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Monday, September 27, 2004

Forgery exposed!

Based on a tip from assmissile on the powerboatblog.com site, we have learned that parts of the notorious Windsurfing attack-ad created by the Bush for President campaign, have been premeditatively forged through high-tech digital electronic means.

To back up a little, the fraudulent advertisement purports to show Kerry windsurfing on some unnamed large body of water. The theme of the ad ostensibly works to sway the viewer into believing that "Kerry tilts in any direction the wind blows", an extension of the flip-flopping tag given to Kerry by his opponents. The clip further accentuates the flip-flopping by showing him sailing in one direction and then clearly in the opposite direction, repeated several times.

Given the point the Bush ad-men apparently tried to convey, they unfortunately relied on high-tech, yet crude and amateurish, forgery techniques to create the video. As a case in point, look carefully at the following two frames snapped from the ad:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The first frame, which we call "flip", shows Kerry skillfully sailing in one direction. The second frame, "flop" shows Kerry elegantly keeping the exact same form while traveling in the opposite direction. On first glance, many people know that this can happen through a technique called tacking; which cleverly enables the seasoned sailor to travel upwind. However, upon further reflection, the populace who has watched enough Flintstone cartoons during their childhood and early adulthood, will recognize some sleight-of-hand performed on the video mixing board.

Hollywood rears it's ugly head when we take one of those clips and flip the image orientation using GIMP:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

How odd that the two images appear identical apart from the ad narrative text superimposed on the frames. The odds that one of these two images is a forgery approaches 100%, if we statistically consider that the odds of all the landmarks coincidentally lining up in the field of view, at the exact same locations but in the opposite sense, is vanishingly small. Much like the DNA or fingerprints of any two people matching is vanishingly small.

And here is an animated GIF of the two images superimposed:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

So what we have here is a forgery, frequently defined as "the false making or material alteration of or addition to a written instrument for the purpose of deceit and fraud". The fact that this was a digital deception does not make it any less a forgery. And in a strange political twist, the analogy of flip-flopping no longer holds water; Kerry obviously is sailing in one direction, clear in his ideology and true to his character.

The psychology behind the technical deception

Ordinarily, the average person can't tell the difference between a real and forged mirror image, due to the lack of extra visual cues.
Case in point, consider the following images:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted by ImageShack.us

Next, consider the following two images with a strong visual contextualization:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.usImage Hosted
<br />by ImageShack.us

Psychologically, the average person would have been immediately yanked out of their inadvertant hypnosis if the video ad had contained strong visual cues, such as the name of the passenger boat passing by. Or if the writing on Kerry's shirt had been more visible. Unfortunately, the quality of the video was poor enough, blurred enough, or altered enough to prevent the fraud from immediately being exposed.


Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's quite possibly the dumbest thing I've ever read. I'd proceed to argue and try to convince you of how dumb you are, but the add is so dumb I think that I might just be missing your sarcasm.

6:53 PM  
Professor Blogger @whut said...

Further confirms the general rule that irony and sarcasm are lost when applied to an idiot.

9:33 PM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, but, "So...your point is...?" First, if your theme (as the producer) is 'flip-flopping' how better to show it than flopping the image?

Second, if they had images of Kerry tacking back and forth, would that make the 'point' more credible?

Lean on Bush to explain his reliance on the 'Yellowcake forgeries' to support our involvement in Iraq, if you care about forgeries. We HAVE to concentrate on issues of substance. Please!!!!

1:45 PM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...


(Lighten up, everybody!)

1:54 PM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...


So they bend the truth and make stuff up in order to call Kerry a flip-flopper, and then digitally misrepresent Kerry windsurfing in order to provide a metaphor for Kerry's made-up flip-flopping.

So, I guess that makes it a REALLY GOOD metaphor!


5:12 PM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was funny. However, you cheered up Brian Leiter (google "Leiter" and take the first hit), who is a self-righteous, pugnacious, self-important mediocrity, so for that you are to be condemned.

6:16 PM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...


Now that is a forgery!

6:31 PM  
Professor Blogger Blar said...

You have convinced me that all of these claims of Kerry "flip-flopping" and heading "whichever way the wind blows" are really just distortions that have been spun up by his opponent's political campaign. The evidence is incontrovertible: Kerry is skillfully setting forth on a sensible course, but his positions are being systematically misrepresented. You have done a great public service.

11:34 PM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

This guy had the same idea: http://iraqwarwrong.blogspot.com/2004/09/forgaries-rightwing-media-bias.html

7:35 AM  
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1:16 AM  
Professor Blogger Nedo said...

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4:21 AM  

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