11th March, 2018
Passing under a railway bridge along the river, near 'Railway World' I see the usual sort of graffiti. Standing out amongst it, it was hard to miss the silver eye in the triangle pronouncing 'Illuminati is Real'.
Only yesterday (Sunday) I was rummaging through the books in a charity shop and had come across a copy of 'The Illuminatus Papers' by Robert Anton Wilson. I vaguely remembered reading bits of this as well as 'The Illuminatus Trilogy' when I was a student. Along with 'The Book of The Subgenius', and 'Principia Discordia' these books were, I always thought, part of an elaborate Discordian hoax.
I wondered if the grafitti artist was aware of Wilson and the Discordians, and that The Illumiatus Trilogy was made into a stage play in Liverpool in the 70s starring Jim Broadbent and Bill Nighy. Probably not.
Rather, the grafitti seemed symbolic of an increasing paranoia. In an age of fake news, increasing awareness of bias and spin in mainstream media and access to infinite information on the internet it's probably not surprising. The internet is full of conspiracy nutters creating even more fake news themselves, although I guess they would accuse me of conspiring against them for saying that. Television also, as well as the evangelical preachers disturbingly found towards the end of a fruitless scroll through the channels for anything worth watching, contains channels like 'Blaze' where people in all apparent seriousness discuss ancient astronaut theory.
At the weekend I came across a bizarre TV programme from the 70s broadcast by Anglia TV called 'Science Report' (aka 'Alternative 3'). It was a spoof documentary about a scientific brain drain and people going missing to Mars or the Moon while climate change threatens life on Earth. Originally to be broadcast on April 1st it was postponed due to industrial action (time to wheel out the stock photo of The Sandy Heath Transmitter and some music). In the comments under the YouTube video, one person is convinced it is all real, and comes up with some not very convincing reasoning as to why. An apparently more rational person (possibly someone who saw the programme at the time) offers a more far more reasonable explanation, i.e. it is a hoax. This is quickly dismissed with more irrational speculative arguments, presented in a manner more akin to the blindly religious than the enquiring mind.
Meanwhile this weekend, the mainstream media were still speculating and weaving a dubious narrative around the poisoning of exiled Russian spies.
It's perhaps little wonder that confusion reigns and people are looking in ever more outlandish places for 'the answers' amongst spin, 'fake news', political discussion and conspiracy theories. Whether this is an unintended consequence of the original Discordian disinformation 'hoax', as Wilson has alluded. to to who knows?
Maybe these are the end times. Praise "Bob"! All hail Discordia!