From a FOIA-released WWII training manual for special officers:


A: General

Freedom – financial – social – movement – leisure.

B: Essential details

Name – history – documents – clothes – behavior (money-associates-tastes-local conditions-table manners-slang-mannerisms).

iv. Coming down to business – change your line of appeal to suit the case, eg for a priest, based on religious grounds, etc.

Let concrete suggestions come from him in the first stages.

Test reactions thoroughly before coming out into the open.

Sound by half-suggestions.

From the first give him the suggestion that we are part of a powerful and well-organized body – prestige counts heavily.


Spam, Theatre-based Counter-electronics

Create your own schematic

Israeli boarders would have been well advised to shield the transmissions of their targets. In 2007, against Syria, they easily scrambled signals, “injected” false information into networks – and they should have at least blocked cell and sat and ship-to-shore communications from their flotilla. Next time they will.

My own ECM battle is going well from a technological standpoint, even the most sophisticated spam emails are being stopped. These are semantically smart messages, designed to stoke an author’s ego “great site” etc. Lately they have also begun mirroring successful messages. Am beginning to develop Stockholm syndrome.

Communities and Contempt

Parasitic Computing
A compelling takeaway I didn’t include in my post about Richard Nash‘s speech was his emphasis on how writers crave community. This was his lead into a demand-based publishing model, and had a queasy resonance for me. I applied to graduate school for this reason — I wanted to find other writers and gather a group of people together whom I could snipe and gossip about writing with. But this was an error. I don’t think it’s what I nor anyone else needs as an “artist.”

Community is a distraction, one concealing the hierarchies of a dying industry and glomming up the cozy entry-level inefficiencies that once made it possible to make a living as a freelance writer or hack journalist. Community is comfortable, but ultimately inimical to individual achievement. In the nebulous non-being between becoming amateur and professional one is encouraged to wallow in the same ideas as one’s peers, and a close-knit community becomes a self-reinforcing echo chamber of status, etc. The only people accelerated and empowered by such an environment are sociopaths — at least at the level I’m at.

The game changes once you’ve built something worth protecting, which is why [visual] artist colonies (grouped studios, shared leases etc.) and arguably the upper-tiers of the art school swindle function so well — they generate income and reduce inefficiencies — but there is no artistic benefit. And, until every individual component of an artistic community is capable of producing income, community is just another parasite drooping off the withering flanks of postpostindustrial cultural production.

Three Minute Fiction: JOYOUS TRANSACTION

NPR Contest Image

We’re supposed to do this with yarrow stalks, but “coins,” he says, “are more indicative of global currency flow.”

I stand to leave. Scraping my chair back. He shakes his head and swirls his coffee: “more modern,” he says.

I sit down again. Take a sip of mine.

Given the swirling streams of capital – well, I get it; as a modern soothsayer coins aren’t a bad idea.

But I’m not asking about money.

He pushes aside his Straits Times, revealing an I-Ching and three U.S. quarters. He slides his coins to me. I shake and fling. Coins flash, fall across the table six times in succession. He tabulates my score: Heads-heads-tails. (Twice) Heads-tails-tails. (Once) Heads-heads-tails. (Twice again) Heads-tails-tails….

He points at the coins and beckons. I slide them over. He shakes his head. “First: my fee.” I slide that over too. He nods and turns the book around for me to see:

58. Tui, The Joyous

Lakes resting one on the other:
The image of the Joyous.
Thus the superior man joins with his friends
For discussion and practice.

The moment of discovery! My muscles flinch involuntarily: “That’s all?” I say, my voice a squeak.

“You understand why you do this now?”

He’s so wise, that crumpled grey suit, those yellowing plastic frames. Enlightenment is bearing down on us: I feel it. I squish my palms together, and choose my reply very, very carefully. “For fun?”

“You don’t fully understand.”

“I don’t,” I say, pressing my palms harder. “Tell me! Please!”

He picks my coffee cup up and dumps it into his; brown liquid floods, soaking the paper: “that mindless moment of exchange,” he says, as it drips on my pants, and he gets up and leaves.