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Don't fall victim to vampires! Don't get slashed by a psycho! Don't get stuck, ASK DR. ELDRITCH!

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Dear Dr. Eldritch,
Ask Dr. Eldritch Pod People     You recently mentioned mind-control chips in digital audio players, and I must say you're wrong about that. It's just ridiculous. I have owned several players in the last few years, and I absolutely have not had my mind controlled by anyone. Users get that zoned-out look because they're listening to their favorite music, not from having subliminal messages implanted into their subconscious. So please, no jokes about mindless zombies or "pod people." I'm sure, however, that if anyone did put circuitry to influence cognitive function into audio players, it would only be for the greater good. Eventually everyone would own compatible operating systems and regularly download high-quality music in encrypted proprietary format! I mean, Life is random, but random is the New Order. It's the next big thing! Imagine how great life would be if everyone owned a digital audio player and let The Manufacturer lead the way to a better world! Think different! Switch! Soon there will be one kind of person! Welcome to the revolution!

-- Kevin, under no mind control of any kind

Dear Kevin,
    I would find this less disturbing if I hadn't also received 317 other emails about this, from all over the world, and all virtually identical. I'm not saying this is proof of anything, but if you could control the minds of millions of people, wouldn't you use that power to deny that it exists?

Humanity has longed to control the minds of others ever since Early Man realized others didn't do what Early Man wanted. Bribery and threats have worked well for influencing behavior, but the Holy Grail of mind control has always been complete compliance without the subject being aware that he or she is being influenced. Think about that, Kevin, while you read this brief history of mind control:

1781: Anton "Franz" Mesmer discovers how to make people do odd things when put into a trance-like state, giving us the process that bears his name, "Hypnotism."

1927: Television is invented.

1945: A test subject discovers a chocolate bar in his pocket melted during mind-control experiments using microwaves. Soon after, the first commercial microwave oven debuts. Early models are the approximate size and cost of a VW Bus. Consumers buy them, but can't explain why.

1957: Subliminal images are inserted in movies to sell popcorn and soft drinks. Moderately successful, as sales increase by 18%, but 3% of viewers go on homicidal rampages. Advertisers consider this acceptable losses, but subliminal advertising is outlawed in the US.

1993: An unidentified researcher in mind-control technology bets that he can influence a major election. On an ostensibly unrelated note, Marisa Tomei wins Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

1994: Subconscious Behavioral Modification via television is perfected. Unfortunately, it requires digital HDTV. Policy makers at the FCC are given a demonstration of digital HDTV. The FCC unexpectedly decrees that all full-power TV stations will convert to digital by 2007.

1995 2003: Several patents are issued for a variety of "Microwave communication systems using brain wave analysis and/or brain activity."

2003: One of the most successful cognitive-direction programs, tiny chips were implanted in people receiving tattoos or body piercings. Fortunately, the sole purpose of the chips is to create a desire in the target to get more body art. This explains the huge increase in multiple piercings and body-covering tattoos. An unexpected downside is that these forms of expression are now so commonplace that their shock value has worn off, and people are forced to find some other method to announce that they had a traumatic childhood and are angry at their parents.

Which brings us to today, and the supposedly non-existent chips in audio players that wouldn't insert thoughts into people's heads, even if those chips were real, that is. If you still retain the will to resist, wearing an improvised hat of aluminum foil while listening to your digital audio device will mitigate most of the mental effects. The most effective solution is to construct a Faraday Cage around your head, but a metal helmet is simpler.

The best defense for mind-control is to learn to think for yourself. Most people aren't willing to make the effort, and are too embarrassed to wear a foil hat in public, so who knows? Perhaps in the next election, Marisa Tomei will become President.

Good luck, and let me know how it comes out!

-Dr. Eldritch


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Last Revised: February 3, 2023 © 2003-2011 Evan Nichols
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