"Sit and watch only ATN," came the command. A Russian TV
network hid those words in every 25th frame of their
Horrified Russian officials shut down the network for two months. Facing a
fine which the Moscow
Times identified as a whopping $450, the broadcasters disputed the
government's response as "lawlessness."
Paranoid Russians are nothing new. The Moscow Times remembers detractors of
Boris Yeltsin blaming his 1996 election victory on an election-eve broadcast of
subliminal messages. More importantly, the Times noted subliminal advertising
has never been shown to work after an initial six-week "Eat Popcorn" experiment
in a New Jersey movie theatre in 1957.
The prospect of subliminal messages terrifies individuals already grappling
with their powerlessness before huge corporations. (See "Canadians fear
sexy Coke machine.") A grass roots group opposing the "Scientology" cult
also warned that
they'd received information that subliminal messages were concealed in
But the truth is millions have already surrendered their minds to the corporate
entertainment state -- willingly. Sure, I fear a world where broadcasters
transmit secret messages like "Regis Philbin is not annoying" and "Stalk
Blossom." But the master plan would involve harvesting mega-revenues from
foisting their pap on an unsuspecting public.
And they've done that already....
Face it, to some extent we're all willing slaves to technology. I heard the
news about Russia's subliminal messages from Ananova.
The digital broadcaster rocked back and forth with faux-human motions, moving
her head in imitation of blinks and nods, and told me that the polar ice caps
were melting. That a woman had disrobed in front of Bill Clinton ("HE was
visib-ly sur-prised when...she...DISROBED.") That a Russian TV network had
subliminally commanded viewers to tune in...
As I stared into her decadent red lips, I had to wonder: how free are *any* of