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Topics - Cramulus

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Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Of Tolerance and Subtelty
« on: April 04, 2007, 04:10:04 pm »
Here are my thoughts this morning about idea thresholds, subtelty, and subversion

1 ---------------------- 10
least                        most
receptive                  receptive
to new ideas            to new ideas
(neophobes)              (neophiles)

Everyone falls somewhere on this scale, and it varies over the course of the day. At one end we have those incredibly open-minded people who are interested in everything. In some ways they're the easiest to influence because they have a high threshold. At the other end of the scale we have the closed mindstate, which is dismissive of mental intrusions and breaches.

Pamphlets, memes, ideas, the virii we spread. When you encounter an ideological breach, the likelihood that you let it past your threshold and think about it is a function of your tolerance, and the conductibility of that idea. Big breaches have difficulty making it past threshold. Ideas that are subtle and sexy easily slip past one's defenses. That's memetics.

Consider, once again, the guy on the subway. He's on his way to Point B, listening to his iMeme, and probably has the world tuned out. When he sits down, there's a pamphlet on his seat. Small type, no pictures, sort of preachy. If he even picked it up, he pretty much ignored it. You would too. And it's too bad, because the pamphlet is fucking brilliant.

Remember Roger's sermon about how the subversive need a good cover? It's true, you can't influence people if you look like a freak to them. And when shit goes down, the freaks will be the first with their backs against the wall. Ideas work the same way. Big flashy revolutionary ideas are easily dismissed. The subtle, the sexy, they make it through threshold.

We've talked about how we shouldn't dilute our message too much for the grays. For sure, some people just can't be saved. And who would want to save them anyway? Personally, I think the neophiles already are saved, to some extent. It's a lot easier to get them fired up because they LIKE new ideas and they LIKE to evolve. They're not afraid of change or thought. They need a jostling now and then, but they're generally moving within the crowd, not with the crowd.

This morning I was putting up 5160-size stickers that I made out of the meme bomb thread. I had put up about a dozen of them in the train station. I doubled back at some point and noticed that a sticker I had put up 2 minutes ago was gone. Later on, a guy approached me right before I got on the bus, handed me a sticker I had just put up on the bus stop, and said something like "put these in your house or something, but don't clutter up public spaces with them". I just sort of nodded and tuned him out, but I thought about it for a while.

In fact, I'm sort of pleased by his reaction. Those stickers (not the messages on them, but the perception of graffiti) woke him up and caused him to interact with his environment. Numerous other people saw me putting them up and just ignored them. This guy seemed to care about something. This guy took a risk and talked to me. He wasn't just a passive observer. And bravo to that. Even though the specific message was lost, the stickers did sort of have their intended effect.


Maybe the "wake the fuck up" message shouldn't be so literal. The Principia disguises itself as a joke, and that's how it gets past people's defenses. I'm not suggesting that we rewrite and retune our entire efforts, but that we should keep this vibe in mind.

One of my favorite stickers in the whole set is SillyCybin's meme "Congradulations, you've just found Clue #3! The man in the green jacket will tell you what to do next." If I found that sticker in public I'd be tickled - am I in the middle of some cool game? Are there other clues I should be looking for? It rewards people for being aware. It suggests something's going on which might be invisible to the casual observer.

Maybe the best way to get people to think hard about the Black Iron Prison pamphlet is to destroy it. Like a flyer with the URL of the BIP wiki and a suggestion to "STOP THIS BULLSHIT NOW". Write rants against it. Tear it apart. In trying to figure out what you're talking about, people will have to absorb the material. We've snuck in the message without trying directly to sell it to them.

This what Discordians against Discordia is all about. The Concordia movement appeals to Christians and actually invites them to learn more about our heathen cult. It's exactly the cover our subversion needs.

Or maybe all this just means that our memes should be disguised as regular things. Make our flyers look like regular advertisements. Put sexy swimsuit models on them. Subtelty through commercialization.

It might be easier to get under the skin if we try not to pierce it.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / The Magazine Thread
« on: March 08, 2007, 03:22:25 pm »
This thread is for discussion about the magazine we've been talking about all week. Even if our idea hasn't coalesced into something solid yet, we have a LOT of good discussion and good energy. I do feel we're capable of producing something that we'd all enjoy, and by proxy other Discordians would enjoy. So let's have at it in ernest!

I'm volunteering to step into an editor position. I don't want to do it alone - one or two more co-editors (at most) are necessary so that if I get IRL busy/distracted/high on power/completely batshit, the project won't get left behind.

All the stuff is still in the discussion phase, so feel free to inject your hot steamy thoughts wherever you'd like into this thread's body.

[Discordia Magazine Title]
(title pending)

Mission statement:

Discord Magazine seeks to prove that Discordia is alive and well. It's is a sampling of what's going on right now in Discordian culture. It will examine current trends and themes present in the Discordian 'stream.

Target Audience:
Discordians. It would be nice if other people could pick up an issue and enjoy it as well, but for the most part the magazine is "for Discordians by Discordians"

Article Brainstorm List
  • Robert Anton Wilson's Funeral - there was a ceremony for him a few weeks ago in California. So far, there's been no coverage of it. We'll talk to some people who were there and report on it.
  • Threadjack: A column about Discordians on the internet. One idea I had would be to interview moderators of the major Discordian forums and get them to compare / contrast their boards
  • Movie Review: The Number 23
  • Eris vs Wikipedia: The Wikipedia entry on Discordian Works has stirred up a lot of controversy recently. In short: because Discordia is so decentralized, and no one / everyone is an "authority", the editors are having trouble figuring out which books should go in the wiki entry and which books are just crap some guy's published. Reverend Loveshade has been in the front lines of this battle, it'd probably be nice to get some words from him.
  • Cabal Spotlight: a column in which we'll look at a real-life Discordian cabal and see what they're all about
  • Sticking Apart: A column in which two Discordians argue with each other about some topic   
  • The Flying Spaghetti Monster: an article which canonizes our new patron saint. It's about time some Discordians made some sort of "official" notice that he's in our pantheon now
  • Jake Contest - ? I dunno, sounds like a cool idea. We could get Discordians from various other factions to compete or something
  • Tract Marks - Discordian lit review.. this might be merged with the Wikipedia article
  • The Pulpit - a section in which we'll publish 2-4 rants, sermons, or essays written by honest-to-goddess Discordians. This is the part of the mag where we're allowed to be all preachy grabass

What's the magazine going to be called? here's a few suggestions:
  • Discordja Magazine - KISS
  • Eristocracy
  • Eristocracy Now! - sounds like a political mag, but the Discordians will get it
  • The Even Greater Poop - a reference to the Greater Poop, a fictional (?) magazine in the principia

What we need now:
People to sign up to write the above articles. If you want to take one, call dibbs so we don't get five people writing movie reviews. These things should be roughly 2000  - 4000 words. Less is okay too. Whatever we decide on as the "cover" article can be longer.

The above articles are just suggestions - if you have a great idea for an article, Go For It

We need someone to do layout and design

We need someone to find / make graphics and images

Although we'll surely disagree about a lot of stuff, we need to make sure we're all basically on the same page... the collective intelligence of this forum is much greater than the sum of its parts.

let's not talk about funding and actually printing it until we have some substance. I expect issue 1 will be in PDF only unless some crazy magic happens.

Or Kill Me / Pamphlet Draft
« on: March 01, 2007, 05:30:58 pm »
Page One:
Some awesome image or something

Page Two:

Most of the people who saw this thing did NOT pick it up. They did NOT open it. And they did NOT receive the praise with which I am now spraying you. You kick ass! Why is that?

You, my friend, are one of the chosen few. You are awake enough to take notice of your surroundings. If you were a wild animal, (and I'm sure you are!) you'd have a better chance to survive than all of them. Look around, man, most of them are asleep. Or at least they act like it.

And they're asleep for good reason - there's no reward for being awake, for being conscious of what's going on around you. Most of them are bored and miserable. Maybe you are too.

Hey, if you're satisfied with your life, good for you. Me, I can't sleep at night sometimes because I have this feeling that my life could be so much cooler if only I could figure out how to make it that way. I want to go to bed every night thinking, "That was great. I did not waste a single minute of that day." Don't you?

Page Three:

A lot of people feel like they're trapped in their lives. I know that sometimes I wake up and realize that I've been in a rut for what seems like years. It's easy to get lulled to sleep by The Routine. The Rut and Grind. The Machine. I know a lot of people who are miserable but are complacent with it. What a tragedy! They insist that they don't have the time or resources to enjoy life anymore.

These people view themselves as victims of society. They're bored and boring, because they feel their lives are ultimately out of their control.

We let the minutes of our day be determined by train and bus schedules, by the nine-to-five grind. We let our bodies drive us through biological rhythms of hunger, fatigue, and sexual release. But you've gotta trust me when I say you can escape all that if you just learn to be aware of it. Yeah, you still have to go to work, but its not a prison sentence.

Cause I mean, even hamsters who live in little glass boxes manage to have fun.

Page Four:

I want to be really straight-up about my goal.

I believe in the butterfly effect - the idea that really little things can ultimately cause great changes in the world. Im afraid for humanity, and this is why: I meet very few people that seem to be awake and conscious. Very few people have learned how to use their own brain. Very few people seem to be thinking about their own thoughts theyre just passive participants in the world. They hear opinions on TV and those opinions become their own. Think for yourself, damn it!

Today, tomorrow, forever, remember to be aware. Look around at your surroundings and ask yourself why youre doing what youre doing. You might be satisfied, and if you are, thats fine. But I really do want you to change the parts of yourself that you arent satisfied with. Ignite yourself! While theres still time!

I want you to be aware of whats wrong with your day, your life, your world. Then I want you to do something about it

Cause if you dont do something about it, its gonna be like this forever.

You cant just keep waiting for things to happen to you. Youve gotta go out and do them yourself.

If this was a movie, would you be a character in it? Or just an extra?

Be an active force in the world, not a passive one.

Little one liners for margins:

As I write this pamphlet, I ask myself why Im doing this. Its to become rich and famous, right?

I cant come up with anything else at the moment.

The above line wont make it to print. But maybe this one will.

there should be some meme-bombs in here. Preferably a rhyming one that'll get stuck in your head.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Topical
« on: March 01, 2007, 03:32:11 pm »
Can I make a topic / project suggestion?

I've been quietly observing the reactions of people who pick up the various pamphlets and whatnot that I've left lying around, and their reactions are usually pretty brief. Most of the time, they look at it, flip through it, maybe read a paragraph or two, then put it back down. I think this is symptomatic of these texts being somewhat inaccessible to random strangers, and the generally short attention span of people in transit. There are people, sure, who will pick up the BIP pamphlet (for example) and it'll fry their brains (in a good way). But those people, I think, are already trying to wake up.

I'd love to hand out something with a very broad audience. Something that even fingerlicking mouthbreathers can appreciate, even if they just skim it and leave it on the seat when they leave.

Here's what I think this imaginary pamphlet would look like:

-the cover would be a graphic, with maybe a question that entices strangers to pick it up. Then, it rewards them for picking it up by saying something like "most people didn't pick this thing up, but you did. Good for you, you're more awake than them!"
-the pamphlets starts off very fluffy - mostly jokes and crap at the beginning. This sort of hooks them in and lowers their defenses.
-after sufficient buildup, it would climax with a rant or sermon which sums up the whole point
-like the Principia, there'd be lots of jokes and graphics and whatnot which make it visually and comically appealing, and ensures that its interesting even if the reader isn't into thinking about thought or whatnot.

-the text wouldn't be too dense or too cumbersome. The whole thing would be like four pages or less. This is sort of a single-serving sermon. A sample, not The Big Picture.

also: I think there should be some sort of rhyming meme in there which will get stuck in your head.

I'm not sure if something like this has already been discussed or perhaps I'm beating a dead horse. What do you folks think?

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Project List?
« on: February 10, 2007, 12:43:49 am »
Hey dudes et al, is there a list of projects that are active or semi-active on these boards right now?

failing that, could you guys list the projects that are active or semi-active on these boards right now?

ps I like this guy's pipe :rogpipe:

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / You Bet Your Bippy
« on: January 24, 2007, 03:15:14 pm »
Preamble: This was a difficult review to write. Warring in my head are three points of view
  • The Discordian who wants to Wake Up and to Wake Up everyone around him
  • The random guy on the bus who found the pamphlets I left him
  • A devils advocate that dissects things on principle. Toro! Toro!

These guys disagree on just about everything, so my opinions may not appear fully consistent. I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I wanted to be thorough as a service to the project.

My Report on the Black Iron Prison Project
by Cramulus, Professor Emeritus, basically some guy

Overall, the BIP pamphlet carries a strong message, which is extremely useful to those trapped in sleepwalker mode. However, it suffers from poor packaging - its ideas are presented in a way which may repel the casual reader or random pedestrian. Overall, I am hopeful that this, and future incarnations of the project will be effective in shaking the public.

In short:
If people could just realize how stupid they are, theyd stop being so stupid!

I love the Black Iron Prison pamphlet. With the assistance of the OBNOXIOUS JERK CABAL, I've spent years putting together and passing out subversive / enlightening pamphlets, posters, and public performance. I've handed out my own stuff (total crap), and a great deal of stuff that other people have created. (most of it total crap) The BIP pamphlet succeeds where many other Discordian / Illuminating tracts fail - it felt like a slap in the face, even to someone who thinks he's got a toehold on figuring out this fractillian merry-go-round. And I thought I WAS awake!

But I think the BIP suffers from poor packaging. The format in which these ideas are presented, unfortunately, make them less palatable. I understand that you're trying to be really open and translucent about what the motivation of the pamphlet is. I can smell the lack of manipulation, and it smells good - the intent seems to be to give people the tools and let them figure out reality on their own. That rocks. But the tone is often condescending, intentionally offensive, cynical, and in many places shows contempt for the reader. There are likely people who were digging the pamphlet, or were on the border of getting the "point", until it got really Righteous. At that point, it's easy to classify it as the same sort of propaganda Jehovahs Witnesses hand out. Citation?
  • Page 16-17 sets up the same "us" versus "them" mentality that mainstream religions and cults use to foster an in-group mentality. Midway down page 17, the author refers to "them" as "these beings"... Personally I react very negatively to dehumanizing the opposition. It's very Holier-Than-Thou and it stinks. More Us v Them on page 26. Are "they" the enemy or the people you're trying to "wake up"?
  • page 21-22 is a lot of seething contempt for the general public, which presumably includes the reader and friends ("What is it with you people?"). I understand that this particular passage is trying to shake people into making their own decisions about pop culture et al, but if the target audience is people who do like QPCs and American Idol (the sleepers), youre not going to crack the ice by shouting the word sheep at them over and over again.
  • Page 5 suffers from the same problem. Its like You people, OR SHALL I SAY SHEEPLE might learn a thing or two if you listen to me. Stop being such comatose slugs! The implication is that the writers have it all figured out (even if they later say that they dont). If the reader agrees with the writers and does what they tell him, hell become a higher class of being too. Evangelical? Perhaps. Does this read like goth poetry? At times.

Certain parts of the pamphlet are pure gold. Among them:

The anecdote on page 3-4 reminds me of (sorry) a Hagbard Celine quote  "You're still trapped in thinking of it as left versus right. We're up versus down!" Hell yeah! (Unfortunately this point is almost sacrificed by appealing to liberals against conservatives on p25)

Page 7 is also really well written. It explains WHY youd want to see the BIP. The 7th-8th paragraphs are the real meat here. Ķthe more people are able to think for themselves, the less willing they become to exhaust themselves at someone elses commandĶ Its either rare or well done, depending on how you like your meat.

Page 9 says The time has come for you to start thinking for yourself. Thats kallisti-gold on the page and couldnt be printed bold enough.

The description of the nature of The MachineѢ on page 10 makes me want to stand up and shout HELL YEAH. I showed this to a Discordian friend while stinking drunk, and days later, this is the only paragraph he could remember about it. Particularly the part about focusing on the component parts rather than the whole picture.

Page 12 has a line: The notion that some nebulous group is out there subverting people with imagery and printed words designed to alter moods and behaviors is simply science fiction of the wildest, most escapist variety. This is some delicious self-reference.

As I read, I wonderedĶ If its worth it to be self-liberated and self-aware, why do the writers sound so pissed off and frustrated? I mean, youre trying to sell us freedom, but the tone of the pamphlet sounds like the authors are a bunch of brooding, bitter, cigarette smoking, echoes of Tyler Durden. Is that the reality I want? Well the longer paragraph at the bottom page 15 addresses the question Why Bother. That Why Bother is a big selling point and shouldnt be ignored.

The way page 16 ends in a couplet (We call it pollution, toxicity. It takes many forms and its increasing rapidly) is really tight. It has a sort of lyrical quality to it which resonates well with me.

Page 19 ends with If you accept that as truth, I wonder what you will believe when you are eventually convinced that it is a lie. BaBAM, kickass finishing move. I think p 18-19 is a really great spread.

The Herman Hesse quote on 23 is seriously hot shit. I think its the most important part of the whole pamphlet. p23-24 is pure poetry. I especially like the line Pissing all over someone else for doing something you dont personally approve of is MORE pointless than how pointless you think what theyre doing is!

Page 25-26 is really tight. Its really nice to see a concrete example to support all the metaphor.

Inconsistent Audience:

I had trouble figuring out who this pamphlet is addressed to. If its addressed to random people on the street who pick up the pamphlet, it should omit the stuff aimed specifically at Discordians and SubGs.

The target audience is definitely the public on page 8.
The target audience is definitely Discordians (and their ilk) on page 12.
The target is People on the Web on page 23 (Ķhere on this website, talking about this goddessĶ)

Generally the tone flips between adding nuance to already established Discordian issues (like the Machine and the Con), and trying to shake up people who are pinned to their sofas. These are two different audiences, two slightly different messages, and I think they should be approached in separate (but equal) ways. Trying to cover the whole spread in one pamphlet decreases the effectiveness of both. For example: Most Discordians feel (perhaps incorrectly) that theyve left the couch. Maybe you can convince them otherwise. But be clear when I first read the pamphlet I (in part) thought oh, theyre talking to fingerlicking mouthbreathers, not me. I already hate American Idol.

Miscellaneous Stuff I Dont Like
The introduction on page 2Ķ I dont like it. I dont think it does a good job at describing exactly what the prison is. Its your life, its the cold trap of your existence. (that line made me hurk a little I think it reads like teen goth poetry). So how exactly is that a prison and why should I hate it? Note - I think I understand what youre talking about, and Im not asking for an answer Im just pointing out how the guy on the bus may feel about this vitriol. The first page of text is the make-it-or-break-it page of the whole pamphlet, and its basically only frustration and metaphor. It needs something concrete to anchor.

Its possible to explain the two man con on page 4 without making the reader feel stupid for not having read American Gods. Likewise page 26 references Kant, Hume, and Locke, who are probably strangers to those people on the train.

The TUC mentioned on the bottom of page 5Ķ what does that stand for? Id either spell it out or delete it. Same with SSOOKN.

This may be purely a matter of tasteĶ
Page 14 begins by attempting to describe TEH NATURE OF REALITY. I hurk a little bit every time someone else tries to explain reality to me. That passage goes on to very effectively argue that we ignore / are unaware of most of reality. But then the consecutive point on p15 is that there might be great fun in exploring the reality thats currently invisible to us. Though Im hip to the metaphor thats been set up, the passage literally suggests that theres great fun in being aware of my feet inside my shoes, and being aware of the post-it note barely visible in my peripheral vision. Its plausible that the dude on the bus missed the point with all the metaphor.

We all have a little chunk of brain at the top of the spine called the Reticular Formation which filters out unnecessary information, like the temperature inside my shoes, the sound of the fluorescent lights, the entire world when Im asleep, etc. I trust its decisions. Yeah, its filtering out a LOT of information, but is that information relevant?

That big Why Bother question is answered several times throughout the pamphlet by demeaning the people who dont get it. Citation: page 4, Not wanting to beat the shit out of very stupid people is hard work. The authors must be pretty smart to see all this stupidity! In answer to the question Why bother? Because I want to be smart like you, can I send you a membership fee and jump behind your smart rebel label? :-P

Page 20 is mostly metaphor. I think the point gets lost without something concrete to anchor it.


Theres a bit that can be done to make this pamphlet easier to read.

Page 6, paragraph 2. Should begin with Youre, not Your. Page 8, paragraph 2, I think it should be ensure not insure. Page 21, the SSOOKN quote should drop the word For. I know, I know, thats really anal. But since its in print it should matter.

Some of the leaves are out of order. Maybe Im printing it wrong, or doing something dumb, but I tried a zillion different ways, and no matter how I paginate it, p18-19 is followed by p12-13, and p8-9 is followed by p16-17. Luckily, it doesnt really seem to matter.

I think the large blocks of text (read: the entire pamphlet) need to be broken up with some graphics or quotes or what-have-you. This is your opportunity to punch the reader right in the limbic system. Some lighter images could go a long way to soften the austere bitterness (unless you really like the bitterness personally, I think its unattractive). I know that this commutiny has no shortage of hysterical graphics.


Im equally impressed by the BIP pamphlet as I am with the community. You guys have shaken off the mummy-wrappings of ancient Discordia and created a new episkipos which is, perhaps, even more radically free than previous incarnations. It was really refreshing to realize that there are people who are putting a new spin on Discordia, even though sometimes some seem to be a bunch of elitist, cantankerous, endearing assholes (you what I mean). Likewise the BIP perfectly reflects the commutiny itll enlighten you Ķif youre tough enough to stomach it.

In My Humble Opinion it can use a bit of levity. What attracted me to Discord when I was something like 17 years old was that it was the first time someone tried to convince me of something important without cramming it down my throat. It tasted good so I swallowed it on my own. The humor and lack of self-importance is what (according to The Prankster and The Conspiracy) Greg and Kerry thought would save Discord from Dogma. And I dont just mean LAIL dada humor.  Maybe absurd silliness doesnt have a place in this document, but I for one would be able to take it more seriously if it didnt take itself so seriously.

And on that note I acknowledge that I am also quite full of shit. All of this long wind emanates, perhaps, from a narrow, stubborn mind. I sure couldnt do any better than you guys have done, but Im hoping that all this jazz will somehow help. Looking back on this post, I find it pleasantly absurd that my report on the BIP is approaching the length of the pamphlet itself. But whatever.

Um, I shall leave you with a llama,

A llama

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Target Audience?
« on: January 23, 2007, 03:27:19 pm »
What's the target audience of the BIP pamphlet?

Is it aimed at sleepwalking Discordians?
or at the general sleepwalking public?

Bring and Brag / Nature vs Nurture
« on: January 03, 2007, 01:19:27 am »

With All Due Respect,

Professor Cramulus
"An erect erection is insurrection!"

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