The Year Of The Mask: The Ouroboros Of Fantasy And Reality

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I. Introduction

While this post will ultimately discuss a James Bond movie, bear with me while I start with a little bit of “Superman” (I mean who doesn’t like Superman?)…

On September 12, 2001, the comic book The Adventures Of Superman #596 hit stands (are there really “stands” anymore? Well that’s neither here nor there). The plot was that of the tried-and-true sci-fi trope of an alien attack on Earth. Certainly, this comic came out in the immediate (next day) aftermath of the worst terrorist attack on American soil ever, and so the “alien invasion” part might have had this inevitable resonance. But still…it’s a pretty standard comic book plot.

HOWEVER.

The Adventures Of Superman #596 featured several images that seemed rather…here, let’s look at this shot of the twin LexCorp buildings damaged by the aliens:

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That’s the LexCorp buildings in the fictional city of Metropolis, based on the real-life New York City.

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HOWEVER, the actual LexCorp building only had one tower. The artist, writer, editor, or all three “got it wrong” (if you’re a slave to the religion known as Fandom) by including the two towers.

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The comic in question also showcased images of the destruction and damage to other landmarks around the world, including Washington D.C….

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And…

And…

And

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this comic came out on September 12, 2001, folks

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I don’t have to tell you what the headlines looked like on the newspapers sharing the theoretical “stands” with The Adventures Of Superman #596 on September 12, 2011, do I?

How did this happen? How did a comic book that was written, drawn, and printed before 9/11 have pretty damn spot-on images of what happened in 9/11???

II. Enter: Synchromysticism

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If you would like to know one of the fastest routes to having your friends and family doubt your immediate sanity, mention to them an instance of synchronicity you’ve noticed recently. Bonus points if you have ascribed ANY meaning at all to the event. Congratulations: you have now become an official recipient of the the stare-as-if-you-have-three-eyes-and-are-also-bug-fuck-crazy.

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Now certainly, engaging in the sort of mental gymnastics I’ve just described was pretty much stock-in-trade for famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung—but the fact that you’re spending your life reading Carl Jung when you could be instead doing a mentally-healthy activity like catching up on the latest HBO series or chugging shots at the bar with your buddies after work or obsessively entering your caloric intake on the latest health app on your phone means you’re already (I’m afraid) quite far gone.

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That said, the socially-accepted “fact” that noticing these coincidences exist means you’re theoretically mentally ill DOES NOT erase the fact that these coincidences exist. You can dismiss the massive amount of pre-9/11 seeming references to 9/11 in popular culture as being the result of tinfoil chapeau-wearing conspiracy nuts…but that doesn’t erase the fact that these very weird and uncanny synchronicities did happen.

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It doesn’t erase the fact that a Superman comic released one day after 9/11 featured images almost exactly like those of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

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Again: how did this happen? Why did this happen? Is there even a why? Is there any type of meaningful reason at all synchronicity occurs (other than to get hits on a popular Cracked article)?

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In 2012, as I noticed that more and more that the dividing line between news stories and pop-culture seemed to be blurring just a bit, I came across a community of people online who were specifically researching and exploring exactly this concept. And they called it…

SYNCHROMYSTICISM (Wiki Definition):

Synchromysticism is a portmanteau of the words “synchronicity” and “mysticism.” A Synchronicity is a coincidence with meaning which is usually far less likely to occur naturally than typical coincidences. An observance of synchronicity is often coupled with a recent moment of personal enlightenment or great insight. A shift in consciousness of perceived reality will usually determine ones ability to see an increased number of synchronicities.

The synchromystic world-view is that every-Thing in the universe is connected. All symbols have multiple layers of information, histories, and interpretations. Given enough time and information, eventually all symbols, themes and ideas will be found to contain information about all the others so that each piece of the puzzle becomes holographic in nature; meaning that by focusing on one idea, all others can potentially be expressed. If one is familiar with the Eastern philosophic idea that “all is One,” then synchromysticism allows a person to prove it for themselves through active involvement with synchronicity not only in the media saturated world around them, but also in their personal lives. Synchromysticism can be used to decode meaning in situations where that meaning may not have been implied or even originally intended. It has also been used by some in an attempt to foresee future events.

The following is an observation I made in November 2012 regarding the synchronicity between the just-released James Bond movie Skyfall and the simultaneous scandal involving CIA director David Petraeus…a scandal referred to by the media as “Spyfall.”

III. “Does Anybody Else Find It Strange That…”

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Originally posted on November 15, 2012

Does anybody else find it strange that the U.S. military/government is currently embroiled in a spy scandal the same week James Bond spy thriller Skyfall is #1 at the box-office?

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Is there any connection between these two narratives—one real, one fictional?

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We have the “Bond Girls”—beautiful, at times treacherous:

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And the “Bond Girls” are sort of like the “draw” for the movies, aren’t they? They’re like the “Godzillas” of the movie series. Like when you turn on a Godzilla movie, you’re really tuning in for the monsters, not the exposition. The Bond Women are like the Monsters—Distractors from the core elements of the plot.

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What comes first in these queer intersections of the real and the unreal? Does the movie come first, and then reporters shape the narrative of real-life events to mirror the movie—as to market the news?

Or is it all more a strange precognitive thing on the part of our fantasy-makers…no, to call it “precognitive” sounds too fanciful, too wacky. Is it like-energy attracting like-energy…the idea of the world outside ourselves as a mirror of our own lives?

Fantasy weaving into reality—here’s another example:

The Drudge Report, one of the most popular news sites in the world, links to an article called “Talk Host Calls For Second American Revolution”:

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The link to that news story takes you to (surprise!) the Alex Jones website Infowars.com, whose marquee headline story is:

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…and we are now back to a movie narrative, that of The Matrix.  Another headline on Infowars today is this one:

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A “storyline” that has been “predicted” months ago in a comic book (the redundantly-titled Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #14):

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Now let’s go to another item on the same Infowars marquee:

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This of course refers to the recent Hurricane Sandy. Which was eerily prefigured by last month’s “Batman” comic:

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…the widespread lack of power and “third world conditions” left in the storm’s wake echoed in the NBC show “Revolution,” heavily promoted this Fall:

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And on, and on. What comes first here, the chicken or the egg? I subscribe to no hard-and-fast theories; if I had to guess, I’d say it’s an omelet of many theories—or perhaps something too weird to even fully comprehend. But it sure is interesting.

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IV. In Conclusion…

By the time I wrote about the Skyfall/”Spyfall” synchronicity, it was about 3 months after a “Joker” shot up a theatre of people watching a “Batman” movie. Unlike the media scare after Columbine, the comic book industry not only seemed to come out of the aftermath of the Aurora theatre shooting relatively unscathed by any calls to censor violence—but it even seemed to thrive more.

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the “new” Joker…the new hotness

Indeed, the biggest news in Comics by late Fall of 2012—as the shadows of Aurora still loomed large and mass-shootings seemed to be happening literally every week—was a multi-part Joker-driven storyline called “Death of the Family.” This “event” promised to show the most grotesque and violent images in a Batman book yet. I mean…it’s what the audience wanted, and ya can’t blame good old American capitalism!

There was even an official mask—based on the flayed pasty skin of the Joker—released in conjunction with “Death of the Family,” one that presumably the perpetrators of the future Joker-themed crimes that would go on long after Holmes was locked up could use.

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It is around now that I should point out that it wasn’t the intention of the creators and publishers of such content that crazy-people go out and commit atrocities in their name. Some—though certainly not all—people into studying “synchromystic” elements in popular-culture come to the conclusion that the reason said pop-culture seems to “predict” later tragedies is because “the Illuminati” (who supposedly committed said tragedies) purposely “planted” the imagery beforehand.

In the case of the sync that started this post—the 9/11 images in the Superman comic—I can tell you from first-hand experience that the management at DC Comics was legitimately shocked the coincidence took place. Because I was there. And their reaction was one of “OH FUCK WE HAVE THIS COMIC WITH 9/11 IMAGES COMING OUT TOMORROW!”

This is not to 100% say that somewhere, Up There, in the highest echelons of the Powers That Be, that some Big Wig didn’t use his tentacle to dial the number for DC’s bat-phone and pull off one of the biggest and most evil crimes of the new millennium. But I’m like 98.9% sure it didn’t happen that way.

However.

By the end of 2012, I became convinced of three things:

  1. That pop-culture was having *some* sort of impact on the overall zeitgeist of the nation, in an increasingly dark and violent way.
  2. That pop-culture was also sort of “anticipating” current events.
  3. That the preceding two elements were sort of creating a “feedback loop” with each other…much like a snake swallowing its own tail.

But then again. What did I know?

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