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(Some Sonnet Slinger)   That flaky poetry nerd you dated in grad school was a CIA spook. Next up: Is the weekly Fark Writer's Thread a psyop honeypot?   ( divider line
    More: PSA, United States, Central Intelligence Agency, The New York Times, Literature, Cold War, Soviet Union, Museum of Modern Art, Communism  
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885 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 28 Jan 2023 at 9:50 AM (8 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook

16 Comments     (+0 »)
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2023-01-28 7:44:38 AM  
I went to a big state U, and my world history professor was a fairly obvious CIA recruiter. When he was away doing guest lectures at the National Military College of Argentina or the Army School of the Americas, he'd have guest speakers from the USIA--basically our pre-internet troll farms at embassies across the world--and other intelligence operatives with vague credentials.

He was always urging any student with an interest in the role of the USA in the modern world dynamic to stop by his office and talk history and politics. Not that that was suspicious behavior for a history teacher, but with everything else that was going on with him, it seemed a lot like invitations to recruiting sessions.
2023-01-28 10:11:24 AM  
I had a professor who was rumored to have gotten out of Chile just ahead of the revolution. He never talked about it, of course.

But yes, we writers are recruiting new members. Stop by every Wednesday for the latest in covert operations, secret intelligence, and cultural subversion--otherwise known as amateur publishing.
2023-01-28 10:18:19 AM  
You sling yogurt, not sonnets.

You slathera sonnet.
2023-01-28 11:05:40 AM Full Size

I guess you could say I went west. You know, the way of Horatio Alger, Davy Crockett, the Donner Party...
2023-01-28 11:22:41 AM  
That piece reminds me of the very dry critical essays I was required to read in College Lit. It more or less turned me off of an English major.
2023-01-28 11:24:30 AM  
I worked for a fellow who had done ostensibly-environmentalist "field work" in Latin America, but fortunately had some training in the circus arts, so when he was detained by the Sandinistas and accused of being a spy, he told them that no, he was a clown, and proved it by making large numbers of balloon animals.

By the time I met him he was on the payroll of a Canadian think-tank, predisposed to $150 silk neckties and hanging around the UN with a rotating cast of "consultants" who attended conferences and negotiations all over the world and published reports on which countries were saying what about which policies.  Of course, we heard plenty of other stuff beyond the subject of what we were reporting on, which wound up in the notes we sent back to the office.

But we weren't an intelligence-gathering government agency... we were an intelligence-gathering NGO.

Totally different.
2023-01-28 11:26:23 AM  
Yes, now my story can finally be told.

Let me start by saying that one of the most basic elements of tradecraft is to create a singular trait for your "legend" (i.e., undercover persona) that is so striking and unusual that it will make it difficult for people to remember other details about you.

For example, for brief assignments, agents will often employ disfiguring prosthetics. A giant nose is a typical choice -- people focus in on that huge schnozz and suddenly they can't remember if you're 5'6" or 6'3".

For longer-term things, though, it's usually a character trait. You might create the overpowering impression that you are an alcoholic, or neurotic, or a sports fanatic -- anything to make people put you in a little mental box, because once you're in there, they just ignore any behavior it can't explain.

You probably see where I'm going with this. For me, it was my catastrophic sexual incompetence. Every "ow," every "is it in yet," every premature ejaculation, every time I started weeping uncontrollably when you took your bra off -- it was all a ruse! Pure trickery!

Don't feel bad. The weeks or months of sexual frustration, and corresponding lack of artistic inspiration, were for the good of America. Imagine what would have happened if the commies had gotten their hands on your idiosyncratic use of meter to create a sense of longing and existential disengagement!
2023-01-28 1:13:35 PM  
Wm Faulkner did 3 semesters at Ole Miss.


That out of the way, in college my wife was good friends with two very smart guys who were best buds. One went on to become a computer nerd. The other ... disappeared after college. When the intertubes was invented we tracked him down ... partially ... to studying communist German labor issues. Things that make you go ... spook!
2023-01-28 2:00:49 PM  
The CIA introducing LSD to America led to a lot of creativity.
2023-01-28 4:05:19 PM  
If you have to deny that you're a CIA or NSA asset, you're an asset.

/you are known by the company you keep
2023-01-28 6:42:24 PM  
The CIA funneled money into 1950s modern art, like Jackson Pollock, and funded traveling exhibitions to Europe to offend Soviet ideas of structuralism and direct representation in art.
2023-01-28 6:54:01 PM  

wildcardjack: The CIA funneled money into 1950s modern art, like Jackson Pollock, and funded traveling exhibitions to Europe to offend Soviet ideas of structuralism and direct representation in art.

Abstract Expressionism definitely got overrated and overpromoted in the US because we were so desperate to have an art movement that began here (though some of the key figures in it were European exiles.)
2023-01-28 10:34:51 PM  
The flaky poetry nerd in grad school into whose pants I desperately wanted had no interest in dating me. Thanks for bringing up some really depressing memories, subby.
2023-01-29 12:55:12 AM  
Iowa Writer's Workshop?

*reads article*

2023-01-29 7:04:58 AM  
first day I was on Fark (as Large Fries) I realized this place is being monitored. not for bees, for the LOLs.
2023-01-29 8:22:36 AM  

sinko swimo: first day I was on Fark (as Large Fries) I realized this place is being monitored. not for bees, for the LOLs.

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