Friday, May 18, 2012

One more recent flyer: bullet points

This is the first new flyer that appeared 2 days after the "video explosion." based on the unusual addition of bullet points at the top, perhaps the author has some knowledge of a larger audience in need of a readers digest version of her current passions?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Paradise on Earth, 124, Solar mirror tech

Paradise on earth, minimalist edition?

While I plan to continue posting the flyers in numerical order, followed by un-numbered flyers in roughly chronological order from their date of appearance, I'm going to make an exception for this very unusual new flyer...

Flyers have been appearing again this week with the normal title and layout, but among them this afternoon was this:

I'm assuming this has something to do with the local news here. As mentioned earlier, our city council approved the Fairness Ordinance on Monday. But by Tuesday, several groups were planning a petition drive to have the ordinance brought before the public in the next general election.

I don't know if you can even read the tiny text in the corner of this otherwise blank flyer, but basically it's just the legal boilerplate that goes at the end of each page of a petition form. Somebody must have a petition drive on their vision board!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Paranoia or prophecy?

Things are getting back to normal: traffic is dying down, Aksarbent made their video private, and CBPL appeared again at this week's city council meeting. And the flyers continue to appear.

Among the other wild comments that have come my way, I was particularly struck by a link to ACTUAL "SUBLIMINAL" LAMP POSTS in an article that was published just yesterday! I'm stuck speechless by that one: paranoia or prophecy?

So many things about the video situation continue to irritate me. While the hate speech/illness similarities were depressing, I find hasty, sloppy, unresearched "journalism" being quickly produced for consumption by people who don't read accurately and are compelled to add their own ridiculous levels of hyperbole just as terrifying. Reading many of the comments around the 'net, I'd say there's a dissertation waiting to be written about the ineptitudes of "crowd-sourced" information flow and the lack of journalistic rigor in an age that necessitates comments sections on news sites to keep revenue flowing. The contrast between the content of the flyers collected here and commentary from the public at large seems to be diminishing every day...

PS: there are a few flyers appearing below this post that you might not have seen. The blog is set up to "schedule" posts every few days, but I had reverted the new stuff to draft status. I just released them back to the schedule...

Monday, May 14, 2012

And by the way...

The fairness ordinance whose public hearing was excerpted in the "video that swept the nation" just passed, 5-0! Congrats, Lincolnites!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Paradise on Earth, 121, Make penicillin

Let's get a few more going...these were scheduled to appear last week before everything exploded.

Paradise on Earth, 119, Gross malpractice in emergency rooms

A few thoughts on the CBPL phenomenon

The reaction to "Crazy Blue Protesting Lady" has been intense since her city council video went viral. Since I've been reading her flyers for some time, I'd like to share a few of my thoughts about the recent attention brought to her, and how it relates to this blog:

I first learned of these flyers in the fall of 2010, when one of them was shoved under a locked door in my office in downtown Lincoln. It looked like it was a page out of a larger publication, but no author was listed. I searched online trying to find its origin to no avail.

Then I noticed a few more flyers taped to walls of downtown buildings. I began collecting them. They focused primarily on "subliminals" purported to be present in a variety of electronic devices, contrasted with holistic healing and health-related advice. I mentioned the flyers on a local message board, and it became apparent that more were showing up throughout the inner core of the city, most taped to lamp posts (which the author(s) claimed were tools for distributing evil "subliminals" designed to make people kill themselves).

In October of 2010, I found dozens more, posted along streets in mostly numerical order (they were numbered in the upper-right corner), and I archived those, too, as they seemed collectively to make an interesting book or "Art Brut" project.

While the flyers clearly hint at mental illness, they were of no less interest or value to me as a body of work. Many of my favorite authors struggle(d) with mental illness and depression, some ultimately taking their own lives: David Foster Wallace, Steven Jesse Bernstein, Tristan Egolf, and John Kennedy Toole, to name a few. While I agreed with little of their content, the flyers do have a lot of positive literary qualities that kept my interest in reading more of them, and it was fun to assemble them as they grew to make a larger work. Later themes grew to include more elaborate forms of alternative medicine, paranoia of many types directed at Chinese, Muslim, Russian, and generic "socialist" populations, mistrust of the medical system including medications, hospice care, and psychological evaluations, various concerns about government and politics, from local to international issues, ideas for improving school and college curricula, care and resources for the homeless and poor, a coming comet that was due to hit us in January of this year, and concerns about illegal drug use, all rich with helpfully fabricated statistics and phone numbers for buying a variety of esoteric products.

For a while, I suspected that these flyers might be part of a "legitimate" Tea Party splinter group going rogue. In several of the flyers which have yet to be posted on this site, the author self-identifies as a republican and a Tea Party adherent (using the colloquial "we"). And over time they become more critical of Obama, both in terms of actual policy matters and also rehashing the Birther conspiracy routines.

The following spring, I finally learned the identity of the author, and of her reputation on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, by finding a student-run Facebook page about her activities. The students were naturally interested in her as a quirky part of life on campus, as she regularly handed out flyers and delivered long speeches to anyone who would listen, frequently donning a long blue parka for which she was affectionately named. Like most towns, Lincoln has its own set of eccentric people who make regular appearances in the downtown area, sometimes doing strange things. For those who live here, she's become a fixture, known for her persistent outspokenness on campus and at city council meetings, full of paranoid warnings about mass death. The locals generally treat her with respect despite her brusqueness, and she is yielded time patiently at public meetings so that she can say her piece, as described in this Lincoln Journal Star article.

A YouTube video excerpting her May 7, 2012 testimony before the Lincoln City Council against an anti-discrimination ordinance went viral on May 11. In it, she's reading excerpts from her writings attempting to explain her concerns about homosexuality. As provocative as the video may be, it reflects only a small fragment of her curious philosophy. Further, most viewers may be unaware that she suffers from mental illness. Such is the nature of internet meme-making: local nuances become global sound bites. And while they can be entertaining, or used to reinforce or contradict our own beliefs, sound bites rarely lead to deep understanding. Stripped of context, they tend to drive us apart rather than bring us together. In this case, much of the discussion about the video has settled on the similarities between the ideas presented in the video with increasingly mainstream political rhetoric. As far as the video is concerned, I find myself agreeing with that perspective; it IS disturbing to find yourself in a society where legitimate political discourse can be difficult to distinguish from what turns out to be the side effects of unmedicated schizophrenia.

Perhaps this can be a learning moment for all of us, as I think the situation points toward its own resolution: sound bites as a category are low-quality information. They're effortless and entertaining to exchange, they can be provocative and used to sell ideologies with a minimum of effort (or to sell advertising on websites or in newscasts or newspapers), but they add very little informational value to important discussions we should be having as a society. We need to address the issues facing us more seriously than what can be facilitated through such cheap and easy forms of information. As mainstream media increasingly focuses on sound bites, I find myself and my friends turning within to work through political issues. At smaller levels of communication, the dialogue remains more sophisticated and more personal. Talk to your friends and family about the issues that matter to you, and work on solving them at the neighborhood level and the community level instead of hoping that the circus of sound bites will somehow come to its own senses.

This blog is primarily meant to function at the community level, too. Before the craziness of the last few days, I had only a small handful of regular readers, most of whom actually live here in Lincoln. I've collected around 300 of these flyers, but I hesitate to post more of them until the attention dies down, because there is too much potential for sensationalizing the whole thing, making it feel gross and exploitative instead of simply an eccentric set of interesting writings. Until then, maybe do some volunteer work, help a neighbor, take a class in something you always wanted to learn, tell someone you love them, make art.

Or if you'd prefer, state master garlic, wear garlic in pockets, sew undies to undershirt in front, throw out TV and dangerous items, log lock door or put rosaries on doorknob, meet at a library, speak impromptu to all at restaurants, group to solve problems, and consider using a megaphone on a cloudy day, as Crazy Blue Protesting Lady would advise.


Friday, May 11, 2012

CBPL: about to be famous?

I just got word that CBPL is featured in a video on YouTube, and that articles are appearing online about her command performance at last week's city council hearing, such as this one in the Huntington Post! I always wondered if these bizarre flyers would find an audience, and it appears that's about to happen.

For folks finding this blog for the first time, a quick introduction might be in order. I don't know this person, but I must admit to being fascinated by her many flyers, which she posts all over Lincoln, NE on an almost daily basis. Obviously she has some kind of mental problem--reading even a few of these flyers is enough to establish that. Keeping that in mind, this site isn't intended to make fun of her on a personal level. I'm just interested in the bizarre internal logic of her flyers. They form a weird "art brut" kind of narrative when viewed as a body of work. Obviously I don't agree with any of her ideologies, either. But here they are. Before today, this blog had a very small number of readers who probably share my fascination with her work as a kind of alternate reality with its own internal logic. I view her writing as a kind of Tea Party-infused contemporary manifestation of an alternate worldview in the spirit of Georges Bataille's "Accursed Share,"or perhaps more to CBPL's chagrin, his "Solar Anus."

Read a few of the flyers, and I'm sure you'll agree that she has some kind of mental illness that isn't being treated. Keeping that in mind, I hope that folks can go relatively easy on her. She's not a calculating political operative--she needs help herself.

If you go back to the beginning of the blog, the flyers appear in numerical order. She numbered most of them for a while, and I have a selection of numbers all the way up to 628. Then there are a bunch of un-numbered flyers as well...

EDIT: Wow! There are articles popping up everywhere. Gawker seems to be driving a lot of traffic at the moment. I'm not near my scanner right now, but I do have a few flyers found on lamp posts from this week in my bag. One of them (last image) seems to include most of the content used in the City Council rant. But you get a feel for the wider range of ideas covered in the flyers:

EDIT # 2: I just went out for a quick jaunt to see if any more flyers were put up today. Just one, which is already duplicated above. But here's a picture of one of the flyers in its "native environment:"

And here's another pole with no new flyers today, but notice the huge amount of tape marks left from previous dispatches:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Paradise on Earth, 114 ...all ninth graders in America...

I'm just gonna get these puppies posted and skip the commentary for a while. There is a decent quantity of numbered flyers remaining, then a few missing numbers that have been sent my way, and then we'll look at a fairly astonishing collection of un-numbered flyers. It'll take all year to get this stuff posted, folks, even if she totally stops making these (and check out the leaps in the numbers--I'm missing a huge amount of them). Enjoy!