Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Shell Game Battles

I've kind of been enjoying the way the "Truthers" have been pushing Steve Alten's new book, The Shell Game. At least, enjoying it more than I have actually reading it, which is quite a struggle. Kevin Barrett has been pushing it as a way to reach more people, even though he admits that (for him) it's Islamophobic and cringe-worthy in parts.

He had Wendy Campbell, a nutty anti-Israel kook on one of his many radio shows after her post about how the book is "Just Another Zionist Scam to Stop 9/11 Investigation of Israel". You can get a flavor for the piece from this bit of rambling:

I became suspicious that this book was just another misleading Arab-bashing, Israel-pleasing work which only points fingers at the Zionist-approved list of “usual subjects” including the puppet king Bush. Many of us have come to the realization that Israel has played a major role in 9-11 (PNAC, dancing Israeli spies, Odigo, Wolfowitz Doctrine, The Clean Break, Netanyahu and Silverstein phone buddies, Israeli security in charge of US airports, Marvin Bush in charge of security of WTC at time of attacks, implosions, explosions, Silverstein said on video “they decided to pull it” with regards to WTC building 7 which was not even hit by a jet, and it takes weeks to set up an implosion, the resulting “war on terror” based on false info provided by Israel’s Mossad, and so on and so forth....

This is how she talks as well. She seems to have memorized the phrase "apartheid, racist, Jewish-supremacist Israel," because she can never just say "Israel". It's all about the Zionist warmongers at PNAC, and Larry Silverstein, etc. At points Kevin almost seems like the reasonable person on the show, but then he manages to reassert himself as a kook of the first water by trying to convince Wendy that "Hey, he mentions neocons, and what are neocons?"

At one point, Sofia from 9-11 Mysteries gets on the line, and while she agrees with much of the criticism of the book, she approaches it from the standpoint of how does it work as fiction. She talks about how the book is far too layered to succeed as fiction, with excerpts from some future book interspersed with the "real" fiction. She also notes that the book contains far too much speechifying.

And here I have to agree. I have read about five chapters of the book, and don't intend to read any further. The book opens with a hearing before Congress with the lead character delivering a lecture to the senators on Peak Oil. It's dull and tedious and you can almost sense the parts where the spectators are supposed to cheer for the heroism of the guy speaking Troof to power.

You can download the interview here; it's the 2-12-08 show, second hour. Wendy has an incredibly irritating voice, aside from the disgusting things she says.

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