Friday, September 30, 2005

All That Invisibilty Means

An excerpt from H.G. Wells -- The Invisible Man. 1898.

“Hitherto I have gone on vague lines. We have to consider all that invisibility means, all that it does not mean. It means little advantage for eavesdropping and so forth—one makes sounds. It’s of little help, a little help perhaps—in housebreaking and so forth. Once you’ve caught me you could easily imprison me. But on the other hand I am hard to catch. This invisibility, in fact, is only good in two cases: It’s useful in getting away, it’s useful in approaching. It’s particularly useful, therefore, in killing. I can walk round a man, whatever weapon he has, choose my point, strike as I like. Dodge as I like. Escape as I like.”

Kemp’s hand went to his moustache. Was that a movement downstairs?

“And it is killing we must do, Kemp.”

“It is killing we must do,” repeated Kemp. “I’m listening to your plan, Griffin, but I’m not agreeing, mind. Why killing?”

“Not wanton killing but a judicious slaying. The point is they know there is an Invisible Man—as well as we know there is an Invisible Man. And that Invisible Man, Kemp, must now establish a Reign of Terror. Yes—no doubt it’s startling. But I mean it. A Reign of Terror. He must take some town like your Burdock and terrify and dominate it. He must issue his orders. He can do that in a thousand ways—scraps of paper thrust under doors would suffice.

There is no way that even the great visionary H.G. Wells could have invisioned the Internet back in 1898. But he did understand a thing or two about invisibility.

Within the Internet of today, there exists a new kind of "invisibility," that comes with the ability to pose as someone else, or to even comment anonymously within the blogosphere. In that matter, you can creep in, unseen, and add your voice to those others engaged in conversation. If one is clever enough, they can redirect a conversation here, or plant some reasonable doubt there.

Such actions are becoming more and more frequent within the world of political "black ops." With the proliferation of blogs, public chats and forums, it is ever easier to "invisibly approach" those engaged in conversation, in order to slip in some little propaganda or disinformation. After anonymously contributing, it is just as easy to invisibly "get away." It is then incumbent on someone within the conversation to determine whether or not you are expressing a true opinion or fact, or were an Invisible Man, bent on no good.

Today's internet Invisible Man isn't bent on killing in the corporeal sense. Rather, the cyber Invisible Man is often bent on character assasination. A pinch of anomous here...a dash of acrimony there...and just a splash of bald face lying which is vague enough that the casual reader might believe it...and you have the formual for today's Invisible Man.

It doesn't take much to produce a "Reign of Terror," just "scraps of paper under the door." Or in this case, anonymous postings in the right places.

To see the perfect example of such a tactic, go visit and read the comments. Comment 4 is a classic example of the trade.


Medlock has recently been talking like LaFortune so I think we need to re-think this business about being gung-ho for Medlock. Suddenly he is changing his tune on just about everything. Just listen to him on DelGiorno’s show.

We don’t need Bartlett, LaFortune or Medlock. None are honest enough.
This is perfect. Using this little "scrap of paper," the anonymous contributor trashes both me and Bill LaFortune. He provides the reader with a reason for the readers of the forum to rethink support for me, because I'm showing I'm going to be just like Bill LaFortune (ie, someone that flips his position when its politically expedient). What am I changing my tune on? Well...just about everything!

"This is troubling to hear," the reader thinks to themselves. "What proof does he offer?"

"Oh...he changed his tune during a DelGiorno interview." they further rationalize. "I heard Medlock on DelGiorno last week and didn't here anything amiss...but perhaps it was another interview when I was out of town?"

So what do you do with your new found information? Wait for some "honest" alternative to arrive. Someone like that "honest" Bill Christiansen who says he isn't running for Mayor, but might be lured in if we "honestly" need him to return "honesty" to City Hall. Why? Because "honesty" is the best policy, and we need someone that "honestly" understands policy.

Just one problem. Bill Christiansen is, and has been for nearly three years, running for Mayor. He's playing the waiting game, hoping to be drafted by the "honest" voter who seeks someone who has remained above the petty fray of electoral politics. Candidates have used such strategies for decades, if not centuries. However, they are ineffective if everyone is satisfied with the candidates that have already announced.

Understanding this, just think how advantageous it is to have an Invisible Man, to plant scraps of paper to create confusion and distrust. Someone like...who? Maybe, Jim Burdge? You know him...Bill Christiansen's campaign manager who was outed as the particularly nasty practitioner of such "black ops" for the Pro-Recall Cartel.

Then all Bill Christiansen has to do is to continue to use words like "pro-active" and "responsible" dozens of times in committee and during televised meetings. He can accuse others of playing political games. He can propose last minute taskforces that will submit their findings days before the primary elections. And he can let his Invisible Man taint the other candidates' reputations for honesty, while allowing Mr. Christiansen to retain his.

Only problem is, every time Mr. Christiansen is forced to say he's not running for mayor, he sets the table for criticism as to his own honesty, should he announce some day in the not so distant future that he's going to "honestly" run for mayor, rather than playing the "draft me" card.

Honestly, it can make one wish they could become invisible, just so we could "get away" from all this wanton gamesmanship.

Rather than resort to invisibility, let's all approach Mr. Christiansen in a visible manner and ask him the question to which we all know the answer.

"Councilor Christiansen," we shall all ask, "'re running for mayor, right?"