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STUPID UNDERGROUNDS - MANN
Conspiracy - Page 35

the unconscious, the underground itself, but the subliminal means that what we call capital uses to colonize us, its technologies of suggestion. If stupid research is especially alert to mechanisms of subliminal manipulation, it lags behind the Christian fundamentalist who knew years ago that satanic lures were coded into the lyrics of the pop albums spinning endlessly in their teenagers' rooms, driving them to drugs and suicide, which of course their parents could never do. Whole court proceedings have hinged on the possibility of turning these fleeting backwards messages into hard evidence; and no doubt the paranoid projection of such messages onto what may in some instances have merely been noise--though it is axiomatic in the stupid underground that there is no such thing as simple noise, that signal to noise ratios are absolutely overbalanced, that noise, indeed the unheard, the interval between noises, is dense with information that has simply not been decoded yet--no doubt the imagination of such forms of subliminal suggestion only inspired bands and recording engineers subsequently to put them there, in the technique referred to as "back masking."And long before Judas Priest went from marketing Satan to paying his dues, Muzak Christmas carols droning in mall elevators indicated to certain hypersensitive ears that the most banal is also the most insidiously powerful--more terrible because of its prevalence than the vague threat of criminal violence, always there, eroding our self-control, indeed our very being. "We managed to get hold of some Muzak records..., and they had the whole chart of frequencies and tempos and things like that you should use at particular times of the day."25

Key words can be distributed fractally through a cover text in such a way that you are manipulated by messages you don't even know you are reading. Sexual organs and the mere word "sex" are not-quite-hidden in billboard gestalts all along the freeway, in commercials, in magazine ads, perhaps in the textbooks you once brought home from school. The certainty that these messages are out there trying to get in puts the stupid underground on a particularly aggressive defensive, caught up in a perpetual double reading and double interpretation of an already overloaded screen, subjecting itself to the ceaseless vigil in which absolutely nothing can be taken for granted lest, in a weak and passive moment, the crucial message gets in and reduces one to an automaton of the commodity (which in any case has long since occurred), or of even more nefarious and perhaps extraterrestrial forms of mind

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