Monday, April 25, 2011

Mr. Ed was not a horse, and other interesting rumors ...

Conspiracy theories.  Urban myths and legends.  Rumors.  Internet hoaxes.  Paranoia.  Reality TV.

Okay, forget the last one.  Nothing is less real than Reality TV.

There is always a conspiracy theory floating around the public airwaves.  It seems there are an awful lot of people who thrive on paranoia, and who believe, from the bottom of their hearts, that there are forces at work, way beyond the control of Joe Average Citizen.  You DID read Orwell's 1984 in high school, didn't you?  And I bet you watched both versions of "The Manchurian Candidate."  No?  Then "Men in Black, I and II", right?  Right??

The big one out there right now is the so-called "birther" claim that Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen of the United States, and therefore cannot serve in the office he has occupied since January of 2009.  This one has been around for a while, but most recently has been pumped up by none other than Donald Trump, who really ought to know better.

I guess I haven't been paying attention, because while googling the subject online, I just learned that Jesse Ventura has a television show on truTV titled "Conspiracy Theory."  This must be a paranoiac's dream show, because I get the impression from this network's website that the former Governor of Minnesota (what is it with these governors?) is not trying to disprove the various conspiracies.  I've never watched the show, so I can't say much more about it.

I remember my first time ... conspiracy, that is.  It concerned the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who was either not dead or dead because of someone besides Lee Harvey Oswald.  After well over 40 years, people are still arguing about that one.  Then there was the one about Elvis not really being dead, about Paul McCartney really being dead (hey, maybe these guys are one person), and about the 1969 moon landing being a big fake.  Walter Cronkite must be turning over in his grave over that one.

I wonder what it is that makes human beings so distrustful (I like that word better than paranoid).  I mean, this kind of conspiracy mongering goes way back, probably further than I can casually trace it.  I am guessing that what has made it even more prominent, and perhaps even more outrageous, is the ever-increasing ease of world wide communications.

For the past 12 years, I've been a participant over at some of the Delphi Forums, and although I am much less active than I used to be, I still do a bit of reading.  It seems that most of the current events forums maintain a folder for conspiracy theories, and the same group of individuals travel from forum to forum posting the same articles and giving the same warnings.  Some have really caught my eye, because they routinely accuse the Jews of ruling the world, which is kind of funny, since we've been doing this for well over a hundred years, according to them, which doesn't explain how we Rulers of the Earth managed to lose six million of our friends and family during the Holocaust, except that, according to the same individuals, the Holocaust never happened.  Now that's a conspiracy theory for you!

I guess the one that disturbs me the most is the allegation that the World Trade Center did not collapse as a result of the airplane collisions and that it was our own government, possibly in collaboration with the government of Israel, the Jewish Rulers of the World, and the Bush Family Syndicate, that were behind the attacks on September 11, 2001.

You see how absurd it looks in black and white?  Well, except the part about the Bush Family Syndicate ... seriously, I cannot wrap my head around the idea that the U.S. Government is responsible for what happened on September 11th.  As much as I don't like George W. Bush, as much as I think of his brother, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and his father, the former President, with little more than disdain, I do not think even they could have masterminded this kind of earth-shattering travesty.  Dick Cheney, now that's another matter ...

Speaking of horse's asses, did you know that Mr. Ed was NOT a horse?  Oh, you think this is another "Elvis is alive" scam?  Not according to Snopes ... assuming they have it right, Mr. Ed, the talking horse, was played by Amelia, the lip-syncing zebra.  But really, can you believe everything in Snopes?  Why should we trust Snopes over any other source?

I realize this is just somebody's opinion, but it still cheered me up:

"Among the political threats wielded by Donald Trump in his carnival barker quest for the presidency is that if denied the Republican nomination, he would run as an independent.

As an independent myself, I usually cheer the prospect of any independent campaign. It shakes up the arrogant assumption that our elections are wholly owned subsidiaries of the two major parties and their respective special interests.

But Trump has already burned his bridges with most independent voters by choosing to go full "birther" and pander to the far-right wing of the GOP...

Trump has done a 180-degree reversal on abortion (like Mitt Romney before him) in the hopes of winning the GOP nomination, because abortion-rights Republicans have become an endangered species despite the endurance of "individual freedom" rhetoric...

Even worse, he made a strategic decision to pander to the outer reaches of American politics by embracing thoroughly discredited conspiracy theories to drum up support from the fringe..."

And my very favorite sentence from the article:

"Trump has debased himself and any ideas he had of a political career with the serial idiocies he's articulated in this flirtation with a presidential campaign. "

I have a killer week ahead of me, but there is a pot of gold at the end of this shades-of-gray rainbow, and that is our road trip to Savannah. 

That's the good news.  The bad news is that the New York Knicks are out of the play offs, having lost to the Boston Celtics.  Let's hope the Magic don't suffer the same fate.

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