Nine Inch Nails is releasing a new album called Year Zero on April 17th. While Nine Inch Nails' music stands on its own, NIN has hired 42 Entertainment of Halo 2 fame to produce an alternate reality group of websites that Year Zero is supposed to take place in...
NIN's music has always been dark, almost dystopian. However, this album takes it to a new level. First is http://iamtryingtobelieve.com/ which details the drug "Parepin" that the American Government has been putting into the water supply in order to "protect" the drinkers from bioterrorism. However, this drug has a few negative affects, namely a sedation of spirit and enthusiam. The 'author' of the site profiles his release from Parepin (by not drinking the water) and details his renewed 'clarity'. He becomes skeptical of the Administration and tries to influence readers to not drink the water. Trying to contact the author: email@example.com results in an autoreply:
Thank you for your interest. It is now clear to me that Parepin is a completely safe and effective agent developed to protect us from bio-terrorism. The Administration is acting purely in the best interests of its citizens; to suggest otherwise was irresponsible and I deeply regret it.
I'm drinking the water. So should you.
Sounds very much like 1984's Big Brother and The Party. In this society, the military and presumably the administration has been taken over by Evangelical Christians, headed by the Church of Plano, which has taken over Daycares, Elementary Schools, and High Schools and has sent out a "Faithful Civil Patrol" to police citizenry, much like the Youth League in 1984.
Of course, there are resistors to the oppresive regime: one extraordinarily violent protestor we shall call "The Hammer" who resorts to violence to get the people's attention. An ex-military sniper, "The Hammer" has an innate understanding of how the Administration works and how to get people's attention. He understands that the government controls the citizenry through fear and will use that fear to reverse the control.
Another one of the websites: http://anotherversionofthetruth.com seems like a happy-go-lucky propaganda site, but selecting around the picture reveals a much less happy scene... Inside the website, there exists a 'forum' where other skeptical resistors discuss the happenings of the government. Your standard autocratic activities: faked drug busts, people dissappearing, consolidation of government services, oppresive military police, etc etc. I reccomend digging in there and listening to the audio tracks they post up there. Very creepy...
My favorite part about this whole scheme is the release of the first single: My Violent Heart. Since NIN is currently touring in Europe, the band left a flash drive in the BATHROOM of the colliseum they were playing at. It held the mp3 of the song: downloadable here or here or here. It's a return to the heavier roots of NIN's music, a far cry from the previous album: With Teeth.
Anywho, there's more to be said about the ties between this and the evangelical christian right taking over the current administration, the possibilty of further military campaigns in the middle east, government conspiracy, and the lot, but that's for another post...
Have fun exploring the alternate Year Zero universe!