V: "I am quite sure they will say so."
--V for Vendetta
...the Fourth of July, 2008.
No, it doesn't rhyme with "Fifth of November". But it has everything to do with anarchy, and nothing to do with gunpowder, treason and plot.
Well... not unless you embrace any hierarchical system that is antithetical to anarchy. In which case, you may prefer to join with Pat Murphy who, in his fraudulent e-mail purportedly sent to the FCC, described John Poet of The Crystal Ship thusly:
Doesn't quite sound like the voice of a true anarchist, does it?
Rather than any concise or even particularly coherent theme for Guy Fawkes Night, these are just some musings on the nature of anarchy related to, and the ironic juxtaposition of opinions about, anarchy within the pirate/free radio scene.
Besides, everything else about Guy Fawkes has been written better than I could manage. Musing about his reemergence in pop culture and role as an icon of Anonymous would require either a treatise on semiotics or a significant dedication of time and energy immersed in the quirky quasi-collective anarchistic sub-culture of the interbutt. And unless you're familiar with V for Vendetta, either the graphic novel - with its greater emphasis on anarchy - or the movie, delving into the tropes inspired by that contemporary personification of Guy Fawkes would be pointless. Suffice it to say, there's more to it than the mainstream media-coined descriptions of Anonymous as hacktivists or trolls.
Let's take a look at a few comments on anarchy within the U.S. shortwave pirate radio scene over the past few years:
"LISTENING to pirate radio is illeagle? (sic)"
March 03, 2007
March 09, 2007 02:28
"Why are people so afraid of anarchy? It is not chaos."
Bill O. Rights
March 09, 2007 10:41
"The anarchy point was well put, but I'm afraid lost on this group..."
"Pirate Radio NET ??"
Bill O. Rights
October 26, 2007 23:21
"I have also observed, over the years, many well intentioned efforts to "organize" pirates to do one thing or another. These too end in disaster, as pirates don't like to be told what to do, even if its done nicely. They are anarchists of the truest form and aren't people who join or like to be in groups."
"Seriously, thank you everyone and Merry Christmas!"
Pat Murphy said...
December 27, 2010 12:22
"For a bunch of anarchist who can't stand to be grouped or told what to do, the Pirate Radio bunch has come a long way."
Those are some mighty fine pretty words about anarchy, Mr. Murphy.
But, oh, those nights of July 4th and 5th, 2008, and the subsequent "pirate war"... that was real anarchy!
Off-air recording of computer voice rant from July 4-5, 2008, accusing then-Free Radio Network administrator Pat Murphy of rampant sockpuppetry, multiple personality disorder and other abuses.
The first 30 seconds are from a 2006 WBNY "feud" show, which featured a backward recording. In this case the recording was corrected including the pitch shift used for the Commander Bunny voice. This in part contributed to Murphy's dislike for European pirates, since Alfred (former owner of the Alfa Lima site) was blamed for correcting the recording. In Alfred's defense, he was only responding to a challenge from Commander Bunny to solve the hidden message. Since that recording was publicly available online for a couple of years, it could have been downloaded and reused by anyone, so this should in no way be interpreted to implicate Alfred for the computer voice rant.
The computer voice rant begins at around the 30 second mark. Toward the end is heard audio from Brother Stair for reasons unknown, perhaps for dramatic effect. The source of this broadcast remains unknown, although Murphy and Kracker variously accused at least three different people, in their typical "fling enough poop, maybe something will stick" fashion. (Note: One of the persons named as a Murphy sockpuppet was very definitely incorrect - DB is not a Murphy sockpuppet. He's a DXer, a good fellow and lives nowhere near Murphy.)
That was the overture to this comic opera which we, merely your Shakespearean Chorus, endeavor to describe in a fashion that may amuse, bemuse and confuse. Since then we've enjoyed the arias during the 2009-2010 era, a time when several new and independent minded operators joined the fray with numerous quality shows that could be heard loud and clear - all minus the ego driven melodrama that characterizes Murphy's influence.
This year we've heard a sort of post-modern deconstruction, a cacophony of echoes melding a reprise of the 2008 overture mixed with offstage noises by rebellious players, and improvisations by various and sundry passersby. Will the entire theatrical set collapse before the final act? Who cares? It's a comic opera. Catastrophe could only make it more entertaining.
But, in summary... a computer voice broadcast played two or more times beginning July 4, 2008, accused Pat Murphy of abusive sockpuppetry; interviewing himself (by staging "interviews" with Commander Bunny of WBNY and Bill O. Rights of Radio Free Speech); and permitting, even encouraging, Kracker to repeatedly post abusive rants targeting other FRN participants, including exposing real names and addresses. In his frenzied retaliation against the still-unknown perpetrator of that anonymous computer voice broadcast, Kracker lived up to the accusations by threatening stalking and physical violence against at least two former participants on the FRN.
In the process Kracker also exposed the real identity and location of another pirate radio operator, screeching over the airwaves "...you traitorous fucking piece of shit!" and "... I've got your fucking address! You ordered a fucking t-shirt!"
Somehow, the concept of "traitorous" and anarchy don't quite seem to mesh. But no matter in the Bunnyman's through-the-looking-glass and down-the-rabbit-hole funhouse.
So, why were these abuses - purportedly violations of some nebulous "pirate code" - tolerated and even given tacit approval?
Anarchy. Real anarchy, not gentlemen's agreement, Marquis of Queensbury, bourgeois weekend hobbyist anarchy.
It is the type of anarchy preached and practiced only by the hapless zealot Lucian Gregory of G.K. Chesterton's classic allegorical novel The Man Who Was Thursday, in which it was revealed that of the council of seven anarchists, all but one turned out to be police detectives who not only had infiltrated the council but actually led the band of so-called anarchists.
As fantastic and improbable as that quaint novel seemed (and which apparently inspired Gabriel Syme's imaginative and very entertaining Voice of Next Thursday programmes), the U.S. pirate radio scene under Pat Murphy's influence far surpassed Chesterton's imaginings in duplicity, conniving and cunning. To this day, Murphy still seems to believe that the faithful will trust him when he claims to support anarchists in pirate radio. And he does, in the same condescending way the owner of a doberman might assure you that your yappy little chihuahua is just as good a watchdog. In practice, however, he and his sycophantic Krackwhore do as they please, including exposing identities of pirates they consider rivals or slandering and defaming anyone they consider enemies.
Because that is precisely what a genuine, diehard anarchist would do.
So Murphy and Kracker are the genuine anarchists whilst those of you who try to obey the "rules" they've concocted are closer to amateur radio operators licensed by the FCC or Industry Canada. Murphy is counting on you to play by a set of rules he prescribes, but which he has no intention of heeding. As he wrote in 2007 under his "Beans" sockpuppet: "I don't get it!" And he probably never will.
"Murphy is counting on you to play by a set of rules he prescribes, but which he has no intention of heeding."
That's why Murphy - under his Commander Bunny persona - can continue to repeatedly publish on his WBNY blog Poet's full real name and address, even though the street address was never specified on the FCC notice. Because the "pirate's code" applies only to you, not to him.
That's why Murphy and Paul McElligott - Kracker's real name according to publicly available court documents - can repeatedly slander, defame, cyber-stalk and harass women shortwave listeners like Gayle Van Horn and Lori Easterly - corq to her friends - despite having absolutely no evidence that either woman has had anything to do with the Tales of Radio Paranoia blog, other than to read it. Because the "pirate's code" applies only to you, not to Murphy and Kracker.
And that's why, as with this entire weekend, they can QRM the broadcasts of rivals without fear, whilst claiming that the station who was on first was actually to blame for the interference. Because the rules only apply to you, not to them.
Is this hypocritical? No! Because, again, that is precisely what a real anarchist would do. Anything goes. In the absence of any sort of codified order what emerges is any interpretation anyone wishes to apply to the like of the Golden Rule of the Judeo-Christian concept, the Thelemic "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law", or karma, which Murphy seems to equate with revenge or vendetta.
The problem with anarchy is that few have the stomach for total anarchy. Most of us believe we want anarchy in certain areas of our lives - typically, free speech, if you're a pirate radio hobbyist or practitioner - but if pressed would probably admit we'd be more comfortable with order even if it meant certain limitations on liberties.
Despite his proclamations supporting anarchy in pirate radio, particularly under his Bill O. Rights persona (not a mere sycophantic sockpuppet like his Beans, Mosby, Thumper and Bouncer characters), Pat Murphy seemed to be drawn toward imposing *his* order rather than trusting true anarchy. But like any good totalitarian propagandist who's counting on climbing the corpses of other anarchists who led the charge, Murphy is counting on you to swallow his pablum about supporting free radio anarchists. Because under his exemplary leadership, in anarchy all things are permissible, nothing is forbidden... to him, or to his sycophants. But for you, well... some anarchists are more equal than others.
As with the hamster cannibal radio wars on the 20 meter band the past decade (14275 and 14313), the strongest signal and clearest message wins. The messenger, and his or her character, or lack thereof, hardly matter.
John Poet of The Crystal Ship may have summed it up best in an unintentionally prescient post on the FRN in 2007:
October 27, 2007 16:54
"The war is over. The anarchists have won. God Save The country and Free Radio."
So, remember, remember...