Control and the Outer Limits


Jon Reisman

In the early sixties, I watched a Cold War pseudo-sci-fi drama series on our black-and-white TV. The Outer Limits opened with the following: 

“There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur, or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly, and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: There is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to...The Outer Limits.”

Sixty years ago the seeds of Orwellian language and media control, misinformation, disinformation, deep fakes, cheap fakes, and just plain old spin were already rooted and growing in America. Our wealth and technology (capitalism, artificial intelligence, and data nano-bots anyone?) have nurtured and sustained Big Brother, Big Tech, and Big Media. Their mission today appears to be to prop up the Big Guy. It also may be true that Big Brother is experiencing some gender dysphoria issues and may transition to Big Sister.

I do not remember much directly about the 1964 Presidential election. I was eight. I believe that President Johnson and the Democrats successfully controlled the message and stoked nuclear warmonger concerns about Barry Goldwater and the GOP. LBJ’s election would give us the Vietnam escalation, the Great Society, the 60’s counter Cultural Revolution of drugs, sex, and rock and roll, and Richard Nixon in 1968. I sometimes refer to the effects on my family and the country as “sideswiped by the sixties.”

In 2024, videos and narratives continue to suggest that the Big Guy is a doddering senile geezer and the most relevant movies to the Presidential election are Weekend at Bernie’s, Grumpy Old Men, and The Manchurian Candidate. The Big Guy’s Press Secretaries past, present, and future have essentially become Ministers of Truth crossed with Baghdad Bob, loudly proclaiming there is nothing to see here, even as we can all see it. The latest “cheap fakes” defense of Joe from DEI Press Secretary KJP is both telling and desperate. 

When Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981, Chief of Staff Al Haig told the nation he “was in control.” I do not know who is really in control, but my short list includes Dr. Jill, Barack Obama, Susan Rice, Mark Zuckerberg, and George Soros. 

Being aware that our information and narrative feed are being controlled and manipulated is a critical step in defending what remains of our freedoms. In the sixties, there was a bromide not to trust anyone over 30. In the eighties, Ronald Reagan said “Trust, but verify.” Our coins and paper currency say “In God We Trust.” I trust the establishment's legacy media to spin and commit lies of omission and commission in the service of the left. I trust them to promote diversity except for diversity of opinion. I trust them to promote equity (whatever that is), remembering that other great Orwellian bromide from Animal Farm- all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others

Jon Reisman is an economist and policy analyst who retired from the University of Maine at Machias after 38 years. He resides on Cathance Lake in Cooper, where he is a Selectman and a Statler and Waldorf intern. Mr. Reisman’s views are his own, and he welcomes comments as letters to the editor here or to him directly via email at [email protected].

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