I’m a sucker for conspiracies.
I’m not one of those types who offhandedly dismiss any and all ‘they did it’ plots as fanciful tales people think up because they can’t deal with reality. I know that conspiracies can and do happen. I don’t know who shot Kennedy, but I know if there’s a good tale to tell about who did, I’m so willing to listen.
Which is why I am completely perplexed by the recent to-do about 9/11.
I know that there are a lot of theories out there about what happened and why. Some I think are worth looking at, others I think are the fanciful tales of people who not only have a difficulty facing reality, but probably have a equally difficult time leaving their homes. I am the first to admit that I don’t know much, but I am willing to admit this one thing that I know for absolutely certain: If you want to discredit any theory you take seriously, trot out Charlie Sheen to champion your cause.
Ok. I enjoyed Platoon. I even liked Hot Shots. But really, if the “truther” movement wants to establish any credibility at all, they had better go with someone who carries a little more… well… I mean, look at the guy. He was a pretty hard-core drug user, and we all know that we have a hard time (collectively) trusting people who use. Any of us who has had first-hand experience living with a user knows that trust (for those who sue) isn’t at the top of our lists. Let’s not forget the gambling and the recreational use of whores. I don’t want to throw stones here (although I am), but I think if Charlie Sheen’s film career included more movies like Platoon and less like Men At Work, people would have an easier time taking him seriously. I mean, if Sir Kenneth Brannagh announced that we should look into 9/11, I think that some people would pay attention.
Look, I’m not knocking his effort. I think that there are some things about the events of that day (and after) that do need looking into. Why did it take so long to get fighter jets up after the first plane hit the tower?Why was a private Saudi jet allowed to pick up members of the bin Laden family and shuttle them out of the United States (this after all air travel had been prohibited by the US gov’t)? Was Flight 93 shot down? Why did President Bush say that he was no longer interested in finding bin Laden after he had announced that bin Laden was “wanted dead or alive”? What’s with PNAC, and why did we have a “new pearl harbor” nine months after the Bush Administration took office?
There are a whole grip of questions that are worth asking. But not asked by Charlie Sheen!!!
And really, it’s not as if President Obama hasn’t got his hands full with other issues. Not disincluding the recent resignation of his green jobs czar, Van Jones, because of Jones’ signing a petition demanding that the government look into 9/11. I think that Mr. Obama already has his hands full with another set of conspiracy nuts already — with the “birthers” n’ all.
I’ve said it before that I’m a fan of a good conspiracy. The problem is, is that although there are good conspiracy stories, there are very few good conspiracy arguments. I hear some of the people who believe that 9/11 was an inside job, or that President Obama isn’t an American citizen, or that H1N1 is a plot to forward the eugenicist agenda and usher in the New World Order, on the radio, trying to convince the mostly non-believer hosts that what they believe isn’t rubbish but warnings to be taken seriously.
The problem is, is that they never argue their points very well. They’re often shut down very quickly. They come off like hayseeds and yahoos who still 1) live with their parents, 2) lack a significant number of teeth and education, 3) are currently the product of or involved in a romantic relationship with a blood relative, or 4) all of the above.
The problem, unfortunately, comes down to the fact that most people don’t know how to argue well.
This is a real problem for conspiracy fans.
One tactic that they use is the scare tactic. This one is especially prevalent now (can you say death panels?). When someone uses a scare tactic as a method of argumentation, it’s called argumentum ad bacculum (and it has nothing to do with Scott Bakula).
An argumentum ad bacculum argument states if you don’t accept it, dire consequences will follow.
It goes a little something like this: the Satanic Illuminati has plans to rid the world of 80% of the world’s population and uses the media to manipulate the population of “sheeple” (this would be something like premises for my argument). After laying out the globalist’s agenda, I conclude by saying “If you don’t believe me, the eugenicists will shoot you up full of mercury-tainted vaccines and kill you“.
That’s pretty much the gist of the argument.
It’s believe me or die.
It doesn’t leave much room for a rebuttal.
Of course, for anyone who may be off-put by my insulting either Charlie Sheen or truthers or conspiracy theorists in general, I say this with my tongue firmly planted in cheek. Well, except for the Charlie Sheen and the credibility stuff.