What the Hell's Going On Here?

Look around you. No - really look. The world is kind of a fucked-up place. It is largely brutal, stupid, and unhumorous. People seem to be motivated solely by fear and the love of simple ignorance. If the chords of Discordianism resonate in you at all, this is all obvious to you. As a matter of fact, Discordians have a name for the place that surrounds us all.....

The Region of Thud

I think you'll agree, The Region of Thud is a pretty nasty place. For starters, it's full of cabbages disguised as humans. See if you can spot the cabbage in this exchange that took place on rec.humour:

Person Number One:
From: Zilobuh %cakes < zilobuh@cpcn.com >

Q: How camera is reindeer?

A: Fourteen dollars and buckets of lymph nodes!

Q: Snail?

A: Snail!

Q: If you lick my monkey tobacco, why dance with sardines?

A: Rectangle my fingernails!

Q: Who won't elephant if the chirping is frigid?

A: Pencil dacquiri and sparkplug scrotum!

Q: Can you cancel a cricket?

A: The noodle is nothing but a fnoodle!

E-mail me if you like my JOKES!

With utmost pretzel,

Zilobuh %cakes

Person Number Two:
Please explain!!!! 

Clearly, Person Number Two just doesn't Get It. Maybe you don't either - in which case, please select another link and enjoy your browsing! But maybe - just maybe - you do! Maybe you're not one of THEM - maybe you're one of US!

And maybe you're just as pissed about this whole Region of Thud thing as we are.....

What's Up With This Region Anyway?

Things that bite as much as the Region of Thud don't just happen. They exist for very specific reasons. Now, other belief systems say that the Big Kahuna God (Jehova, Allah, Krishna, Ahramazda, whomever) set up a place that sucks to test the faithful. In our disbelief system, however, we know better than that. The Region exists for many reasons, such as the influence of Greyface and his Orders of Discordia, divine retrubution for the Original Snub, etc. However, it survives and thrives primarily because it acts as a memetic dragchute.

Definition of Memetics Time:
oversimplification mode ON
Memetics is a theory that says that ideas are transmitted like viruses, and that some people are more susceptible to certain idea-viruses ("memes") than others. When new ideas come along, you might pick them up if you don't have a stronger, conflicting meme. If you tell all of your friends about it, you can help spread it. Any group or society has a large "meme pool" that most members share. This pool has faced evolutional pressure for quite some time, and can sustain and protect itself pretty well (for instance, the "patriotism" meme allows governments to make people do what they want, such as attacking "commies" or "terrorists" (read: "those with competing memetic structures"), thus protecting itself from contrary memes). As memes change (through mutation or "corruption" from outside memes), the new structures either replace the old or get squished by it, and evolution marches on. (That's all the memetic theory you'll get here. If you want more, you'll have to go somewhere else.)
oversimplification mode OFF

Ok - sorry about that. Anyway, the concept of a "meme pool" is largely metaphorical - it consists of all the ideas that are generally held and accepted. These ideas, however, are not necessarily the best ideas - they are the ones that have best survived. This is a critical difference. For instance, when a certain species of bee decides to do the nasty, the males' reproductive organs literally eject and plug the female. This process kills the male, but it makes damn sure his genes propagate. Evolution doesn't give a rat's ass whether or not the bee is a Do Bee and makes his world a groovy place - if his reproductive method isn't best, he doesn't get a genetic vote.

In the same manner, memetic evolution doesn't reward the most useful, beautiful, or valuable ideas. It rewards ONLY the most fecund ones. If you are a meme that can fill a specific niche and you can spread 100 times more quickly than your competitor, you win! You become part of the meme pool, one of the commonly accepted memes. You become reality. You become True.

Our memetic pool has been stewing for a long time now. Along the way, people have managed to slip in their own memes (and some have just fallen in accidentally) so that this pool is as murky and smelly as any public pool ever has been. Every one of these memes is a survivor, and therefore, every one of them is considered True. And do the cabbages protect this pool? Try tweaking some of the most peripheral memes and see what kind of response you get. And I'm not talking about God, Flag, and Mother - some of the truly insignificant ones, like:
My prediction? Nearly every Thuddite you say something like this to will react with a mixture of disgust and confusion - disgust, because what you're saying is wrong, and confusion, because they're not completely sure why. If you press these arguments with them, 99% of the Thuddites will not be able to carry on past the second or third exchange, and will probably end up wrinkling up their noses and dismissing you as crazy.

Which you are, since crazy is defined as "not buying the same shit that Normal People do".

So, you go about your business, trying to fuck with Thuddites as little as possible (except for the ones that really have it coming), you try to associate with like minded people (both Discordians and people who don't realize that they're really Discordians), and you try to set up a small area of the Region where you can live in peace.

But then you notice....like the beginning of a nightmare.....you're starting to get surrounded by Thuddites!!!!

Maybe you were in a cool neighborhood coffee shop, when you noticed a clean, antiseptic Starbuck's springing up in every strip mall with space for rent. Maybe you were listening to alternative music when you started noticing that more and more bands were calling themselves "Alternative" but sounding more and more mainstream. Maybe the cutting-edge radio or tv show you loved suddenly and unaccountably got popular, and slowly lost its fire as its audience grew.

It's happening

You see, since we are all connected to the world around us, we are influenced by the actions of others. There are some people who are real Humans, but are so surrounded by disguised cabbages that they behave like THEM, instead of the other way around. Every once in a while, one of these humans sees a New Cool Thing and is drawn to it. It seems attractive to them, but still a little alien to their Cabbage-like tastes. So they water it down a step - make it just a touch less alien. Pretty soon, even cabbages can stand to hang there. Just as barnacles cling to a ship's hull and encumber it, so do Thuddites accrete to "new" things. Like cells attacking an infection, they slowly bring the new thing back in. Coffee houses end up being Burger Kings that sell coffee. Alternative starts morphing into cock-rock. Beavis doesn't set things on fire anymore (note: the effect has not been as pronounced on Beavis and Butt-Head soley due to Beavis's status as a Prophet). By assimilating these things, they become less and less threatening to the Thuddites, until they're quite simply the same as everything else in the Region.

But Ffungo, What CanWe Do?
If the Thuddites can take cool things and make them suck, why can't we take sucky things and make them cool?

Fortunately, we can!

This is where Operation Mindfuck comes in. OM is an effort to hit the Thuddites where it hurts - right in their rigid, fragile conceppt of "reality" and "normalcy". Just as civil libertarians defend those at the fringes to protect those in the middle, so does OM hit things in the middle to open up the fringes. It works through a principle known as the Functionality of the Strange. Pope Icky Fundament over at Hyperdiscordia has carefully documented some case studies of OM put into action under the name Guerrilla Surrealism.

You see, as long as people think that they will understand everything they see, they will fight things they don't understand. It is only by directly attacking this illusion on unanimity that we can make the Region of Thud into a safe place to be weird. Check these things out, and then invent your own. Don't let Thuddites make this world over in their own boring images. Eris needs YOU!