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[ by Charles Cameron — what you see is what you get: WYSIWYG — and possibly also TEOTWAWKI ]

See buildings, walls, handrails, reflections, rows of windows, and people he’s walking past vanish and reappear as a man dressed for mountain climbing sets out into a blizzard of snow, video snow and special effects…

Hat-tip — Shlok Vaidya.


We knew that Iran could photoshop extra rockets into a widely distributed news image –

and that Russian dissidents could makeover Kirill as his friend Putin

But the video above, with it’s vanishing and reappearing everythings? Simple — it’s a stunning portrayal of just what patience and skill can manage with video tampering using Photoshop CS5 or the like. Hence — this may also be the time to announce TEOTWAWKI. The end of the world as we know it. As we believe we know it.

You only need one of those effects, remember, to fake out a geopolitical tipping point…

Watcher, beware.


But then there’s my friend Howard Rheingold, who points out that our whole world is a constructed reality:

We habitually think of the world we see as “out there,” but what we are seeing is really a mental model, a perceptual simulation that exists only in our brains. …

Cognitive simulation — mental model-making — is what humans do best. We do it so well that we tend to become locked into our own models of the world by a seamless web of unconscious beliefs and subtly molded perceptions. And computers are model-making tools par excellence, although they are only beginning to approach the point where people might confuse simulations with reality.

That’s a quote from his piece in Brenda Laurel‘s 1990 classic Art of Human-Computer Interface Design — and it seems to grow more prescient by the day!


Three topics, at least somewhat related, we can maybe talk about later:

  • Who it was that spread the word about the Innocence of Muslims trainer.
  • The disputed Muhammad al-Durrah incident at the Netzarim junction. And
  • Zero Dark Thirty.
  • 11 Responses to “WYSIWYG”

    1. Mr. X Says:

      Slightly off topic comment but wanted to make sure Zen and others who frequent this blog who may be fans or loosely associated with the Small Wars Journal and recall the ‘infamous’ Tea Party Insurrection of 2016 article saw this:

      West Point Think Tank cites dangers of far right

      Once is coincidence, twice is enemy action as the villain in the Bond movies said. In this case, it appears there is some sort of concerted effort to start brainwashing junior officers into the notion that one day they’ll have to fight the bitter clingers on American soil. 

    2. zen Says:

      Thanks Mr. X – the backstory is that the CTC analysts (i.e. the terrorism experts) did not write the report, the director of the center did, which is at best odd and looks very much like political hackery to curry favor with the administration (who according to Tom Ricks are also looking to sack Gen. Mattis for asking questions of civ appointees who don’t know what they are talking about). Too bad if that happens because until today their work has been praiseworthy in analyzing al Qaida, wading into domestic politics and smearing everyone to the right of the Progressive Caucus is going to be extremely poorly received by the ppl who determine their appropiation in the House.

    3. Mr. X Says:

      Thanks Zen. Glad to hear that this is more about the cynical pursuit of bucks than gearing up for the feds rather than the rebs to fire the first shot at some future Ft. Sumter.

    4. Charles Cameron Says:

      I obviously need to read the whole thing — and will hopefully post about it.  My initial impression was that it wasn’t a smear, but directed at monitoring the Breiviks, McVeighs and some lesser, looser cannons…  
      I’ll be interested to see what some of the other CTC and ex-CTC folk I admire have to say. 

    5. Justin Boland Says:

      Has there been any credible/historical work on the connections between NATO “Gladio” networks and the current culture that created an Anders Breivik? I’m aware of the “correlation is both causality AND proof” work of researchers like Alex Constantine, but I’d much rather read something more rigorous.

    6. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

      Zen, you are probably correct to shrug off the CTC thing …  I hope.
      Really, I do hope it’s just-some-guy demonstrating his paranoia, for all to see.
      But – It’s posted on the West Point website.  You know, where “the next generation of military leaders” is being trained.  Is this REALLY what we’re teaching them?  Tea Party = anti-government =  terrorists?   Oh, please!
      I admit to being QUITE UNEASY that MY GOVERNMENT has officially labeled as “potential domestic terrorists” the Tea Party, conservatives, Christians, servicemen returning from abroad, advocates for Small Government, folks who fear that the this Administration is overstepping clear Constitutional limitations, Second-Amendment rights protesters, everybody at Fox News, and all the right-wing talk radio shows.   (I’m SURE I’ve left several groups out!) 
      I know of three separate instances in which this administration’s officials have maligned the Tea Party: first the DHS report from April 2009 that Janet Napolitano had to “walk back” (but with transparent insincerity); the conceptual war-gaming reported in August 2012 regarding the “Tea Party Rebellion of 2016”; and this recent “Challengers from the Sidelines” publication.  I fear that these are not “interesting coincidences”.  Instead, they seem much more like a deliberate and repeated effort to color public perception, with the intent of painting conservatives as traitors, cold-hearted money-grubbers, not-quite-humans, … oh, call them “untermenschen” and be done with it.  Essentially, our Obama-nation is promoting Orwell’s “two-minute hate”, but directed at the Tea Party, not Emmanuel Goldstein.   
      Throw in the HUGE purchases of hollow-point ammo by various departments of the government, and follow that up with the current IMMENSE push to regulate firearms with a capacity of 7 or more bullets, and yes, I have deep misgivings about just exactly what my government’s intentions are toward dissenters, conservatives, Republicans, Tea Party folks, … y’know, “those people”. 
      “Those people” are … me.  

    7. zen Says:

      Not only do I agree with you that the tack taken by the CTC leadership here (which BTW is supposedly misleading, the body of the analytic work I hear secondhand does not support those political convenient linkings to mainstream conservatism but in parts, contradicts it) I saw a fairly significant number of ppl in the defense community also find it to be inappropriate given the association with West Point in particular. The CTC has done some very, very good and professional work on Islamist terrorism and the first impression that this report made has damaged their brand. 
      Part of the problem, I am told, may have been the lack of academic diversity in terms of disciplinary backgrounds. All polisci academics may have created more than a little groupthink in their starting assumptions. Angling for favors from above might have also come in to play. I am also told the center receives private funding – it is not unheard of for even the largest tanks (and CTC is a small fry) to “dance with the ones that brung’em”. Whatever the motive or reason, the effect was negative.
      I have not read the report but I now have a copy in my email. I will read the whole thing post it here so anyone who wants to go through it can do so.

    8. Charles Cameron Says:

      Hi Zen, all:
      It’s available here. And it is very specifically about “the sidelines” — not anything or anybody mainstream, right or left.
      Thus I should point out that there’s no mention of the Tea Party in the report, which deals with (a) “white supremacy groups such as the KKK, neoNazi groups such as the National Alliance and Skinheads groups such as the Hammerskin Nation”; (b) “extremists” within anti-federalist groups who “direct most their violence against the federal government and its proxies in law enforcement”; and (c) what the author terms “the fundamentalist stream”, to include “mainly Christian Identity groups such as the Aryan Nations” who “fuse religious fundamentalism with traditional white supremacy and racial tendencies.”
      Also, the report is specifically concerned with acts of violence against property or persons — noting that “Identity members have a higher tendency to engage in mass casualty attacks in comparison to other movements”.
      To be clear: I don’t see where this should be read in any was as an indictment of the “right” — it’s an indictment of the “violent far-right” — with “violence” being the price of entry.
      As you’d imagine, the folks described here who interest me the most are the Christian Identity folks — latter-day variants on the CSA, “Phineas Priests” and the Order — but Michael Barkun covered that ground in far greater detail in his Religion and the Racist Right (1994): this is a quick overview.  
      I really don’t know what all the fuss is about.

    9. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

      Am I the only one who views the Right/Insurrectionist motif as a feedback loop intended to make mere possibility into probability if not in fact outright fulfillment?  A la self-fulfilling prophesy.
      Lately, and related, it seems that certain elements on the Right are trying to blame other elements in our society for their own steady procession/progression into extremism.  Boehner, who until recently has always been hailed as an unfortunate pragmatist, is now seeing a Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy out to destroy the G.O.P.:  a case-in-point of performative drift?  (Thing genetic drift or memetic drift.)
      A cruder but perhaps therefore more easily spotted progression:   “We need our guns to fight the tyranny!” becomes “We rush to stockpile guns and ammo; after, having made such a rush so very easy” becomes “Certain loonies gain easier access to guns” becomes “Said loonies actually use those guns in massacres” becomes “Government crackdown on proliferation of military style weaponry” becomes “See! Tyranny!” becomes “Let’s Secede!” + “Hunker in bunkers!” + “Other loonies eventually engage in anti-tyranny activities—of a violent nature” + “More crackdown” + “More reactionary measures on both sides” = Civil War.
      I.e., one side seeing tyranny in every direction eventually acts upon that vision.  How could they not?  Enter: 4GW reactionism.  On both sides.  With the presumed result of a New Wild West (aka, failed state) or else a New World Order (more top-down-control), depending upon which side “wins.”

    10. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

      Incidentally, “WYSIWYG” has interesting reverb when I think of the way that the idea of performativity has influenced some thoughts on economics.  It is theorized that models are created which putatively show how economies really work or are working; people then use those models to maximize their success; but by using those models, they bring about what the models were claiming to be already the case.
      I suppose, to be fairly skeptical, that there might be some fuzziness in models — they are predictions of potentials but also may be early signs of what is only tenuously actual at the moment — and the performative effect they have is a solidification of what they describe, or an elimination of other potentials and other actualities.  So it’s not merely a “self-fulfilling prophesy” effect (in the sense of starting with nothing and ending with the manifestation of the prophesy.)

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