Rumor Club (Gossip as Direct Action)

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by Mickey Z.

"A rumor without a leg to stand on will get around some other way."

- John Tudor


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Did you know there are alligators-discarded pets flushed down urban toilets-living in the NYC subway...getting fat and edgy on a steady diet of rats and the coffee runoff from all those Starbucks franchises?
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Long before Al Gore invented the Internet, Winston Churchill declared:

"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."

WMDs ... the Saddam/Osama connection ... we will be greeted as liberators ... mission accomplished...

The power of suggestion vs. reality. Gossip vs. guns. Rumors instead of demonstrations. Could this be a viable tool for dissent? Ani DiFranco sez:

"Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right" (but don't let Alberto Gonzalez hear you say that).

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Elvis is alive and well; he's sharing a summerhouse in the Hamptons with Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee, and Jim Morrison.
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With Ani in mind, I thought I'd resurrect an old idea of mine: What would happen if as many people as possible - I'm talking a potential for millions - were to log onto chat rooms, comment boards, etc. and engage in a little wishful thinking? Instead of all those hoaxes about missing children, imagine a steady supply of rumors that George W. Bush is about to propose universal health care.

Picture hundreds of thousands of e-mails crisscrossing the Web claiming to know that Oregon is about secede from the U.S. and name Ralph Nader as its president.

Dick Cheney has shot another lawyer. Hillary Clinton has joined the Green Party. Henry Kissinger and Donald Rumsfeld were arrested for war crimes on a visit to Paris. Michael Moore turned vegan. Bill O'Reilly has the human form of Mad Cow Disease. The Pope has come out of the closet. Pick any one you like and there could be postings at every Craig's List in every city-every minute of every day.

Performance art as protest. Gossip as direct action.

What if word flooded media outlets of a secret plan by the U.S. government to return some land to the indigenous population? It would have to reported at some point and thus, the concept of America as "occupied territory" would have its fifteen minutes...at least.

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Jack Ruby was the mastermind behind 9/11.
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The Situationists urged: "Trade your boredom for chaos." Could chaos be created if millions in America and tens of millions worldwide spread the rumor that Leonard Peltier was to be pardoned on December 31, 2006? I'm talking about relentless, hourly rumors...day after day. Letters to the editor. E-mails to CNN and the White House. Posters, stickers, fliers...billboards? Whatever means at our disposal. "From each according to his/her abilities," I believe it goes.

Hey, did you hear? Leonard Peltier will be free by the end of the year? Yeah, Bush is trying to appease all those who voted Democrat and show that he's not such a hardass. Tell everyone you know. This is amazing news. Well, that's what the Rumor Club is saying. What's the Rumor Club? Well, the first rule of Rumor Club is...well, you know.

Spread the word: a little chaos could go a long, long way.

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