Ranch stand-off with Cliven and his family. Harry Reid was forced to back down when his family connections to a Chinese solar plant planned in the area were exposed.

bundy cattle trespass solar

bundy cattle 2

Recently, though, the Bundy family got caught up in another stand-off with the BLM in Oregon at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge – this one linked to Uranium, the Clintons, and the Russians. It turned fatal when the Feds assassinated a patriot Lavoy Finicum before he could meet with a local Sheriff, Cliven turned himself in for arrest and is locked up without bail in Federal prison awaiting trial. About a week ago the BLM announced they were resuming their operations on the land.

Then we have Love again as the alleged main instigator of ChocoTacoGate. BMOrg pulled some big strings, bringing in former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in what the Washington Post called “a trippy alliance”. They hired Reid’s hand-picked former head of the BLM Bob Abbey to help smooth the waters with the many Government Agencies involved in Burning Man. Long-time BLM official Gene Seidlitz was moved out of the way. BMOrg fought the law, and BMOrg won.

I also noted last year the last-minute decision of the BLM to not allow access over one of their roads to Further Future 1. That land was also involved in a BLM land grab dispute, related to a nearby mine. From what I gather, there is a very large new gold mine quite close to Black Rock City and the Fly Ranch site.

Let’s recall too the ditching of local EMS provider Humboldt, for big commercial festival provider CrowdRX. Looks like they were in the right county for Burning Man (Humboldt), but the wrong one for the Burning Man Project (Washoe).

One last set of dots connected to all of this is in the form of Burning Man founder Will Roger Peterson. From his web site:

WILL ROGER PETERSON

BORN 1948

CURRENT POSITIONS:

FOUNDING MEMBER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, BLACK ROCK CITY LLC

(BURNING MAN)

    DIRECTOR, NEVADA RELATIONS AND SPECIAL PROJECTS

FOUNDING MEMBER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, BLACK ROCK ARTS FOUNDATION   CO-CHAIRMAN, CIVIC ARTS COMMITTEE

MEMBER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, FRIENDS OF THE BLACK ROCK/HIGH ROCK    VICE PRESIDENT

MEMBER, SIERRA FRONT-WESTERN GREAT BASIN, RESOURCE ADVISORY COUNCIL (RAC)   CHAIRMAN

    REPRESENTING DISPERSED RECREATION

MEMBER, NEVADA RECREATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE (REC RAC)

MEMBER, BLACK ROCK-HIGH ROCK-EMIGRANT TRAILS NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA RAC SUB GROUP  CHAIRMAN

Looks like he sits on several of the boards that would be making recommendations to government about what land is ripe for sale…

My gut instinct tells me, something big is afoot. Are we headed for the ultimate version of Brexit: the BURNEXIT? When the tech industry all vanish off the face of the map, and move to tax havens in the desert where they can take LSD every day for weeks to “increase productivity”? 

What’s Up With Low-Income Tickets This Year? 

A reader just sent me this. I have no answers, but it’s very well written, and I think they raise some puzzling questions. Hence, a guest post from Anonymous Impecunious.  Any ideas, Burners? Just more of the same? Or is there some method behind this madness?

Could this have anything to do with the Anonymous new owners of our tax-exempt Permanent Autonomous Zone?


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I’m writing to you because you seem like the only person on the Internet who’s willing to acknowledge both the positive and the negative about Burning Man—or, rather, mostly about its management.
Do you have any idea what’s up with the low-income ticket program in the last few days? This seems like it could use some of your trademark investigative reporting. The BMorg recently announced that they MUST receive 8,000 applications in order to award the 4,000 tickets earmarked for LI. Why?? Why on earth would they need to reject fully 50% of applicants? And assuming there is some legit reason, why would they not have known (or chosen not to announce) this before late June?
There even seems to be some question as to whether they will award ANY low-income tickets if they don’t receive at least 8,000 applications. That could cause quite a problem for the 2,000+ people who have already been awarded a low-income ticket—or so they were told. I haven’t seen anything from BMorg assuring these people that the LI tickets already awarded will be honored, only that the Org MUST receive 8,000 applications if they are to award the 4,000 tickets. It doesn’t make any sense at all. 
As might be expected, after the announcement, hopefuls who hadn’t considered applying before are now throwing their hats (and their W-2s) into the application pool, yet many seem to be getting rejected, and getting rejected extremely quickly. Granted, I’m basing that mostly on posts to Reddit and Eplaya and replies to the BMorg’s original thread. So not only is that probably skewed towards the disgruntled, but, in the interests of full disclosure, I’m one of the rejects myself. 
I’d previously thought of the low-income program as for people who absolutely CANNOT afford a main sale ticket, in the same way that I absolutely CANNOT afford a DaVinci ticket. But once the Org started begging for applicants and noting that you could apply even while enrolled in STEP (which I am), I figured why not? I’m far from wealthy. Besides, I’ve quickly learned that, when it comes to obtaining Burning Man tickets, playing by the rules is for chumps. (To wit, dozens of people buy pre-sale or DaVinci tickets, then as soon as they obtain main sale tickets, they palm off their more expensive insurance policies. But God help you if you dare to pay $700 for a ticket on Ebay? Talk about situational ethics.)
Anyway, my LI application was rejected within a matter of days. The BMorg made their plea for more applicants on June 21; it’s only June 25 and I’ve already heard back, as have apparently many others. Meanwhile, some of those who applied back in March, April, and May are still waiting for a reply. So maybe I’m just bitter, but something about this whole situation stinks to high heaven! I just can’t put my finger on exactly what. 

Prior to the June 21 announcement, the Org had already received 6,000 applications. If fewer than 4,000 of those were eligible, then why not award fewer LI tickets and dump the rest into STEP, or into the OMG sale, or sell them for $1,200 to their special friends? Why the sudden and urgent NEED for double the number of LI applicants than there are LI tickets? 

For months, I’ve been reading your opinions of the BMorg with a skeptical eye, but this is the first time I’ve had cause to think that they’re as craven and corrupt as you’ve quite often demonstrated. Again, maybe I’m just bitter, but I’m actually bothered more by what seems like Org manipulation than about being turned down for a ticket program I had never planned to apply for in the first place.

I’ve never been to Burning Man before and this is making me wonder if I want to be any part of it. My only hope is that whatever the hell is going on with management does not trickle down to participants on the playa.

Air Charter Consolidated Under Single Primary Vendor

Image: celebratebig


Right before Christmas last year, BMOrg put out the call for larger aircraft that could fly in up to 30 passengers at a time. At the start of April they updated us that a decision would be coming “after 4/20”. What could be so complicated about seeing if anyone had a bigger plane? 

It seems that, as usual, there was more shenanigans afoot than just that. I just received this email from Playa Air Express, who have been faithfully looking after Burner private aviation requirements for the better part of a decade. 

Hello Burner Friends,
After a long wait, we wanted to update all of you who have been with us for the past 6 years on our Burning Man Flight Services for 2016.
About 6 months ago the folks that run the Burning Man Airport at Black Rock City in concert with BM Org, approached all of the long time charter operators like Playa Air Express, and asked that we submit an RFP to accomplish several goals for 2016 and beyond; increased capacity; lower fares; more routes; decrease air traffic in and out of BRC, and reduce vehicle traffic on the Playa.
We performed our due diligence and submitted our proposal, and we were advised that we would have a decision by mid-April 2016.
The Org took quite a bit more time to review all of the proposals than expected, and they finally rendered their decision yesterday that they would be utilizing one primary air charter service provider for the event. 
Unfortunately Playa Air Express was not selected as the primary air charter service provider. In addition, there is an option of sub-contracting with the primary air charter service provider, however based upon our understanding of all of the new changes,rules,and regulations, with a significant overhead increase in BM fees being placed upon sub-contracted charter operators, we have determined that it is simply cost prohibitive for us to participate in this year’s event.
There is an advertisement listed here in the link below from the Reno Gazette Journal as an announcement of some of the changes:

http://www.rgj.com/story/life/arts/burning-man/2016/06/22/burning-man-launches-flight-services-reno-sf-la/86178984/
We thank you for all of your support after all these years, and hope to see you on the Playa soon in more of the capacity of enjoying the event itself.
FYI, our parent company Pacific Coast Flight Solutions is still enthusiastically operational for any of you private air charter needs besides Burning Man. We still maintain our clients for both domestic and international destinations.
Also stay tuned for some other exciting developments potentially for next year’s Burning Man in 2017

I bet they are stoked that BMOrg made them jump through hoops and prepare all kinds of documentation, only to leave their business in the dark for 3 more months while making “decisions”. The decision that there would be one monopoly vendor is exactly the same as the decision they made with propane, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise. Still, it is always a shame to see those who have given much loyalty to our community dicked around and then arbitrarily shunted out the door (a.k.a. “welcome to participate if you pay much higher fees”). 

If it makes Burning Man better, then I’m all for it. Perhaps someone would like to speculate about how vendor monopolies make Burning Man better. 

Apparently, the company that got the gig are long-time Burners too. And they are massively expanding their operations, thanks to this lucrative new for-profit commercial arrangement with Burning Man. From the Reno Gazette Journal:

While Burning Man organizers were set to decide in early April which company or companies would be contracted, the organization ran into logistical delays. Ultimately, Burning Man chose Advantage because it is Burner-owned-and-operated and “has a long history of working with and for Burners.” The company has provided charter flights to BRC since 2005 and flew over 1,500 event participants in 2015.

Lang was the first pilot to fly a charter flight to Burning Man in 2005, and has been a 10 principles-loyal Burner ever since, he said.

“I was so surprised at what I first saw, then I came back four days later and stayed,” Lang said, noting that he and his staff have logged more than 20,000 volunteer hours at the event since.

Neither Burning Man nor Advantage is releasing the contract amount, though Lang elaborated that his company will be coordinating with the bulk of the 16 charter companies that flew Burners into the event last year. No one charter flight company has the resources to conduct all charter flights to Burning Man, Lang said, though he and his staff will be coordinating all of the flights.

The airport — a dusty landing strip, a watch tower and a bunch of orange cones — will change little, save a new charter aircraft parking hanger. Advantage will add about 50 paid staff to the operations, however, assisting the 200 volunteers who have run the airport in years past.

Officials with the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which makes more than $10 million off of the annual stampede of Burners, are thrilled since many of the charters use the commercial airport as their home base.

Last year, more than 17,000 flew in and out of the airport, and an undocumented number flew from Reno to the playa. While there is no count of how many flights took off to the Burn, 111,737 gallons of jet fuel were sold to charter and private operators during the 2015 event, compared to 67,317 gallons during the same week in 2014.

“It’s real interesting. It’s a mixture of business people in three-piece suits and Burners. And sometimes the Burners get off the plane and they’re wearing a three-piece suit a week later,” said airport spokesman Brian Kulpin. “The playa attracts all kinds.”

BMOrg’s goal is to massively ramp up the airport, with nearly triple the number of passengers per day:

About 1,000 Burners per day will be flying into the event via the air shuttle service, according to Advantage managing director Bryan Lang. In the next few years, however, the goal is to have about 2,500 people fly in per day

The company stated that they would help fly-in spectators to Leave No Trace by charging $1000/lb for trash removal. Just kidding! There is no solution provided for trash, it is someone else’s problem. For most private passengers, Self Reliance will be one of the included items in their Commodification Camp’s amenities package. Gifting will be included for you too, as we saw with Popsicle Camp. And that handy Green Bike program takes care of your on-Playa transportation needs, all you have to bring is a lock

How long until we have a regular private aircraft service to Fly Ranch? How long until BMOrg themselves create a VIP section for high-rollers? 

Revusky’s Law 

This article applies as much to the Burning Man Project with its three decades of Ministers of Propaganda, as it does to the plague of synthetic terror events that have struck the country since President Obama signed an Executive Order permitting the government to launch propaganda attacks against the American people. It is really one of the best examples of logical and critical thinking that I have come across in my life.

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Battling the Matrix and Freeing Onself from the Roger Rabbit World by Jonathan Revusky

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I was recently on the island of Jura, in the Scottish Hebrides. Eric Blair, who studied under both H.G. Wells and Aldous Huxley at the ultra-exclusive Eton prep school and the world’s oldest University, Oxford, lived there for two years on the private estate of Lord David Astor while he wrote the famous book 1984 under the pen name of George Orwell. Wells, Huxley, and Orwell have defined society for the last century…along with another key member of their clique, Aleister Crowley.

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Orwell famously said “in times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act“. We are indeed living in a time of universal deceit, where propaganda is used as a tool to control large populations. We are told that truth is relative, rather than objective, and anyone questioning the official narrative is ignorant, insane, or a troll.

Until you have your “LPM moment”, you are probably a HIQI. Once you wake up, you look around and realize that everybody else is in the same trance that you were in. The natural inclination is to try to wake up those around you. Buy guns, LGBT people. Don’t expect others to keep you safe, be it government or corporations or BMOrg.

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Some highlights:

BDQ, high IQ idiocy, and the Ludek Pachman Moment (LPM)
Getting back to the real world, we still have the observable fact that some people perceive the propaganda matrix and others are oblivious to it, and we don’t have any red pills or sunglasses to explain this. Just as some people get calculus and others don’t, some people see through the bullshit and others don’t. That’s pretty clear…
Now, when it comes to calculus or other academic subjects, we have IQ; we say the higher IQ people do better at school, or at least it comes easier to them. However, the ability to see through the propaganda, bullshit generally speaking, does not seem to have much (if anything) to do with IQ. There are people with a very high IQ who are just completely helpless when it comes to seeing through the propaganda. The technical term for such a person is HIQI, or “high IQ idiot”. The term is not really as contradictory as it seems, since, properly understood, there is another kind of intelligence in play than IQ, that allows people to see through the bullshit. The technical term we shall use for this is BDQ, which stands for Bullshit Detection Quotient. The term “high IQ idiot” does not originate in this essay. A quick google search reveals prior usage here and there, but this essay may be the first to provide a formal definition of the concept:
A “high IQ idiot” is somebody with a combination of high IQ and very low BDQ.
There is an event that I recall from a book that I read a long time ago that, I think, illustrates the concept quite nicely. It’s a rather obscure book, probably out of print now, entitled “Checkmate in Prague”. The author was a chess grandmaster named Ludek Pachman. I read the book back in my teens when I was a fanatical chess player. It’s partly a memoir of the author’s chess career but is mostly a political memoir of his time in Czechoslovakia under communist rule and it culminates in his defection to the West some time in the early 1970’s.
The event I have in mind goes like this: Ludek’s housekeeper is going off to the market to buy some food. As she is going out, Ludek tells her that he would prefer that she not buy pork. You see, Ludek had read some sort of popular science article that warned of how unhealthy it was to eat pork. He was concerned that he was eating too much pork and would prefer for her to buy beef or chicken instead.
His housekeeper, surely not a very educated woman, responded: “Oh, that is all nonsense, Mr. Pachman. They are telling us that pork is unhealthy because, at the moment, there is a severe shortage of pork and they don’t want people to notice.”
Ludek took this as an example of the kinds of misguided notions that uneducated people engage in. (I don’t believe he used the term “conspiracy theory”.) For Ludek, it was completely unthinkable that scientists would write an article like that saying that pork was unhealthy if there was not some real evidence that it was.
Well, some months after this, Ludek was reading some popular science article and the article was extolling the health benefits of pork. Now, apparently, pork was by far the healthiest meat, much better for you than beef or chicken. It struck Ludek as rather odd that the scientific consensus on this could change so quickly. Ludek looked into the question and discovered that, now there was a huge oversupply of pork. It seems that the authorities had overreacted to the previous shortage and now there was more pork than anybody knew what to do with. Thus, the authorities were desperately trying to increase the demand for pork by putting out articles telling everybody how healthy it was.
Many readers might chuckle at the above story, not think that it is very consequential. After all, when you think of the various abuses committed in communist regimes, a few porkies about pork surely do not rank very high. Nonetheless, this incident really did shock poor Ludek, and was, as I recall, one of the key events that caused him to turn against the communist regime and, ultimately, to defect to the West. He just really disliked living in such a corrupt, mendacious society, in which everything was a lie. (Whether Ludek was right to assume that the West was much better is another fascinating question, but is beyond the scope of this essay.)
Now, what I would point out about this story is that Ludek almost certainly had a much higher IQ than his housekeeper. And he was also far more educated. However, his housekeeper immediately knew that these articles appearing in the press — denigrating (and later extolling) the eating of pork — were bullshit, while Ludek was taken in by them. In short, Ludek’s housekeeper had a much higher BDQ than Ludek did.

Since I feel that the foregoing anecdote is such a good basic example of a certain phenomenon, I shall introduce some new terminology. This kind of realisation that Ludek has, when he sees how naive he has been and that his uneducated housekeeper, in a very basic way, is actually smarter than he is — let us call this a Ludek Pachman moment, or LPM for short

And…

Along these lines, I thought about another movie I saw a long time ago. It came out in 1987, a year before “They Live”. I am thinking of “Who framed Roger Rabbit?”. That was, I think, the first movie in which human actors interacted seamlessly with cartoon characters. (There were other attempts before, I’m sure, but I think that Roger Rabbit took this to a very polished level.) I think that Roger Rabbit, i.e. cartoons being superimposed on reality, can be a nice metaphor for thinking about these kinds of issues. In fact, I believe that many an LPM that people have undergone is when it dawns on them that some story that is presented by the media is an RRN, a Roger Rabbit narrative.
Though it was quite a technical achievement at the time, one thing is clear about this: everybody can identify which elements on the screen are cartoons and which ones are real. A cartoon building or a cartoon car just doesn’t look like a real building or a real car. And most certainly cartoon characters cannot be confused with a real human actor. So, again, when there is a direct visual stimulus like this, we all possess the wetware to identify effortlessly and immediately what is real and what is a cartoon, at least in a Roger Rabbit sort of movie in which cartoons and real people share the screen. So if we were watching one of those Bin Laden videos and some actual cartoon Arabs were to come out in the video, characters out of a Disney animated Aladdin or Sinbad, we would all presumably realize that the video is fake.
While nobody has any problem identifying a cartoon image, people frequently do have problems with a cartoon narrative. In May of 2011, in the first version of what happened in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a White House spokesman claims that Osama Bin Laden, when cornered, tried to use one of his wives as a “human shield”. They did later change the story, but this first version is a clear case of a cartoon element being overlaid onto something that is supposed to be a real event. My terminology for this is RRA, which stands for Roger Rabbit artifact.
Admittedly, since no photographic or video evidence was ever produced of this Abbottabad raid, it is not an RRA in the more literal sense of involving video fakery. (Video fakery is frequent in other hoax events, but not this one.) I still classify this as an RRA, since an event is alleged to occur that clearly emerges from a cartoon or Hollywoodian universe. You see, the “human shield” story requires Osama Bin Laden, who is ostensibly a real person in the real world, to exist mentally in a sort of cartoon universe. Upon realizing that agents of the U.S. government have arrived to liquidate him, he reasons that these are chivalrous individuals who would not shoot a woman. Therefore, he can prevent himself from being shot by getting behind a woman. People, let’s think about this: would anybody in the real world ever reason this way? Surely, anybody — and I mean outside of a Hollywood movie or comic book — on realizing that professional assassins are coming to kill him, would try to put as much distance between himself and his family members as possible. Putting them between him and the shooters would only get them needlessly killed as well!
Properly understood, it does not at all matter that the authorities later denied the human shield story. It really doesn’t, because, you see, once you identify an RRA in the narrative, even if it is later amended, you know the whole thing must be fake. This is because there is really no way that an RRA can just slip into a real event. No, there must be actual fiction writers involved! And that means that the event really must be a hoax. Why would you hire Hollywood scriptwriters, say, to write a script for something that really happened? Also, professional writers don’t write that fast. They have to have had the script written before the event (allegedly) happened!
When the story contains what is clearly an RRA, and then no actual evidence is ever provided that any of this happened, we can say that the event must be some sort of hoax. (To be clear, I don’t mean to say that nothing happened. Some operation of some sort occurred and possibly somebody was killed. Something happened but we have no way of knowing what it was! We do know, however, that whatever they say happened is not what happened!) I hereby propose a basic principle of detecting official bullshit:


If there is a single RRA in an official account, then the whole thing is an RRN.

And on CT – the “Conspiracy Theory” concept that was turned into Weaponized Anthropology by the CIA in the wake of the JFK assassination report (which they now admit was a cover-up)

The most important thing to understand about the CT concept is that it is utterly meaningless. This becomes quite obvious when you ask people for proof of whatever official, Roger Rabbit narrative they are espousing. For example, if you simply ask people to provide proof of the government story of 9/11, without suggesting any alternative theory yourself, you will pretty much invariably be called a “conspiracy theorist” even though you have yourself offered no theory! On reflection, the whole thing is really very odd, because the government story would seem to be a “conspiracy theory”, as it is a theory and it does involve conspirators conspiring. So they propose a conspiracy theory, you request proof of that theory, and they respond to your request by saying that you are a conspiracy theorist!
It is as if, when you say that you don’t believe the stories in the Bible, people were to respond by accusing you of being a religious fanatic!
Eventually, one comes to the understanding that a CT is just any avenue of investigation that the authorities want to discourage you from exploring! And this is the case even if no conspiracy was posited. Or even any theory at all! At various times, I have heard people refer to the proposal that the Federal Reserve should be independently audited as a “conspiracy theory”. I recall Donald Rumsfeld saying that the belief that the Iraq war had something to do with oil (as opposed to the U.S. government’s official explanation, the non-existent WMD’s) was a “conspiracy theory”!
Calling something a CT is simply an illegitimate way of trying to shut down a conversation and it may well be that the most important cultural/intellectual divide in our current day world is between those who realize that and those who don’t. Finally, the only way to deal with this “you’re a conspiracy theorist nya nya” sort of thing must be something analogous to Godwin’s law. I guess I could immodestly propose that this be called “Revusky’s law”:

Anybody who starts with this vacuous nonsense about “conspiracy theories” and/or calls you a “conspiracy theorist” has thereby conceded the debate.

When the HIQI professes his belief in whatever Roger Rabbit narrative, it is up to him to tell you what the proof is for the story. Simply calling you a name, in particular a name that is meaningless anyway, does not cut it.

We concur. Revusky’s Law it is. 

Read the whole article at Unz.com

Some terms and ideas here that may be useful in our discussions going forward, as we consider the prospect that Burners are Silicon Valley’s Secret Weapon.

Happy solstice honey moon from Paris. They say the last time this happened was 70 years ago, and the next one in 74 years time. If ever there was a day to wake up, today is a gr81.