It’s so rare that anything connected with heavy metal breaks into the mainstream consciousness that I can’t help but pay attention when it happens. Today it was kind of unavoidable. I was in my car with the radio tuned to a local talk channel just about the time that the CBS national radio news came on, and sure enough, right there at the end, after stories about things like wildfires and drought in the Midwest and Mitt Romney’s latest insistence that, yes, he pays his taxes, was Dave Mustaine’s latest and perhaps most outrageous pronouncement yet. CBS even aired a clip from Mustaine’s August 7 commentary in Singapore. You know, the one where he said this:
“Back in my country, my president … he’s trying to pass a gun ban, so he’s staging all of these murders, like the ‘Fast And Furious’ thing down at the border … Aurora, Colorado, all the people that were killed there … and now the beautiful people at the Sikh temple.”
Later, Mustaine went on to suggest that he may move to Singapore — a state not exactly known for its libertarian values — to escape the terror of “Nazi America.”
Dave, please move. Please, please, please, please, please!! If you move to Singapore, there’s less chance that the people at CBS will hear the next piece of ignorant garbage that spews from your pampered mouth.
It’s true that Dave Mustaine is not the only member of the community of metal with paranoid goofball ideas who insists on sharing them with the world. Unfortunately, the patronage of generations of metalheads have given him a platform from which his blathering gets noticed a lot more than the blathering of other lunatics who play in metal bands. It’s way past time that fans took the platform away from him.
I’m not really trying to organize a boycott — because I can’t. Not enough people pay attention to what’s on my mind. And given what I guess about the readership of this site, I’m probably preaching to the choir anyway. So, this is really just a cross between a rant and a fantasy.
But I do indeed fantasize about people in metal turning their backs en masse on this guy and not dropping another fucking dime in his coffers. It’s really not too much to ask, because there are so many other metal bands at least as good as Megadeth (I’m being way too generous, of course, since Megadeth hasn’t put out a relevant album in eons). So it’s not like this idea calls for any serious personal sacrifice.
And before anyone starts yelling “free speech”, let me be clear: Dave Mustaine is free to be an asshole, and we’re all free to spend our money in other ways. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is a limitation on the power of government to restrict freedom of speech. It has no bearing on the ability of us as consumers to spend our money, voluntarily, as we choose. I’m saying we should choose not to spend it on Megadeth.
I’m not suggesting that you steal Megadeth’s music instead, because I’ve come around to the belief that ripping off artists’ works is not cool — even when the artist is an ignorant blowhard.
I don’t care what your politics may be, or whether you support or oppose Obama or gun control, this latest piece of Mustaine spew is over-the-top ridiculous. Not only is there zero evidence to support Mustaine’s conspiracy accusations, there’s not even any evidence that the Obama administration is doing or planning to do anything concrete to restrict the ability of Americans to buy or own guns. The irony is that it’s not Obama who’s using the horrific shootings at Aurora and Milwaukee to promote his political agenda, it’s Dave Fucking Mustaine, and that’s just disgusting.
I could go on about Mustaine wanting to preserve the unfettered right of every wacko in the U.S. to get their hands on military-grade assault weaponry, which will enable them to kill a lot more people before being stopped than they could with knives, bricks, bats, or even handguns — but I’m trying not to make this about the pro’s and con’s of gun control. It’s about the pro’s and con’s of Dave Mustaine’s mental state and continuing to help finance his privileged existence with our fucking money.
I feel slightly bad about the thought of depriving the other members of Megadeth of their income. But they’re good musicians, and I think they’d land in even better bands if Megadeth were to fold from lack of fan support, or at least bands without an embarrassing douchebag as it’s won’t-shut-up spokesperson.
Okay, I’ll stop now. Though I could go on and on and on. But I won’t. Feel free to disagree with me in the Comments. Just don’t expect me to buy anything you’re selling.
I agree with your sentiments, though it should be pointed out that he said these despicable comments during a live show, whilst also scolding someone who kept shouting things out as saying “Your Mother never did teach you any manners did she? They don’t pay to listen to you, these people paid to listen to me, so shut the fuck up!”
Yeah… Guy’s a cunt.
That’s the problem. People do pay to listen to him (though, despite what he seems to believe, only when he’s actually making music). And I fixed that reference to an interview.
Puts a bad name on conservatives. It’s always the craziest and the dumbest that are also the loudest and get the most attention.
Tends to be true of liberals, too. And people in the middle. Actually, crazy and dumb gets way too much attention in our culture, whether inside or outside of politics.
HEY! Don’t talk about me like that. My beliefs that a group of leftist sasquatches and the tooth fairy are attempting a coup on the President of Siberia is based on FACTS! Have you seen their certificates of birth? Neither have I.
even when he talks a lot of garbage, nazi america it is, dunno about obama being guilty of such thing but I do hate him for being just another bullshit politician making the world a worst place to live in.
Ted Nugent made his way back to the spotlight with similar rants. Maybe Dave is trying to follow suit.
Two peas in a pod. The egos on those guys are as big as all outdoors.
Fuck Dave Mustaine, seriously. Rust in Peace and Peal sells. 2 great thrash albums. That’s it.
This guy is a complete idiot. He has put out some good albums, but he is a complete waste of humanity now. I have no tolerance for his bullshit insane theories that make no sense what so ever anyways.
I kind of miss the days when musicians were dicks, but you didn’t have to know about it because there just wasn’t enough media bandwidth to report it all. And that’s kind of sad.
Good point. Same goes for sports stars, movie stars, TV stars, etc. Now because of the expanded media bandwidth, we get to learn in excruciating detail how truly awful many of them really are. Egotism being so rampant among really successful artists/performers, some of them assume that because they’re good at one thing, the world must be dying to hear them or see them doing something entirely different. Like talking.
I posted a thing about this on Facebook, but I deleted it soon after because I wanted people to see my other status and focus on that more. I basically said something like this guy is the Rick Santorum of metal, but maybe even Rick Santorum isn’t this stupid.
I would like to say that I believe strongly in gun rights, but I also believe strongly in gun control; during an interview on the Colbert Report I heard that only like 60% of the country does background checks… here’s a link to an article about the guy who I think said it: http://kwgn.com/2012/07/25/tom-mauser-were-better-than-this/.
Well I’ve had two reasons for not giving Dave Mustaine any more money running neck and neck for a while now. Looks like “has shitty and outright retarded opinions” has finally overtaken “hasn’t made non-shitty music in decades” to hold the number 1 spot!
Seriously, what the fuck Mustaine.
Thank you for a good laugh. I guess it may have been obvious from the post, but I find it really easy not to give Big Dave any of my money, because I haven’t given him any of my money in a very long time, because it has been a very long time since I had any interest in what he and Megadeth were doing with their music. I would have been more conflicted if I thought the band killed it musically. I hope that inner conflict wouldn’t have lasted for more than 30 seconds.
Let’s not forget he got some black metal band (Marduk?) kicked off a festival because their views conflicted with his born-again values.
If you’re moving to Singapore it’s probably got more to do with taxes, but I somehow doubt that he’s rich enough that he needs to worry too much about that (not to mention the fact that Uncle Sam will (in most cases) still charge you taxes even if you no longer live in the US).
I had forgotten about the black metal incident. It was the same tour — he said he wouldn’t play with Rotting Christ in Greece or Dissection in Israel, and the promoters kicked those bands off the appearances.
Mustaine has said so many things over the years that make my blood boil, and then I just take deep breaths, remind myself that I don’t give a fuck about him or what he thinks, and then move on. I guess the reason I didn’t do it this time is because it was such a vicious, disgusting (and patently baseless) accusation and it has gotten so much totally unwarranted attention that deep breathing didn’t get the job done.
That whole Rotting Christ thing is what started my dislike for him.
I’d actually expect Mustaine to be the type to move to Singapore over taxes. Not because he’s stupid loaded or anything like that but I have no doubt he makes a very good living for himself while going “BIG GUB’MINT TAKIN’ MY MONEY.” BUT in order to actually make it worthwhile he’d have to renounce citizenship or outright dodge taxes and as someone who makes his money touring in the US neither of these things are really practical.
I had no idea about the Marduk (or Rotting Christ or Dissection) episodes. Again all I’ve got to say is what the fuck, Mustaine.
If I would stop listening to someone just because they said something that rubbed me the wrong way. I wouldn’t listen to anyone most likely. So as long as Dave keeps writing those catchy riffs, and getting someone to produce him, so that his voice sounds like 1989 not 2012 Dave’s voice. I’ll keep listening.
Mustaine is a troll, and not the good kind. I think he’s shooting off his mouth for publicity, and lo: it seems to be working.
I’m not defending his crackpot ideas here. I also don’t think what you’re espousing somehow goes against free speech, because free speech goes both ways.
HOWEVER. I want to pick up on your point about him not being the only crackpot in metal. The problem is, nobody ever calls out the liberal crackpots and tells people to stop giving them money. What’s up with that? They’re all crackpots. So what? They’re artists. Artists are fucking crazy.
The same thing goes for him refusing to play with certain bands. Ultra-liberal bands have done the same thing. What’s the difference?
I wasn’t incensed over his refusal to play with bands whose worldviews were at odds with his new-found Christianity. He can play or not play with whomever he chooses, and it actually appears that he didn’t insist the promoters kick those other bands off the line-ups. He just said he didn’t want to perform with them — though maybe it was foreseeable what would then happen.
I also don’t disagree that there are plenty of metal bands with left-wing politics who make inflammatory statements driven by their own politics (or their atheism). But I still think accusing the President of orchestrating the murder of civilians in order to pave the way for gun control is an especially high level of lunacy. I don’t remember seeing anything this bizarre from any left-wing metal musician whose profile is as high as Mustaine’s. But I’m certainly willing to be proven wrong. I’ll also admit that because my own politics are a lot closer to Obama’s than to Mustaine’s, I’m not very objective. 🙂
Basically everything Kerry King has ever said about religion falls into that category. Beyond that I don’t pay a lot of attention to the crackpots at all, and I don’t typically read articles about musicians’ political beliefs, though I know I’ve seen a few that are at least equally crazy. I don’t recall who has made the statements or what specifically they said, for those reasons. What I do remember is that they usually couch their theories in cryptic statements, so at least Dave is being forthright about his insanity. I hope someone else can give a good example.
Man, that is a tough topic to Google if you can’t remember who said it.
From Wino in this interview:
“I’m sure I’ll be labeled a fucking crackpot for the rest of my life, but I’m gonna say it: I think 9/11 was staged to do exactly what it did, and what it did was to totally allow the neocons to get their talons into things a lot deeper and a lot quicker.”
This is almost exactly like Mustaine’s conspiracy theory in question, except Mustaine’s is on a smaller scale.
“What’s the use in using depleted uranium in all of our armor-piercing munitions that the Pentagon and the Army know is giving people cancer?”
No evidence to support this, based on my own research from a few years ago in relation to my last job as a veterans’ disability benefits attorney.
“The gist of David Icke’s book And the Truth Shall Set You Free is that the general people of humanity, the good working folks, are all becoming kind of locked into a vibrational prison.”
While some of the points he uses to back this up seem pretty legit, well . . . WTF does “vibrational prison” mean? It sounds nuts to me.
This is a stretch. I acknowledged in the post that Mustaine is just one of many, many metal musicians who hold and espouse goofball paranoid ideas, but he’s so well known that when he opens his mouth, his ridiculous pronouncements find their way into the mainstream media. And I don’t think it’s just because he’s a political conservative or a Christian. What’s the most famous band Wino has been in? Saint Vitus? Not really in the same league. Though I grant you that his conspiracy theory about 9/11 is just as ridiculous as Mustaine’s insulting rhetoric about the killings in Aurora and Milwaukee.
1) 9/11 conspiracy theorists fall all over the political specturm. The most prominent right winger, Alex Jones, is right under our noses when we talk about Mustaine. No political double standard there.
2) As for depleted uranium and white phosphorus, causing cancer and birth defects, there is plenty of evidence for this. Look at rates of cancer and malformed births in Basra, Fallujah and even Bosnia for starters. The rates of birth defects alone are almost 5x the international norm. For starters, this has been recorded by Robert Fisk, John Piliger and recently by Al Jazeera. The Pentagon has refused to research this thoroughly. They wouldn’t spend the money and the findings would probably not be good for them. Wino just can’t seem to articulate this very elequently and doesn’t use facts or context.
3) Vibrational prison does sound loony.
Not saying I’m voting for that corporatist beacon of spineless and hypocrisy that is the Democratic party, but nutspeak is part of mainstream Republican rhetoric. It’s business as usual.
We can ignore MegaDave but his theories are getting dangerously crazy. To hell with Obama’s legacy. Fact is, painting this conspiracy theory ignores the increasing prevalence of nationalist right wing terrorism in the Western world. For context, of 300+ domestic terrorist cases in the US since 2000, 1/4 were motivated by xenophobia, white supremacism or anti-government zeal of some sort. None were a result of Islamist militancy. So, while the DHS chases islamist spooks, the Anders Breviks of our society, like the dude who shot up the Sikh temple, operate with much less scrutiny.
http://www.salon.com/2012/08/15/dhss_right_wing_terror_blind_spot/ (Yes, I know Solon=lulz but it references a HuffPo article which in turn refrences an internal DHS report)
We should continue to redicule Dave publicly and savagely. It’s times like these I wish Rust in Peace wasn’t my favorite thrash record of all time.
I’m not going to go on every detail of this, but your claim that no domestic terrorism cases in he US has to do with Islamist militancy is so incredibly wrong. Hassan ring a bell? There are plenty more, like the guy whose dad was charged with lying to the FBI (can’t remember their names) and he was buying explosive components in, I think, Colorado, while living in New York. Or the Dallas guy, or the Chicago guy, both of whom tried to detonate what they thought were car bombs (or maybe it was just one of them who did it, and they came down on the other early because the first made the news). I know Islamists aren’t the only domestic terrorists, but they’re certainly ou there. I’m obviously not good with the names, but I’d recognize most of them if I saw them.
I think any sane person would give you that. Yet, those are an almost negligible percentage of all incidents and they have all been unsuccessful. The latter seems to be why even the Department of Homeland Security isn’t counting them. Moreover, all instances involving chemical or biological agents, which I think we can agree are the scariest ones, were motivated by right wing extremism (A full PDF of the report is avilable through the HuffPo link). The point being that Dave’s public outburts obscure a much bigger problem. Like Islander wrote, Megaderp’s success has given him a vehicle to reach a lot of people. We’re doing our civic duty by making damn sure he isn’t taken seriously. He deserves all the redicule he’s currently getting and more.
I’m interested to see the follow up (if any) to this story, because it’s not hard to assume this got picked up by major news outlets for its “Metal singer extolling violent conspiracy theories” angle. Hopefully it just goes away and people ignore it, but it bums me out that the extremism of Mustaine being an uneducated loon made CNN, while Randy Blythe’s imprisonment, and the subsequent show of support for him, did not.
Also I just have to throw out that if he knew ANYTHING about the Fast and Furious operation, he’d know it’s been a huge embarrassment on the administration, one that has threatened to get the Attorney General impeached. But hey, he’s Dave Mustaine; he don’t need the facts.
Follow-up to this story:
Mustaine made a “clarifying” statement on the radio talk show of a prominent conspiracy theorist, but of course didn’t retract what he said on stage in Singapore:
I also saw this condemnation of Mustaine’s accusations by one of the Aurora shooting victims:
I’d rather hear Dave Mustaine talk about some crazy conspiracy theory stuff than another band yammer on about evil/satan in between songs. Now I’m not saying I agree or disagree with him,it’s his opinion and yes, he has his platform,just like Kanye West saying Bush hates black people or Sinead O’connor ripping up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live. Yes, these are all publicity stunts but also strong political statements,good or bad,we all decide…Anyhow, I scored a free Megadeth ticket recently and walked out half way through, boring. Believe in whatever it is you may believe in…
I haven’t given him any of my money in a long time anyways. I bought one Megadeth album many years ago, and one shirt at Canadian Carnage back in 2008, and nothing since. If I wanted my money to go to a nutcase spouting nonsense conspiracies, I could go give money to the homeless crackheads on the downtown east side of Vancouver.
“Mustaine has said so many things over the years that make my blood boil, and then I just take deep breaths, remind myself that I don’t give a fuck about him or what he thinks, and then move on.”
So which is it, do you not give a fuck, or are you trying to convince people to boycott someone who you don’t agree with? Thought police much? Sometimes I wonder about you metal bloggers, getting all pissed off because someone who you don’t have to listen to said some silly shit. Grow up man, there’s already a blog for crybabies called metalsucks.
“do you not give a fuck, or are you trying to convince people to boycott someone who you don’t agree with?” Um, how long do I have to decide?
And by the way, it’s not just something I disagree with. It’s a piece of foul, lunatic slander that has zero basis in reality. And since when is calling bullshit on bullshit being a crybaby?
It is bullshit, I’m not argueing that point.
Allow me clarify my opinion. People today are way too sensitive. A musician who says something really dumb (never happened before right?) gets everybody’s vagina really sandy. Make fun of Mustaine all you want, I don’t mind, hell I do. But to say “don’t give Megadeth anymore of your money” is simply foolish.
If you don’t mind the misanthropic viewpoints of Dragged Into Sunlight, then you shouldn’t mind some verbal bullshit from an ex-heroin addict.
You attitude is generally the one I follow, which is why I said earlier that I usually just take deep breathes and move on. Just another crazy artist saying another crazy thing. I write very little around here that goes off on stuff like this or makes fun of people in the scene. Something about this in particular just really got under my skin, I guess in part because it came out of such tragic incidents and in part because it has drawn so much media attention outside of metal.
Hey man, we all need to vent. I guess seeing the 10th Mustaine post on his delusional rant got under my skin too. I actually enjoy a lot of the shit you post around here and unfortunately don’t feel the need to chime in unless I get some grains of sand all up in my snatch. Such is the life of a lowly internet troll.
I’ve read all these blogs today, with everyone dissing Dave Mustaine. They’re on every metal site. I’m not even going to defend him. What’s the point? You either love him or hate him. Besides, I’m not even a Megadeth fan.
Islander, you say Mustaine is a lunatic, that his claims are not based in reality. I would argue that it’s you who isn’t tuned into reality. Maybe you just depend on the mainstream media to shape your worldview. Whatever the case, Mustaine’s comments just may not seem all that “crazy” once you start digging into eyewitness accounts of the events in both shootings that were referred to in his “rant”. Here are a few facts to consider, so let’s start with the Colorado Batman shooting: 1) ABC news as well as other corporate media outlets initially reported multiple suspects before the official “story” was fed into the newsrooms by government and law enforcement officials. 2) Emergency 9/11 audio proves that there were multiple shooters instead of the “lone” gunman we are all led to believe perpetrated the attack. 3) Witnesses inside the theater have stated that someone actually stood up in the theater after receiving a phone call and proceeded to walk towards the emergency exit that was later used by the shooter. He then proceeded to prop open the door in some way. 4) Second gas mask found, blood trail, and neck wound cover up. 5) On the same day as the Aurora massacre, Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine held an identical drill that simulated a shooter in a movie theater. 6) The U.N. Small Arms Treaty is set to be debated this week with a huge majority of Americans opposing ANY restrictions on guns. These are but a few examples of how the truth is routinely buried…which….hmm…reminds me of a speech JFK gave prior to his assassination regarding quote “a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” here in the land of the “free”. Here is a link to the transcript of the speech: http://www.scribd.com/doc/81264464/JFK-s-Monolithic-Ruthless-Conspiracy-Transcript As far as the Sikh temple shooting, initial reports indicated 4 shooters, but this story was quickly scrubbed, as well as a surveillance camera that went offline just prior to the shootings. For the record, Dave Mustaine didn’t dream these things up all by himself so don’t give him that much credit. There are plenty of whistleblowers, watchdogs, researchers and average joes capable of digging deeper and “waking up” from the steady diet of lies and distraction fed to us on a 24/7 basis. We’re supposed to fall in line. We’re supposed to buy into the illusion that it’s a “left vs. right” thing and then we’re caught in the deception. The truth is that there has been a plan in place for many years now for depopulation and the building of the control grid has gone unopposed regardless of who has been in office. All this stuff you’ve ever heard about a “New World Order”? You have no idea what that means. It’s not some new age idea of “enlightenment” or all of us just getting along suddenly. There are plans in place to depopulate the planet and have been for quite some time. Ask yourself why the Department of Homeland Security recently purchased 450 million rounds of hollowpoint ammunition? Why are reports coming in virtually every day from ordinary Americans of foreign troops being trained here on US soil? Why are there increasing reports of military staging and exercises being reported in areas which are NOT military bases? It will be too late to consider that maybe “gee, maybe I should seek truth for myself and not believe what I’m told” once your door is kicked in and you are hauled off to a FEMA camp, oh excuse me, FEMA “shelter”. All I’m saying is, just look at the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) that was signed into law on March 1st this year. It was co-authored last year by John McCain, real American hero that he is, and signed into law by Obama, effectively destroying the US Bill of Rights. Don’t even think that this doesn’t affect you. It affects every American citizen. Do some research. I have.
Dude, I saw the stuff on the web site of Alex Jones, the guy that interviewed Mustaine, about the evidence of a second shooter at Aurora, and much else that you include in your comment. But there’s a quantum leap between the possibility that James Holmes had an accomplice in Aurora and the idea that the Obama administration orchestrated the killings. Don’t you see that? Don’t you see some need to have something like ONE SINGLE FUCKING FACT to link the one to the other????
The attraction of conspiracy theories is that it’s possible to take certain proven facts or legitimate suspicions and make them fit within a narrative that points in one wild direction or another. But the narratives might as well be science fiction because the links that make up the narrative exist solely within the minds of those who have imagined the narratives, ie, they lack proof. Yeah, maybe what you say is true, but maybe the world is run by lizard men from Alpha Centauri. What separates that theory from yours?
DUDE! SHUT UP!
You’ll let the fucking reptiles know that we’re on to them!! They’ll kill us all!!!
I’m not worried. I’ve lined the rooms of my home with foil and inscribed them with the special sigils that prevent their machines from detecting my presence, and I never go out. Only the ignorant, such as yourself, are at risk. Your intestines shall be their womb.
Oh, really? I bet you used the wrong sigils. You know how I know that? Because you clearly haven’t done the real research that I have. I bet you don’t even know a sticky widget from a sticky ball of cum in your hair.
Go ahead, make fun. You won’t be laughing when you’re herded into the breeding camps and their spawn swell up your guts like a balloon and they burst like a overripe melon. The breeding camps are already being built by the Interior Department in the so-called national parks, and your interior will become a park.
Oh, sure, that’s what THEY want you to think. Don’t you know that that’s all a front to distract you from the REAL nefarious deeds being done down at the Better Business Bureau. Do you really think the government wants better businesses?? No way! They want you to fail, so they can let the U.N. roll in with the Iranian army and impose commusocialism! Try buying an alpaca to fuck then!
Well sir, I take it all back. You HAVE been doing your research.
Can I have my Official Crazy Hat now?
Why are you asking me? I’m as sane as Mel Gibson and Randy Quaid.
Just saw this on Blabbermouth: http://www.blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=178305
Apparently the guitarist from Forbidden is doubling down on Mustaine’s comments (minus the directly linking it to Obama). But don’t worry, he has the most ironclad proof of all! Conspiracy nut youtube videos! Because a thing happened! And another thing happened! AND THEY ARE SO TOTALLY RELATED CAN’T YOU SEE WAKE UP SHEEPLE
…Sorry. Conspiracy theorists give me aneurisms.
Just . . . mind-boggling. It couldn’t possibly be that all these innocent people were slaughtered by nuts who found it way too easy to load up with firearms and ammo. It would be wrong to hold them personally responsible for murder. No, they’re just “patsies” or operatives working for shadowy forces running our country in order to provide more excuses to strip “radicals” of their weapons.
For fuck’s sake.
Its my clearly not-so-humble opinion that delving into conspiracy theory is a cop out to avoid personal responsibility. Got fired from your job? It’s not because you’re a slacker that creeps out the customers, it’s because “They” actually singled you out because you know “the real truth”. Not happy with the current political climate? Well it sure ain’t because you neglected to research the candidates and vote accordingly…no…obviously it’s because the government is run by a shadow organization that is plotting to destroy the country from the inside. This is not limited to the right wing…bullshit is bullshit, regardless of what side of the fence it’s on. Grow up and make an effort to change things if you’re not happy with the way things are. I promise you’re not important enough to warrant a government assassination.
Unfortunately, conspiracy theories seem to appeal to people who are convinced (and maybe rightly so) that nothing they might be capable of doing within the current political system will make any difference, or for that matter, that anything they may try to do to improve their own lives will work. It’s easier then to buy into narratives that have the country run by shadowy untouchable figures who pull strings in secret and manipulate pubic perceptions of reality for their own ends.