Culture Jamming: What Is It?

Once upon a time, the “Evils of the Establishment” were subject to rational critique by academics and revolutionaries. Most people still function under this rationalist model: “Change will come if enough people understand the problem rationally and intellectually.” Without at all dismissing the importance of rationality and intellect, I would argue that these tools are no longer themselves adequate. Specifically, in the struggle to debrief people on the poisonous symbolic system called “The Media”, the rules have been changed.

Advertising imagery has long been post- or pre-rational. Only in its infancy was promotion about informing people about the product. Now its task is to weave stories, sing songs, to portray not the product but the people who use the product. Promises, threats, training. How can a rational critique even begin to address a worldview whose fundamental issues are not TRUE/FALSE but PLEASURE/PAIN, SEXY/GEEKY, “QUALITY”/”RIP-OFF”?

“Culture Jamming” sticks where rational discourse slides off. It is, simply, the viral introduction of radical ideas. It is viral in that it uses the enemy’s own resources to replicate itself — corporate logos, marketing psychology, clean typography, “adspeak”. It is radical because — ideally — the message, once deciphered, causes damage to blind belief. Fake ads, fake newspaper articles, parodies, pastiche. The best CJ is totally unexpected, surprising, shocking in its implications.

What follows are examples of our work, ranging from more or less rational discourse to true culture jamming fun. Obviously, they are powerless here, since you already know what to expect. But imagine such things on the street, on telephone poles, in stacks of other people’s literature. (“Tract No. 6”, in its paper form, looked just like a Christian pamphlet — so much so that some people refused to take it!) These are examples. Explore them.

Terence McKenna 1946 – 2000

[Terence McKenna 1946 - 2000]


Terence McKenna once joked that, if nothing else, his success proved the value of a liberal arts education. His gift was the ability to integrate diverse areas of human experience, and to fuse them into rich and resonant words. In the years following my introduction to his work, those words had an enormous influence on my thinking, and indirectly contributed to the course my life would take.

I am grateful for the following:

  • Terence inspired a scientific approach to new and strange realities. His flights of speculation were grounded in a healthy skepticism, and a willingness to accept all explanations as provisional.
  • He introduced me to William Blake, Alfred North Whitehead, and Julian Jaynes, and laid the foundation for my reading of Teilhard de Chardin. These adventures in literature expanded my mind as much as anything else.
  • He led me to consider History, not only as a structured process, but as a condition, in which certain things must exist, and others cannot. History is the crucible of Thought — the condition and process through which we must pass on the way to freedom.
  • Whatever his personal flaws, Terence’s worldview was always deeply humanistic. It spoke to the uniqueness of the Human opportunity, yet was humble before the Mystery into which we are born.
  • Finally, his sense of humor. Like any technology, humor can be misused, and humor without courage is mere sarcasm. But without humor, courage is brittle and inflexible. Terence saw the dark side, but was always good for a laugh, even when the stakes were high and the message was urgent.

Thanks again, Terence, and so long. I hope this trip takes you where you always wanted to go.

Abrupt, May 2002

More McKenna talks on Abrupt’s LOGOS page


Madeleine Korbel Albright, America’s most lovable Secretary of State, is also an accomplished poet. This is one of her lesser-known works.

M. Albright


Must use guns to bolster trade
third-world children, eat grenade
gulf war robots get parade
Lockheed, Boeing – getting paid.

Station missiles at every border
must defend the New World Order
U.S. Business Resource Hoarder

Entering death, the first bardo
shouldn’t have sold guns to Suharto
reincarnated as sea otter

From The Collected Poetic Works of Madeleine Albright

Reconstructed from intercepted military intelligence by tonx

Nixon Outlives Cobain

Fifteen thousand copies of the New York Times were printed before they caught the inclusion of this article and had to stop the presses.


Sales of black Flannel Skyrocket

By Robert deGrimston

Special to the New York Times

SEATTLE, April 23–The title of Spring Martyr 1994 goes to grunge idol Kurt Cobain, who died April 8 in what was apparently a suicide. Cobain’s closest contender, former president Richard Nixon, died yesterday, losing the race to the pearly gates by a full two weeks. While the singer chose the sensational exit method of blowing his head off, Nixon slipped away quietly after suffering a stroke.

Nixon was vilified by the press and its believers for his role in the Watergate scandal of 1974, but in recent years had garnered grudging support from peers, pundits, and couch potatoes alike for his diplomatic efforts at home and abroad. His passing was marked by pat eulogies from President Clinton, former president Ronald Reagan, and other wrinkled white men in positions of power. Bill Moyers, speaking last night on CNN, called the politician’s uninspired mode of passing “typically inappropriate for the media age… He was never truly comfortable with the demands of a televised world, and now he has left that world.”

The demise of the Nirvana singer was considerably more of-the-moment, right down to the tape-recorded last respects of his wife, tentatively ex-junkie Courtney “Hole” Love. An homogenous cross-section of America’s “fourteenth generation” listened in awe to the lifelike reproduction of her voice as they sat shiva for their unshaven hero. Some were hysterical; others were too stunned to move, idly wiping away tears with a sleeve or a dredlock.

But for some, the tragedy may have a silver lining. "It doesn’t have to end here," one executive at MTV told reporters. “What we now have is a whole new marketing opportunity based on nostalgia and reflection, in the form of tribute albums, memorial concerts, retrospective videos, documentaries, commemorative reissues, and so on. This isn’t just about music–to a lot of those kids out there, Cobain was like another Jesus, only this time we own the rights.”

Though apparently a suicide, Cobain’s death is being investigated by the National Security Council. A spokesperson for the NSC cited possible involvement of one or more political/religious groups, including the Holy Alamo Christian Church, the Process Church of the Final Judgement, the Church of the subGenius, the Church of Raism, the Parents’ Music Resource Committee, and a small but potent splinter group of David Koresh’s followers, the Branch Branch Davidians. No arrests have been made.

Nixon’s body will lie in state at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London. Said a representative of the museum, “His body is very well preserved. When the legal issues are worked out, we hope to install it as a permanent part of our collection. The savings in terms of materials and artistic labor would be stupendous.” The unaltered body of Cobain will be preserved in glass, Lenin-style, and will appear as a side attraction in this summer’s Lollapalooza tour. Pilgrims will be asked to make a donation of one week’s allowance to view the body.

Reprinted with permission by Abrupt Media Services

Holy War Now

You know those tracts by Tony Alamo that you see littering the streets, raving about God’s coming judgment upon the evils of this world? Our own Rev. Miller created this clever decoy to lure foolish Christians away from salvation.


by Tony Alamo

Recently, Randall Terry, executive director of Operation Rescue, suggested that all good Christians unite under God’s holy banner and secede from the United States of America. The Bible foretells this great division in Revelations. The Apostle Paul writes in II Corinthians 6:14-15, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" Is there a better description of the place of Christianity in America today?

Most good Christians know in their hearts that America was founded by fundamentalist Christians seeking a place where they could establish a holy land based on the Ten Commandments and other Biblical laws. Today, nothing could be further from the truth. Today, the sinister Catholic Bill Clinton rules our country with a Satanic fist, linked with the sodomites, feminists, Vatican, Process Church of the Final Judgment (PCFJ, or simply Process), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Cult Awareness Network (CAN), Bureau of alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Jewish-controlled media, the Mafia-run, proto-legal gambling, drug and prostitution rings, the Jesuit cult eradication syndicate of anti-Christian propaganda infiltration, and the Son of SAM/Satanic Cathedral of Greater New York. The Vatican/Jesuit/Satanic one-world government (or "New World Order") has a factory or Process training ground for pseudo-Christian so-called cults which serve the purpose of tarnishing Christianity in the public eye. This factory uses many tools, including child abuse, ritual torture, media insemination, untruth propagation and total immolation to produce fanatic baby-eating cult psychopaths like David Koresh and Charles Manson. The Branch Davidians weren’t harming anybody — yet (for information on the government’s long-term plan for Koresh, see my pamphlet "Re-Crucifying Christ in Waco, Texas," published in June, 1973, twenty years before the actual event occurred!! Praise Jesus). The ATF moved swiftly on Koresh and his brainiacs, feeding lies to the Jewish media about slavery, slave labor camps, child abuse, pet abuse, spouse abuse, drug abuse, and tax evasion, which I am not guilty of. Of course the media printed these lies and the Vatican spread them to every filthy corner of this Godless, secular humanist world doomed to hell, by God’s mighty unrelenting flaming fist.

Some of the more astute and devout Christians may have noticed the escalating cataclysms of the past year. The riots in Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York and other major urban dens of sin; the floods in America’s heartlands; and the Hellish heat all over America are all Biblical signs of God’s coming Judgment — veritable plagues sent upon modern-day America as punishment for baby killings, rampant sodomy, condom distribution in public schools and general immorality. If God was a federal judge, he would throw the Book at them.

In Revelations, God tells us that his flaming sword of nuclear judgment will strike humanity not once, not twice, but three times before Armageddon. The human pain and suffering will be unbearable and tragic. Only 144,000 Christians will survive the real Holocaust, and these will be the Righteous Few who have accepted God’s One True Sacred Holy Spoken Word. See the end of this pamphlet for details.

The most frightening aspect of the End Times are the frequent and visible manifestations of Satan. The recent controversy over Pepsi’s "One World Government" advertisements has prompted a global Christian boycott of Pepsico and its sister companies IBM, GE, Hershey’s and Time/Warner due to the unbelievable overt Satanic symbolism and messages of the ads. Doesn’t Revelations warn us about the "new world order" and the Whore of Babylon?

The three teenagers who murdered those boys in Arkansas were inadvertent agents of the Jesuit-Catholic-Process conspiracy. They were enticed and deceived into crime by Steve McNeill of Memphis, who gave them their satanic rock music, LSD and marijuana, the sin corporations whose ultimate interest lies in the destruction of old-fashioned American Christianity. Are you going to sit back and let this happen?

Sharon Tate paid for her dabbling in satanic rituals with her life. Satan’s tax agents, the IRS, sent the Process assassin Charles Manson to doublecross Tate in cold-blooded murder. Her husband Roman Polanski, an admitted pervert and pedophile, was a disgruntled pagan and had planned to expose the IRS and CAN in a new film produced by Dino de Laurentiis and Pepsico. When Pepsi found out about the anti-CAN plot of the film, they contacted the Satanic Assassins Movement (SAM), who had just kidnapped and brainwashed a new killer named David Berkowitz (the Son of SAM). SAM is based on the pagan cult of Hassan i Sabbah, the Old Man of the Mountain, who could, like modern Satanists, send faceless, nameless, heartless, godless assassins to any corner of the globe to do Belial’s work. SAM contacted PCFJ, who dispatched Charles Manson, a hypnotic hippie and drug-crazed murderer, to kill Polanski and Tate before the IRS and CAN could be exposed.

Of course, Polanski’s film was never made, since he now resides in Europe with homosexuals and Nazis. And until now, nobody has been made aware of the devil’s conspiracy headed by the Pope, the IRS and the President of the United States. All three are preparing to reveal to the world their plan for registering all Christian citizens in a vast "Book of Names" — one copy for the White House, one copy for the Vatican, one copy for the IRS and one copy for CAN! I, Tony Alamo, have taken it upon myself to reveal this dastardly plan and to invite all Christians to rise up and destroy the wicked!!

That’s right. I want all good, true Christians to join me in spiritual sedition. We must separate ourselves in the eyes of God from the evil that has apparently taken over our once proud nation. Jesus Himself said, "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Matthew 4:10). We shall only serve the Lord our God in Heaven, Amen, and let our mighty holy war begin.

You might ask yourself, "How do I participate in this righteous combat?" Begin by organizing your Christian community. Help us fight the Satanists by joining in the boycott against Pepsi and its sister companies. Form vigilante prayer groups. Help Operation Rescue shut down abortion clinics. Patronize only Christian establishments and businesses. Do not encourage the sodomites and satanists. Do not buy L. Ron Hubbard’s books. Spare the rod and spoil the child. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Be political, not polite. Fight the power. Buck the devil.

Avoid hell’s everlasting torments by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as your Overlord, your King, your Master, your one and only Dominator, your Disciplinarian, your Patriarch and your Savior. Receive His free gift of eternal life in heaven’s undescribably beautiful paradise. Order now and you’ll also receive two Blessings and more Tony Alamo pamphlets! "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 14:12). There is no possible other way in the entire universe for you to receive salvation but through Jesus. Unite your spirit to God through Christ by the Holy Spirit. To accomplish this miracle of life eternal, send no money now. Say this prayer:


Now that you are saved and forgiven of your sins, raise your hands and praise the Lord very loudly so everybody can hear.

© Copyright 1993 All rights reserved
World Pastor Tony Alamo ® Registered 1993

» Download a printable PDF of this tract «

The Society for the Prosthetic Extension of Human Experience

Will SLEEP Be the Masochism of the Future?

Some say that the human race is on the verge of an evolutionary change, a shimmering transition into new and promising territory. Indeed, something seems to be emerging from the street-tech subculture of smart drugs, virtual reality, and computer networks — a desire to subvert the social order with its own tools. New cultural terrain demands new arenas of struggle.

But many questions remain unanswered. What will the next phase be? No change through constant change? Fragmented, atomized individuals united in the desire to create, or even end, history? Synthorganic fusion of cybernetic systems? Nietzscheian Supermen, or neurotic robots? Classless plastic utopia, or reified capitalism?

Whose job at the power plant is going to fuel the revolution?

The Fall: down forever into a storm of matter and idea, set against each other, forming one perfectly flawed totality. Computers in the hands of babes! Every human a virus! Render walls obsolete by a turn of phrase! Set language free to do as it pleases, and lies will lose all meaning!

Tomorrow’s battle cry: Research and destroy!

You are cordially invited to participate in AGITATIONAL ACTIVITIES. Refreshments will be served, but remember -- you may never have to eat again. [The Society for the Prosthetic Extension of Human Experience]


We handed this out around Churchill Downs after the Kentucky Derby. It looked so much like a religious pamphlet, some people refused to read it!!!





Those headaches you’ve been having aren’t symptoms of fatigue, they’re labor pains. Your dreams and ideas have been boiling for years, just below the surface, and now your mind is ready to give birth. But they are watching. They know how your brain cells are blossoming towards transformation. And they’re scared. Eyes follow you from dark corners, hidden cameras track your movements. And what about that old man peering at you from behind his paper…?

For now, it’s okay; they’ve got you quarantined on a college campus, or wearing yourself out at some crappy job, or following the latest media scandal. But when your intelligence-tumor threatens to burst your skull and spill out into the environment, then watch it! The most dangerous cancer is that which is contagious. The most dangerous contagion leaps from head to head beyond their control.

When your neurons start to replicate themselves, in your head or in your actions, then you start to threaten their sterile dream of law and order. You threaten to become unpredictable. That’s when they put the red tag by your file:


You’ve been marked for observation.
Wear your stigma with pride.


Your Pictures Make Me Want To Kill

(Found on a bathroom wall somewhere in the U.S.A.)

You’ve taken over my mind. You’ve raped my thoughts with your image viruses then sold me fake cures for your own disease. Your words and pictures scream orders at me like angry prison wardens. When I cover my ears, your voices echo in my head. I hate you. When I see your billboards, your talk shows, your rock concerts and your factories, when I see the work of your twisted libidos, I want to kill you. I want to set fires, plant bombs, derail trains. I want to smash your buildings and tear at your bodies until the skin of my hands is worn to the bone. I am filled with a rage that burns my eyes.

I don’t want to feel this way. You have done this to me. These feelings are the fruits of your multi-billion dollar sowing. And I am not alone. There are others like me out here. Every suicide, every madman, every man and woman who gets a gun and just starts shooting — these are your illegitimate children. They don’t all know what they are doing. All they know is hate for the invisible walls which you have raised around them, hate for the narrow path you have tried to make them walk. And the innocent pay in blood for your negligence.

Remember this: My mind is big. The more you try to push me down and make me small, the greater the pressure inside me becomes. The greater the pressure, the greater the chance of an explosion. There was once a time when I felt love, but now I feel only hate and anger, and fear at what I might do. And you can tell me to "BE HAPPY," but I know that you really mean “BE QUIET”.

Believe me, I want to be happy. You stand in my way.

Break Your Fucking Chains!

The Secret Service didn’t care for this, but we think it’s cute.


Unleash the Fiend! Spew late-night revelations! Drink Jolt and coffee! Terrorize mall-goers! Shave your pubic hair! Invoke your Dark Side! Vandalize everything! Stand in the middle of traffic and dance! Return favors twofold and return malice fivefold! Infest computers with viruses! Play Monopoly and cheat your ass off! Make prank phone calls! Leave your fly open or your skirt hiked! Show wonders to the dead! Start a radio station! BREAKCrack incest jokes at family reunions! Warp out on video games! Shove weird pictures through late-night book and video drops! Insert tiny propaganda bombs into publications and newsstands everywhere! Defy TV! Denounce everybody! See through everything! Place disturbing classified ads in newspapers! Promote heavy drug use! Bleed on everything! Send your teacher’s or boss’s name in to matchmaker publications! Let it all slide off your back! Pick up stray telepathic thoughts! Piss in small, enclosed public places! Sling dead things into mailboxes! Steal neighbors’ pets and covertly deposit them in huge grocery stores — in the freezers! Toss money at people! Alert people to their inherent beauty or ugliness! Put leaks in cups! Interrupt transmissions! Disappear for a few weeks! Paint targets on cars! YOURCopyright everything you see, say, or do! Rant! Stare hatefully at completely normal and boring people! Compete with your teacher in class! Stomp in quiet hallways! Pretend that you’re invisible! Doodle anti-Christian imagery! Streak! Revere the unpopular! Place weird ads in sex magazines! Cough up blood when you laugh! Penalize people with imaginary point systems! Absorb CPU radiation! Believe in demons! Put Gutenberg to shame! Leave fingernail and hair clippings everywhere you go! Tip the service generously but fuck with the management! Suddenly realize you’re halfway down the page! Feed dogs gobs of peanut butter! Send letters to Hustler about bestiality! Play devil’s advocate! Defy classification! Get yourself on TV! Shoot rubber bands! Storm into bars and demand tap water! Untangle phone cords! Wear prison clothes to school or work! Make a game out of your own pain and discomfort! FUCKINGTalk in your sleep! Express interest in everybody! Drink blood, spray piss! Write commentary in the margins of unpurchased magazines and books! Switch labels on boxes and computer discs! Call a phone sex line from your boss’s phone and leave it off the hook! Start a church! Build a steeple! Lock the doors and shit on the people! Fake illiteracy! Cross-dress! Hang out in locker rooms and lingerie bars! LIE!!! Initiate breast feedings! Stuff your bra or your pants! Write several conflicting autobiographies! Wear elevator shoes and religious beauty marks! Play with mercury! Explore India Ink! KY Jelly is your friend! Write a contract denying ALL responsibility and have everybody you meet sign it! Tell sick jokes! Be politically incorrect! Pit conservatives and liberals against each other! Talk about ki**ing the President! Start an obsessive and obscure collection! Grow natural dreadlocks! CHAINS!Pick your nose on public transportation! Get your hands bloody! Place various objects on train tracks! Invent more origami! Try not to notice that everyone resents you! Make love to anything! Make war on everything! Try to put every external organ in your mouth! Be sleazy! Make up parables! Memorize mass murder facts! Develop a cramped and psychotic handwriting style! Explode fruit and vegetables! Stand on bridges and throw heavy things off! Make unintelligible phone calls to talk shows! Take surveys! Release the Kraken! Become a hermaphrodite! Cultivate acne! Look normal — BE insane! Infiltrate cliques and then destroy them! Record all conversation, save all letters, take pictures of everyone! Peep & exhibit! Leave religious propaganda in porno shops! Take a deep breath! And…


Bored? Frustrated? Confused?

The BIG flyer. Originally printed on tabloid paper and stapled to telephone poles. And people READ the thing!

These words rain down on the upturned faces of the insane, the fearful, the sick, and the exhausted. We are speaking to the people; the people know their symptoms. Alienation, technoboredom, neurosis, and frustration are not diseases of an unlucky few, nor even of the many. They are built into the structure of this society, twisting beggar and businessman alike, spitting them out like shards from a flawed machine, anemic shadows of human beings.


We do not profess to be immune. We claim only to have given some thought to the problems which affect all of us. This project is a desperate attempt to fill the unfillable void created by the conditions of existence in consumer culture — that gap in personality, the yawning but never sleeping of the work-leisure cycle, always one step removed from the immediacy of experience. And if, by our meager example, we inspire even a few people to re-examine themselves and their world, to find out what their lives could be like, then we will not have failed entirely.

How many people do you know who feel trapped where they are? How many of your friends have sworn to kill themselves or die trying? How many have you seen burning with that nameless fever — fingers closing around whatever’s closest, desperate to kill the pain, then, unsatisfied, dropping it to find something better? Do you really think this is natural human behavior? Do you really believe that a healthy society would create such dysfunction among its members? Trust us, friend, these aren’t problems you can solve with higher taxes, or by drawing peace symbols on your blue jeans, and it’s far too late to simply scrap everything and “go back to the basics.” To overcome, you need to shift your perception. So there you are, staring out at the world through bugging, bleary eyes, “entertained”, getting your buttons pushed, but always restless. You’re in slow-motion death on your feet, and you want to know what the hell we intend to do for you. Well, just putting up flyers isn’t going to fix it. We know that. But we’re trying to help. To solve any problem, you first have to know what it is. The real wound runs much, much deeper than the come-and-go “issues” in the media arena; it’s the arena itself which must be redefined. We can’t do it ourselves. What we are trying to do is change the way other people look at the world, because it’s people who ultimately make the system what it is.

Sound cliched? Just remember this: the decisive point which determines the quality of existence is the point of interaction between the individual and society. It’s not all in your head — the universe is quite real, despite all philosophy to the contrary — but neither is the world quite the same for any two individuals. Our individual perception shapes our experience of a very real world, and the bumps and jostles of life shape our perception. Only a sturdy bridge between mind and matter — or indeed, the realization that they’re one and the same — yields the proper balance. And only through significant interaction with other humans can that bridge be strengthened. There are many forces at work, but it is here that the doctors must shine their light if they want to find the tumor. Interpersonal relations: the frictional surfaces between one person’s awareness and another’s. These surfaces have grown flat and impassive as distrust, fear, and the lust for commodities have become standard modes of interaction, so that all we have to offer one another is an inventory of products and hobbies, draped in a cynical self-consciousness.


Listen, your life can be an incredible and satisfying thing, but there are forces at work which deny you that. They make you bored. They make you hate yourself. They destroy your ability to find fulfillment in yourself and other people. They sell you cheap plastic substitutes for the REAL THING.

For all our bitching, though, we’re with you. We have no easy solutions. There are none. The choices are escape — be it through drugs, suicide, or madness — or struggle. We choose the latter, hoping that struggle itself will at least dull the pain in a non-self-destructive way. We are not Puritanical, we are pissed off! We want to be able to indulge our primitive desires. The difference is that we see the options for indulgence presented by this culture as inherently and deliberately unfulfilling. We have all been raised to be anxious and dissatisfied consumers, constantly in search of the right “fix”. Well, Abrupt isn’t buying any of it. At the very least, we hope to create an awareness of some of these problems, and perhaps give hope to people who currently just survive from day to day.

Do you think? That is, are there ideas in your head that are at least partially your own? (And even a creative synthesis of old ideas is better than repeating the same old commercial patter minute after minute.) Then make it move — find the words or the motions or the bodies that can carry your thoughts into the steam and whistles of the real world. It’s doesn’t help much sitting in your head — take it to the streets! Spray-paint stencils of cryptic symbols, ornament trash cans and cracking sidewalks, leave a message in a bottle with your address in it, sing in public restrooms, scratch your words on school desks and playgrounds, singe their skin with your molecular love, put up hundreds of flyers anonymously, make loud Doppler-shift sounds as you pass people on the street, or lace bank windows with shaving cream question marks. At every moment a million possibilities lie open, beckoning the explorer to break the patterns that trap and enchain, to find new ones that drive back the darkness.

We adhere to the credo “Make your mark heavy and dark.” (Plus the qualifier, “If you must erase, erase completely.”) It seems that beneath the bureaucratic blandness and psychic trauma of our high school years was a call to action, an ontological rallying cry for those frantic souls out there who despaired of finding their voice. Make your mark heavy and dark. Be decisive. Know when to stop planning and act, and be ready to defend your position. Realize that you can’t please everybody, and use to your advantage the prejudices of those who disagree with you.


Sure, everyone is responsible for his or her actions; you can’t just run away. But that responsibility is the price you pay for freedom — and that’s not the freedom to buy any brand of shampoo you want. We’re talking about the freedom to set your sights higher than the school-work-nervous-breakdown cycle that most of us find ourselves in. Ask yourself, are you a hamster, or a human being? Do you dare to step off the treadmill and run amok in the pet store? If nothing else, it can be fun. And dangerous. But more importantly, you might learn to twist your perception enough to see the window, and the world beyond the pet store. It’s a world much bigger than you could ever see in its entirety, much stranger than drugs or God or UFO’s, but it’s there. It’s already around you right now; you’ve just forgotten how to see it: even as mass communications and transportation have made our planet seem a thousand times bigger than before, our private worlds have atrophied. Perception has been narrowed to a single dim point, experience has become an alternating parade of “stimulation” and frustration. We have memories, but our memories no longer tell a story. We have voices, but we have nothing to say. The struggle to survive no longer inspires us to transcend mere survival, so that at the moment of our greatest technological achievement we have become emotional infants, floundering in a pool of frustrated desires and failed illusions. Still, all is not lost. There will always be a demon in the human spirit, an animal raging in its cage. It can only be beaten or anesthetized so much before it gets fed up and breaks out, dragging its owner to either prison or Paradise. The nature of its restraints will determine the nature of its escape; as things stand now, most options for real animal passion are devastating, not to mention illegal. Rape, suicide, murder: symptoms of constriction, the starved Animal blindly feeding itself into extinction.

These are not the only options. There are healthier ones, and they need not take the form of sudden outbursts or compulsions. No, under healthier conditions, the release valves would be built in to our daily lives. Not a sudden seizure of hate, but a million tiny outlets would appease the monster inside us, or at least keep its rage in balance with its beauty, so that each of us would harbor a proud tiger, and not a rabid, mangy dog.

Defeatism is seductive, it’s true, and despair beckons at every corner when you look at what has been done to us over the past several decades. But total despair is useless, because it just reinforces the feelings of helplessness which you’ve been taught from day one. The only solution must start with the assumption that existence need not be miserable, and with the knowledge that the current state of affairs is relatively recent. Instead of giving up in any of the billion ways that you are told to give up, take an active role in pursuing life’s potential for intensity. Fight the pall of laziness and helplessness that weighs down on you all day long. You owe it to yourself to struggle.


Think about some of these things we’ve said. You’ll have to, since we can only tell you so much before we run out of words. It’s up to you to figure out what your own strengths are, and what exactly is wrong with you. Perhaps you will find out there’s much more wrong with you than you thought. Perhaps not. Just remember that this life is yours, and if nothing else, you deserve a shot at living it well. Do you believe this? Then begin making your plans today.

The Abrupt Manifesto

Technically, this is Abrupt Flyer #2, but for all practical purposes, it was our debut poster.


Into the bright chambers of the imagination we fly, red-hot-blooded youths with no obligation to a greying world. Our mission is Meaning, our quarrel is with the mundane. And yet, through our endless quest for new perspectives, we find great meaning where others have become jaded.

When a “revolutionary” idea becomes generally accepted, it can no longer effect change; it can only be refined and resold. Beneath a cosmetic veneer of vitality, the idea is dead. Its potential for undermining control has been co-opted and corrupted by the very forces it sought to defy (as happened to Dada and the Hippies). Frustration becomes fashion, counterculture becomes conformity. Constant change is the only medicine for this dialectic.

Abrupt exists to surprise and amaze. It wants to suck you in and spit you out changed. There is no dogma — Abrupt will confuse you, but all revelations and visions are strictly up to you. Abrupt seeks to expose you to the amazing range of human variability. In a world in which everything has been reduced to “info-tainment” and corporate masturbation, hope is to be found in whatever breaks the homogeneity or defies expectations. Our tactics are surprise, confusion, disgust and enchantment. Better to feel offended, we maintain, than not to feel at all. If you are angry, it is better than being miserable. But we’d just as soon turn around and make you laugh.

The maladies of this society and of this world go far beyond those addressed by traditional “hip” activism. All the “causes” and factions out there — the problems they target are but extensions of the same set of structural flaws. And that flawed structure, ironically, is the very one which has brought the human race to such heights of technology and achievement. No one problem exists in isolation. No human is immune. Now educated, now down in the streets, Abrupt represents the frenetic shivering of the individual caught in the impoverished social relations of our times.

We won’t take our medicine quietly — we will rock the boat to keep it from sinking.

Out on the fringe of society, there can be found a continual welling up of new ideas and creations. Someone has to catalog the advances and monitor the possibilities…

Abrupt is the taxonomy of human mutation.