David Goldschmidt
Since the beginning
Works in San Francisco, California United States of America

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Re: what if and tid bits i cry to much

death is good ... it is followed by re-birth.

david goldschmidt

> is it normal to turn into the person you always hated ?
> why do some people think a painting is a canvase and not philosophically
something else
> why can't everybody under stand potential
> i am dead

> ---------------------------------
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> Sign-up for Video Highlights of 2002 FIFA World Cup


The fake persuaders

The fake persuaders


Corporations are inventing people to rubbish their opponents on the

George Monbiot
Tuesday May 14, 2002

Persuasion works best when it's invisible. The most effective
marketing worms its way into our consciousness, leaving intact the
perception that we have reached our opinions and made our choices
independently. As old as humankind itself, over the past few years
this approach has been refined, with the help of the internet, into a
technique called "viral marketing". Last month, the viruses appear to
have murdered their host. One of the world's foremost scientific
journals was persuaded to do something it had never done before, and
retract a paper it had published.

While, in the past, companies have created fake citizens' groups to
campaign in favour of trashing forests or polluting rivers, now they
create fake citizens. Messages purporting to come from disinterested
punters are planted on listservers at critical moments, disseminating
misleading information in the hope of recruiting real people to the
cause. Detective work by the campaigner Jonathan Matthews and the
freelance journalist Andy Rowell shows how a PR firm contracted to
the biotech company Monsanto appears to have played a crucial but
invisible role in shaping scientific discourse.

Monsanto knows better than any other corporation the costs of
visibility. Its clumsy attempts, in 1997, to persuade people that
they wanted to eat GM food all but destroyed the market for its
crops. Determined never to make that mistake again, it has engaged
the services of a firm which knows how to persuade without being seen
to persuade. The Bivings Group specialises in internet lobbying.

An article on its website, entitled Viral Marketing: How to Infect
the World, warns that "there are some campaigns where it would be
undesirable or even disastrous to let the audience know that your
organisation is directly involved... it simply is not an intelligent
PR move. In cases such as this, it is important to first 'listen' to
what is being said online... Once you are plugged into this world, it
is possible to make postings to these outlets that present your
position as an uninvolved third party... Perhaps the greatest
advantage of viral marketing is that your message is placed into a
context where it is more likely to be considered seriously." A senior
executive from Monsanto is quoted on the Bivings site thanking the PR
firm for its "outstanding work".

On November 29 last year, two researchers at the University of
California, Berkeley published a paper in Nature magazine, which
claimed that native maize in Mexico had been contaminated, across
vast distances, by GM pollen. The paper was a disaster for the
biotech companies seeking to persuade Mexico, Brazil and the European
Union to lift their embargos on GM crops.

Even before publication, the researchers knew their work was
hazardous. One of them, Ignacio Chapela, was approached by the
director of a Mexican corporation, who first offered him a glittering
research post if he withheld his paper, then told him that he knew
where to find his children. In the US, Chapela's opponents have
chosen a different form of assassination.

On the day the paper was published, messages started to appear on a
biotechnology listserver used by more than 3,000 scientists, called
AgBioWorld. The first came from a correspondent named "Mary Murphy".
Chapela is on the board of directors of the Pesticide Action Network,
and therefore, she claimed, "not exactly what you'd call an unbiased
writer". Her posting was followed by a message from an "Andura
Smetacek", claiming, falsely, that Chapela's paper had not been
peer-reviewed, that he was "first and foremost an activist" and that
the research had been published in collusion with environmentalists.
The next day, another email from "Smetacek" asked "how much money
does Chapela take in speaking fees, travel reimbursements and other
donations... for his help in misleading fear-based marketing

The messages from Murphy and Smetacek stimulated hundreds of others,
some of which repeated or embellished the accusations they had made.
Senior biotechnologists called for Chapela to be sacked from
Berkeley. AgBioWorld launched a petition pointing to the paper's
"fundamental flaws".

There do appear to be methodological problems with the research
Chapela and his colleague David Quist had published, but this is
hardly unprecedented in a scientific journal. All science is, and
should be, subject to challenge and disproof. But in this case the
pressure on Nature was so severe that its editor did something
unparalleled in its 133-year history: last month he published,
alongside two papers challenging Quist and Chapela's, a retraction in
which he wrote that their research should never have been published.

So the campaign against the researchers was extraordinarily
successful; but who precisely started it? Who are "Mary Murphy" and
"Andura Smetacek"?

Both claim to be ordinary citizens, without any corporate links. The
Bivings Group says it has "no knowledge of them". "Mary Murphy" uses
a hotmail account for posting messages to AgBioWorld. But a message
satirising the opponents of biotech, sent by "Mary Murphy" from the
same hotmail account to another server two years ago, contains the
identification bw6.bivwood.com. Bivwood.com is the property of
Bivings Woodell, which is part of the Bivings Group.

When I wrote to her to ask whether she was employed by Bivings and
whether Mary Murphy was her real name, she replied that she had "no
ties to industry". But she refused to answer my questions on the
grounds that "I can see by your articles that you made your mind up
long ago about biotech". The interesting thing about this response is
that my message to her did not mention biotechnology. I told her only
that I was researching an article about internet lobbying.

Smetacek has, on different occasions, given her address as "London"
and "New York". But the electoral rolls, telephone directories and
credit card records in both London and the entire US reveal no
"Andura Smetacek". Her name appears only on AgBioWorld and a few
other listservers, on which she has posted scores of messages falsely
accusing groups such as Greenpeace of terrorism. My letters to her
have elicited no response. But a clue to her possible identity is
suggested by her constant promotion of "the Centre For Food and
Agricultural Research". The centre appears not to exist, except as a
website, which repeatedly accuses greens of plotting violence.
Cffar.org is registered to someone called Manuel Theodorov. Manuel
Theodorov is the "director of associations" at Bivings Woodell.

Even the website on which the campaign against the paper in Nature
was launched has attracted suspicion. Its moderator, the biotech
enthusiast Professor CS Prakash, claims to have no connection to the
Bivings Group. But when Jonathan Matthews was searching the site's
archives he received the following error message: "can't connect to
MySQL server on apollo.bivings.com". Apollo.bivings.com is the main
server of the Bivings Group.

"Sometimes," Bivings boasts, "we win awards. Sometimes only the
client knows the precise role we played." Sometimes, in other words,
real people have no idea that they are being managed by fake ones.


Re: The Humiliation of the Word

hey max,

intersting that you picked up on the Christian connection to this author.
Since most of his books are out of print a group call Jesus Radicals have
put them on the Internet for free. curious minds should take a look.

according to another listserv that I belong to (media ecology listserv)
Ellul he is very well known among media academics.

david goldschmidt

----- Original Message -----
From: "Max Herman" <maxherman@zipmail.com>
To: "David Goldschmidt" <dgoldsch@tampabay.rr.com>; <list@rhizome.org>
Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2002 12:58 PM
Subject: Re: RHIZOME_RAW: The Humiliation of the Word

> On Wed, 15 May 2002 22:16:49 -0400
> "David Goldschmidt" <dgoldsch@tampabay.rr.com> wrote:
> > thought some on this list may find this of interest ...
> >
> > The Humiliation of the Word
> > In this book Ellul argues that "Images" are limited to
> > the realm of the material and the practical and cannot
> > probe the depths of human experience,
> Hey Dave, what's up. Ezekiel Bakal from the Genius 2000
> Video First Edition mentioned this. He is a former
> paratrooper in the Israeli Defense Forces, now somewhat
> overweight and hanging out in coffeeshops in Minneapolis.
> He said, in touchingly broken English, that "Christianity
> is all image, image," but that the Jewish tradition was
> based on rhetoric, argumentation, and Talmudic citation.
> That was his explanation for the disproportionately high
> number of Jewish Nobel Prize Winners. He was trying to
> argue that it isn't genetics but intellectual method and
> culture.
> Anyway, off to search Google on this puppy, this
> Humiliation of the Word puppy.
> I would genuinely appreciate some committal posts today.
> Posts with energy, posts with integrity, love, stress and
> storm, cardiovascular posts. I hope I am the only one
> with this disease but it's my world, you only live in it.
> For one topic, let's try the famous movie "From Here to
> Eternity" which I saw on cable TV last night. Anyone
> think it relates to Genius 2000? Ernest Borgnine rapes
> and tortures Frank Sinatra (like in Sleepers, the
> Shawshank Redemption, and Joan of Arc); Burt Lancaster
> hooks up with that blond lady, like in "The Postman Always
> Rings Twice"; Montgomery Clift tries to hook up with
> Olivia de Havilland like in Fassbinder's Marriage of Maria
> Braun; Captain Holmes gets kicked out of the army for
> letting his soldiers box (Stripes, Paths of Glory, and
> that one Army movie with Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and Jack
> Nicholson); they all get killed in the end because it's
> Pearl Harbor and all.
> It's a movie about transgression, loyalty, power, war, and
> love. I think it is the origin of almost all movies since
> then.
> How does it relate to Genius 2000? I'd say across the
> board it relates. I'm Montgomery Clift I think. Not Burt
> Lancaster. Who are you in the movie?
> It's also bugging me what someone said for the G2K survey
> at www.electrichands.com/genius2000, that Lesson Two is
> "hyper-corrective drivel." They signed it "Cary
> Peppermint" but I'm pretty certain he didn't write it.
> Cary, are you onlist and not filtering me? Was that
> really you who filled out the survey? If not, I wonder
> why someone else would fill it out that way. Was it you
> Judson, or maybe Twhid? I'm just curious.
> Response # 20 also says that I Max Herman am "another
> wannabe iconoclast," which hurts my feelings, and that the
> year 2000 was "a time to reflect on the mass incapacity of
> the general population." I don't know if that's true or
> not. I do know that hardly any net artists would answer
> Lesson Two in time for the First Edition, and I asked them
> all to do it. But they wouldn't do it.
> to go beyond the
> > surface of reality. Therefore a society based on image
> > will be a shallow society, incapable of finding deep
> > truths.
> Brad Brace calls it "chasing the image" in the 20th
> Kentury, or, "the art museum is not your friend." But
> Brad Brace is an unethical outsider who is hated by the
> academic net.art powerplayers such as the Syracuse
> University New Media Art Department.
> A society based upon "Word" however, has been
> > debased inour culture, but is able to cnvey truth like
> > images can't. It is open to interpetation and is
> > flexible.
> Well, checking my G2K calculator I see I do not entirely
> agree. Who wrote this, and why should I care? I have a
> feeling I will have to dis this writer sooner or later.
> Logocentrism is out and log2kocentrism has replaced it.
> On my breakfast table anyway.
> So, anyone want to argue in a committal, lusty, risky
> manner? I'll take on every comer. The quick brown fox
> jumps over the lazy dogs.
> I'm placing a lot of topics in one email for personal
> reasons.
> Liza, re Bernini and transgression: I am a minor expert in
> Bernini. Perhaps you don't believe me, or think I'm a
> hypocrite for saying both that experts are overrated and I
> am one, but I am one. I really got a big repertoire in
> Bernini.
> My question to Liza is: Do you think transgression is a
> personal event, or a social one? When you say that
> Bernini's St. Theresa is what you think of when you think
> of transgression, do you mean that when you see Berninian
> qualities in contemporary work you consider the work
> transgressive? Is Bernini's transgression-machine still
> operable in today's hyper-hyperized media weltgeist?
> Is transgression always different, always the same, always
> individual, or always historical?
> From Here to Eternity is also about transgression and
> punishment.
> Bernini's bust with intricate bee is also relevant to my
> feelings and thoughts about transgression in his St.
> Theresa. Bernini was what they call "a bravura
> sculptor"--his technique was so perfect and virtuosic that
> it has perhaps never been equalled, even by Michel Agnolo.
> He was the Michael Jordan of shaping stone. He was the
> guy who would do the impossible.
> I recommend everyone who hasn't seen the bust by Bernini
> with the honeybee brooch go google it, even though using
> Google is reactionary. I'm reacting in your direction.
> Some fluxus guy had a Fluxus koan/event/recipe/image which
> was a simple question: "If you had a dream that you were
> a genius, what would you want to remember from the dream?"
> Now that is serious Fluxus art, not because I said so but
> because it's famous and in books and all.
> I also wonder how Bernini relates to the internet. One
> might argue that he does not.
> I also want to reiterate my support and admiration of Eryk
> Salvaggio's recent "Six Rules for a New Net Art" and
> "ESMOML." I think they are superior to their
> alternatives. Celebrate the man.
> I also am glad that NN appears to have survived the
> memocidal klownfuckers at Cycling 74. That is great news,
> an example of a great writer succeeding. It will also
> help my own future career of proving why NN is perhaps a
> greater writer than Dostoevsky or Shakespeare. I want to
> prove that.
> In other news, I'm dismayed. I told a new G2K supporter to
> go look at restlessculture.net, and she loved it. She
> thought it was one of the coolest sites she'd seen. I
> felt bad, hyper-corrective, sexually deformed, you name
> it. Then it went away; go figure.
> I also want to argue with Judson a little bit. Judson, you
> want to argue? For those who think I am a professional
> loser, rest assured I will be bringing in more marketing
> information as the year goes on.
> I am open to any and all ideas as to what the Genius 2000
> Network should do for the rest of 2002.
> My current priorities are 1) mail out as many dubs as
> possible; 2) mail out my band Shlagel's CD and try to play
> out as well as go on the road and on TV, 3) finish my book
> about G2K for WW release Jan. 1 2003, 4) establish
> genius2000.net as a blue-chip url and incorporate myself
> for financial reasons; and 5) save the entire world from
> imminent war and desolation.
> I am also in great need of immediate financial assistance
> in the $2k-$5k range. If anyone has any nurturing, caring
> advice how I can get this level of cash please contact me
> offlist.
> Your friend,
> Max Herman
> www.electrichands.com/genius2000
> >
> >
> ________________________________________________
> Don't E-Mail, ZipMail! http://www.zipmail.com/


The Humiliation of the Word

thought some on this list may find this of interest ...

The Humiliation of the Word
In this book Ellul argues that "Images" are limited to the realm of the mat=
erial and the practical and cannot probe the depths of human experience, to=
go beyond the surface of reality. Therefore a society based on image will =
be a shallow society, incapable of finding deep truths. A society based upo=
n "Word" however, has been debased inour culture, but is able to cnvey trut=
h like images can't. It is open to interpetation and is flexible.