Sunday, December 07, 2008

Some Random Thoughts

I happened to be flipping through the channels today and came upon Close Encounters of the Third Kind, right at the point where Richard Dreyfuss is engaged in his manic attempt to sculpt the Devil's Tower formation. In fiction, monomania like his is usually revealed as genius at the end. Another example is Field of Dreams.

Of course, there's also A Beautiful Mind, where we learn that while Nash was brilliant, his conspiracy theorizing represented a manifestation of his insanity, although it was hard to realize at first because the story was presented through his eyes.

Somewhere in between was Mel Gibson's character in Conspiracy Theory, where it was clear that while he'd actually uncovered a genuine conspiracy, he was still something of a fruitcake.

This is a function of how fiction works; after all if we have some nutbar raving about a conspiracy and it turns out not to be true, it's not going to work as fiction--although it can work as fact as in A Beautiful Mind. This is part of what we battle against with the conspiracy theorists, because they are accustomed to movies where the crazy people turn out to be the sane ones.

On a second issue, commenter Joy to the World noted in the comments to the post about the philosophy professor (below this one):

Oh, there are plenty of right wing troofers.

Just that the majority seem to be from the old new left fringe.

And based on your [another commenter's] analysis, "natural" trooferism, at least in web based hostings, should disappear with the Obama Presidency and the economic recession.


I've talked about this several times, but it bears repeating. The left/right split among the Troofers seems to be largely generational. Most of the older "Truthers" are, as JTTW says, part of the old "New Left" fringe. James mentioned that the crowd at the recent David Ray Griffin talk he attended was pretty old; I have noticed that before in various videos that there are a high percentage of grey pony-tails among the men.

Part of this, I suspect, is the resurrection of the paranoid Left. Back in the 1960s and 1970s there was a lot of conspiracy theorizing about the evil gubbermint. Some of it then (as now) was simply misplaced antiwar sentiment. People believed that JFK was killed by the CIA (or LBJ) because he wouldn't support the war in Vietnam, so he had to go. And LBJ supposedly supported the war because his wife owned rubber plantations in Vietnam, or something like that. And if you look at this photo of the bums getting released from the Dallas police, they look just like E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis! It was never very coherent, but of course that didn't matter much when you were smoking a lot of pot (another tie-in).

This is why there are so many college professors in the Truth Movement (and clustered in the humanities); to a large extent this is where the old "New Left" ensconced itself after The Revolution failed; see Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn for recently noted examples.

The post-Boomer contingent involved with the Troof are much more likely to be (small-l) libertarians or survivalists, a la Alex Jones, Jason Bermas and Luke Rudkowski, although not exclusively; Dylan Avery and Justin Martell have always struck me as liberals, for example.

Right-wingers in the Truth Movement? I can't think of many, although of course the Republican Party does have a libertarian wing. But leaving those aside for the moment, the only 9-11 "Truthers" who arguably are starboard on the traditional right/left axis are the neo-Nazis and anti-Semites.

It's not as if the Right is free of nutbar conspiracy theories; the Clinton Death List nonsense and the whole supposed murder of Ron Brown and Vincent Foster are classic examples from the 1990s. But I suspect that there were few among the Left taken in by that nonsense, just as today's Troofers don't draw much of their support from the Right, for the same reason; conspiracy theories about our guy are nutty and conspiracy theories about their guy are worth investigating.

There are now a couple of rebunking 9-11 conspiracy theory debunking sites popping up. Here's the one that came to my attention. I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time monitoring that effort although I may check in now and again. It's like amusing for a moment or two like a dog chasing its tail, but if we start debunking rebunking 9-11 debunking, where will it all end?

But seriously, if you've got problems with the site, prove us wrong. James B and I have each made mistakes here and when we have we've noted and corrected it. We're here to defend history from the frauds, not perpetuate mistakes.

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