Sometimes some things just annoy the crap out of me. What is it with the daft ‘Keep Calm and [Insert Any Lame Thing Here]’ plague that stuck its head above the ramparts some years ago now and is STILL lumbering across the memetic landscape like a zombie hopped up on qualudes? Why the hell do people think this is still cool/funny/witty/whatever? In fact, why did they EVER think so?
You will no doubt have read of the Amazon ‘Keep Calm’ debacle in recent weeks, where an apparently random ‘Keep Calm’ generator designed by t-shirt vendor Solid Gold Bomb created almost unbelievably offensive slogans that actually appeared for sale in the Solid Gold Bomb Amazon shop. The mechanics of what happened have been thoroughly examined elsewhere so I won’t go into it here, other than to add the admonishment that you play with random processes at your peril.
The extreme unpleasantness of the affair notwithstanding, it seems to me that the greater crime has been left unexamined: why the fuck is anybody still allowed to sell anything with ‘Keep Calm and [Whatever]’ emblazoned upon it anyway?
As a meme it started with little value in the first place and proceeded from there on a downhill trek to banal in about the time it takes for a bunch of comedy writers to roundtable and discard a crummy routine (usually about 38 seconds, in my experience). It is a blight upon humanity and people caught perpetuating it (except in the course of exposing its lameness to the world, it goes without saying) should be incarcerated for long periods of time. No, fuck it – let’s bring back drawing and quartering.
Let’s see ’em keep calm while horses tear their limbs off.
♩♫ One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?♬ ♪
Did you guess which one, boys and girls? Did you say ‘herbal teas’?
That’s right! Herbal teas are just teas made from herbs and all the other things are made from BULLSHIT! Do you know what bullshit is, boys and girls? Bullshit is the stuff that comes out the of the butt end of a bull! Yes – bull poo! Hahaha. Isn’t that funny! But it’s not half as funny as believing that magic water or dirty shoe inserts or hot wax in your ear will make your life better. Aren’t some people just so silly?
This morning I had cause to do a YouTube search for one of my favourite artists, Luke Jerram, who has been mentioned in despatches previously here on The Cow. The landing page at YouTube featured a Meet the Artist video with Mr Jerram, which I highly recommend you watch, not because it has anything at all to do with today’s post, but simply because he’s a smart and funny fellow and his work is incredible.
But you know how YouTube gives you a list of selected associated links down the side of the page when you go to a particular video? Well, amongst a bunch of similar ‘meet-the-artist’ offerings, and other videos from Mr Jerram, there was, perplexingly, a link to this:(i)
I really have no idea whatsoever what it was doing sitting amongst videos of practising artists talking about their work and I’d love to know what kind of berserk algorithm matched it up. Anyway, there it was, sticking out like a pig at a christening, just daring me to click on the link. Which, unfortunately for you, I did.
Now, I don’t blame you if you are not inclined to watch it all. I did, but only because I found it hard to tear myself away from the sheer wrong-headed thinking of the whole thing (and because I’m a masochist, evidently). And despite the warning:
Well, it did both scare and depress me, but probably not for the reasons the creator of the video anticipated. So that you don’t have to experience the fear and depression yourself(ii) I will sysnopsize the content for you (with annotations, of course):
•The World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001 was predicted widely in popular culture before it happened. [Yes folks, everybody from the creators of Super Mario brothers, through the artists behind Marvel Comics to the illustrators of The Simpons knew it was gonna happen, but instead of simply telling us,(iii) they drew it in cryptically in the background of their characters’ amusing antics.](iv),(v)
•The London Underground bombings of 2005 were predicted by a BBC Panorama episode that aired a year before. [Yep, that’s right – the BBC, the London police force, security agencies, politicians and emergency services were all in on it and they all got together to carry out an elaborate mockup televised by the BBC to let the entire world know it was going to happen beforehand so that, well, so that, um… OK, well BECAUSE. I dunno. Can anyone follow the logic of what the video maker is meant to be asserting here? All these people knew the exact details(vi) about bombs that were really going to go off in the Underground a year later and they went to the trouble of making a tv show just to hint at it. Whyyyyyyyy?]
•Based on the compelling prescience of these two events, it is suggested that a spinoff of the British tv series Spooks – Spooks: Code 9 – has predicted that a hundred thousand people are going to be killed in a nuclear attack this year at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Before we go on, I’d like you to ruminate on the following images, all of which are just samples of numerous examples that I found on a lightning fast web search:
Quite unsurprisingly, popular culture likes to conjure images of the destruction of well-known landmarks. And yet, every one of the above buildings is still, in reality, completely intact.(vii) Similarly, there are countless comics, tv shows, movies and books that use, as their mise-en-scène, catastrophic, apocalyptic scenarios. Hear me, Mr Conspiracy Video Guy: this is called IMAGINATION. We in the creative industries like to imagine the kinds of things we think people will get a kick out of, and make stories about them. And the thing about the stories we imagine? There are a SHITLOAD of them. Thousands and thousands and thousands. Millions, even. The fact is, somewhere, sometime, some imaginative person is going to imagine something – based on real situations, perhaps – that will have things in common with something that actually happens. It just isn’t that remarkable.
The video goes on to wheel out all the usual daft conspiracy theory ideas: the logo for the 2012 Olympics can be rearranged to read ‘Zion’[It’s those bloody Jews again…](viii); the ‘eye’ symbol – a well known ‘Illuminati’ trademark – features throughout the Spooks episodes [That Illuminati really has its fingers in everything. Why, even my local optometrist is controlled by them. Oh, and what’s that up there in the TCA header… wooo-ooo-oooo]; There are also lots of ‘special’ numbers in the Spooks show. Like 9, and 33, and 7, and 13, which as everybody knows are all numbers reserved by the Illuminati to sprinkle through the imaginings of popular culture in order to HINT that they are controlling everything because… well… because that’s what you do when you are an evil force controlling humanity. It goes along with the obligatory white fluffy cat, the black robes and the maniacal gloating laugh.
Anyway, you get the drift. What we have here, Acowyltes, is a kind of paranoia pareidolia. Mr Conspiracy Video Guy looks at a vast raft of unrelated events – images and stories and movies and comics – slices them into tiny little slivers of convenient resolution (single frames; words; numbers, even) and then sees a picture that simply isn’t there.
The 2012 London Olympics will come and go without so much as a fizz, and Mr CVG will make up some daft story about how the Illuminati chose to take the weekend off or something, and next year he’ll have another clip up about the forthcoming dirty bomb attack in New York in 2013. Which is a much more logical prediction because 13 is an Illuminati number. And if you add 20 + 13, you get 33, another Illuminati number. If this isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is. I just can’t believe he missed all that.
There is a rule of thumb when reading any kind of speculative ‘journalism’, whether it be on paper or on the internet: if the headline proposes something as a question, the answer is always ‘No’. [↩]
Unless you really want to, of course, in which case be my guest… [↩]
I bet you didn’t even know that cartoonists and game creators got to know all that Top Secrety information and stuff. Of course they couldn’t tell us because, oh, well, they were in on it, and well, just BECAUSE! [↩]
I will admit that the episode of The Lone Gunman that aired a few months before, that depicts a plane almost crashing into the Twin Towers is a little eerie, but the crucial thing to note is that IT MISSED. Also, the aircraft concerned was being remotely piloted by factions within the US Government in order to facilitate arms trade, and the incident happened at night, not in daylight. I don’t think I need to point out how cherry-picked this ‘evidence’ is. [↩]
Even so, I can’t help but wonder if the Al Qaeda minions who executed the operation saw that show and wondered if their mission had been compromised. [↩]
Well, not exact details, exactly… The three bombs on the Underground didn’t happen in the same places, and the fourth bomb – a vehicle aboveground – was a substantially different affair. In the reality it was a bomb on a bus, in the fiction it was the much more devastating scenario of the targeting of a chlorine tanker chosen for its catastrophic consequences. Sure, these similarities appear spooky, but the fact is (as the Panorama programme even points out) it was a scenario that had been advanced by numerous people on numerous previous occasions. Like the World Trade Center – which had already even been attacked some years before – the London Underground is an obvious terrorist target. You need no real brains to figure out that if you want to cause destruction and panic, one bomb is effective, two bombs are better, but three will really cause some serious problems. [↩]
I guess the ‘terrorists’ intend to bring ’em all down eventually, they just haven’t gotten around to it yet… [↩]
For Pete’s sake – how much paranoia can these people have? It’s the Muslims. It’s the Jews. It’s the US government. What a fearful and miserable way to live a life. [↩]
Yesterday saw the unprecedented simultaneous arrival in my inbox of not one but three new adventures of Simple Graphics Man.
In this first, sent to me by Atlas, SGM is really up against it. I mean really up against it. Between a rock and a hard place, it would seem. Or perhaps between a brick and a hard place. Whatever, his internal organs are certainly never going to be the same after this unfortunate altercation.
The next one, also from Atlas, apparently chronicles SGM’s employment as a ‘top man’ in the filing department of a certain government organization.
I hope he pushed from the middle! He’s not allowed to talk about that little incident, for obvious reasons. He doesn’t talk about the following little incident (sent in by Cissy Strutt) much either, for other obvious reasons.