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Fnord

From Academic Kids

A fnord is disinformation or irrelevant information intending to misdirect, with the implication of a conspiracy.

The word was coined as a nonsense word in the Principia Discordia by Kerry Thornley and Greg Hill, but was popularized by The Illuminatus! Trilogy of books by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. In these novels, it is claimed that the interjection "fnord" possesses hypnotic power over readers. A conspiracy of the world's controlling powers conditions everyone from a young age to be unable to consciously see the word "fnord"; instead, every appearance of the word will unconsciously generate a general feeling of uneasiness and confusion.

In the Shea/Wilson construct, fnords are scattered liberally in the text of newspapers and magazines, causing fear and anxiety in those following current events. However, there are no fnords in the advertisements, encouraging a consumerist society. It is implied in the books that fnord is not the actual word used for this task, but merely a substitute, since most readers would be unable to see the actual word. In the movie They Live, the main character discovers a similar conspiracy, when commercials are revealed to have hidden conformity messages visible only with specially prepared glasses.

To see the fnords means to be unaffected by the supposed hypnotic power of the word or, more loosely, of other fighting words. The phrase "I have seen the fnords" was famously graffitoed on a railway bridge (known locally as Anarchy Bridge) between Earlsdon and Coventry city centre throughout the 1980s and 1990s, until the bridge was upgraded. The bridge and the phrase were mentioned in the novel A Touch of Love by Jonathan Coe (ISBN 0140294910).

"Fnord" has become a popular word with followers of Discordianism. It is often used in Usenet and other computer circles to indicate a random or surreal sentence; anything out of context (intentionally or not) may be labelled "fnord".

See also

References

External links

it:Fnord

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