Categories
backmasking books Politics

Political Tribalism in America

I just received a copy of the book, “Political Tribalism in America” in the mail today. Subtitled, “How Hyper-Partisanship Dumbs Down Democracy and How to Fix it” this book (Amazon.ca) by Timothy J. Redmond includes a paragraph on the expectation bias and uses my backmasking page as an example of how being primed can change your perception.

From p.79-81 of the book:

The expectation bias occurs when our expectations about an outcome influence our perceptions of that outcome. To illustrate this point, go to http://jeffmilner.com/backmasking/stairway-to-heaven-backwards.html, click on the “play forward” button, listen to the clip of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, and follow along with the accompanying lyrics (Figure 4-2). Trust me. It’s well worth the effort.

After walking through my backmasking page, he goes on to compare the priming one needs to hear the backward message to the priming we bring with us when we watch the news.

And as supposed backwards messages in rock music go, so go allegations of media bias. When Democrats and Republicans expect to find partisan biases in the news, they tend to find them. A study by Matthew A. Baum and Phil Gussin presented subjects with a transcript of a news report on the 2004 presidential election between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat John Kerry, and asked them to evaluate whether the material was favorable, neutral, or unfavorable toward either of the nominees. Each participant received an identical transcript that was painstakingly crafted to be balanced “in terms of positive, negative, and neutral references to the candidates.” The first section of the transcript, reproduced below, is a case in point (bracketed remarks are mine).

Good evening. We start tonight with the presidential candidates on the attack [neutral]. Today with just 13 days left in the campaign, John Kerry was explaining why he believes the president does not understand the problems of ordinary people [anti-Bush] while, for President Bush, the message was mostly about why Senator Kerry’s plans will leave Americans worse off [anti-Kerry]

But there was, of course, a twist. While the content of each transcript was the same, some subiects were told that the news report originated from CNN while others were informed that it came from Fox News. The result? Participants who believed that CNN was liberal concluded that the CNN version of the transcript favored John Kerry. Yet those who presumed that CNN was conseryative thought that the CNN news report was partial to George Bush.

Likewise, those who considered Fox News to be conservative, maintained that the Fox News version of the transcript favored Bush, while those who believed that Fox News was liberal concluded that their report privileged Kerry.

He went on to explain that some of the priming comes from party leaders themselves.

In a 2010 study. political scientist Jonathan Ladd similarly found that Democrats and Republicans were more likely to evaluate the media as biased when they were told that their party leaders believed that the media was “being too friendly with President Bush” or “being overtly critical of President Bush,” respectively. We see what we expect to see.

The scientific evidence belies the charge that the mainstream media is infused with a partisan bias. Unfortunately, when we’re repeatedly told otherwise, we expect the media to be slanted and will discern it as such. Thus, if we want to perceive the news media more clearly, we must first relieve ourselves of the expectation bias. For if we heed the scientific evidence — as opposed to the screeds of politicians or pundits — we might just start to see things a little differently.

I look forward to reading the rest of it.

Categories
backmasking pandemic

Vaccine Skeptic Eric Clapton Claims ‘Subliminal Messages’ Manipulating People

Eric Clapton says he was duped into getting the CoViD-19 vaccine by subliminal messaging on YouTube. The infamous guitarist got at least some of his vaccination shots but has declared he regrets that decision after suffering “disastrous” side effects. Billboard.com has the story:

After months of railing against COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccines, and refusing to play shows that require vaccination proof, Eric Clapton has seemingly embraced a controversial theory claiming that secret messages are allegedly being hidden inside YouTube videos with the goal of driving mass compliance with COVID precautions. The 76-year-old rock icon pointed to the theory as an explanation for his divisive views on the global pandemic that has killed more than 5.6 million people worldwide.

“[I thought], ‘What’s going on here?’ I didn’t get the memo. Whatever the memo was, it hadn’t reached me,” Clapton told YouTube channel the Real Music Observer about why he decided to team up with his old friend — and fellow lockdown opponent Van Morrison — for the anti-lockdown screed “Stand and Deliver,” as well as releasing his own similar take, “This Has Gotta Stop.”

Remember kids, even if there were something conspiratorial going on — which there isn’t — subliminal messages don’t work.

(via Cynical-C)

Categories
backmasking

Backmasking

During a 1974 interview published in Rolling Stone Magazine, Paul McCartney discussed the many hidden meanings in The Beatles’ work that consumed obsessive fans. He mentioned that some people believed the cover of Abbey Road to contain clues revealing that he died. He pointed out that it’s easy to see hidden meanings in things if you were looking for hidden meanings.

He also discussed backmasking. Backmasking is the phenomenon in which artists will put backward messages in their songs. (See my backmasking page). While there are some examples of intentional backmasking, other times fans hear messages in songs played backward the artist did not intentionally put there. For example, Paul admitted that one of the songs from Sgt. Pepper sounds like it included the f-word when played backward even though he wasn’t aware of this until after the album’s completion.

From the 1974 interview with Paul McCartney (also Linda) in Rolling Stone Magazine:

[Paul:] Once you get analyzing something and looking into it, things do begin to appear and things do begin to tie in. Because everything ties in, and what you get depends on your approach to it. You look at everything with a black attitude and it’s all black.

This other idea of Paul Is Dead. That was on for a while. I had just turned up at a photo session and it was at the time when Linda and I were just beginning to knock around with each other steadily. It was a hot day in London, a really nice hot day, and I think I wore sandals. I only had to walk around the corner to the crossing because I lived pretty nearby. I had me sandals on and for the photo session I thought I’ll take my sandals off.

Linda: No, you were barefoot.

Paul: Oh, I was barefoot. Yeah, that’s it. You know, so what? Barefoot, nice warm day, I didn’t feel like wearing shoes. So I went around to the photo session and showed me bare feet. Of course when that comes out and people start looking at it they say, “Why has he got no shoes on? He’s never done that before.” OK, you’ve never seen me do it before, but, in actual fact, it’s just me with my shoes off. Turns out to be some old Mafia sign of death or something.

Then the this-little-bit-if-you-play-it-backwards stuff. As I say, nine times out of ten it’s really nothing. Take the end of Sgt. Pepper, that backward thing, “We’ll f— you like Supermen.” Some fans came around to my door giggling. I said, “Hello, what do you want?” They said, “Is it true, that bit at the end? Is it true? It says ‘We’ll f— you like Supermen’.” I said, “No, you’re kidding. I haven’t heard it, but I’ll play it.” It was just some piece of conversation that was recorded and turned backwards. But I went inside after I’d seen them and played it studiously, turned it backwards with my thumb against the motor, turned the motor off and did it backwards. And there it was, sure as anything, plain as anything. “We’ll f— you like Supermen.” I thought, Jesus, what can you do?

And then there was “I buried Paul.”

That wasn’t “I buried Paul” at all, that was John saying “cranberry sauce.” It was the end of “Strawberry Fields.” That’s John’s humor. John would say something totally out of synch, like “cranberry sauce.” If you don’t realize that John’s apt to say “cranberry sauce” when he feels like it, then you start to hear a funny little word there, and you think “Aha!”

When you were alive and presumed dead, what did you think?

Someone from the office rang me up and said, “Look, Paul, you’re dead.” And I said, “Oh, I don’t agree with that.” And they said, “Look, what are you going to do about it? It’s a big thing breaking in America. You’re dead.” And so I said leave it, just let them say it. It’ll probably be the best publicity we’ve ever had and I won’t have to do a thing except stay alive. So I managed to stay alive through it.

Paul is dead, but Chris Farley found out that he isn’t.

Categories
backmasking space

Man Will Spacewalk

With today being the 50th Anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s historic walk on the moon, I bring you this little classic reverse speech from the first words spoken on the surface of the moon which, when reversed, sound like “man will spacewalk”.

Neil Armstrong’s Moon Landing Speech Backwards

Play Forward

Forward:’a small step for a man’

Play in Reverse

Reverse: ‘Man will spacewalk.’

Also of interest, on this anniversary of scientific achievement, NASA has released a collection of 45 panoramic photos from the surface of the moon based on images stitched together from the various Apollo missions.

(Previously, on Jeffmilner.com.)

Categories
backmasking

The Fight to Save America from Backmasking

Just in time for Halloween, a fantastic article by Bryan Gardiner on the history and belief in backmasking, The Fight to Save America From Satan’s Subliminal Rock Messages.

After circulating pamphlets with the “backward masked” declarations spelled out, that’s precisely what Assemblyman Phillip Wyman and panel witness William H. Yarroll II did. The relevant portion of the eight-minute classic was first played forward for committee members and then reversed. Here’s what Wyman claimed could be heard: “I sing because I live with Satan. The Lord turns me off. There’s no escaping it. Here’s to my sweet Satan.” Yarroll, who identified himself as a “neuroscientist,” noted that a teenager need only listen to “Stairway to Heaven” three times before these backward messages were “stored as truth.”

Categories
backmasking

Trackbacks

The following are a selection of related blog postings about my backmasking site (for more, see my backmasking information page or search through posts labelled in the backmasking category):

Backmasking Questions
Summary: A few questions about backmasking to think about and, of course, reader opinions via comments.
Posted: 2006.02.13 – 12:24 pm

Your Backmasking Experiences
Summary: Please leave a comment here if you’re into the whole backmasking thing. Have you tried it? What have you found? Do you think there is something to it, or do you just think it’s all a coincidence? This is the place to leave your comments on what you’ve discovered from your own experimenting.
Posted: 2005.11.02 – 7:24 pm

Other Songs with Backmasking
Summary: I’ve been getting a lot of emails with requests for other songs that have backwards messages as well people sending me lists of songs that apparently have just that. Here are some excerpts (for those of you that care).
Posted: 2004.09.01 – 7:50 pm

Stairway to Heaven Backwards Full Lyrics
Summary: An email sharing his opinion on the lyrics to the whole Stairway to Heaven song played backwards.
Posted: 2004.11.06 – 10:36 am

Stairway to Heaven Backwards Interpretation
Summary: Some emails I have received and my personal interpretation of Stairway to Heaven. (Though now I’ve had some reason to change my interpretation—here it is nonetheless.)
Posted: 2004.02.17 – 12:22 pm

Stairway to Heaven Subliminal Messages
Summary: Some time ago I received an email from a professor at York University. He asked if he could use part of my Stairway to Heaven backwards site/idea for a class. Here you will find the conclusion of his experiment.
Posted: 2005.02.08 – 2:43 pm

Categories
backmasking

Simon Singh on Backmasking

Watch on A Dramatic Demonstration of the Power of Mental Frames on YouTube.

Categories
backmasking

Stairway to Heaven Backwards in HTML 5

I’m in the process of updating my backmasking page into HTML 5. That means I’m (trying to) use your browser’s built in audio playing abilities using the <audio> tag.

So far I’ve only updated the Stairway to Heaven clip, but I plan to go through them all.
Update: I’ve finished creating HTML 5 versions for each song. See the bottom of this post for individual links.

Unfortunately not all modern browsers support the proposed specifications (I’m looking at you Internet Explorer). I’ve tried to fix this by using an embedded Flash audio player for those that have out of date or non-future proof browsers. The irony of switching out of Flash and still being forced to keep Flash is not lost on me.

Please do me a favour by letting me know in the comments if the audio doesn’t work on the browser you’re using. It now works on the iPhone!

Here are the individual links (for permalink / bookmarking purposes):

Categories
backmasking

Michael Shermer: The pattern behind self-deception

Michael Shermer talks about why people believe strange things, including the belief that there are secret messages in popular music when it’s played backwards.

[ted id=22]

Categories
backmasking

Backmasking in Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi

By popular request, from Lady Gaga’s debut album The Fame, comes a little clip out of track number three, Paparazzi reversed.

Personally, I can’t hear it even with the “reverse lyrics” showing. To me, Lucifer sounds more like moose-em-mouw, but the emails keep coming. For the record, I’m a complete skeptic.

(More backmasking clips)