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"The Man Behind the Curtain"

November 10, 2000

Satire by
Lauren Weinstein


Conspiracy theorists are fond of touting the existence of vast, shadowy organizations that secretly pull the strings of the world, unseen by the population at large and of sublime, all-encompassing power. Of course, it's usually only the rather inept conspiracies that conspiracy enthusiasts can speculate about, since by definition the competent puppet-masters are so totally invisible that nobody would ever suspect their existence.

So, I was both surprised and impressed when I was contacted yesterday by Mr. Zeegzux (not his real name), who claimed to be an operative of an organization he called "COFACOMCON" ...

"Mr. Zeegzux, what is COFACOMCON?"

"Lauren, I'm going out on something of a limb by talking about this at all, but I think that the world deserves to have some understanding of what's really going on. COFACOMCON is the secret Committee For the Advancement of Confusion, Obfuscation, Manipulation, and Control."

"I've never heard of it."

"Of course you've never heard of it. That's why it's secret."

"What can you tell me about the organization?" I asked.

"COFACOMCON is an international agency whose roots go back to the mid-19th century. We are a bipartisan group that assists powerful commercial and political interests in the maintenance of their power and control over the world's population. We do this through the manipulation of everyday events, inventions, and processes, in ways that appear to be random and ordinary to average observers," said Zeegzux.

"Can you give me some examples?"

"Certainly. One of our earliest efforts, which affects most people even today, was our influence on the development of the original 19th century typewriter keyboard. Don't believe those stories about the bizarre layout of the keyboard being for mechanical reasons. That was one of our jobs, and you're still typing on it today."

"What about your impact on more recent inventions?"

"It's an endless list, really. Replacement toilet flapper valves were the work of our hydraulic division. Our top human factors experts developed the original VCR timer setting and programming interface specifications that most videocassette recorders have used for years -- you can thank us for all those flashing clocks and missed programs that didn't record! And of course we've been intimately involved in the design of PC operating systems and software since the dawn of the personal computer age. We're also the primary behind-the-scenes architect of area codes and area code splits and overlays."

"You didn't by any chance have anything to do with that 'butterfly' punchcard ballot layout that's causing all the mayhem in Florida, did you?"

"Ah, uh, I'm really not at liberty to discuss that issue in any detail. However, I can tell you that we've been a proud partner in the election processes around the world since our earliest days, and certainly that ballot design was a brilliant one that I would be very proud to be associated with."

"Mr. Zeegzux, why did you decide to make the existence of COFACOMCON known at this time?"

"Lauren, with all of the public consternation over the current U.S. election, and so many other seemingly strange, confusing, and disconcerting events going on in the world today, I wanted to assure your readers that there really is a genuine order behind it all. They should be comforted by the fact that the apparent craziness isn't actually the result of uncontrolled random events, but part of carefully crafted plans by seasoned professionals."

"I'm sure they'll be very pleased to learn this," I said. "Can you give me any clues about your future projects coming down the pipe?"

"As you can imagine, I can't be at all specific about such plans," said Zeegzux. "However, I think it would be OK for me to mention that our DNA and genetic manipulation working groups have recently received significant funding increases, as has the satellite surveillance subcommittee. You can rest assured that COFACOMCON will be hard at work manipulating the future for many years to come!"

"By the way Mr. Zeegzux, about the programming of my VCR ..."

"I'm sorry, you have reached a disconnected number. This is a recording."

= = = = = =

Lauren Weinstein

For information about the author, please see: http://www.vortex.com/lauren

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