For the first time ever, a complete manuscript of William S Burroughs’ The Revised Boyscout Manual, with an afterword and reminiscence by V. Vale, publisher and founder of RE/Search publications.
The Revised Boyscout Manual is Burroughs’ manifesto for overthrowing a corrupt government with fake news. A true book of our times.
Want to know the best way to overthrow a corrupt government? It’s with fake news… just ask William S. Burroughs.
Boing Boing quotes a lengthy passage from the book, that shows Burroughs as a Scout advisor, describing how an individual would go about using mass media’s methods to disrupt its message, and to transmit your own messages:
“For a start, you scramble the news all together and spit it out every which way on ham radio and street recorders. You construct fake news broadcasts on video camera… and you scramble your fabricated news in with actual news broadcasts.
You have an advantage which your opposing player does not have. He must conceal his manipulations. You are under no such necessity. In fact, you can advertise the fact that you are writing news in advance and trying to make it happen by techniques which anybody can use.
And that makes you NEWS. And a TV personality as well, if you play it right. You want the widest possible circulation for your cutup videotapes. Cutup techniques could swamp the mass media with total illusion.
The simplest experiment consists in playing back a scrambled message to the subject. The message could contain simple commands. Does the scrambled message have any command value comparable to post-hypnotic suggestion? Is the actual content of the message received?
Let us say the message is fear. For this, we take all the past fear shots of the subject we can collect or evoke. We cut these in with fear words and pictures, with threats, etc. This is all acted out and would be upsetting enough in any case. Now let’s try it scrambled and see if we get an even stronger effect.
I have frequently spoken of word and image as viruses or as acting as viruses, and this is not an allegorical comparison. It will be seen that the falsifications in syllabic Western languages are in point of fact actual virus mechanisms.”
Via Boing Boing.