Monday, February 22, 2010

Airport. (Part 2)

Experimentation into memory grafting and personality augmentation carried on apace into the 21st century. By the middle of that century, it had attained a degree of sophistication whereby a whole secondary personality could be created, and stored in the left-hemisphere of the brain. The black budget scientists involved in the American Project Gemini, and its Soviet and Chinese equivalents, quickly discovered that the test subjects who were given a large number of artificial memories often developed fragmented secondary personalities. When a series of formative experiences, arranged in neat chronological order, were grafted, the test subject's memory would literally embellish the connective tissue between each incident, engendering a full, stable personality. Memory in this sense operates like a spectator observing a truncated narrative in a film, who automatically recognises the elision of certain events and time periods, and begins to imaginatively fill in the blanks.

Personality construction simply required the creation of between 25 and 30 memories for a fully grown adult. The bulk of are these are formative memories of childhood and adolescence ,where, properly speaking, the personality really develops. According to Professor Lance Ulrich "As depressing a fact as it it to acknowledge, the heavy lifting of personality formation is all completed by age 25. By this point, generally speaking, the personality has acquired a rigid sense of self and of the world, which cannot obsorb new stimuli, but rather will always modify, censor, or misapprehend new stimuli so as to represent a confirmation of its own internal biases and assumptions. This is related to the very rapid atrophy of general learning and adoptive faculties in human beings, and also, I suspect, to atrophy of the part of the brain that recognises and appreciates novelty. This in turn results in what we call the algorithmic compression of experience, where large chunks of experience and time are condensed down into the interchangable, repetitious experience of the same things, over and over. This we offer tentatively as an explanation for the speeding up of time which is a common facet of growing up: the atrophy of novelty recepters, and consequent transformation of general perception from a mode of novel experience into the habitual reiteration of the already experienced. This is good news for the science of personality construction. It means that while a lot of work needs to be done in drafting the outline of an artificial childhood and adolescence, the adult years can be covered with a mere handful of experiences. We construct a typical day at work, a typical day off, add some spice with a cancer scare and the performance of an inappropriate sex act, and voila: we have a stable adult sense of self."

Meanwhile, above ground in the 21st century, open source terrorism was spreading and expanding rapidly. Initially, the phenomenon had been confined to Islamic fundamentalist groups and insurgencies against American occupied territories in the Middle East. Now, in the social chaos that characterised the post-Bailout Depression, terrorist cells found an unlikely home in all sections of Western society. The terrorist of the new century belonged to no specific ethic, economic, or ideological demographic. Burnt out ecologists, smarting from the blacklash against the Green movement during the Depression; upper class English flash-mobbers, disillusioned by the lack of political reform incurred by synchronised performace art and public Rick-rolling; middle class sociopaths, bored to extreme ultra-violence by weekender supplements,ethnic music, and good food; unrepentant pedophiles and sex tourists whose many attempts to classify their activities under the banner of neurological diversity had fallen on deaf ears; university professors who had given up trying to figure out what comes after postmodernism; ultra-desensitized Gamers who had transformed the meatspace of the real world into a the ultimate interactive platform shot 'em up. All had been seduced by a shared dream of the destruction and rapid-freefall of everything history had slowly constructed, with its ambiguous dialectic of grandeur and oppression; by apocalyptic visions of airplanes tumbling from the skies, and sky-scrappers falling into their own footprints in immense, mushrooming aerial dust sculptures.
By now, the threat that loomed over Western society had become so ill-defined and amorphous that as a group it was simply designated on a national scale as our Enemy, and on a global scale as the Enemy. In 2054, President Cooper made his famous inaugurial speech which began: "The Enemy is now an all-pervasive, undetectable reality.....we can no longer look to our own nation, to our friends and collegues, even to our own families, as safe fortresses against the incroachment of the Enemy.......we are no longer protecting and upholding our way of life, but rather instigating a new way of life, which will ensure that the old one, were it still in existence, would surely be safe from the threat poised by our Enemies." Guantanamo Bay and the old detention centres, whose closure had been postposed since the early years of the century, now expand into town and city sized complexes. In a gesture typical of the sly wit and casual intellectualism which characterised his presidency, Cooper renamed Guantanamo Bay the "Joseph K. Complex." "So typical of the Coopster," enthused the Huffington Post, "his erudition impresses, and soars gallantly above the heads of the Republican demagoue". "Will somebody find out what Stalin's middle initial was" screeches the electronic vocal interface of Bill O'Riley's brain, now encased in a luridly bubbling and hissing cannister, "cause this smells like Communistic bullshit to me!"

The transformation of the airports continued apace. The power of the TSA had grown immersurably in the ensuing years, having effectively ousted control of the global drug trade from the CIA. Passengers wishing to fly had now to present themselves at the airport a full 48 hours before their depature day. During that period, they were subject to a series of searches, interviews, and "randomly timed procedures of an extremely humiliating nature, designed to effectively root out, and pro-actively create, terrorists and subversives." Showing a warm deference to the delicate sensibilities of women, the TSA have made them exempt from mechanical body scanning, requiring instead that they present themselves in the more "tasteful and empowering" form of a bikini parade, modelled on the old beauty pagents. In a plaza in the main concourse of the airport, cheap sound-alike covers of Celine and Shakira play as the awkward, terrified women present themselves before the panel of judges. (Gradually, minor reality television shows develope around these contests, and the panel of TSA officials are replaced by the full pomp of the Foul Mouthed Chiefs and Surly, Perma-tanned Music Impersarios of reality TV notoriety, who have by this point taken up most of the significant positions on the judiciary, and indeed on any body, anywhere in the world, responsible for taking important decisions by commitee.) Meanwhile, as the ersatz-Shakira reaches it's fiery cresendo, groups of naked, emasculated men are pursued through labyrinthine mazes of perfume stores and fast food franchises by latex masked, rubber gloved TSA officials. Two of the harried men temporally lose their pursuers by pretending to be mannequins in the window of a Tommy Hilfiger store, seamlessly worked in the cornice of faux-Morroccan bazaar. "You know, Bill" says one ruefully, when the coast is clear, "I should have just bit the bullet, and drove us to this damn convention!" Whereupon they transform themselves, Abbot and Costello style, into a gypsy fortune teller and bellicose husband, and spend the rest of their days in the Morroccan Quarter, assuming different disguises and solving mysteries, always just one step ahead of the fated cavity search they had so narrowly eluded.
Global affairs were gradually shifting into a state of permanent paranoia and borderline chaos. The combination of economic upheaval, ecological change, and constant political intrigue engendered an atmosphere of apocalyptic trepidation. In such times, when history appears to thread upon a profound, mysterious faultline, there is always a pervasive sense that virtually anything is possible. The curious engine whereby ideas are theorized and beliefs formed goes into overdrive, and events become hopelessly immeshed in their own mythic traces and after-effects. By the middle of the 21st century, the radical democratization of the media had reached its apogee. Alternative medias had utterly swamped the mainstream, effectively rendering obsolete the old giants of corporate news and entertainment. The sober, diligent news-readers of the old world were gradually replaced by the oracular shock jock of exotic conspiracy theory. The print journalists too, no longer beholden to an ideal of anonymous, objective observation, flowered intead into a species of catastrophe poet, producing an impressionistic diary of life in the endtimes, and an experimental exegesis of the ongoing global Revelation. Immensely popular and influential, the Conspiracy Readers were equal part shaman, actor, preacher, and snake-oil salesman. Their popularity reflected a pervasive sense that reality and daily life were themselves adrift in a hinterland between facts and sci-fi mythologies; that all events were rapidly moving towards an event horizon, beyond which nothing would be quite the same again.

In the mid-fifties, the science of psychological grafting exploded into the mainstream. (How this happened remains a mystery, and the subject of many conspiracy theories.) Almost overnight, underground memory implant clinics became as commonplace and cost-effective as crystal meth labs; in all the major cities, the familar sci-fi premise of the commercial trade of fabricated memories became an unregulated reality. In terrorist and counter-terrorist circles, the long standing dream of the Manchurian candidate became a reality. It became possible to be a zealot, a subversive, and an enemy of the state, without even realizing it. A tailor-made surrogate personality could be implanted, and left dormant in the left hemisphere of the brain, awaiting a specific trigger to awaken it. Because psychological grafting altered the brain's incorporeal, information content, and not its physical or neurological aspect, it was completely untracable.

Events came to a head in the bleak year of 2058. The Enemy brought down forty passenger airplanes that year, using sleeper agents whose specific trigger was the ritual dumb show of safety instructions performed by the air stewardesses. The subconscious of the world was scarred by nightmares of aerial panic, by an iconography of scattered airplane debris, and all the emblems of the modern world toppling at lethal velocity back down to earth. "Always remember how you felt in '58:" said the atrophied brain of Glenn Beck, now represented in the mediascape by an 8 foot 3D motion captured giant, "full of fear, confusion, and SHEER PRIMORDIAL HATRED towards a vaguely defined Enemy". Despite the all-pervasive panic about flying, air travel received a massive surge in its final vigourous years. A small minority, often members of the Catastrophe Kid subculture, became frequent flyers, regarding the gamble as a perverse, fatalistic pleasure that far outstripped the jaded parimeters of sexuality. (These adventurers were a fixture in the airport bars and lounges in those years, proudly displaying their collected boarding passes to fellow enthusiasts, like old soldiers comparing wounds.) Most people, however, were simply taking one-way flights. Everybody knew the Slow Down was coming, that the old dream of the Global Village could only continue in the realm of communications technology. People were returning home to their families, or to whatever places they envisioned spending the rest of their lives. The tension when those flights took off, naturally, was unbearable. For the whole duration, in fact, there was scarely a world spoken among the passengers. But they looked at one another, with an extraordinary intensity. Sharing the risk of a horrible death, travelling one last time to the places where they intended to put down roots for the rest of their lives, those people experienced an extraordinary sense of shared humanity, of the ultimate commonality of all human experience.

In October 2062, President Cooper made a famous speech which began with the following absurd, yet somehow inevitable, sentiment: "My fellow Americans, and friends and allies in the global community, we can no longer look even upon our own minds as safe fortresses against the incroachment of the Enemy. The Enemy has found the most cunning, the most perfect hiding place: inside the left hemispheres of our own brains."
To be concluded shortly.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Of all the things that were instrumental in how we conceived of the world in modern times, and how we thought of the modern world itself as an abstract entity, few were as instrumental as the experience of travelling in an airplane. Of all the things that distinguished the modern from the ancient world, it is arguable that communications technology and air travel alone constituted the real transformation. McLuhan's infamous coinage "the Global Village" was primarily justified by developments in those two spheres. When we talked about the modern world, we talked about a place in which you could speak to anybody, anywhere in the world, instantaneously; a place where you could be virtually anywhere in the world in the matter of hours, via the complex global grid of airline companies, airports, air-traffic-controllers, meticulously co-ordinated air-traffic routes, pilots, air-stewardesses, and the impossible dream machines themselves, moving serenely above the clouds. My mind surrenders to rapture whenever I think of this vast grid in the days when it was fully operational. Surely it was a miracle, to first conquer gravity, to ascend to realms so deified in our minds as to function as metaphor and avatar of the supernal heavens; and then to transform this reckless miracle flight into a finely-tuned, harmonious express-way of perpetual motion and exchange. Like a miniature crystalline clockwork, those planes traversed the ancestral skies, bearing an endless freight of human and commercial cargo to their bustling docking stations scattered across the earth. (In my mind, the constant traffic between the old airports has always resembled the stream of life itself - the movement of localized variation across a wider path which is itself unchanging, timeless - the stewardesses and pilots somehow above the stream, intermediate, like angelic hosts who maintain the machinery by which the unique journey is repeated an endless amount of times. Such is the extent to which I have romanticised the halcyon days of commercial aviation.)

The sky and the airplane were both faster and safer than the open road and the automobile. The sky, as a resource, was hotly contested; yet it was divided up and shared between its competing prospectors in a manner never matched in the terrestrial sphere, where the limited planes of ocean and earth were a constant source of possessiveness and conflict. Viewing the world from the vantage point of the airplane elevated the perspective of the passenger, in a variety of subtle ways. The ability to move briskly between equatorial hemispheres, to travel back and forwards along alternate time-zones, to sample the multi-faceted gestalt of alien cultures and landscapes, also engendered a slow and incremental transformation of human consciousness. It was weaning us away from the embryonic tethers of insularity and tribalism, and initiating us to our true patrimony as citizens of a unitary planet, poised on the threshold of the greater fight that awaited us. This transformation was such that the atrophied old powers could only continue to propagate the legitimacy of their wars by virtue of manufactured panics, and could only soldier those wars on the backs of the impoverished and uneducated. The airports themselves were microcosms of the wider world around them: globalised, de-territorialised, multilingual no-places (the real meaning of the word "utopia") of buzzing activity and perpetual motion and renewal.

The freedoms of easy and convenient air travel were not to endure into our current period, however. The first attempted aircraft hijacking occurred on February 21, in Arequipa, Peru. It was a comical rather than portentous event. Flying from Lima in a Panagra Ford Tri-motor, pilot Byron Rickards was greeted on the ground by a group of armed revolutionaries. Rickards was told that his plane was being commandeered in the name of the revolution, and he was to follow their orders. Byron Rickards - perhaps dimly aware the dreams of the twentieth century themselves were at stake - simply refused to comply with the hijackers, and held them in a stalemate for ten days. The hijackers relented, informing Byron that the revolution had been brought to a successful conclusion, and he was free to return to Lima - so long as he gave a lift to a member of their Junta.

Hijackings didn't really gather momentum until after WW2, and then only slowly. Between 1948 and 1957, there were altogether only 15 hijackings around the world. At this point, the practise was most commonly utilised to flee harsh communist regimes in the Eastern Block countries, and later Cuba. In the sixties, an increasingly paranoid Kennedy administration choose to celebrate Cuban hijackings as victories, welcoming the perpetrators and allowing American courts to distribute the proceeds of the confiscated aircrafts among companies and individuals who were owed money by Cuba. This stance, essentially an official sanction of air piracy, was short-sighted and disastrous in its consequences. The latter years of the sixties saw a massive exponential increase of hijacking, jumping from 38 in 1968 to 82 in 1969. On august 3 1969, a Boeing 747 was flying over the Gila River Valley, on a routine Continental Airlines run from Los Angeles to Houston. Suddenly, a air-stewardess was held at gun point by 17-year old Cody Bearden. Bearden's father Leon, a unemployed auto salesman from Coolidge, Arizona, also produced a revolver, and said "We are going to take this plane to Cuba. Alter your course 45 degrees south." Bearden was a notorious malcontent with a seething disdain for the American government; he planned to renounce his citizenship in Cuba. The pilot, South Dakota-born veteran Byron Rickards had seen it all before - the revolution is never brought to a successful conclusion.

Of course, the initial catalysing event behind the great slow down of commercial aviation was the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre complex in 2001. The symbolic power of this traumatic event cannot be over-estimated. The airplane, a primary avatar of globalized modernity, is launched as a missile against the Manhattan skyline, itself a vista archetypal to the sky-reaching dreams of the twentieth century. Nor did the attacks evoke the Pearl Harbors of the past, seeming to emerge instead from America's own hypnagogic reveries of large scale urban disaster, ritually enacted on the dreamspace of the movie screen. Like Dealy Plaza on a grander scale, September 11 threw sections of the American population down into a vast paranoiac underworld, subject to flashes of dark gnosis amid formless cul de sacs of static and digital noise. The towers endlessly repeated their brisk collapse in numbed minds and on computer monitors, as though America could only be reborn, and free to resume its destiny as the nexus of the world's dreaming, through a full recapitulation and understanding of the traumatic event. The conservative American majority, equally paranoid, capitulated fully to the State's assurance of renewed security and pre-emptive vengeance, ushering in a grim era of illegal wars and Stalinist domestic policies. Thus the first real spur to the great slow down was the emergence of open source guerrilla warfare, an enemy which replicated the de-centered, impossibly interconnected chaotic system of the global entity itself. Like the dreams represented by the airplane and the airport, the new enemy had no patch of soil, no uniform, no distinct identity to codify itself within the chessboard parameters of classical warfare. It had taken on the qualities of branding, and horizontally organised franchising; like everything else, it moved across incorporeal networks that defied traditional boundaries. It was a rhetorical gift to military/industrial conglomerates that secretly dreamed of eternal, abstract warfare.
The airports began to reflect these realities. The changes were subtle at first, and appeared natural enough under the circumstances. In November 2001, President Bush signed into law the Aviation and Transport Security Act, establishing a new Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Passengers and baggage were rigorously screened, slowing down the process of flying to a degree little above that of a nuisance. Security was tightened at every level. Yesterday's miracle last minute boardings, once the saviour of many potential travel disasters, were memories of a lost, fossilised world. With its pristine glass geometries, and its giddy throngs carried down escalators to the waiting ramps of lengthy mobile concourses, the airport has always possessed an ambience of science fiction, and the imagined futures of the past. Now with surveillance cameras, biometric passports, restricted liquids, eye-scanners, and latterly full body scans, it came increasingly to resemble the nightmare parameters of the dystopia. It was slowly becoming the microcosm of a new world.

The second major spur to the great slow down was the subterranean development of a new science. The possibilities of psychological grafting extend back to the shadowy days of the Cold War and the MK-ULTRA programme. Scientists on both sides of the Iron Curtain become fascinated by the prospect of creating artificial memories, and grafting them seamlessly into the mental baggage of test subjects. The earliest successes involved the implantation of a traumatic situation, usually an alien abduction/examination scenario, into the memories of unwitting test subjects. The scientists involved in this covert project discovered something completely unexpected. The implantation of a single alien abduction memory acted like a virus. Creating copies of itself, the artificial memory would retrogressively alter the entire past of the test subject, inserting sophisticated variations of the basic scenario at various points throughout the person's life. According to Professor Alfred Blanchard of MIT: "It seems to be a property of memory not merely to record, but to organise its contents into cohesive blocks. It may be, for example, that every time a person thinks of a cat, he is activating a specific memory block or chain, which incorporates that person's initial learning of the concept and appearance of a cat. In fact, it may be that higher level cognition is entirely dependant on this capacity to summon discrete memory blocks instantaneously and unconsciously. Every time you think of something, you are activating every memory you have of that thing, and processing all the information at lighting speed to produce a highly complex, specific impression of that thing in the present tense. Hence, artificial memory grafts throw the memory's central processor into disarray; they give it information which has no linkages or chains in the wider system. Now we are aware, in the case of Charles Bonnet syndrome, that when the optic pathways become less able to process visual stimuli coming from without, the brain or optic system somehow invents visibilia to fill in the blanks, which the sufferer experiences as very vivid hallucinations. This process of filling in the gaps is echoed in Phantom Eye syndrome, where patients who have lost an eye experience pain and occasional hallucinations in the absent organ, and in Musical Ear syndrome, where hearing loss is sometimes accompanied by auditory hallucinations. Now memory does something inherently similar. It adds a recursive chain or block to the grafted memory, which the subject incorporates seamlessly as memory or prior lived experience."
Continued shortly.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

RetroFuturism: Future Shock (1972)

Written by the sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler, 1970's Future Shock captured an undercurrent of neo-Luddite panic in an era of tremendous social and technological change. In the process, it added some indelible expressions to the lexicon of modern technological disorientation, including "future shock" itself, and the ever prescient notion of "information overload". In 1974, Alex Grasshoff made a short film based on the book, resulting in a somewhat disjointed, utterly hilarious essay of technophobia, narrated (As Only He Knew How!) in the blissful baritone of Mr. Orson Welles:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Found Imagery.

As is plainly evident from its cover, the main thesis of this book suggests that Big Foot is a) real, b) psychic, and c) somehow connected to the UFO enigma. One can only assume The Psychic Sasquatch and their UFO Connection preaches to a choir of believers in the paranormal, and has won over few sceptical readers.

"How can you let this go on?"
At about 3.05 this already bizarre Star Trek clip turns into an absolute riot of weirdness, and possibily one of the most remarkable cliff-hangers in the history of episodic narrative:

Archaeological Excavations of the Modern City Part 1.

It is often argued that habit alone constitutes the criteria by which we divide that which is self-evidently sensible, rational, and hence normative in human affairs, and that, on the other hand, which is outrageous, bizarre, or outright perverse. The social norms by which any society conducts itself are imposed from without, by a combination of those elements who control the society, and the fact of that order existing already in history, which leads in turn to the habitual experience of one order as opposed to any other. We are all aware of the extreme example, vouchsafed in the person of the obsessive compulsive, of individuals who maintain habits which are alternatively superfluous, nonsensical, or completely harmful to the person in question. We must also be aware that the obsessive compulsive, left to his own devices, will tend to regard his outre compulsions as merely those chores and activities necessitated by the ordinary active existence. We are lead from this to entertain at least the possibility that whole societies may become subject to an acute neurosis; that whole nations may become self-reinforcing communities held together by a shared corpus of delusion, beginning with that familiar chestnut which is ever the handmaiden of all delusional systems: I'm not crazy. Note the powerful argument marshaled by Holdenstrat, the crazed German idealist, in his masterwork On the Impossibility of Ever Definitively Establishing the Sanity of Oneself, or any Other ( the secondary clause of which has been deemed by many a superfluous exercise, in the light of Holdenstrat's previous "manifesto of pure idealism" On the Impossibility of Ever Definitively Establishing the very Existence of any Other): a) the most insane people are characterised by the complete conviction of their own sanity, b) hence there is no essential difference between the experience of sanity or insanity, c) a persistent vigilance with regard to one's sanity is commonly called paranoia, and invariably the by-product, or precursor, to a milder form of insanity. Hence, according to c), any vigorous attempt to establish one's sanity to a satisfactory degree is a self-defeating measure, since it often leads to insanity, and following a) and b), has no chance of success anyway. (Holdenstrat went insane in his later years, believing himself to be a victim of an ancient conspiracy of beautiful Amazonian women, who had worked since time immemorial to suppress the insights of German idealism. The discovery of giant female footprints outside Holdenstrat's home in the aftermath of his death is regarded by most sober commentators as little more than an intriguing coincidence.)

We must then except that this whole world, both in its basic physical construction, and no less so in the complex social organisms that have gradually evolved upon the surface of this earthly petri dish, is an order imposed from without. Mr. Charles Fort and Mr. HP Lovecraft have been bold enough in the past to question whether the whole edifice of the physical universe is itself in any fashion a rational or sane entity; whether these ideas are merely man's fond, foolish dreams, the quaint fragments we have always been shoring, in some form or another, against the eventual dissolution of all things. I will content myself, for the moment, with questioning the sanity of our forms of social organisation, our way of life, to give it its distinctly modern, trans-Atlantic nomenclature. Our way of life is an complex abundance of peculiar habit and custom, which only the rust of familiarity renders normative. Witness the game of tennis: the crowds watching rapt at the repetitious to and fro of the ball from one racket to the other; the Amazonian shriek of the female tennis player splitting the silence as though locked in some prolonged and loveless congress; finally, in some kind of weirdly concentrated bacchanal of appreciation, the crowd strike their palms together in unison, producing an abrasive sound and a spectacle most portentous to the uninitiated. Is there any sense pertaining whatsoever in these strange games that mesmerize us, this veritable underworld of strange fears that silently haunt our minds? Is there geometry, harmony, or beauty of any kind in these vast mechanical architectures we ourselves haunt like ghosts?

It is with these surmises in mind that I present an extract from that most puzzling and remarkable text Archaeological Excavations of the Modern City. The Excavations is a text of notoriously dubious providence, and the controversy over its authorship rages unabated today. In 1949, it was submitted to various London publishers by the horticulturalist, bird fancier, and self-proclaimed extraterrestrial "contactee" Cedric Bulmer-Cavendish. Bulmer-Cavendish claimed he had received the manuscript from his friend Orthon, a Venusian who had travelled in a flying saucer to the London of the 21st century, and recorded his impressions as a kind of warning to the men of the 1950's. It was eventually published in 1951 by the New Lemurian Press, a small outfit which served effectively as a vanity publisher for the decaying remnants of the Theosophy movement, and was followed in 1953 by The Venusian Dawn, a description of idyllic, communal life in the jungles of Venus. Bulmer-Cavendish immediately incurred the ire of the botanist, journalist, scholar of comparative philology, and occasional drunkard Bugle Bulmer-Buttredge. (Bulmer-Buttredge had once been an enthusiastic member of the Society for Psychical Research, until he became bitterly disillusioned with the paranormal, stating in 1919: "I hereby declare myself a veritable Antichrist and nemesis to all table tappers, all purveyors of ectoplasmic cheese cloth, all mixers of Theosophical gruel, indeed to every species of fantastical nonsense extant." This was in sharp contrast to his earlier statement in 1912: "I am hereby offering my services as a veritable David against the Goliath of accepted scientific dogma; indeed my sling is poised to slay every commonsensical assumption about reality extant.") Of Venusian Dawn, Bulmer-Buttredge had the following to say: "It is patently clear that this Venusian Shangri-La, with all its property (even WOMEN-FOLK) held in common, is nothing less than the grim reductio ad absurdum of FABIAN SOCIALISM." Regarding the Excavations, Bulmer-Buttredge made a convincing argument that Bulmer-Cavendish was almost certainly its author, based upon the strong similarities between it and Reflections on Life in the Abysmal Anthill, a polemic against modern urban life which Bulmer-Cavendish had written under the pseudonym of Wolfgang Marx, while a member of the Fabian Society.

In time, the controversy dissipated. In 1957, Bulmer-Cavendish attempted to publish one further book, Slave of the Giantesses: My Journey to Venus. In this work, avowedly his own, Bulmer-Cavendish claimed that Orthon returned, and conveyed him by flying saucer to the fabled jungles of Venus. He spends a year trekking by himself through the gargantuan tropical Venusian rain forests, until he is finally incarcerated by a tribe of Amazonian women, who promptly relinquish their religion of ritualistic lesbianism, and make him their largely willing sex slave. The work is lost, but was described in its day as pornographic, obscene, and completely unpublishable. Even the New Lemurian Press refused to publish it, and Bulmer-Cavendish became a laughing stock among London's rapidly dwindling community of Theosophists and Contactees. (Coincidentally, our old friend Holdenstrat read the work in manuscript form, and claimed "as a bizarre amalgam of Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Marquis de Sade, it is not without literary merit". He requested a copy for "private use and further study".) In his later years, Cedric became utterly destitute, as did Bulmer-Buttredge, and both men spent their declining years as virtually the sole patrons of the London public house the Dockside Maiden, and the Source of her Ruin, a Rude Spaniard. As an extraordinary new decade of vitality dawned on London, both spent their evenings sitting at opposite ends of the Dockside Maiden, and the Source of her Ruin, a Rude Spaniard bar, endlessly rehashing the old controversies of their Psychical and Fabian pasts. One waited for the return of Orthon in his gleaming flying saucer; the other for long delayed grant from the Foreign Office.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Found Images: Cattle and the Paranormal.

Since the pioneering days of Charles Fort, cattle have played a significant, albeit deeply puzzling, role in the Bigger Picture of mysterious phenomenon. Indeed, one of Fort's less cheerful theories held that we ourselves are no more than a form of lifestock, bred for utility by our advanced cosmic neigbours. Meanwhile, in the sixties and seventies, the cattle/ET relationship exhibited far more disturbing characteristics than that suggested in the Sony ad above.
This picture depicts the life-cycle of Black Helicopters. I found it on a website which alleged, I can only assume sardonically, that Black Helicopters are a form of nanobiological living organisation, bred to serve the New World Order.