President Richard Nixon had the honor of welcoming Earthlings to the moon, but speechwriter William Safire had prepared an alternative for use in the event of a moon-landing disaster. A team at MIT deepfaked the dead president into this alternative timeline.
In Event of Moon Disaster will premiere at IDFA DocLab on November 22, 2019 in the form of a physical installation designed to re-create a 1960s era American living room.
This project is a production of the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality.
I've been trying to make this exact artifact for months, without success! Making people do things they didn't is much harder than the usual generative fare: the voice, physical consistency, the emotions, and the historical details all conspire to subvert the "easy" part of making someone's chops move. A lie is harder than a joke, which is why lies are posed as jokes. The achieved result, though, is magical and disquieting -- look how they make Nixon choke up! And a warning. Read the rest
On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon delivered his resignation speech to the American public. Moments before this historical event, he was calmly joking around with the TV crew as if this was just any other presser. And then....
"...I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me. In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort."
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It's hard to imagine that contemporary discussions in the White House are even dumber than those between Richard Nixon, John Ehrlichman and H. R. Haldeman.
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Nixon: The point that I make is that goddamit, I do not think that you glorify, on public television, homosexuality! You ever see what happened, you know what happened to the Greeks? Homosexuality destroyed them. Aristotle was a homo, we all know that. So was Socrates.
Ehrlichman: But he never had the influence that television has.
Nixon: The last six Roman emperors were fags.
"I want to know exact details, hard information about everything!" J.G. Ballard told an interviewer, in the pre-Internet year of 1982. Read the rest
A newly discovered collection of notes written by Nixon aide HR Haldeman reveals that during Nixon's 68 presidential campaign, he illegally conspired to convince the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, to scuttle the peace talks run by Nixon's political rival, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey. Read the rest
In Dan Baum's excellent article in Harper's about the devastating consequences of the US government's war on drugs, there's a revealing quote from John Ehrlichman, Nixon's Watergate co-conspirator:
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I’d tracked Ehrlichman, who had been Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser, to an engineering firm in Atlanta, where he was working on minority recruitment. I barely recognized him. He was much heavier than he’d been at the time of the Watergate scandal two decades earlier, and he wore a mountain-man beard that extended to the middle of his chest.
At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
I must have looked shocked.
[Video Link] Here's a trailer for the upcoming book, White House Call Girl: The Real Watergate Story, by Phil Stanford. It's published by our friends at Feral House.
Heidi Rikan was a stripper, working for the mob in Washington D.C. White House Call Girl tells how a call girl operation she was running at the time led to the Watergate break-in, which brought down Tricky Dick Nixon himself.
Needless to say, this is not part of the Watergate story that has come down to us over the decades. It is also only fair to point out that this version of the story might be dismissed out of hand as being dangerous “revisionist” history. If you’re not careful, you might end up being called a “conspiracy theorist.”
You can also be called crazy – which is what happened to a young lawyer named Phillip Bailley, one of the principal witnesses to this ignored bit of American history. When he was foolish enough to blow the whistle on Heidi and her call girl ring, he was locked up at St. Elizabeth’s, the District of Columbia’s mental hospital, in the ward for the criminally insane.
For forty years we’ve only heard the Woodward and Bernstein perspective on Watergate. Now we’ve got the photos. What’s more, we’ve got Heidi’s little black book.
White House Call Girl: The Real Watergate Story Read the rest
"If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin." -- from Hunter S. Thompson's 1994 Rolling Stone obituary for Richard Nixon Read the rest