In the Spring of that fateful year, 2020, my father died, at 90, of natural causes. He was a devoted American, whose contributions to the U.S. were immense, yet in some ways, immeasurable. He passed on a Monday and the global Covid-19 pandemic struck that actual week. Protocols meant I could have no public funeral service. Only five were allowed to attend: the brahmin, myself and three of dad’s former students. Six weeks later, George Floyd was choked to death, by police in Minneapolis Minnesota. Thousands marched, pandemic be damned.
George Perry Floyd Jr. was an African-American man who was openly and publicly murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest after a store clerk suspected Floyd may have used a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill.
He was lying inert and unarmed on the ground, and Derek Chauvin, one of four police officers who arrived on the scene, knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for 9 minutes and 29 seconds and choked him to death. It was filmed, and witnessed by many. The reaction to the video of George Floyd’s choking impacted the world.
Five months later Trump lost. His followers attempted a violent coup of the peaceful transfer of power to Biden. They attempted nothing short of a violent revolution against democracy in our country. Seven people died attempting to protect the Capitol and formal structures of our government from an amped-up, violent horde, whipped into a frenzy by the former President, who fomented them and the nation with utterly false accusations of election and voter fraud in the 2020 election. They continue to do this. There is a film called 2000 mules that is complete and total horseshit.
It would be like the last gasp of a terrible, ugly, racist monster swinging wildly as it goes down, except it still swings – now less publicly, without the perceived protection from a white supremacist in the White House. Ted Cruz and Ron DeSantis and Marjorie Taylor-Greene and others seek to fill the Trump-sized void, to keep the drumbeat of their racism and hate going. Their intention is nothing short of a fascist, White, Christian State.
There is significant concern that the monster has gone underground and even now plots a very real and significant coup, possibly even a civil war. Rest assured, the ugly beast – born from genocide and slavery, and cemented by white supremacy and abject racism – has dominated this nation for three hundred years. It will not go quietly.
We are and have been overdue to address it. Having calculated the impending minoritization of the so-called ‘White’ American for decades, the writing has been on the wall. The racist beast amongst them feels cornered, misunderstood and plans to retaliate against truth, justice and humanity.
These are White Americans who believe that:
- This is the greatest country in the world, and became so only because whites left Europe and founded a place where they could place themselves in control; where they could create their own white-supremacist thing, murdering and enslaving those they deemed heathens without recrimination. They consider Whites to be a race that ‘authored’ the USA, with greater rights than all other Americans.
- Black Americans are receiving far more protection and opportunity than they should because they make up only a small percentage of the population compared to whites. White Americans I know personally have said this to me over decades. It is a complete disconnect with the facts of Black American life.
- Minorities and new immigrants do not deserve protection of any kind. Those who come here should completely embrace their lower place in a hierarchy. If they expect to climb, they have to play by rules which praise White-American culture, and that which it ordains, above all else. It doesn’t matter if the rules contradict the immigrants’ own culture and values, as they do commonly – as happened to me my whole life.
- All Americans must play along, accept social truths over real truths, and be of value to the ruling class, which must remain White dominated.
I do not accept any of this. I consider it inhumane, unjust, racist and fundamentally against the founding principles of the nation’s forefathers – who, in any case, were only creating protections for themselves.
The nation has come to its inevitable crossroads once again. We reappear here at this intersection over and over through the centuries because we do not address the problem as a whole. Rather, we attempt constant fixes that pluralize over time – in the hope that we move toward a more just, fair and honest society.
We are far from it.
Truth is, we have never had one at all.
To begin, White Americans must be vetted in the context of what we consider right today. Let us root out those that harbor racist, violent thoughts against others. Let us root out the homegrown terrorists. And disarm them.
Since the coup attempt, many are hiding and plotting – by definition, treasonous acts. They don’t hide very well, since they explode with it all over social media. We should have begun there a long time ago. To those of you, particularly young people, who are into cancel culture: you don’t have to cancel them, you can identify and keep the light on them. Vet and Dox these people. Keep a record.
Whites have ‘vetted’ everyone else, brutally, for centuries. That should end now, with an appropriate vetting of them, in the context of our nation as it stands today.
Let’s discern who, exactly, attempts to author the USA on racist terms, and on religious terms – when the First Amendment clearly states we shall not. Let us establish and publicly name who works for the ends of Whites above others, exclusively, and how. Who seeks to establish a religion for our nation and oppress other spiritualities? Who seeks to hold down alternative culture?
Let us vet all of those in power for racial and social inequities. Expose through vetting what their actual opinions are and make them known. Start with the Whites.
Whites Must Be Vetted
— M.T. Karthik
October, 2020 – January 2022
audio, birth, book, computers, contact, copyright, dawn, electronic, essay, first, games, gaming, internet, interviews, Karthik, longform, m.t., media, mtk, nascent, plug, Project, technology, television, unplug, web
Between 2005 and 2011, I collected interviews with people about their first experiences with a computer (The First Contact Project) and
wrote a book about our intersection with technology and how I grew up with it and how it became a part of policy and society (Plug/Unplug)
Here I mix them together for a final expression.
The thesis of this thread of writing and vlog entries is that there are things happening all the time when we are working in concert with machines that we cannot or have not yet accurately described.
I am using radio – a field in which I have worked off and on for more than 30 years – as an example to discuss the same effects in any live broadcast medium or other “real-time” circumstances.
This thesis, titled, “Sympathy With The Machine,” and anything found under the rubric is copyright M.T. Karthik, unless cited.
We begin with two vlog entries:
and Part One
thinking about this stuff now.
I am reading Ismail Kadare’s The Accident, and it’s pretty great. Taking me a little longer to finish, because his riddling, nested, suspenseful style requires more effort. I wonder what it’s like in Albanian?
I’ll post a review when I’m done, but one note on a line that made me laugh aloud.
The Accident begins with and concerns a car accident in Tirana, Albania, that results in the deaths of two people about whom little is known but much becomes suspected. Agencies from neighboring countries are – perhaps paranoically – worried these seemingly accidental deaths are part of a larger plot and they come to Albania to investigate. Then amidst the descriptions of each of the interested parties’ procedures, Kadare segues thus:
“As usual, the Albanian intelligence officers took a long time to reach a position which the others had already abandoned.”
which caused me to erupt in my first lol of this finely crafted novel.
The Accident, I. Kadare, Onufri Publishing, Tirana, 2008.
I haven’t been blogging or writing in a journal in some time and I think it has had an effect on my mind and my behavior which is suspect for its simplicity and uninspired plodding lately.
The fact of the political circumstance I am now living in is no small part of this situation.
I am a brown-skinned, South Asian immigrant to the United States who has been a naturalized U.S. citizen for 36 years. I am routinely subject to racism and discrimination because of my appearance and name.
Before I open my mouth and speak, no one around me knows I have lived in the U.S. since I was two, have attended all public elementary, middle and high schools and the largest public university in this state – that I am as or more local than anyone in the room. This is a racist and bigoted place.
The two-faced behavior which is taught, encouraged and rewarded by the masters – the ones who seek to maintain their pre-eminence – as equally seeks to contain liberated thought and free will, which are discouraged and ultimately punished, through disconnection and isolation. They hope to drive out those who would not agree.
And now the Slum Lord is the Driver Outer in Chief .
Ultimately the way immigrants like myself behave – the things we say, do and write – are not judged in and of themselves as expressions of a free mind, but rather against an “Americanism” that is shifting, biased, calculated and profoundly racist. Freedom to speak out is curtailed through this and other subtle means.
As Octavio Paz wrote decades ago,
“the North American does not tell lies, but he substitutes social truth for the real truth which is always disagreeable.”
– O. Paz, Labyrinth of Solitude, 1950
… this has grown into a fantastic parallel history in which the North American social truth denies – via the mechanism of retelling the story – the genocide and slavery of its historical real truth, denies and marches on with pipelines and religious intolerance and banning people and ideas.
Sitting here, being me, it is thus, hard to write. I know I’m marginalized. Though less than most because I have worked at some of the biggest publication and broadcast entities in this country. I’m both educated to and have experience of how it works – after years in New York, LA, Silicon Valley.
I also know I need specific and intelligent support to write what I want to write, a supremely competent agent, lawyer and contract with a publisher with power. Sticking it here free for the world without support is just stupid and pointless.
So yeah, back to writing reviews then. I will finish the Kadare and have a full review of The Accident next week.
For decades, in bars at this time of year I have raised a glass and told people,
“It is said that most suicides happen on a Monday and that most suicides take place in the month of January. Therefore if you can get through the last Monday in January, you’ve increased your odds already.”
– M.T. Karthik, date unknown, some time in mid-1990’s, in San Francisco
Today being that last Monday in January,
I wish you all happy travels to the great beyond
and to the rest of you,
Though I have made a stubborn lifelong commitment to the fundamental belief that Man invented God and not the other way around, I am not a nihilist.
I believe in many things, and perhaps it would be a good idea to set some of these down to exist alongside my more infamous gripes.
I believe in a fundamental interconnectedness between all things. I have expressed this before and even discussed some of my methods of meditation and practice that center on this belief. For example in the field, earlier this year:
If you sit for a time in nature it becomes apparent, but the fascinating thing is to see this interconnectedness in the city, amidst urbanity, between us and our buildings and machines.
The reality is, we cannot make anything that removes itself from the fundamental interconnectedness. Our atomic bombs and Higgs-Boson particle all are interconnected, too.
Secondly, since I was a teenager, I have believed what has been translated as the thought of Lao-tse that ‘existence is beyond our capacity to define.’
Imagine yourself as a measuring device. You have ears that can hear within a certain range which we name 20 to 20,000 Hz. Yet it’s clear that there is more vibration than just this all around us because now we have invented machines that can detect it.
You can see with your eyes from Red to Indigo and we have invented machines that can pick up Infra-red and Ultra-violet, but since the invention of spectrometry we know there is more going on here as well.
You can smell to a certain point and distinguish smells to a certain point and we have developed complex and refined perfumery and cuisines that take advantage of our richness of experience for it. Yet we know there are odors we cannot detect.
You can touch things up to certain temperature before they become too hot or too cold and your skin experiences a burn.
All of these measurements are highly limited in a universe that is infinitely more complex than our constitution or even our machines can measure. This means there are things happening constantly that we cannot measure and thus existence itself will always be beyond our capacity to define.
Third, I believe in harmonious activity, statistically predictable activity and stochastic activity that results from the ever-unfolding interconnectivity. This constant harmony creates moments and experiences for us that we can deem spiritual. I believe in music and mathematics as languages to allow us access to this spirituality.
That should do it for today, because, finally, I also believe that expressing too many beliefs in one day is a terrible idea, for time is a factor and you never know what the day will bring.
After all, perhaps tomorrow you’ll change your mind.
We’ve proved that the electronic voting machines are made by highly partisan private corporations and feel strongly that fraud has occurred. There are dozens of very serious cases, allegations and simulations of sheer electronic fraud, by reputable academics. There are allegations of vote theft – the outright changing of results … read this excellent summative: http://www.wanttoknow.info/electronicvoting
And still as many as ONE-THIRD of U.S. votes are being cast into the black box of un-auditable e-voting without paper record trails. See who votes how here:
While this year’s presidential election has generated more interest than those in say 1996 or ’88, and perhaps even more than the Bush/Rove manipulations in 2000 and ’04, very few in the corporate press are preparing for what could be another utterly bogus presidential election night. The Republicans don’t need to actually win because they can negotiate the Democrats losing, and make the corporate press agree the polls were wrong.
“The Bradley Effect: that people won’t admit to pollsters that they didn’t vote for a black man” is already being paraded as an excuse, and races that are polling very wide are being portrayed as close! why? So it can be fixed again and presented as legit?
By contrast, many in the blogosphere of the Internet now feel that the outcome of the 2008 Presidential Election must be “either an Obama landslide, or definitively election fraud …” as it has been already identified in 2002 and 2004; including computer fraud via the alteration of votes in electronic voting machines, illegal vote purges and suppression in key states.
We have uncovered the exact ways in which HAVA (the “Help America Vote Act“) – forced county clerks in communities all over the country to rapidly accept UNAPPROVED Diebold, Sequoia and Premier electronic voting machines. We have testimonial after testimonial – all over youtube – complaining of what looks like rigging or suppression of votes. The outright changing of electronically cast votes by an exceptionally simple and quick hack is alleged nationwide. See these 3 movies on the facts:
So, on election night, what are we going to do? be transfixed by the corporate media? by Karl Rove’s fat face telling us a state has “flipped” from blue to red? or a “Too Close To Call” tuesday night and then a fixed election wednesday morning? how are we as a people to prevent election night and indeed our whole election process from being an utter joke?
Don’t let surprise turn into silent acceptance of a coup on election night.
Brad Friedman started with that attitude. The one-man election integrity super-blogger has been pursuing issue after issue in an organized fashion for the past four years. www.bradblog.com is indispensable now from the standpoint of election integrity awareness. It’s possibly the single best place to go on the day after election day to follow up on a priori complaints.
Black Box Voting, begun by Bev Harris, pursues similar goals – they are at www.blackboxvoting.org – and have begun a campaign they call: What to Do on Election Night “Protect the Count!” that advocates taking your video cameras where votes are stored on election night and being prepared to spend the night.
From the standpoint of long term solutions, so we can get together after this election and write the un-HAVA [maybe we could call it SAVA, the Secure America’s Votes Act] and have it passed by the new Democratic President and Congress, here’s one: Open-Source Voting http://openvotingconsortium.org/ It’s endorsed by many who care, as a good way out of the nightmare HAVA has produced.
“But MTK … ,” you ask, “ … all that’s fine and good, but what are we gonna do if it’s election night and they are freaking rigging the election and shoveling a result down our throats via the Corporate Press with bullshit numbers, un-investigated mysterious vote-shifts and hundreds of thousands of purged and missing ballots, again?”
First, I think be very open-minded, slow to judge and aware. Second, why not be prepared to bring the government and the press to a halt on Wednesday the 5th of November if necessary – a stoppage of the process for investigation. In all seriousness. Be prepared to say you do NOT accept a concession by any party or any interpretation of the votes by any government body without a full Congressional Investigation into the Election. Imagine headlines in the Times that read Election Fraud Alleged … Public Demands Results Be Investigated, and subheads:
impound the electronic voting machines
do NOT certify any election where voters claim the process was interfered with.
demand the right for a re-votes, tell people to prepare for a second ballot if necessary and entire re-votes of counties and states should be encouraged if necessary
Other than that … get ready to tell the people who want to take this country over illegally again that that isn’t what democracy looks like, ‘cause that’s what we will be doing. And it may take months.
mtk on the mic
Agit-Prop to Info-Prop; Culture Jamming, Alternative Media, Activism and the monolithic corporate-controlled US American Media
performance lecture at C-Level in Chinatown
Good Evening and Thanks for coming out.
Thanks to Michael Wilson who quickly put this together upon realizing that I am leaving the U.S. – due here next week, really – and for recognizing that this departure may be permanent … and for having the appreciation for my work to see that a presentation like this might be useful … for myself as an organizational mechanism and – perhaps, if we are lucky – for you, gathered here tonight to consider the material.
I’m a writer, a book and performance artist and a member of the Booklyn Artists Alliance [you can see our work at ] there’s a decent bio there and though the list of works, exhibitions and performances is a little stale, some colophons of books I have finished in recent years and links to work in progress can be found by navigating to the Artists page and clicking my name, M.T. Karthik.
One of my most recent public projects was to function as News Director at Pacifica Station KPFK 90.7fm here in Los Angeles from 2003 to 2004 and to produce and direct coverage of the 2004 Election.
I want to frame things a little because this talk is really a companion to two other formal talks I have done since the election –
one immediately afterward … on that Thursday after the Election, 4 November 2004, when the Kerry concession was just 36 hours old, at a panel at Cal-Arts.
I was invited by the artist Mariana Botey and in my presentation, I promoted the idea of rejecting the concession as meaningless to the outcome and really meaningless to democracy in the U.S. at all – focusing on the errors not in political strategy and campaigning as most media outlets were doing at that time, but rather upon the mistakes in vote casting, counting or registering … the mechanics of voting itself and reports of problems and issues.
KPFK News stayed in the context of the actual votes cast and counted – or uncounted – long after others had heaped their towels atop John Kerry’s, thrown so soon after Election Day.
From our position it was clear that the election was still too close to call.
I maintained that claims to the contrary were suspect. But the constant and immediate projection and legitimization of a Bush victory is what we saw … and heard … daily, at incredible volume from every network and publication – that they “did not contest the outcome of Bush’s victory …”
only a handful of alternative media outlets proposed that votes in OHIO were unclear and that results from many parts of the country that used electronic voting machines were skewed versus long-trending and historically accurate exit polls.
[actually the Herbst Brothers were there – is it correct to call you that? I mean that the editors of The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest were on that panel, as was the artist Mariana Botey, who invited me to participate]
and a second talk I did in San Francisco at New College in The Mission District one month later, on 5 December of last year, entitled, “Radio As Meta-Medium.” … that one is available apparently in its entirety online … I haven’t heard it but I understand it’s there … and it was sort of hectic as I was positioned to have to defend myself against my former employers and fellow Pacificans for a projection I made by e-mail
Yes, after the election and before the electoral college vote, I was the only broadcast journalist in the USA to project John Kerry the winner of the state of OH – and thereby the winner of the Presidency by an electoral college vote-count of 3 delegates 270 to 267.
I did it three weeks after election day and only upon the collection and broadcast of numerous testimonials regarding the election from experts, monitors and voters in Ohio, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and other parts of the country. I made the projection because I felt that the declaration that Bush had won was no more than an unsubstantiated projection made by corporate-controlled media in the U.S. and parroted by those unwilling to do proper journalism or even proper investigation into electoral problems. I did it more than a month before the Electoral College voted because I wanted to slow the confirmation of George Walker Bush’s second term as President – so a proper investigation of the election could be conducted.
As a side note: I do not believe that George Walker Bush is the legitimate President of the United States of America. The NORC study, an independent, academic investigation into the election of 2000 v. Gore proved Bush lost at that time and published results in the Spring after his first so-called Inauguration – that data can be found at
and I believe Bush, through Rove and his people, have committed election fraud in 2004 to bring about a bureaucratic coup here in the U.S. – perhaps you do, too.
It was this position that forced me out of KPFK and Pacifica –the network was unwilling to take my stance, considered, at the time, too radical. The local station manager claimed she had to play her hand as it was dealt, folding me out and, ultimately, stooging for Pacifica management at the Network’s head offices in Berkeley.
Though ultimately foiled by the inner-workings of the institution, I was able to get key pieces of information out, was able to make certain kinds of journalism happen that had not yet happened in much if not all of U.S. electoral journalism. And techniques that had not been tried in U.S. American journalism were tested some of which thrive today at KPFK News and nowhere else.
This was the inevitable conclusion of the piece … It was predictable that the artists methodology would eventually conflict so firmly with the so-called journalists methodology, or that of Pacifica, the pacifist, listener-driven community medium. That there would be some kind of tautological or industrial or logical paradox or collision … this was inevitable. I sought to control this long enough to participate in the election of 2004 in a way that no other media outlet would.
For myself, secure in my methods and what I have learned, I do not accuse Pacifica management of anything more than cowardice, complacency and ignorance. They just don’t get it. They are confused about methodology. Their techniques are sadly outmoded. There are luddites among them and they can’t keep up. They are held hostage by their fear that they will cease to exist and so they function like hangers-on, desperate for attention and support, unwilling to take strong positions. They do not know how to change the way journalism is done in the U.S. They do not know how to take advantage of their unique position. They struggle to stay afloat because of bad management which wastes opportunities and the tremendous goodwill extended in the form of cash contributions by the listener-sponsors.
Pacifica is also deeply infiltrated by agents known as moles. It doesn’t take much … I mean it’s a community station and the doors are wide open. The RCP, Democrats and Right-Wing agents have access and they regularly manipulate Pacifica’s content. I knew this going in, as a listener it is apparent – and I tried to navigate the environment for the term of the project in an attempt to cut through.
The question for myself as an artist was how strategically could I flex in this context. Could I identify stories or angles that were NOT being allowed to break through the U.S. American Media vacuum and push them through the tool?
In the instance of the Election, that circumstantial evidence pointed to manipulation of votes and vote-counts by Republicans and that a fraudulent election had been alleged by reputable elections monitors? The answer is … No.
In the instance of investigating the polarizing events of “nine – eleven” … no. not really.
Well, at least not to more than a few hundred thousand listeners at a time.
Well, I think it’s best NOT to duplicate the material discussed in the previous talks as much as possible. I’d rather bring other things to bear here tonight – perhaps a more global and academic view, now that there has been time to review the period – and then the three talks taken together will have a kind of thicker … meaner … impact.
The title of tonight’s lecture
Pluralism of Media In The Age of Surveillance
Is really very broad because I conceived it quickly in a phone call with Michael to pull this together, but it really suits, to the direction I want to go with the material I have gathered in the last eight years.
I coined a term a few years ago to describe one type of public art or public intervention or public work I am engaged in and that I am encouraging others to participate in, and that’s in our subtitle here:
Information Propaganda is an extension of the 1968 term Agitation Propaganda or Agit-Prop.
Info-Prop is art meant to convey truth past the massive volume of lies and omissions being generated by technocrats and corporate controlled media. It seeks truths that have been buried or evacuated. (We’ll get into this tactic later – the evacuation of collectively held truths)
Info-Prop attempts contemporaneous revision of what is being recorded as history at The New York Times, or on FOX in an attempt to create and maintain parallel histories to that documented by the largest of our mass media.
The incredibly creative signs, performances and clothing I have seen, not just at protests, but everywher over the past few years that include graphics of complex data, visual portrayals of the power structures that exist, images of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983, facts represented on charts that are not made available through corporate media … this is what I mean. Information Propaganda. Info-Prop.
Info-Prop is an outsider art form that can be exercised by professional artists and non-artists alike. As a movement of cultural production Info-Prop has been driven primarily by the nexus of the Information Age: the Internet.
This immediate, free, global connection – invented by the U.S. defense department to allow for internal communication in the event of a nuclear attack [this was before they figured out that EMPs would probably take out all power] … then given second to academics and then finally to everyone else but only through deregulated, proper Capitalist structures … Internet Service Providers and so on … this Internet is still very very very young.
Here in the U.S. we push, sit upon and ride the half-ass, trickety jalopy we call the Internet at the dawn of international communication in real-time, awaiting a sensibility to take hold of the English-language part of our social intercourse that isn’t fundamentalist Christian and radically right-wing or from Texas with a hardline agenda or wearing an elephant tiepin in the form of the flag of the United States of America.
It is apparent now that the United States of America is occupied by a political force that can only be called a faction. This faction controls communications media with near-absolute restriction of content, controls agencies that monitor, manage and distribute the collective funds of the largest bank account in the world, and controls the most powerful military to which it granted more than 400 Billion dollars last year, the best funded, most powerful war machine on earth.
Among the fools in this faction there are elderly bigots who are given swan-songs of attention, there are hyper-militarily minded protocol hounds who have seized the language they wrote only two and a half generations ago. There are House Niggers. And House Wiggers, too. House Immigrunts.
All have been seized by soldier mentality and blood-lust – that is the stage play CNN, NPR, PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, HBO, The New York Times, Washington Post, and every major news outlet in the United States is meant to project because what happened is:
The free-est economy in the world puffed itself up for eight years – wrapped itself into a Y2knot by getting dumbed into a hitch in the 90’s – and had to be “system re-booted.”
When all intranet debts were erased by a tidal wave of media, pumping the same fiction (a well-known – not obscure – mafia move). They hate our blue jeans and Matrix movies so we get to go kill them and take their oil. All the drunk parasites clinging to the largest multi-media assault on international humanity ever attempted by any country, any peoples.
This faction is guilty of producing, staging and titling “9-eleven” to salvage the failing economy and to stimulate younger generations of participants into their System of Society. They do this with pride. Named themselves neoconservatives and have a fascist mentor, author and originator in the Russian-Jewish immigrant University of Chicago Academic Leo Strauss, a TV-watching, hate-filled neo-Hobbes.
We witness these neocons drop megatons of death from the sky upon the heads of others, elsewhere, anywhere in the world they wish. These, who have said aloud – and continue to say it – they believe they are doing God’s work while openly engaged in murder, manipulation of masses, demagoguery, espionage, political deceit, covert operations and corporate protectionism.
There is significant reason to believe that the Internet, your e-mail, is not secure and that the content is being manipulated by Intelligence agencies of the U.S. and other Nation States as well as by rogue operatives as these agencies claim. That all our phones are tapped.
But, it is important to note –
as this graphic by San Francisco-based, Portuguese artist Rigo 23 illuminates –
how few people really have access to the Internet still.
At the talk in San Francisco late last year, I called “Live Radio” a meta-medium, unlike other media because of its intimacy, its vernacular aspect, its aural and oral nature and the fact that it “happens” in real time.
By distilling content from the Internet, Television, Print and other media into a script to be read over the airwaves by a reader, radio, like television, seeks the trust of the listener in the reader and her or his script and attempts to make itself meta-mediator of content.
If you are blind perhaps the radio is the only way to get the information, but the vast majority of radio listeners are not blind – they have chosen the radio as their mediator. Trust has been established.
Radio is a Meta-Medium.
This is actually how the right-wing in America has achieved so much, using broadcast and particularly a.m. radio to great effect to create trust in voices who bend truth, commit prevarications of omission and outright lies in order to push an agenda of their party and their interests. Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, etc. etc.
Corporations give them volume … the sheer volume of the “mass” in mass media. This is how dollars are translated into historical fiction.
We live in a condition where small groups of committed, intellectual individuals interested in truth have been cordoned off, marginalized and re-framed. While their messages may be true and may occur in a pluralism of media, these messages are drowned out and disappeared, by tactical disinformation, damage control, spin and evacuation. This is what I mean by evacuated. Vacuo. Vacuum. the idea that some stories are made invisible because once they are reported special interests with access to enormous tools of media create a vacuum around them, bury them in irrelevancies or reduce them in importance in the National psyche.
One of the major problems is that the intelligence capabilities of the other side in this media war are so completely all-pervasive that they are able to nip any impending growth of movements around ideas early and prevent them from growing.
I think of the pre-emptive strikes in New York during the RNC in which 1900 people were arrested. Think about this, folks, three times the number of people arrested in Chicago at the DNC in 1968 were arrested in New York in 2004 at the RNC and nobody cared … well, not nobody … but who really knew that the Republican Party … the Federal Government and Bush had instructed the New York Police Department to arrest protesters in New York in advance of their committing acts of civil disobedience because these were known to participants and police in advance of their occurrence and who cared that the Republicans PAID for the lease on Pier 59, to have these peaceful protesters – women, men, grandmothers – put into a filthy, toxic holding pen. Who now knows that the place had been leased by the Republican Party for this purpose?
These tactics are the physical parallels to the pre-emptive tactics applied in media on a daily and weekly basis by political factions.
You know that a group is going to launch a major story about you because you have them surveilled. You then take whatever steps necessary to make the story disappear or seem ridiculous.
And now we see the title of our talk today more clearly:
Pluralism of Media in the Age of Surveillance.
U.S. American – For many years the term ‘American’ used to describe people of the U.S.A. has been offensive, a classic form of propaganda – mitigating the genocide the whole of the Americas has been experiencing for 512 and a half years under a rubric of the hemisphere’s Master – the U.S.A.
George Walker Bush, Dick Bruce Cheney
2. Media Itself – I think that intercessionary tactics have to be exercised into various media where they are not expected. – example of the NYU kids.
3. Non-Linear techniques … non-sequitors …
What motivates you in your work?
In a slow, measured and lucid way, a way that has revealed itself to me with heaviness over the past fifteen years, I have come to believe I am seeing the end of something.
Humankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to humankind.
To isolate oneself in contemplation, no matter how comfortable it may seem a position from which to view the world, is simply unacceptable; costly.
We must use the extremely complex tools we have invented for this purpose: to focus our energies and work toward more equitable and efficient distribution of the earth’s available resources.
We must put an end to warmongering.
We must disarm and then de-militarize first the United States.
It must be held accountable for its excesses and waste. It must assume responsibility for the Colonial Era and the good U.S. Americans, who know the truth, must begin the task of admission of the ongoing genociding of cultures in USA, of the economic reality that the current power structure has been built on slave’s labor [for the Millennium?]
Rampant, bloated overdependence as a result of the Era of Capitalism must be tamed and harnessed to bring the world together peacefully.
Those incapable of diplomacy should be jailed until they have calmed down and seen the error of their course.
I am motivated to aid those who see that thieves and dacoits have stolen the greatest of the earth’s resources for the last five hundred years and are not through yet and must be held to task for such barbaric idiocy; that seeks to interfere with the great continuity of human thought.
The USA is the world’s greatest impediment to peace, stability and progress; it must be told by humanity to stand down in the exact manner that international humanism told South Africa, “Aparteid will not stand.”
M.T. Karthik, February 17, 2003, Los Angeles
I am a pacifist and a conscientious objector to war who seeks political asylum for myself and my family from the United States of America, whom I perceive to be the world’s worst terrorist nation-state.
It is a nation-state without clearly defined borders. It consistently and has constantly maintained armadas on the high seas and in ports all over the world – on “sovereign” territory. Its government is a military junta run by pseudo-Christian fundamentalists who have turned a universal moral truism: “Thou Shalt Not Kill” into its opposite, and have violated every international law on war established since the Second World War (as they have it): Nuremberg, violated. Geneva, violated. Warsaw, violated. U.N. and U.N. charter, violated from first day. The despotic faction in charge has violated also the United States’ own Constitution and shielded itself from recrimination or even inquiry. It is secretive, cabalistic and frightening to many.
The election of a Republican Senate unifies the branches of the U.S. government under an insecure, aging collection of un-representative rightists who paranoically project evil on to mankind, believe these actions to be legitimate. The media are predominantly owned by huge corporations who support this worldview, and the system has successfully factionalized, cordoned-off, controlled and out-capitalized independent outlets for information, thus eliminating any hope of a “checks and balances system” for at least two and a half years. There is about to be wholesale change of how business is done in the name of the United States with its partners and alliances. New compromises will be demanded on top of this, for this white, unfathomably rich, minority of the human species.
The people who have taken control of the United States government are the biggest money there is in the world and now, they are a desperate machine composed of a people who have fictionalized for so long that they feel they have startlingly seized control legitimately. To this worldview has been granted two years of control of the Supreme Court, both Houses of Congress and the Executive Office. (Please Lincoln Chafee, Turn. Now. Not to independent, to Democrat, outright.)
As a registered voter who has participated in the last 9 U.S. elections with federal implications, including the following for President, in order chronologically from 1988: Dukakis, Clinton/Gore, Nader and Gore and in local races in Austin, TX, San Francisco, CA, New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA, for Governors Ann Richards and Jerry Brown and many Democrats, Independents and Libertarian and Green Party candidates. I have participated deliberately in the American exercise in democracy with consideration.
I now believe that not one single vote that I have ever cast in the American system has made a positive difference in the world, because my vote either went to a losing candidate or my candidate was, in point of fact, a loser (Clinton). The American system is corrupt and worthless. It is not democracy (Germany’s is far better). The tiny range of political ideologies in its corporate-controlled system protects a wealthy minority from everyone else. A minority that allows only limited entry – at its speed, for its purposes – to its party.
Because I do not wish to participate in the lie that the USA perpetuates, I have been successfully marginalized by the very wealthy of the United States of America.
So, I have not democratically voted at all, but have merely attended a pathetic dance-of-legitimization that has resulted in hats and horn-blowers for the faction that calls itself Grand Old Party, a dance which would have been only mildly less incorrigible were it being done for the Democrats (I dare to say: “If Gore’s President, the WTC are standing today.” Bush baited them … all summer, just like Roosevelt in ’41 with the boats in Japanese water. It’s their style actually, it’s not even that clandestine, they call themselves “gentleman farmers” … The Bushes brought down the attacks, dammit. Face the facts. And they are murderers, this morning by an unmanned spacecraft over Yemeni soil. No judge, no jury. Cowboy – maybe Wellstone got it the same way.)
They are a serious family, the biggest mafia. The grandfather assisted in the financing of Hitler and the mentality that exercised the poisonous lie of eugenics. As it failed, they somehow planted candidacy onto one of their sons through a shady war-story and, though he lacked intelligence, he managed to ride on the coattails of the television actor, and so became Chief Executive and began baiting Arabs for oil, their “spice”. They rolled into Texas from Maine or Connecticut with a whole lot of money and they bought a posture by feeding bigotry, insecurity, fear and rage. They manipulated and bullied newspapers and poor people. They re-instituted barbaric, unenlightened practices. And they lied and posed bare-facedly, using powerful media to do so, rehearsing ultimately for the “big-time”. This is all so obviously scripted in their response to an event they ‘staged’ … And still they posture. It’s amazing, shameless.
Yes, conceptually, the Bush-Americans staged the attacks on the World Trade Center. [Leave out the Pentagon and wherever the other guy was wandering in what must have been a hellish turmoil. (“Your job is to see if they’ll shoot you down, God be Willing”).]
The Millennium was the set up and 9/11 was the knock down.
Forever let it be added to their list of crimes, the short-sighted old fools, the Bush-Americans staged the “planes-into-towers” thing. They built the set, bought the losses, made the calculations, placed the documentation tools, baited the enemy and stepped out of his way. And that is an accusation. A legal and civil accusation. These people are fascist and amoral and need to be tranquilized and jailed. They lack the intelligence to see humanity and our planet for what it is, a delicate organism.
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
AMERICA, I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY, AND IT IS YOU.
July 21st 1998ce
Q: “How long have you been writing?” – T. Rhae Watson, question posed by e-mail – July 17th, 1998ce
A: I have never answered this question before. I include here a discussion only of the things I still possess – that are thus verifiable.
I began writing a journal entry to myself about my own life as I perceived it at the age of 9. It was in a small (maybe 5″ x 5″), square journal given to me by my mother. It had a plastic laminated cover that was mostly white. It had green-bordered edges. There was an image of a yellow, sparrow-like bird on the cover. It sat on a twig or branch of some tree. Inside I made drawings of Snoopy, the dog from the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz, riding his doghouse as a WWII pilot chasing “The Red Baron”.
I wrote in it that at night I was listening to classical music on the radio before I went to sleep. I wrote about the San Antonio Spurs basketball team and about other sporting events. I wrote about what we did after school i.e. “built a fort … went caving.” I wrote in it that I had been watching different television shows and of how my sister and I were getting along. I wrote about being afraid to bring home a report card to my father with a grade of b minus in one of my math classes.
I wrote my first short story when I was 8. It was called, “The War of the Saturnanians and the Jupiteranians and other Space Stories” It was typewritten by Ms. Hutzler, my second grade teacher and the first teacher I had in Texas, in the United States. It had drawings that I made myself. I still have it.
The journal entries continued and I began to write about pubescence – about girls in school I had crushes on who rejected me (Jill Prather in the 6th grade) or who took an interest (Michele something-or-other … is it significant that I can’t remember her last name but can remember Jill’s?). I wrote about my teachers and friends whom I felt separate from, separate because of my appearance as an Indian kid.
I began writing more serious journal entries and poetry in the autumn of my 14th year. That year I became an American citizen by oath and against my will and that same year, my parents, after years of bickering and fighting became one of the first Indian families in the US and the first in my ancestry to divorce.
I wrote about loneliness and disaffection from the society in Texas where I lived. I was depressed. Writing helped me to feel less alone. But more than the writing – which I showed to no one, reading helped a great deal. Listening to Jazz was deeply influential to my writing.
I read “Music is My Mistress” (the autobiography of Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington) that year. I also first read the Autobiography of Malcolm X. I was listening to Ellington, Strayhorn, Monk, Miles, Coltrane and other jazz musicians avidly. I had taken an interest in Russian literature in this time, too. In particular the work of Anton Chekhov – I can remember that at that time I read “The Bet” and it “changed my life”. I also read a great deal of Kurt Vonnegut’s work, whom I admired.
I wrote more and more short stories and poetry in the next ten years. In high school, I wrote stories and poems – which again I showed to no one, save a few friends, and by young adulthood to one or two lovers (though the use of that term for what we were then is laughable). I wrote a couple of stories for a class in high school – Mrs. Garner’s Honor’s English class. The first one was a fantasy story about an E.R. Burroughs’s Conan-like character who traveled into a mine shaft. The second was a rip-off of “Miracle on 34th Street,” save that it was stupider and less interesting – it was called totally unoriginal by Jessie Burstein, the most talented writer in my class, who had her own column in the school paper called, “Jabberwocky”. I heard the class comment on the story from outside the window. Mrs. Garner who was a great English teacher, told the class who the author of the story was though she promised the readings would be anonymous. Later, she told me she revealed me because she thought, “I could take it.”
In college I wrote about many things. I wrote a paper on the Kurds in Turkey (this was before the big American press blow-up). I wrote about Civil Disobedience and Constitutional Law. I wrote a short story about a guy named Joe who had the most boring job in the world because he was assigned to watch the world’s most accurate clock, to be sure it stayed accurate. Then one day it stops and time stops and alien creatures land and tell him they have been stopping time and visiting all along and that the clock is totally inaccurate but that we all don’t know it because time is a relative concept. Joe is flabbergasted and amazed. It was a stupid story with a bad ending.
I was deeply influenced at this time by the works of Howard Fast, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Lewis Carrol and other writers of the “fantastic.” I had been reading science fiction for years. I also began my first serious pursuit of the writings of Buddhists. Prior to this time I had been reading only casually works by Paul Reps and other translators.
After college I worked for a while in Austin, Texas and then made the decision that I needed to leave the United States.
I moved to Asia on a one way ticket and with $10 US on September 6th of 1990. For the next three years I wrote journals and stories. I wrote journal entries about my travels and changes in perspective. I learned Chinese and went back to India. I traveled in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and India. I wrote a great deal about language and about my withering and often depressed self. I felt free and alone for the first time in my life. I felt very alone and depressed.
When I returned to the US – again against my will – I went back home to Texas, took the Graduate Record Exams with my mother and then made a series of blunders – moved to Washington DC for four months, then to New Orleans for two years to study for my Graduate degree at Tulane, a “mistake” that cost me $40,000, which I haven’t yet paid back. I left New Orleans in December of 1993 in a driveaway car, with $1000 in cash and up to my ass in debt. I arrived in San Francisco on December 24th, 1993 – Christmas Eve.
I walked and walked and thought a great deal that night. There was a crescent moon over the Transamerica pyramid. I went back to a friend’s place where I was staying temporarily and wrote a list of goals for the time to come. This list included the first practical discussion of my desires to write. I made a list of items I wanted. A novel and a collection of short stories appeared on that list. I intended to use my time in San Francisco to create a body of work.
I worked for ten months at Genentech, Inc. with Dr. Don Francis on an AIDS vaccine project. I saved about $3000. I wrote three short stories in that time – all of which sucked because work was a distraction. One was called The Plan and was about a marathon dance contest. On January 9th of 1995, I met Jonas Salk at a meeting regarding the prophylactic AIDS vaccine project upon which I was working at Genentech. The next day I quit and moved to Ecuador. I arrived on January 15th and began writing what would become a novel and the journalistic experiment I would finish two years later. Jonas Salk died while I was in South America.
For four months I wrote journal entries, some poems and a handful of story ideas while in South America. I spent the time considering what I wanted to achieve. I moved back to the US (again) and sublet an apartment in Austin, Texas. I gave myself a test period, telling myself I would try to write for two months. I reasoned that if I spent the two months just hanging around Austin, enjoying myself and lounging then writing wasn’t for me. If however I actually spent the time writing then I would see into what it would grow. I stopped cutting my hair.
Those two months were the birth of the novel.
I moved back to San Francisco, couch-surfed homeless for ten months, entered the 1995 Anvil Press 3-Day Novel Writing Contest on Labor Day, placed in the top ten, continued writing and writing and writing and finished a skeleton of the novel by January. By February shit was pretty lame – I was broke and homeless.
My friends and family assisted me in getting a room in an apartment on Hayes Street. That was April of 1996. I set myself a deadline of January 15th, 1997, to finish the novel and the writing experiment. In August I was extremely depressed, writing a lot and feeling alone.
That month, I gifted a story I wrote called Eulogy, to my friend Missy as a birthday present. I read it aloud at a party at her house while having my hair, which had grown long by then, braided by you, an editor. You called and expressed interest in my work and between then and January you know the story: you edited fifteen of my works.
On January 17th, two years and two days after I began, I ended the novel, produced a copy and took it to Chronicle Books in San Francisco. It was a sunny Friday afternoon that I chronicled carefully. I walked the book to Chronicle and dropped it off. The receptionist was reticent to accept it because she said it should have been mailed. Then, after consultation by telephone to the inner sanctum, she finally took it.
It was rejected within ten days without being read. I have a confession from the person who signed the letter of rejection that the book was never read. I wrote a reply to the rejection, sealed it in the book and closed it up.
Over the next five months I turned thirty years old and produced the books “Mood”, “Truthful Conceits”, “Sucka Free” and “An Examiner’s Chronicle” – self published texts all: a novel, collection of short stories, of essays and journals.
On June 6th, I decided I would move to New York. During the time I spent in SF, South America, Austin and back in SF, I had created four novels, fifteen short stories, a collection of essays and hundreds of thousands of words in journal entries. I had made a body of work. Megan Sapperstein cut off most of my hair and then I shaved my head.
I moved to New York in summer – writing a novel called “Incognito” on the way across the country – and sending post cards to Sonny Mehta, the president of Knopf publishing as we traveled. I told him I would arrive in New York and deliver my novel to Random House publishing on September 1st. I arrived Sept. 1st and went to Random House. It was closed for Labor day.
I returned on September 2nd and delivered the book, which Mr. Mehta subsequently saw. He suggested I pass it to two other editors. I also gave him a copy of the novel “Incognito” which I wrote while traveling. The novel was a post-modernist collage of flyers and text and characters created in the spirit of “On the Road.” It was written by hand during the summer of the 50th anniversary of India’s independence and the 50th anniversary of Kerouac’s travels with Cassady that became “On The Road.” Incognito is comprised of four journal-sized books and a Compact Disc which I made in Seattle – it is intended to be a disc of one of the characters of the novel singing and telling a story. It is 60 minutes long.
Once “Incognito” was returned by Knopf, I sent it back out on the road by passing it to a reader without my name in it, in a shoebox. “Incognito” is presumably still traveling from reader to reader.
Since that time I have heard nary a word from Random House about my book. The company has been bought by Bertelsmann. I never again heard whether my book was accepted or rejected. I have written three stories in New York City. The first two were called “Mahmoud Singh,” and “The Rubric of Philpot Dot Doc”. The most recent piece I have written is called “Close the Piano”.
I am alone in New York. … and that is the story of my writing career. … I have never written that down nor said it aloud before. Now I have a job I hate – in administration at The New School University in Manhattan. I can be reached at 212/ 229-5662 x286. Messages may be left for me at 212/ 229-5662 x286. Every word I have written here is true to the best of my knowledge.