Anthony Englund Journalism 4551 New Media and Culture Thiel Stern Final Project A Short Cyber Punk Fiction Desire Strings 1 The year is 2099 and a steamy pile of horseshit has just hit the fan. Up in the Monopoly Mountains of Ballyhooing City, there is a tumultuous war going on between three factions: The Capitalizers, who have recently funded new technology to illegally manufacture desire in consumers to buy explicitly what their told. The Government, who carries out the actual task of broadcasting The Capitalizers messages on The Government owned TV networks, internet bands, and radio frequencies. Last, there are The Dark Hackers led by a man by the name of Tiziani and his Siamese flash drive cat named DiBeppo. Tiz is out to rip off the heads of the opposition and spike them onto the thors of a nightmare you can’t even imagine. Ballyhooing City is located in the Hoopla Territory where the majority of the population has fallen subject to purchase intent brainwashing at the hands of The Government and The Capitalizers. The Dark Hackers are not affected because they remain off the AD grid by anti-AD grid penetration technology, and choose not to even glance at a TV, listen to a radio, or visit government websites because they know the wave technology behind it could overpower their AD wave resistant technology. The waves could potentially make them succumb to the pressure of purchase intent, brain shutdown, or brand brain control. The new technology used against the public by The Government and Capitalizers is a secret device known as The Flux. The way it works is it is placed on the main government controlled broadcast tower at the top of the Monopoly Mountains and it sends out waves that blend in with the public media programmed waves. The end result is a consumer brand loyalty to the chosen products inscribed in the manipulated waves. The purchasing desire that comes as an effect is more addicting to the recipient than crack in the 1980’s. Tiziani lost his dad to this mechanism 12 years ago when his father was victim of an illegally waved commercial for Culvers. His dad now resides in an insane asylum repeating the same sentence over and over again, “A Better Brand of Beef, Makes a Butter Burger Better.” People now go on interactive advertising binges for weeks upon weeks often ending up in either the hospital, or at their favorite shopping mall purchasing products they have just been brainwashed to buy. The line between video games, advergames, and advertisements has blurred and has become impossible to decipher the differences between them anymore. Young boys and girls are now buying advertisements in the form of a game only to be brainwashed to buy a whole cornucopia of other selected products within the game. Other consumers who have an even lesser presence of individuality are often victims of a certain Government programmed AD wave called “SOL” that will persuade them into emptying their bank account and giving all their money to The Capitalizers in exchange for nothing. The Government provides legal protection and bare-knuckle protection if you know what I mean-against the prosecution or physical danger against The Capitalizers. Ever since Tiziani’s dad was brainwashed by the Culver’s Wave, Tiz has wanted their blood on hands. He formed an army of hackers whose main goal is to separate the AD waves sent from The Flux. Once they isolate the AD waves, then they can redirect them out into space so they won’t reach the intended recipients. The problem is that The Government has been funded by The Capitalizers to develop a device that will render The Dark Hackers secretly developed black market technology ineffective. With The Dark Hackers not even being able to redirect a small portion of the AD waves, consumers in Ballyhooing will be victims of an advertising schema that will completely control the whole populations desire to buy, forever. Even old grandpas will be caught walking to Abercrombie and Fitch with their shirts off and ripped jeans, listening to trance music with their six-packs, and bobbing their head ‘a night at the Roxbury esk’ wanting to spend their money ASAP. Why? Because the secret AD waves have brainwashed them to. This is now what the advertising industry has come to. Techniques and methods of getting people to part with their money for products has grown drastically ever since the Hoopla Territory moved from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy in 2030. The main objective of the economy after this transition was to make everyone the same through advertising because it’s easier to sell products to people that are the same and definitely more profitable in the long run. Then the times changed again when the citizens finally caught on to advertising industry techniques. No longer did they try to emulate these fake identities that advertisements were portraying, and no longer did they fall subject to advanced marketing campaigns. No longer did the people assume the same characteristics as the rest of their target market. There was a consumer revolution. People started making their own homemade products and sharing more with each other. The society shifted to the more communal based society around the year 2070. About 7 years later in 2077, businesses and consequently the economy fell apart because there was nothing for business to capitalize on. This period of recession lasted for about 20 years as The Hoopla Territory went back into a third world country status during this time. The rich businessmen and lobbied government officials retreated to a secluded underground bunker with their families during this whole time awaiting a time to re-emerge and regain their advantage when the opportunity presented itself. The only way The Government figured they could rekindle the control of Hoopla Territory was to get the economy robust again, and with that they invented The Flux Brain Control Device funded by the Capitalizers in 2087 deep in their bunker. They started using it immediately in Ballyhooing after they constructed a massive broadcast tower on the top of The Monopoly Mountains, and then they all reemerged from their bunker and took control once it was proven effective in its selected target market. They installed TV’s and Computers, and New Media devices all over Ballyhooing and started broadcasting their AD waves. It has controlled the economy of Ballyhooing for over 12 years now, and is presently being expanded to the whole territory of Hoopla. You can use The Flux to have the public buy certain products whenever you want. If there is a abundance of beef that is about to go bad in Hoopla, then you can program the public to buy it before it turns, or if you want the public to buy products that only are made by certain companies, then you can brainwash the public to do it. “The Flux has turned the economy around”, government officials will state, but Tiziani and the rest of the hackers see write through the illusion. Tiz was once quoted saying, “I’d rather be dead by my own free will, then being programmed to buy this shit being administered from above.” Money is low and time is running out for The Dark Hackers. Tiz is now out to ruin the biz. 2 Tizani finally wakes up at around 4:30 pm to the sound of a loud alarm clock resembling the noise of the main climatic part in Hitchcock’s Psycho. Tiz and his flash drive Siamese cat DiBeppo are staying at their urban base camp inside a cave in Ballyhooing underneath a digitally created impenetrable waterfall falling from the mountains above. The program running the waterfall is being remotely run by one of the programs on DiBeppo’s flash drive titled “Niagara Wall of Death.” The cave is large enough to house about 50 other hackers and their supplies consisting of Digital Handheld Nanoservers, Redirecting Wave Mirror Synthesizers, and Brain Impulse Hacking Reactors. Each day all the hackers leave the cave “undercover” as Ballyhooing citizens repeating phrases on street corner such as, “Have You Driven a Ford Lately?”, or “Auto Glass Specialists, We’re The Guys In The Little Red Trucks.” It is imperative they stay undercover and blend in with the majority of the public who are repeating advertisements out loud as well. In a common days work, the job of a hacker is to isolate as many AD waves as they can, and redirect them into space so not every citizen is hit with the waves being emitted by The Flux. During this process, they encounter many Government forces on the ground and need often find the need to get the hell out of dodge. This is where The Lance comes into play. The Dark Hackers transportation unit is called The Lance. The Lance is a Nos powered road bike produced by the 7 time Tour De France winner, and free purchase-intent activist Lance Armstrong. Lance was cryogenically frozen for nearly 22 years after the country went into a third world country status, and has recently been unfrozen to help the cause of The Dark Hackers and their strive for universal mental freedom. The Lance has 302,000 different digital sensors on it measuring everything from precise facial hair configuration for optimal speed, all the way to incoming digital bandwidth hacks coming from The Government. It will shit, shower, and shave you if you want it to, and all while transporting you at the speed of sound. It has a digitally undetectable cloak protecting the hacker at all times from Government gunfire, while also using enhanced F-117 Nighthawk anti radar technology to avoid GPS Government satellite lock. The most important part of technology carried by the hackers besides The Lance is The Flux Avoider Chip inserted into the medulla ulamgata flash drive slot behind the ear. This protects the hacker at all times from being brainwashed and is the most expensive microchip in the world at over 3 billion dollars a pop. The average amount of time an average person is brainwashed is 3 days after the last wave transmission they receive. Unfortunately, this is only if the person does not encounter any other waves during this time. This is nearly impossible with the amount of waves that are being transmitted every day. There are only a small percent of the population of Ballyhooing that has been able to avoid the brain fucking powers of The Flux since its inception 12 years ago. Most of these “free-will survivors” are people that have been saved by the hackers and given the technology able to block the AD Waves. The price of running a hacker regime as well as providing a small segment of the public with these Flux Avoider Chips has forced Tiz into bankruptcy. It was only a year ago when Tiz finally declared official war on The Capitalizers and The Government and so began“The War of Desire.” 3 In his hacker cave, Tiz hops up on his memory activated computer chair that adjusts the lumbar and recline according to his back stress and how he is feeling that morning. He takes a look at his version of Excel 2099, and views a breakdown of how many AD waves were blocked yesterday by his hackers. He also has the statistics of how many hackers were attacked, and how many people were lost to AD Wave Brain Control. The results are getting worse and worse every week. He says to his cat DiBeppo, “I need my top aid in here right now; there are some changes that need to be made to our campaign against these bastards.” DiBeppo meows and runs off to find the top aid of Tiz, while meanwhile Tiz begins research on how The Flux works. Tiz Finds The Flux information he was searching for on Google surprisingly…….As a mass medium, The Flux contains every bit of information that has ever been created on how to persuade a person into buying something. The Flux is a compilation of every University, and every institutions specific research on advertising and successful marketing technique case studies. It has all the pertinent psychological records and information on how to penetrate different demographics, and what time of the day to market to them. It has records on every person in Ballyhooing and how to get them to part with their money. It has a cerebral database containing all this information. It has the processor speed and super computer capabilities to process, and fuse this information into a condensed AD Wave. Along with the information of how to brainwash the individual person, there is also the product information that The Capitalizers have given to The Government on which products to tell that specific person to buy. All this information is condensed again and locked on to each of the individual people and is then sent out in one primary AD Wave that is disguised in with regular media programming waves. The waves can only be isolated, and defended against by hackers with The Flux Avoider Chip, and Redirecting Wave Mirror Synthesizers. Tiz runs into some Marshall McLuhan research on how medium is the message and relates it back to The Flux. Tiz reads a quote that really catches his eye. ““The effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts, but alter sense ratios or patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance.” He then thinks how all these people are stuck in this state of defenselessness and how they are giving all their money away without any resistance. They can’t fight for themselves because they are stuck in a world of purchase intent and brand loyalty brainwash. Tiz realizes that he can not reflect the AD waves into space forever because of the monetary constraints and without money; there is no way to counter the advertising technology. He slams down his virtual coffee cup holding his coffee by means of Informal Cell Reproduction for Structural Apparatus Configuration Technology, and his coffee splashes all over the floor. DiBeppo flexes into the room running at his 35mph max speed to the coffee. DiBeppo loves the Nicaraguan blend. Right behind him follows the top aid. His name is &rew, but most of the hackers call him “the thrilla in manila.” Tiz and &rew make eye contact right away and &rew can tell Tiz is serious as death. They both sit down and don’t say a word for a couple minutes just staring there at each other. &rew knows everything that Tiz is going to say by looking in his eyes, but they continue anyway. Tiz starts off by saying, “I was researching the words of the late Marshall McLuhan. I’ve came to the conclusion that he was right about a lot of things we haven’t opened our eyes to. Knowledge is by far the most powerful thing in our society and can be easily manipulated. This has controlled our entire system of thought for the last twelve years. All of the information out there has been manipulated to create desire to buy more and more of what they are telling us to buy. I have lost my dad, and I know you have lost your older brother &rew. The Government controls all the knowledge on everyone in Ballyhooing. They have manipulated and used it against us for their profits. &rew, I don’t have the money to continue this reflecting wave shit. I want to take out the broadcast tower, and I want President Blazon dead.” &rew replies, “Consider it done. It’s on like Donkey Kong” 4 President Blazon is the leader of The Government. He was one of the lobbied Government officials that hid in the bunker after the revolution that forced Hoopla to be classified as a third world country. In the bunker, he formed an alliance with the leader of The Capitalizers named Donald Trumpet. From there, they recruited the most distinguished IT professionals, and the most greedy and ignorant hackers of the underworld, and then they developed The Flux Wave Generator. And from there history was made. They saved the economy when they reemerged from the bunker, but they have ruined society and individuality. President Blazon is the 2nd richest man in the world. Number 1 is Donald Trumpet. The rich have gotten richer, and the poor are now vegetables. The Government likes to say that they don’t have a monopoly on TV stations, but they own 77% percent of them. They also own 65% of radio stations, and 90% of the internet. They are also the only law authority in the Hoopla Territory so they are basically an untouchable physical entity. They have been protecting The Capitalizers for 12 years ever since they produced The Flux. The Flux is located at the top of The Monopoly Mountains surrounded by over 2 million anti aircraft guns, 300 Panzer Tanks, 500 standing infantry, 400 flak cannons, and not to mention over 300,000 proximity mines protecting the perimeter of The Flux Base. They also have a net security system that although cannot protect the waves from manipulation after they leave the tower, will not let any type of outside communication waves enter its network making it impossible to hack and shutdown security forces. President Blazon knows who Tiz is, and absolutely wants him dead. Blazon knows that Tiz and his hackers are responsible for over 100,000 billion dollars of lost consumer dollars a year by his AD wave reflecting tactics. Blazon and Trumpet have been meeting 3 times a week to discuss new developments in their war with The Dark Hackers. Today, they meet in a specially protected beach on the top of The Monopoly Mountains and discuss a new invention that could turn the tables in the war. “My IT Guys have developed a new technology to render The Flux Avoider Chip ineffective. Its called “Bam”, President Blazon says. “Without The Flux Avoider Chip, The Dark Hackers will have no form of defense against our AD waves, and neither will any of the free minded public that they have distributed them to. Our profits will reach their climax, and we will have total control. I will give you all the money you need Blazon, just get it done. I will not only fund this Bam project, but I will give you enough money where you will never have to worry about cash for the rest of your life even thouh you already don’t. I want Tiz and his faction dead. I heard his father is alive in an insane asylum. Kill his father and that will bait Tiz in to us, and when he comes with the cavalry, we will use “Bam” on The Flux Resistors and they will all be sitting ducks to our mighty waves of consumer persuasion. We will have him saying, “Nobody Does it Like Sara Lee” before they will even know what happened.” Trumpet lectures. “hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha”, Blazon concludes 5 The insane asylum is located inside a hospital security complex that is setup by the people who have stayed free from the AD waves all this time. The free thinkers if you will. Tiz makes sure he pays enough money so that his dad will be taken good care of there. His dad behaves very well and is often allowed to go on the swings outside the hospital for a 20 minute recess swing session. All he really does is annoy the nurses all day by saying, “a better brand of beef, a better brand of beef” , but Tiz bought the nurses brand new Virtual Ipods so they won’t have to listen to his father repeat the same jargon over and over. In turn, he has been outside on the swings a lot lately. The clouds above Tiz’s father turn dark gray and he stops swinging. “Better brand of beef……..butter burger…..beef……butter mmmmm” his father cries out as he realizes he has to go inside now because of the rain. He gets off the swing and notices that there are 5 military jeeps surrounding him on all sides. President Blazon emerges from behind a couple of his peons and tells the old man, “recess is over douche bag.” President Blazon nods to his top henchman and walks away with a freshly lit cuban in one hand, and lowball of scotch in the other. The insensitive henchman steps toward the father, and activates his computer generated Darth Maul look alike green lightsaber and shreds the vegetable minded old man into a tossed salad of body parts. President Blazon says quietly into his glass of scotch, “I looooook goood.” 6 Tiz is stroking his cat/flashdrive DiBeppo as he finalizes his attack plans. All of the hackers have been sent a virtual link to the attack plan explaining exactly how the hackers will take down the broadcast tower emitting the Ad Waves, and how hard this mission is going to be. Tiz ends it with a personal emotional message for all his hackers, “We are out of money. We are out of time. This is it. This is our last stand. It has been a pleasure my friends. God Speed.” Tiz knew damn well that all these hackers were kings in the hacker world where media was the medium, but not in a world where guns, military strategy, and brunt force was the medium. He knew he had no chance and that this was the end for him and his hackers. He didn’t have much weaponry or ammunition, but he had a final plan. He would get the military units to follow him into the area where all their own land mines were. The mines are sensitive to explosion by the foot of a friendly soldier, but friendly soldiers are still at risk to the actual explosion if it does happen to occur. Once all The Government troops were in the minefield, a portion of the hackers would sacrifice themselves by running into the fields causing a domino effect explosion taking The Government troops along with the fire wind of death. The remaining hackers would have an open shot at the broadcast tower. Tiz knew it was a long shot, and these were probably his last moments in life. All of a sudden &rew walks in the room where Tiz is and tells him to sit down. Tiz obeys attentively after observing the look on &rew’s face. “Five military jeeps showed up today at your fathers asylum” &rew says “No” Tiz replies “They used a computer generated Darth Maul look a like lightsaber to turn your dad into a tossed salad of body parts”, &rew says in a silent tone. Tiz looses all strength and falls to the ground. He can’t help but cry and he unleashes a loud scream from the depths of his soul. “Holy Shit, Look at your Siamese if you please!” &rew yells aloud Tiz turns his head back to DiBeppo the cat who is now dancing on the countertop popping it and locking it. Tiz immediately forgets about his father as he proceeds to squint at the cat, and then adds, “seriously?” 7 All of the sudden, Tiz and &rew receive an virtual email from Dibeppo who Is still dancing on the countertop. The email has the subject heading: I am The Shit! The contents are a feline manufactured plan of how to shut power down to The Government base for 30 seconds, and how that will in turn make it possible to hack into AD wave files and reverse them before they are sent, but only with the right hacker preparations and skill. The three day period of brainwash can be reversed by the process, but will leave all the consumers confused and bewildered. A lot of them won’t remember what happened or how they even got where they are. After that, DiBeppo has planned to create a website dedicated strictly to blogging and the opportunity for citizen journalism to develop to help tell the stories of all the people who have been affected. SMS text messaging programs have already been developed by the internal programs of artificial thought in DiBeppo’s flash drive for after the transition to help inform the public of what has been happening for the last 12 years. DiBeppo has also recorded tons of video footage of brainwashings and has re-invigorated the website www.YouTube.com to display actual video of people being brainwashed. Everything seems to be covered by DiBeppo and the artificial thought programs on his flash drive brain. &rew suddenly screams out loud, “ Five, Five Dollar, Five Dollar Footlong.” “Noooooooo”, Tiz replies, “Not Fucking Subway.” Blazon has just enacted the Bam wave, and &rew must have been involved in the first target market transmission. DiBeppo sends another email to Tiz telling him it is time to take care of business. DiBeppo launches the blogging site, and stands by to launch the SMS text message to the city of Ballhooing. YouTube.com is back online offering video evidence of the brainwashing by The Government. DiBeppo meows really loud and then hisses. He has just shut the power down for thirty seconds to The Flux Base and now it is time for Tiz to work his magic. Tiz is the equivalent of Michael Jordan on steroids in the hacking world. He is the best of the best. Time is running out before Bam hits him and DiBeppo too. He reverses the most current Ad wave being prepped to be sent out in The Flux System, and reprograms the wave to rid people of their purchase intent, brand loyalty, and to free them of their false desires. When the system power is turned back on, the first transmission on deck will be sent out; the one that Tiz has just hacked. There is no way to stop it now. DiBeppo sends another virtual email to Tiz saying….3…….2…….1. Done. Sending out SMS right now. DiBeppo and Tiz are watching the blogging site for activity and no activity. Five minutes go by and nothing. All of a sudden one message appears………”What has just Happened?” Another person replies , “read your SMS text message and go to YouTube.com to see how we were all brainwashed.” All of a sudden there is a tidal wave of postings and replies on the blogging site DiBeppo created all informing each other of what has happened to them. The entire public is now aware of what has been going on for the past 12 years, and wants to make the 2 men responsible pay dearly. Blogs, Newsgroups, Forums, Email Lists, Websites, and YouTube home video all start to turn against The Government and against The Capitalizers by telling stories, and giving advice on how to bring Blazon and Trumpet down. No one bought their products anymore. No one obeyed what they said anymore. It was all over and so were the profits for this monopoly of desire that The Government and The Capitalizers had on Ballyhooing. Blazon and Trumpet abandoned their families, troops, and co- workers and were last seen accessing the main gate to go back down to their secluded bunker with all their money. Because of Blazon and Trumpet, Tiz had lost his father and his top aid &rew. He was not about to just let them get away. Tiz renders a computer generated block of C4 by his Digital Handheld Nanoserver, and throws it on the large iron door of the secluded bunker. A large explosion occurs and the door blasts open. Tiz renders his own Darth Maul double sided lightsaber and flips the switch on. A beautiful yellow light emulates from the lightsaber. Tiz looks down at DiBeppo and says, “Time to make our own body part salad kitty kitty.” “meow”, DiBeppo Replies.