In the Shea/Wilson construct, fnords are scattered liberally in the text of newspapers and magazines, causing fear and anxiety in those following current events. However, there are no fnords in the advertisements, encouraging a consumerist society. It is implied in the books that fnord is not the actual word used for this task, but merely a substitute, since most readers would be unable to see the actual word.
To see the fnords means to be unaffected by the supposed hypnotic power of the word or, more loosely, of other fighting words. The phrase "I have seen the fnords" was famously graffitied on a railway bridge (known locally as Anarchy Bridge) between Earlsdon and Coventry (U.K.) city centre throughout the 1980s and 1990s, until the bridge was upgraded. The bridge and the phrase were mentioned in the novel A Touch of Love by Jonathan Coe. Fnord was also graffitied all over the state of Maine and New England.
In the John Carpenter movie They Live, the main character discovers a similar conspiracy when hidden conformity messages appearing on billboards, magazines, television, and currency are revealed to those wearing special sunglasses.
A well-known fnord also occurs within the text of part of the High Energy Weapons Archive website
GURPS material also uses the term, usually coupled with "You're not cleared for that!" E.g., http://www.sjgames.com/secret.html on their website.
In the Steve Jackson game Illuminati, a card for the Fnord Motor company (a reference to Ford Motors) is included. Also, in the game's first expansion set, a chip with the word "Fnord" written on it was included with instructions to "Hide this chip someplace your friends will never find it".
City attacks graffiti quickly, before 'fnord' sets in ; Left unchecked, city officials say, graffiti can trigger community distress.
Sep 13, 2004; DAVID HENCH Staff Writer Portland Press Herald (Maine) 09-13-2004 City attacks graffiti quickly, before 'FNORD' sets in ;...