November 1, 2013

Facts + Imagination = Conspiracy Theory?

Filed under: Commentary — Bob Patterson @ 12:39 pm

Tree root or Gila monster?  Use your imagination!

Halloween, as celebrated in the USA, is the time when Americans take a break from subjecting themselves to a constant barrage of journalism that vigorously asserts that all of the conspiracy theories are the fictional product of an active imagination and that the tales of vampires and werewolves, and stories about Invasions from Mars are true.

If the hysterical ranting about the possibility that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was part of a plot is true, then the wider implications of that fictional horror story (substantiated by a second less known Congressional Investigation) would have to be that the scariest Halloween story of all is the possibility that all the best conspiracy theories can be fitted together to form one vast picture of a country that is being played as fools for the benefit of a select few.  Stop thinking that!  You are frightening the children!

Was Harold Holt the first national leader on planet earth to be abducted by aliens from outer space?  The only explanations of his disappearance are either vague and illogical official explanations or conspiracy theories.  Take your pick.

Being alone in an apartment in Marina del Rey, it was very disconcerting to see a fellow with a gun in the adjacent dressing room.  It was just the reflection in the mirror showing the World’s Laziest Journalist stuffing his wallet into his pants pocket.  The wallet, in the dim light, just looked like an automatic pistol.  A gunman suddenly appearing inside your locked apartment would make the start of a good Twilight Zone episode, though, wouldn’t it?

Recently Jim Romenesko’s “inside baseball” website for journalists ran a picture illustrating the fuss caused by a New York Times photo, which at first glance seemed to show John Boner carrying a pistol in the halls of Congress.

Would you need a laxative if someone pointed a gun at you?

In the San Francisco Bay area, the citizens were very upset with a policeman who fired at (and killed) a kid who failed to follow the “drop it” order.  There’s a clever line in a Willie Nelson song about knowing when to run and when to “Freeze!”  How many of the folks who demonstrated against the policeman have ever had a gun pointed at them?  How many of them have ever been the target for a person using a gun?  Apparently the civilians were unfazed by the prospect of betting their own life on a chance to differentiate a fake gun from a real one in a split second.

There were some political ads on TV in California, many moons ago, asserting that the common image, used in a large number of films, of hiding behind a door from a shooter was a fictional misperception because a slug from a magnum gun could rip through two police cars and still have enough lethal force to kill a person.  Gee, did you know that movies disregard truth?  Didn’t one of the guys on the Tu Phatt team often used to say:  “I didn’t know that!”?  (Did that group morph into “the Watergate Burglars”?)

Last week, on the Stephanie Miller radio show, former Governor Jesse Ventura said that he had seen photos, taken at Dealy Plaza at the time of the assassination of President Kennedy, which showed one fellow who looked a lot like George H. W. Bush, who claims he can’t remember where he was when he learned that JFK had been shot.

Was the film “Apocalypse Now” an accurate representation of what had happened, or was it a precise prediction of what America would become?

Did the mainstream media exaggerate the effect seventy five years ago that Orson Welles’ “Mars Attacks” radio show had on listeners?  Is the perception that it caused mass hysteria just a bit of clever exaggerated boasting urban legend?

The Spanish Civil War came to a conclusion less than six months after the famous Orson Welles’ broadcast.  Due to a proliferation of labels, there was a great deal of confusion about who were the “Good Guys” in that conflict.  It seems to boil down to fascists vs. workers.  Which side was the Catholic Church on?  Which side would you support?

In many kung fu movies, a fight becomes a battle of the rugged individual contending with an array of bad guys.  In those movies the king fu expert dispatches the attackers one at a time like an overworked clerk in a busy deli.  Unfortunately in real life a gang of bikers would swarm all over the Bruce Lee clone and beat the living snot out of him.

Fascists like to project the image of a rugged individual who can, in existentialist (don’t the Republicans hate the poor people of Paris?) style, single handedly take on the bad guys and emerge victorious.  The greedheads would have voters believe that only members of the Communist Party spout the cliché that “We can negotiate together; or beg alone.”

In San Francisco, renters in low income housing are becoming alarmed that they will be evicted despite laws designed to prevent such ruthless possibilities.  Recently the Berkeley Tenants Union handed out fliers that assert:  “Policy Change Will Lead to Evictions.”  The Berkeley City Council is considering making changes to the Demolition Ordinance.  The flier states:  “The Sierra Club, NAACP, Neighborhoods Council, Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn., and East Bay Law Center are also speaking out against these new drafts” of changes for the Demolition Ordinance.  (For those who want to fact check this item do a Google News search for “San Francisco evictions” and/or read up on the topic at

Some (partisan?) online sources assert that in order to be able to make the claim that evictions are down, if all the tenants in one building are tossed out en masse, that adds just one to the total number of evictions.

If a renter had survived having his home foreclosed and then got evicted from a rental unit, would that person feel like one of the handful of survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima who went to stay with friends or relatives in Nagasaki?

The conspiracy theory folks, no doubt, would have folks believe that the austerity budget cuts that were made at mainstream media news outlets are making it easier for unpopular changes in the laws to be made because people (such as the citizens of Berkeley) are less well informed than they used to be when there was a local daily newspaper and the world famous Berkeley Barb underground weekly newspaper informing readers about all the latest efforts of “the Establishment” to exploit the people who were supposed to be well informed voters.

Ross Thomas wrote a mystery titled “The Fools in Town Are on Our Side” and we think of that title every time the boobs recite the talking point that Fox and Rush Limbaugh are the mainstays of the Free Press in America.

The folks at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory are anxious to get in on the ACA criticism trend, but they can’t decide if they will assert that the website troubles are due to hacking activity by the Chi-Com, the Ruskies, or some unscrupulous Republicans.

Wasn’t “The Man of La Mancha” a famous communist documentary film about workers being exploited right before the Spanish Civil War started?

While wandering around Berkeley, last weekend, we encountered the folks from Story Geeks.  We didn’t have the necessary time to expand that into a full length column but we thought they were worth a mention at Halloween time.

Could the vampire lore explain how a person, who claims to be a wild impulsive 28 years old journalist, could remember selling his first news photo more than 50 years ago?

[Note from the Photo Editor:  A Halloween Season photo of a tree’s root that resembles a Gila monster will illustrate our contention that a vivid imagination is needed to believe in ghosts, vampires and werewolves but it is a patriotic duty to believe official assertion that all conspiracy theories are the product of creative fictionalizing.]

Nietzsche wrote:  “A sedentary life is the real sin against the Holy Ghost.”

Now the disk jockey will play Sheb Wooley’s “Flying purple people eater,” Buchanan and Goodman’s “The Flying Saucer,” and the Byrd’ “Mr. Spaceman.”  We have to go check out the rumor that, thanks to a prototype experiment for the witness protection program, Enesto “Che” Guevara was given an identity that, ultimately, provided him with a chance to be a member of the city council at a small University town, in California and that he died peacefully there in his sleep, long after the Sixties were over.  Have a “bump in the night” type week.


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