KILLING FROM A DISTANCE: I sent a copy of my juvenilia The Crime Studio to William Burroughs – a week later he was dead. I sent a copy of Bigot Hall to Stephen Fry and he went temporarily insane. It really began when I got a copy of The Crime Studio into Broadmoor to get a blurb remark from Ronnie Kray. He didn’t provide a blurb remark but decided he wanted to be a writer, and sent me a story about a young man on the way to be hanged, a tender bloom to be cut down like a flower. Fearing reprisals if I said it was crap, I decided to ignore the entire situation.
It's classically insane stuff, with "Yes we can" becoming a polite "Thank you Satan". There's a Lovecraftian surrealism with lines like "Sub-Earth - the mark that's now sooner". Don't miss the revelation of the Greek/Egyptian/posthumanist axis in "Hear my composite self for the Pharoah Zeus."
I still think it was The Exorcist (1973) which kicked off the great wave of backmasking madness, with that terrific "IAMNOONE" scene.
Is it a prank, an editing mistake, or a subversive maneuver? Is it a rabbit hole, or a really obscure bit of informatics? Is it a relic of a deleted exchange, or a glimpse of something to come? Is it internet chaff, or something sinister?
I discovered the topic over the weekend when exploring the Wikipedia page on gray literature. That term refers to scholarly ephemera, informal communications beyond peer-reviewed journals and monographs: memos, letters, old drafts, etc. I find it an interesting, minor facet of scholarly communication. A tangent for a project I'm working on.
Reading into the Wikipedia page, I found an odd section halfway down the page. It's an innocent-looking subsection, two paragraphs long, set off by a header and dividing lines, and referring to a sub-type of gray literature. Here's the first paragraph:
By contrast, 'malin-grey literature' refers to publications whose self-referencing and dissemination are actively construed to avoid the attention of information professionals. Examples include classified or confidential scientific documents. Malin-grey literature should not be confused with samizdat or underground literature per se, as these publications often are only concerned with disguising the author and distributor's identities, not preventing dissemination.
[links in original]
I thought this was an interesting concept, a kind of stealth communication different from crypto or steganography. So, as usual, I checked the entry's citations to find out more... and saw nothing. No references. Nothing appeared on the page's discussion tab, either.
This did not strike me as a problem, since many chunks of Wikipedia lack support, and evade editorial scrutiny for a while. So I opened a new tab, launched a quick Google, which turned up... nothing, except copies of the same text. Word for word. Places like Blurbwire just copied the malin-grey material.
Digging further into the Google results, messing with keywords, I came across one variation: a writer by that name, Anne Marie Malingray, a French historian. Very little to be found online about him/her.
That struck me as a bit odd. A passage describing hiding information has no confirmation on the Web? It's appropriate, but to what end? Is malin-grey a game, or a kind of self-referential hoax?
Turn back to the Wikipedia entry. In this light its second paragraph looks stranger still, and even a bit ominous:
Some commentators have suggested the name derives from the French for 'deceptive ingenuity', others - less convincingly - that it is a reference to the Malin shipping area which contains the HMNB Clyde base, home of Britain'snuclear arsenal and place of authorship of many such confidential documents.
Is someone joking about nuclear weapons and/or secrecy? Or is this something deeper, a sign of something serious and sneaky, the Wikipedia's version of numbers radio?
I came across another clue when I tried Bing as a search alternative. Someone else had been intrigued by the cryptic malin-grey, over on the wonderfully named Perugia Murder File board. In August 2010 one "Catnip" contemplated a kind of questioning designed to introduce (or test) newcomers to their community (I think). Catnip thought through asking questions in a revealing way, then found our topic: "I learnt a new word today: this withheld information is malin-grey literature." Catnip quotes, and links to, the same Wikipedia entry.
Nobody else responds to Catnip's post.
Even more mysteriously, Catnip concluded: "Now, there only remains the meaning of malin to find out."
Then - nothing.
"malin" is a French word, meaning clever or cunning. There's also a hint of the English "malignant". Even better.
Steve Burnett poked into the Wikipedia entry's history, and spotted what seems to be malin-grey's creator. One "Orthorhombic" was busy around this time last year:
So what is malin-grey? Is it a placeholder for a project to come, a starting work by the Chouchani-like "Orthorhombic"? Perhaps malin-grey is an in-joke among several game-players? Is Catnip one of those players? What else could Orthorhombic have been working on? Why didn't Wikipedia's editor swarm check into those over the past year? Is this a serious or real thing?
Apparently one man has seized hostages in the Discovery Channel's main offices in the Washington. DC area. A single Web page has been bruited about as the alleged gunman's list of demands.
I hope these really are the guy's demands, because this document is terrific. (Link to our copy, because that site seems to be down) Reading this out loud I caught myself unconsciously imitating the voice of Invader Zim.
Here are some highlights, quickly assembled:
These are the demands and sayings of Lee...
Saving the environment and the remaning species diversity of the planet is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.
The humans? The planet does not need humans....
Yes, "and, of course, the Squirrels."
"My Demands" is also supreme fan fiction, or at least the most creative boost to reading we've seen all year:
"The Discovery Channel and it's affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn's "My Ishmael" pages 207-212...
Which doesn't mean the author isn't a critic:
"Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution. A game show format contest would be in order... Do both. Do all until something WORKS and the natural world starts improving and human civilization building STOPS and is reversed! MAKE IT INTERESTING SO PEOPLE WATCH AND APPLY SOLUTIONS!!!!"
I would gladly pay to see that game show, anywhere.
Other passages are furious, reminiscent of the mad prophet tradition:
Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is. That, and all its disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed. Broadcast this message until the pollution in the planet is reversed and the human population goes down! This is your obligation. If you think it isn't, then get hell off the planet! Breathe Oil!
Filth is quite the focus:
Programs must be developed to find solutions to stopping ALL immigration pollution and the anchor baby filth that follows that...FIND SOLUTIONS FOR THEM TO STOP THEIR HUMAN GROWTH AND THE EXPORTATION OF THAT DISGUSTING FILTH!
At times Lee (or whoever the author is) sounds like a grumpy old man, furious at the fallen state of this kid-ridden world:
Also, war must be halted. Not because it's morally wrong, but because of the catastrophic environmental damage modern weapons cause to other creatures. FIND SOLUTIONS JUST LIKE THE BOOK SAYS! Humans are supposed to be inventive. INVENT, DAMN YOU!!...
Find solutions for Global Warming, Automotive pollution, International Trade, factory pollution, and the whole blasted human economy.
Emphases added. Caps and exclamation marks are all in original.
All formatting is from the original, after the asterisks. Text was black, background white. No images or other media.
The Discovery Channel MUST broadcast to the world
their commitment to save the planet and to do the following IMMEDIATELY:
1. The Discovery Channel and it's affiliate channels MUST have daily
television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn's "My
Ishmael" pages 207-212 where solutions to save the planet would be done
in the same way as the Industrial Revolution was done, by people
building on each other's inventive ideas. Focus must be given on how
people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since
those new additions continue pollution and are pollution. A game show
format contest would be in order. Perhaps also forums of leading
scientists who understand and agree with the Malthus-Darwin science and
the problem of human overpopulation. Do both. Do all until something
WORKS and the natural world starts improving and human civilization
building STOPS and is reversed! MAKE IT INTERESTING SO PEOPLE WATCH AND
2. All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth
of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those
actions. In those programs' places, programs encouraging human
sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth
programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not
3. All programs promoting War and the technology behind those must
cease. There is no sense in advertising weapons of mass-destruction
anymore. Instead, talk about ways to disassemble civilization and
concentrate the message in finding SOLUTIONS to solving global military
mechanized conflict. Again, solutions solutions instead of just
repeating the same old wars with newer weapons. Also, keep out the
fraudulent peace movements. They are liars and fakes and had no real
intention of ending the wars. ALL OF THEM ARE FAKE! On one hand, they
claim they want the wars to end, on the other, they are demanding the
human population increase. World War II had 2 Billion humans and after
that war, the people decided that tripling the population would assure
peace. WTF??? STUPIDITY! MORE HUMANS EQUALS MORE WAR!
4. Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is. That, and all its
disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed. Broadcast this message
until the pollution in the planet is reversed and the human population
goes down! This is your obligation. If you think it isn't, then get hell
off the planet! Breathe Oil! It is the moral obligation of everyone
living otherwise what good are they??
5. Immigration: Programs must be developed to find solutions to stopping
ALL immigration pollution and the anchor baby filth that follows that.
Find solutions to stopping it. Call for people in the world to develop
solutions to stop it completely and permanently. Find solutions FOR
these countries so they stop sending their breeding populations to the
US and the world to seek jobs and therefore breed more unwanted
pollution babies. FIND SOLUTIONS FOR THEM TO STOP THEIR HUMAN GROWTH AND
THE EXPORTATION OF THAT DISGUSTING FILTH! (The first world is feeding
the population growth of the Third World and those human families are
going to where the food is! They must stop procreating new humans
looking for nonexistant jobs!)
6. Find solutions for Global Warming, Automotive pollution,
International Trade, factory pollution, and the whole blasted human
economy. Find ways so that people don't build more housing pollution
which destroys the environment to make way for more human filth! Find
solutions so that people stop breeding as well as stopping using Oil in
order to REVERSE Global warming and the destruction of the planet!
7. Develop shows that mention the Malthusian sciences about how food
production leads to the overpopulation of the Human race. Talk about
Evolution. Talk about Malthus and Darwin until it sinks into the stupid
people's brains until they get it!!
8. Saving the Planet means saving what's left of the non-human Wildlife
by decreasing the Human population. That means stopping the human race
from breeding any more disgusting human babies! You're the media, you
can reach enough people. It's your resposibility because you reach so
9. Develop shows that will correct and dismantle the dangerous US world
economy. Find solutions for their disasterous Ponzi-Casino economy
before they take the world to another nuclear war.
10. Stop all shows glorifying human birthing on all your channels and on
TLC. Stop Future Weapons shows or replace the dialogue condemning the
people behind these developments so that the shows become exposes rather
than advertisements of Arms sales and development!
11. You're also going to find solutions for unemployment and housing.
All these unemployed people makes me think the US is headed toward more
Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and
are wrecking what's left of the planet with their false morals and
For every human born, ACRES of wildlife forests must be turned into
farmland in order to feed that new addition over the course of 60 to 100
YEARS of that new human's lifespan! THIS IS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE
FOREST CREATURES!!!! All human procreation and farming must cease!
It is the responsiblity of everyone to preserve the planet they live on
by not breeding any more children who will continue their filthy
practices. Children represent FUTURE catastrophic pollution whereas
their parents are current pollution. NO MORE BABIES! Population growth
is a real crisis. Even one child born in the US will use 30 to a
thousand times more resources than a Third World child. It's like a
couple are having 30 babies even though it's just one! If the US goes in
this direction maybe other countries will too!
Also, war must be halted. Not because it's morally wrong, but because of
the catastrophic environmental damage modern weapons cause to other
creatures. FIND SOLUTIONS JUST LIKE THE BOOK SAYS! Humans are supposed
to be inventive. INVENT, DAMN YOU!!
The world needs TV shows that DEVELOP solutions to the problems that
humans are causing, not stupify the people into destroying the world.
Not encouraging them to breed more environmentally harmful humans.
Saving the environment and the remaning species diversity of the planet
is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The
Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons,
Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.
The humans? The planet does not need humans.
You MUST KNOW the human population is behind all the pollution and
problems in the world, and YET you encourage the exact opposite instead
of discouraging human growth and procreation. Surely you MUST ALREADY
I want Discovery Communications to broadcast on their channels to the
world their new program lineup and I want proof they are doing so. I
want the new shows started by asking the public for inventive solution
ideas to save the planet and the remaining wildlife on it.
Every so often some Web content describes complex situations with breathtaking simplicity. For example, the Great Recession in mid-2010 is brought to a single point by this Wall Street Journal article's sidebar/photo caption:
In the wake of Friday's disappointing jobs report, Neal Lipschutz and Phil Izzo discuss new predictions that it could be many years before the nation's unemployment rate reaches pre-recession levels. Plus, test-driving the new Porsche Hybrid SUV.
There it is, then, as the emperor says in Amadeus: the unemployed, and the wealthy. It's like a cartoon for a class warfare argument, pairing up the working class, unemployed or scared of being so, alongside their corporate masters. Or it's a guide to market reach for a marketing textbook - appeal to as wide an audience as possible!
And it's simply 2010: persistent, bad unemployment; technological innovation; the continued appeal of cars in an age supposedly moving away from carbon.
A pro-Russian hacker group, targeting just one guy. This chap is not only very pro-Georgian (must've been amazingly, staggeringly pro-Georgian - or he is now), but has accounts on - you guessed it - Twitter, Facebook, and LJ. Maybe the attack team was from Abkhazia.
(thanks to Steve and the manic, twitching stream of Facebook and Twitter commentators)