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October 27, 2003 7:46 AM   Subscribe

TV and the Hive Mind
64 years ago this week, six million Americans became unwitting subjects in an experiment in psychological warfare.
posted by Irontom (12 comments total)

 
I don't quite get what a radio broadcast has to do with tv. But I do know that 1938 + 64 = 2002.
posted by languagehat at 7:52 AM on October 27, 2003


Assuming it's later this week, then it is 64 years. Just.
posted by twine42 at 7:56 AM on October 27, 2003


Wheee!!! Big block paragraphs written entirely in reverse screen type. Yeah that makes me wanna listen to what *this person* has to say.

(Heh. A site about media manipulation, created by someone who knows bupkus about print & web design. I wonder if there's good internet access in his small cabin in Montana or northern Idaho?)

The reptile brain is unable to distinguish between reality and the simulated reality of television.

OK, that would explain why so many people I know continue to be addicted to "reality" shows, no matter how many times I plead with them, "But you do understand, it's not really real? Really."
posted by NorthernLite at 8:18 AM on October 27, 2003


The Mercury Theatre on the Air, and (since that server seems a tad slow) the original broadcast in MP3.
posted by rusty at 8:21 AM on October 27, 2003


Whoops!! Should have had my tea before I posted that - caffeine helps when fact-checking math from the web. Sorry about that.

The stated connection is that Orson Welle's broadcast was the first demonstration of the power of non-print mass media, which only later came to full fruition with the advent of television. Some of the Calvin and Hobbes strips offer some of the same observations, with far fewer words.
posted by Irontom at 8:27 AM on October 27, 2003


My partner and I are turning off our cable for November and December, just to see what else we might end up doing with our time. I have to admit turning in the digital cable box feels a little like tossing out my last pack of cigarettes; anxiety producing but thrilling.

Here's hoping we don't kill each other.
posted by pomegranate at 8:53 AM on October 27, 2003


Give.
Me.
A.
Break.
posted by Cerebus at 8:55 AM on October 27, 2003


You don't have to do much fact checking to realize that radio is not television. I hope.
posted by xmutex at 8:58 AM on October 27, 2003


(am I the only person who read down to the part... Thus, by the end of the 1940s, the basic research had been done and the propaganda apparatus of the national security state had been set up--just in time for the Dawn of Television ...?) It's not just about radio.
posted by dabitch at 9:05 AM on October 27, 2003


And then again, there is some evidence to show that the actual hoax around the War of the Worlds was not that it faked a news broadcast, but the exaggerated reports of mass panic that grew over time. Wells himself promoted the illusion that he successfully bamboozled much of his audience in his brilliant cinematic mindtrick F for Fake (undermining his initial claim that he was going to tell nothing but the truth for the next two hours.) This makes the story of War of the Worlds mass panics an interesting phenomena, an urban legend about a legend.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:47 PM on October 27, 2003


"Or, consider a new show on British television in which contestants compete to see who can infect each other with the most diseases--venereal diseases included..."
Oh really? Can't wait to see it. Unfortunately this, like almost every other fact in this very amusing article is complete garbage.
The mass media can certainly be accused of manipulation but to say that the t.v. puts the viewer into a hypnotic state (which presumably Mack White is immune to) is grossly simplistic, to put it mildly. And as for the way "films glorify drug use", to take another example, the vast majority of films reinforce the morality of the status quo - people who transgress the social mores suffer.
posted by rolo at 1:26 PM on October 27, 2003


Sick Day
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:29 PM on November 5, 2003


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