Sunday, October 14, 2007

More Truther Bullshit

There's a lot of really rotten labels out there. Think of the genres minted in the nineties. Alternative? What they hell sort of information does that give you about what the music's going to sound like? And 'emo'? Huh? Ah, so the music should be ... er ... emotional? Like, you know, all music is?All indy tells you is that it's music made by people who aren't signed to labels (which would be, er, most musicians, at least when they're smalll.) And hip-hop ... what does that even mean? (yes, I more or less know what hip-hop sounds like, what I'm saying is, the label tells you nothing.)

Labels with no real meaning are a curse; whatever is labeled by them exists in a sort of void, and the end result is a sort of nullity. But labels that do have meanings can in themselves have an effect on the movement they describe. Take 'bolshevik', which meant 'majority' in Russian, even though they weren't remotely a majority the communist party when the formed ... though they soon became one. Meaningul labels are good labels, labels with power. A label is an idea, after all; every time it's used, it associates itself with certain others inside the brain. Choose your own label, and choose it well, and every time your opponents use it they implicitly agree to a piece of your own meta-context, see the world - however briefly - from something like the opposing view.

I'd say 'truther' is one of those really great labels. The movement's most vociferous opponents, after all (self-identified neo-cons, and there's a nicely tautological label that perfectly cancels itself out, setting the movement up for the doublethink on which it thrives), are reduced to spitting the word 'truth' with an unthinking contempt, an act whose psychological effects almost can't help but be toxic. Either one undermines one's own disbelief in the truthers' claims (by consistently associating 'truth' with 'belief that the US government perpetrated 9/11'), and eventually converts; or one's ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is progressively hampered by constant psychological denigration of the very concept of 'truth'.

The effect on the general, undecided public - those who don't really pay too much attention to the debate - will be just as dramatic. With the term 'truther' being constantly hurled as an epithet by one side and happily used by the other, the idea almost inevitably settles in the mass consciousness that 9/11 was an inside job.

So yeah, keep on using 'truther'. Use it with a sneer on your face, or with a smile, or a shrug. But use it, because every time you do, the truth comes a little closer to winning.

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Anonymous said...

The word truth was soiled first by the so-called "truthers" themselves when they allowed conjecture and simple observation to be deemed irrefutable truth.

Not simply fact or information, but irrevocable, indisputable truth.

Once you deem something to be
the truth", it becomes elevated to a status hardly disputable or debatable with simple facts, verification or even consensus.

Once you deem something to be "the truth", you've placed a moratorium on all those would DARE to refute it.

Whether it happened one way or another, an atrocity was conceived and perpetrated on the United States. Keep the dialog alive but don't digress it to base playground-squabble filled with the same "because so-and-so says so" mentality with which so many have painted this topic.

Keitousama said...

Hmm. I can't dispute the ultimate provenance of the term 'truther', because frankly I know not from whence it came.

Neither is there much point in debating what truth is. Some things are truth (the sky, during daytime and when unobscured by cloud, is blue), others are opinion (heavy metal is better than country and western.) The WTC was knocked down by factions within the US government; this is not The Truth, but it is nonetheless true. Those who still claim otherwise are either deluded or lying.

Anonymous said...

Or possibly they see something you don't. Just as so-called "truthers" claim to see what others don't.

One way or another, nobody out in the miasma has the whole truth and to say someone does is to end the discussion and kill all possibility of finding THE truth.

Either way, at this time, both sides are just playing connect the dots. To say the whole picture is complete is just delusion.

Keitousama said...

I'm under no illusion that the dots are all connected, or that the discussion's over. It's manifestly not, and probably never will be (history is never entirely nailed down, even without government coverups.)

At the same time, the conversation has moved beyond 'did the government do it', because all the evidence points towards just that conclusion.

One final point: truthers don't claim to have The Truth, like some kind of new age cult. They're simply people who want to get to the truth, in the face of the lying of the state and the dissembling in the corporate media. The label denotes path and process, not possession.

Anonymous said...

Call me short-sighted but I for one don't believe there are enough dots fully connected to point to who did it one way or another.

As for your opinion of what "truthers" do and don't say, I think you've been reading a lot more well-thought-out pages from them. Most of what I see is links to 'loose change' and blogs containing information holes through which you could fly several large planes. Typically attached to these posts and pages are a great deal of people who claim "this is it, if you don't like it, you're part of the conspiracy." or just plain "'nuff said".

I'd like to read some of the more open-ended and discussion-based information that isn't tainted with this kind of attitude and also doesn't contain information that's been thoroughly debunked.

Keitousama said...

Emily, is that you? It sounds like you (that's a complement, by the way: your thoughts are uncommonly well expressed, and betray a careful and judicious mind at work.) If it isn't you ... who are you? I'd love to read your blog, if you have one.

That said: I cannot vouch for every other truther out there. Certainly there's a fair number of meatheads in the movement, but then you can find bad spelling, awful grammar, and a total lack of understanding of what punctuation is for almost anywhere (I focus on that because I find that they're very good proxies for discerning the qualities of a writer's thoughts. Good spelling doesn't guarantee good thinking, but bad spelling nearly always implies sloppy thoughts. But I digress.)

My own interpretation of trutherism is that it's about demanding the truth, searching for the truth, and exposing the truth, not just about 9/11 but about any and all of the myriad of lies that have been fed to us over the decades. As I said, it's a process, one founded on the premise that the official story should always be questioned, because governments and corporations have been caught lying so many times, and their motivations are so suspect, that to take anything they say on blind faith is simple idiocy.

Now, as I've said, I've made my mind up about 9/11. I watched Loose Change, I watched Terrorstorm, I saw Freedom to Fascism, and then I started doing some reading. What I learned convinced me, though I'll admit a large part of it was that I felt it in my gut to be true. Not so scientific, sure, but after what's happened over the past several years ... well. If you can look at the world around you, and believe that 9/11 happened as we've been told it did, and that everything the government's done since has been for our protection and not a preparation for a plunge into fascism, there's nothing I can do about that.

Anonymous said...

I go by "xeper" typically, no, I'm not Emily. Thanks for the compliment[s] though.

I don't have a blog, it'd detract from the time I waste at work reading e-books, doing random html in notepad and playing with graphics apps. :-\

I tend to read classic political criticisms, both crazy and vetted. They usually carry some tested wisdom and insight as well as some frightening similarities to contemporary politics. Doesn't matter in which era they were written.

Stuff like loose-change and F9-11 simply bother me, mostly because they enter into themselves with the pretext of bias and only present one side of a given story.

What I wouldn't give for a modern Petronius [Arbiter]. Satire seems to be able to get more people off their asses, to think and investigate for themselves, than do the scare tactics of the modern talking heads.

Keitousama said...

I hear you about Michael Moore's work, Xeper. Bowling for Columbine was an awful example of manipulative agitprop, and I never bothered watching anything by the guy after that. I'm more forgiving of Loose Change's one-sidedness; the producers made the reasonable assumption that anyone watching it was already familiar with the official narrative, and they focused on pointing out holes in that, and presenting the alternative theory.

Some proper satire would be great. It'll come at some point, I have no doubt; right now, though, we're still in the 'screaming at the sleepwalking zombies' stage in the information war. Once we're laughing at the enemy instead of raging against them, victory will be in sight. Actually, I have a feeling that's not too far off....