THE PETEYPEDIA FILES
FBI AGENT DALE PETEY isn’t great at computer security. That is understandable, he’s never really used a computer before. Luckily for us, we’ve been using computers since the 80’s so we have a leg up. Let get to hacking and hack us some computers!!!
(By hacking computers I mean navigate to https://www.hbo.com/peteypedia )
There are four documents available for us this first week:
MEMO: The Computer and You
RESEARCH: “Trust in the Law”
CLIPPING: “Veidt Declared Dead”
MEMO: “Rorschach’s Journal”
These documents are crammed full of world building details and fill in the gaps between Veidt’s detonation of the D.I.E. (Dimensional Incursion Event,) all the way to the year of 2019, and the beginning of the first contested presidential election since 1992. The first document: “The Computer and You” is a fictional memorandum from the director of the FBI. It is a direction that the “anti-vigilante task force group.” Is ordered to cease using paper filing and paper mail, and should instead be using Electronic mail or, “El-Mail.”
The second Document is a hand out from the “Greenwood Center for Cultural heritage.” It is a retrospective of the silent film featured prominently in the opening of the first episode of the show. It also explains who Bass Reeves is (with historical accuracy.) It even attributes the (fictional) filmTrust In the Law to Oscar Micheaux, a very real pioneering black filmmaker and author. He is known chiefly as the Most successful African American filmmaker in the first half of the 20th century.
The third document is a newspaper clipping detailing the “where’s Veidt” phenomena.
The last document is the most important. Six pages of single-spaced type from FBI agent Dale Petey. He is asking for permission to continue an investigation as to the whereabouts of Adrian Veidt. I won’t go into detail recapping the documents individually, because they aren’t very long, and you should go read them.Because these documents are a wealth of information about the world in which this show takes place, I do think it is appropriate for me to share some of my conclusions about the rich alternate history of this universe from 1985, our last glimpse of it. So what happened after Ozymandias cried out “I did it!” in Karnak?
“Then the squid dropped.”
That is how the James Doyan, The FBI Director, characterizes the cultural changes brought about by the DIE. Assailed by a creature that melted into water, and killed 3 million people because Veidt had covered his tracks so well, the evidence needed to prove that he engineered the DIE was hidden. The human mind is unable to accept randomness of that caliber, and so there was a need to find a scapegoat to maintain political stability. (Nixon wins re-election in 1988 in this universe, but loses or retires in 1992.) That scapegoat Nixon picked was technology, and specifically technology created by and maintained by Dr. Manhattan. Some scientists blame Dr. Manhattan for damaging the “Dimensional Membrane.” And there is a reactionary movement away from technology, including some rather strong luddite movements in the 1990’s. This explains why there isn’t really an internet, or cell-phones, in this universe, and also why the heroes use pagers. Society has spent its capital in other non-tech areas, perhaps such as medicine...(This field of study is called “Amistics” and it means the effect of what technologies a society decides to invest research time and money in.) It turns out that Adrian Veidt’s vision of a humanity without conflict was prosaic. Adrian couldn’t have predicted this technological backlash. He did cause it, a side effect of his efforts to neutralize Dr. Manhattan in 1985. Because of the huge amount of press surrounding the cancer cases of Jenny Slater, Wally Weaver, and Moloch, some people are convinced that Dr. Manhattan’s powers cause cancer. Further, they blame this same radiation from the D.I.E. (for which there is no evidence.) The article about Veidt’s death declaration makes clear that he was also the architect behind the “Blue Wave” election of 1992. Adrian’s handpicked friend, Robert Redford, (who in our universe made the “Horse Whisperer” in the 1990’s instead) is the President of the United States for 28 years.
However, not everyone was able to accept this new world order so easily. The same movement that generated the luddites, the same people who simply could not accept a lie as big as the DIE, those people had a primary source to draw from. A source that we, as readers, know to be legitimate and accurate: Rorschach’s Journal.
Most people found Rorschach’s journal to be a hoax. Veidt himself dismisses the published “Final Draft” Journal as, “quite literally, fake news.” It would have been lost to the noise of history, if not for the Blue Wave of 92, which created a sense of alienation in the communities that opposed Redford’s policies. To whit: Gun Control, Media Regulation, “Redfordations.”.
In 1995 Dan Dreiberg and Laurie Blake were arrested for Violating the Keene Act. This caused a spike of interest in Rorschach’s journal, and the new frontiersman published it in full. It functioned as a minority report, it provided an alternate story to explain the DIE. It was all Veidt’s fault! How insane! Rorschach became a sort of libertarian hero, the symbol of resistance to the Post DIE world order, and explains why the 7th Kavalry, and other terrorist organizations like it, would adopt a Rorschah mask to portray their hostility to the American Government. In fact the media has been working to discredit Rorschach ever since. (We are told American Hero Story is particularly brutal to him, portraying him as an unhinged psychopath sidestepping his genius detective skills. Intended to shame his fans.)
Dr. Manhattan’s statement to Adrian in the final chapter of the Graphic Novel, "A Stronger Loving World" he says to Adrian “Nothing Ever Ends” is prophetic. Adrian believed that once he tricked the world into believing that a squid could drop on New York, that it would usher in a utopian age of peace and prosperity. These documents prove that nothing is ever quite that simple, or to quote an in media radio host, “Thirty years of Redford, and what do we have for it? More land we can’t live on, and more animals we can’t kill.”
Conspiracy theories, or this idea that the media and the world is a veil pulled over your head that prevents you from seeing the truth, is incredibly damaging. These paranoid delusions cause people to lose track of their moorings, start taking drastic, dangerous actions that only seem necessary if you believe a very narrow set of facts that are not true. Things like bringing a rifle to a pizza place to free the child sex slaves chained in the basement….
We live in a world of Kennedy Assassination conspiracies. People believe Elvis is alive. People believe 9/11 is an inside job. And none of these theories are true. None of them are true, all of them are bunk. Imagine how many of these stories would pop up if Elvis showed up in a Saigon Nightclub singing “Blue Christmas” in 1999?
Damon Lindeloff and HBO have created a world where conspiracy theorists are correct. Elvis is alive! JFK was assassinated by a government cabal! The Squid was a Hoax! All of these conspiracy theories being proven true would have a devastating impact on the ability of the average person to parse information. The information contained in Peteypedia builds the vivid world of the show, and fills in the gaps beautifully. What do you think!? Send us your comments and theories to: firstname.lastname@example.org follow us on all social media outlets @nerdcyclopedia!
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