Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Conspiratorial Message

Candace de Russy informs us that when the WTC collapsed, it took our civility with it:

One of the ominous after-shocks of 9/11 has been the increasingly virulent quality of public discourse – including about 9/11 itself!
I love the exclamation point; I'm picturing de Russy clapping her hands stagily against her cheeks, like the kid in Home Alone.

Atrios makes a somewhat similar complaint, and notes that Andrew Sullivan was very quick to let his post-9/11 wrath stray from Islamist Evildoers to the decadent coastal enclaves of Liberalism (New York City, for example).

That's not what de Russy's talking about, though. What worries her is "a well-orchestrated campaign to put forth the conspiratorial message that persons or elements within the U.S. government had foreknowledge of the terrorist attacks."

The joke, obviously, is that de Russy is attacking this "conspiratorial message" with a conspiratorial message of her own. The idea that holes or inconsistencies in the official story - or even just the scale of the event - would naturally give rise to alternative theories doesn't occur to her; if Americans weren't being manipulated by some shadowy cabal, they'd simply swallow the official story like the tonic it is, and go back to conducting numerological analyses of the Book of Revelation.

Beyond that, de Russy's biting the hand that feeds her. The American tendency to see a sinister hidden narrative behind every event - from hurricanes, to outbreaks of disease, to the choice of novels in a freshman lit class - is the substrate on which PBC and its sister sites grows and thrives; the careers of ciphers like de Russy would be unthinkable without it (as would the Iraq War; one of the things that made the AQ/Saddam connection so attractive, I'm sure, was the völkisch assumption that conspiracies are more plausible the more unpopular people they implicate).

Never mind about that, though. Behold, if you dare, the havoc wrought by this "well-orchestrated campaign":
[S]igns reading "9/11 Truth Now" were brandished at debates at St. Anselm College in early summer, and one activist there called out to an individual working for presidential candidate Giuliani, “Are you aware from talking with Giuliani that the buildings were going to collapse?"
Which just goes to show that it's hard to get good help nowadays, even if thy name be Soros.

My own feelings about the 9/11 Truth movement can be illustrated, I hope, by a short anecdote. After my mother was diagnosed with cancer, she fell briefly in thrall to a woman who blamed her illness on chemical exposure. Clippings and pamphlets were produced, and corporate villains identified, and there was no sense talking to the doctors about it because they were in on it too. My mother was pleased by the thought that she was at the center of a vast conspiracy, and accordingly began shifting her attention from fighting the cancer that was killing her to fighting for the "truth" of her alternative reality. The fantasy seemed to be worse than reality on the face of it, but it was sheer escapism all the same.

In the same way, the 9/11 truthseekers' endless arguments over the failure point of steel are a comforting escape from the utterly damning official narrative; you can't act until you've convinced everyone that there was a conspiracy. And since you can't do that, you'll never have to act.

I should add that I don't find the idea that "persons or elements within the U.S. government had foreknowledge of the terrorist attacks" unthinkable. I just find it irrelevant, by and large. If BushCo has done nothing more than what it admits to, or demands respect for as the highest expression of its principles, it's corrupt and dangerous beyond all reckoning. The obsessive search for secret evidence against them strikes me as a way of avoiding the evidence we have.

Which is another reason de Russy and her ilk probably ought to be grateful for the popularity of "the conspiratorial message."


roger said...

i see that she is DR. de Russy and she is some part of "family security matters" (and how clever is that name).

you're gonna hurt your brain, or psyche, or something mucking around in that territory.

Phila said...

you're gonna hurt your brain, or psyche, or something mucking around in that territory.

Too late, I'm afraid....