I like to think I’m pretty good contestant at Conspiracy Theories. But any fellow conspirators, I guess, imagine the same thing. A general rule of thumb, whatever the 45th American President believed, I believe the opposite. The great thing about fiction is you can—literally—put words into people’s mouths. In Ugly Puggly, for example, this is exactly what I think, but not so exactly that anyone would believe a real person would think this way.
“I tapped my pocket for my fag packet, even though I’d been off them for two years. ‘Yeh know yev got a hangover, when you waken up wae three socks—and only one of them is yers.’
Ugly Puggly sighed. ‘There’s a mystery there waiting to be unravelled by future conspiracy theorists, involvin lizards and flyin saucers. But imagine wakin up one mornin and findin oot the Americans, the once-great nation that used ex-Nazis to help land man on the moon, have elected the moron’s moron as President. And he doesn’t believe in anythin apart from his love-in with Putin, who he labelled a “genius” just before he invaded Ukraine for the third time. Certainly, no global warmin. Won’t sign yer Paris Agreement or attend Cop-out, whatever number we ur at. When all the major nations meet and agree to disagree, while the collapse of civilisation and the sixth great global extinction event is noo.’
I finished the dregs of filtered tea. ‘Fuck sake, I just asked for a burnt sausage, no a lecture. It’s too early fer that stuff.’
‘Nah,’ he pulled open the oven door and banged the Dalmuir duck about in its baking tray. ‘It’s too late. And it’s no jist about us.’ He nodded at the ceiling. ‘He’ll no have a future.’
‘Och, he’s no got a future anyway. Maybe he should join the Lib-Democrats. Or handcuff himsel to a petrol tanker. At least one of they hings might be useful.’
‘Maybe he should. Maybe we all should. There’d be worse hings in the word tae dae.’
‘Aye, it’s like eatin broccoli. Yeh know it’s good for yeh, but it tasted shite. But I draw the lines at the Liberal Democrats. Remember no long ago that was the same mob that formed an Alliance wae the worst o the Tory scum.’
Ugly Puggly raised an eyebrow. ‘Well, worst till noo.’
‘When yer scrappin the bottom of the barrel, there’s almost mair barrel tae scrape. It’s like the mystery of the smelly socks. There’s always another Tory cunt appears that’s worse than the last.’”
Phillips and Elledge get right into it with the history of ‘blood libel’. They ask and answer in Chapter 1, ‘What is a Conspiracy Theory?’
Saturday, Holy Week, 1144.
None of us were there. If you were, contact me, I’ll have a theory about that too.
The body of a twelve-year-old boy called William was found in a forest near Norwich.
Twelve-year-old now is boyish. Then it was middle-aged.
He was found at the foot of an oak tree.
Who killed him?
We don’t know, but we’ll blame the Jews, always comes in at one or two in the conspiracy theory top ten. Sometimes they can hold multiple spots at the same time.
Culprits caught. William mother alleged William was last seen going into the house of a Jewish family. But she wasn’t sure if she dreamt that bit. She was sure in the dreams the Jews were attacking her.
Fair cop. All Jews in Norwich murdered and their properties stolen. Heinrich Himmler and the SS did a similar job. But first they registered the Jews as being Jews and had them write down a complete list of all they owned.
Jews were killed for being Jews in the twentieth century. A tautology.
In the tenth century, a reason, however flimsy, had to be found for murdering Jews. Sir Simon de Novers was heavily in debt to a Jew. One of the wealthiest men in Norwich. The knight’s advocate was Bishop William Turbe. He argued that Sir Simon de Novers had not killed to avoid repayment of his debt. His motive was pure. He killed the ringleader of the killer of his nephew Willian of Norwich in a nefarious Jewish ritual and blood sacrifice of a pure Christian child.
Scotland has a Not Proven verdict. Simon de Noever’s case was Not Proven. He walked free. That might have been the end of that.
But his case was taken up by a Welsh monk living and working in Norwich. Thomas of Monmouth was responsible for writing the pamphlet: The Life and Passion of William of Norwich.
No, I haven’t read it. Thomas of Monmouth cited Turbe (as I’m citing Phillips and Elledge p43) to calm the Jews at Passover routinely sacrificed a Christian child. In this case, William of Norwich. They crowned him with thorns and crucified him. A parody and mockery of The Passion of Christ.
Simple arithmetic, which I’m not very good at. No conspiracy, I’m a bit thick. Jewish Passover happens once a year. This is 2023. This supposedly happened in 1144. SS Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann, who helped murder six-million Jews, estimated there were eleven million Jews in Europe, including Britain, in 1945. Subtract 11 144 from 2023 and multiply by 11 000 000 to estimate the number of innocent Christian children murdered by Jews since (and before) 1144. Don’t send me the answer. Eat it. The truth sets you free.
For every head, there is a tale. The flipside is the local sheriffs in Norwich had been bribed by the Jews to look the other way.
Comparisons can be made with Pizzagate. I didn’t know what this was until I read a book about QAnon. If you don’t know what QAnon is you’ve not been missing much. Jake Angeli is the face of QAnon. His face and bare chest covered in red, white and blue. A furry hat with horns. Armed with a spear with the Stars and Stripes American flag attached, he also carried a bullhorn, as he stood behind the desk of the United States Senate, 6th January 2021. A leading member of an army of incompetents called to Washington by the moron’s moron in the moral crusade to help unsteal the election.
Naively, I thought, chants at the moron moron’s rallies which called for the jailing of his Democratic rival, Hilary Clinton, had to do with an email account by aide John Podesta hacked by the Russians, and the information fed to Trump, and relayed back to her, in breach of federal law. She didn’t, for example, steal TOP SECRET documents and leave them lying around her house. Instead she ordered pizza. This was code for orgy, murder, cannibalism as innocent children were tortured and sacrificed in a satanic paedophilic ring in which the Washington elite were party. They might have been lizard people, like former Queen Elizabeth II and Charles III. According to Donald Trump only one man could stop them and that was Donald Trump. There is a danger of repeating yourself, but QAnon concurred. He was the saviour for foot soldiers like Jake Angeli in a moral quest not only to save America, but the world.
One foot soldier, 4th December 2016, took an AR-style semi-automatic rifle and shot up a pizza restaurant named by Alex Jones, Infowars. He demanded captive children be freed from the basement. The restaurant didn’t have a basement. But the online world has many rooms.
The Illuminati feature in many. Also known as International Jewry. New World Order. I quite liked the story that David Cameron went to the Shetlands to stop Scotland seceding from the Union and taking control of Clair Ridge oilfield. This would have made us like a Tartan Norway. London government could no longer fritter away tax revenues to fund tax cuts for rich people. Our proud nation would have a sovereign wealth fund equivalent to super-rich Norway and allow us to invest in a green future. I might have made that last bit up.
Phillips and Elledge in their Conclusion ask us to interrogate our beliefs with these questions.
Could anything disprove it?
Yes, global warming and global catastrophe is not inevitable. But we are rushing towards each checkpoint quicker than anticipated.
How does it deal with contradictory evidence?
As a storyteller, I find this interesting. Some of the largest corporations in the world came together and lied, lied, and lied again. They paid for propaganda and politicians and took over the seats of government, penalising those that told the truth. Contradictory evidence was their battlefield. They used it to kill our children’s children.
Does it exist in a bubble?
I’m not a scientist or (as you’ve seen) not good with numbers. But I understand the null hypothesis. Conspiracy theories start the assumption the answer is obvious. Then it works backwards towards the evidence. Putin’s that blue-eyed Vikings were the first Rus in what is known now as Ukraine in the eighth or ninth century, and they helped create a great Russia and the Third Rome of the East. Ukraine therefore doesn’t exist outside Russia, because it is Russian.
Global warming beings and ends with the data. Man-made or not? Not in terms of yes or no, but probability. The chances of Leicester winning the league were around 1000/1 at the start of the season. They won it. Bookies don’t say they won’t win it again. Scientists don’t say glaziers won’t freeze again, but they give odds of an upset. Over the longer term, bookies never lose. 97% of scientists are backing one winner and us as losers.
Are you applying the same standards to the conspiracy theory as you do to the official narrative?
No, I’m biased. I begin with the assumption that those rich money-grabbing bastards are lying to me, not because I count as anything, but because I count as nothing. Standard conspiracy theorist thinking.
How many people would this conspiracy theory need to involve? And what’s keeping them in line?
Money, power and status are all interlinked to the product they sell and the lies they sow. How many? I’d guess 1% of 8 billion. Whatever that is, sounds about right? Multiply that number by around 100 for the ‘running dogs’ that do their master’s bidding. Perhaps more.
Does is ascribe a ridiculous level of competence to conspirators?
Absolutely. It’s not us against them in a life-and-death struggle for the future of the planet and our children. It’s us question ourselves. While we do so, they create facts on the ground and in the air in the form of greenhouse gases that kill us. The sting in the tail is it kills them too. Any victory now will be pyrrhic.
Does this plan rely on everything going right?
Yes, The Paris Agreement and Cop-22 show a willingness to believe, but not a willingness for rich countries to share their wealth with poor countries. This looks increasingly unlikely.
How has the conspiracy been kept completely secret, apart from a coded clue to the entire plot that the conspirators have deliberately placed in plain sight, like printing it on banknotes or something, as if they’re a serial killer taunting Mr Police?
Fossil fuel companies did their own research. They placed their findings into departments and downplayed the results. They created an army of spies and hangers on, willing to do the dirty work. Some true believers, that also happened to be among the richest men in the world, such as the Koch Brothers and Charles Koch in particular.
Is it really likely that these people are working together?
It seems unlikely that Charles Koch, who promulgates a Darwinian form or capitalism with little or no government in the economy and Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator who claimed to invade Ukraine to save it from fascists would have much in common. But their commonwealth and power is largely dependent on fossil fuels. A future without fossil fuels leaves both men like commanders of horse cavalry after the First World War. We still need millions of horses for the Second World War. But it’s the Third World War that worries me.
How does it make you feel?
This is the big question. It’s not what you think, but how you feel? I’ve a pal that didn’t get the Covid vaccine. He came up with a lot of reasons that are in this book. Conspiracy. They’re out to get you. How do you know? How much are they making? I’ve not got all the answers. I’ve not got many of the answers. And I knew it wouldn’t really have mattered what I said. There’s always another ‘what if’ and get-out clause, if pigs could fly?
I know, or think I know that global warming is real. I think it will kill tens or hundreds of millions, perhaps billions as nations like India and Pakistan fight over fresh water, with China perhaps becoming involved. But emotionally, I don’t feel anything. I don’t really care. Because I’m not there. It’ll only be real when it’s real. A bit like the Jews watching the Nazis come to power and thinking everything will work out. Phoney war for now.
Conspiracy beliefs eat you from the inside. I know this having been brought up a Roman Catholic. Guardian journalist Van Badham tells the reader her book is about two things, i) the internet, ii) belief. It was personal for her.
‘My interest in the internet’s extremist underworld resulted from my experience of its attacks…I found myself on the very public online radar of misogynists, racists, homophobes and outright fascists. I was the subject of attack videos and hateful memes and subject to constant trolling. In the wake of online attacks came offline too. Parcels of anonymous materials began to appear on my doorstep; my Twitter account was hacked; I was stalked, harassed and attacked in the street. International Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer published a hit piece with my photograph and a written incitement to run me over in a car.’
I naively believed that at the soon to be President Trump’s rallies the cries of ‘Lock her up! Lock her up!’ was regarding the Democratic Party’s servers being tapped by the Russian state (FSB) and information about her email accounts being passed to followers of the moron’s moron. She’d acted illegally in not securing them, which was a potentially criminal act (but we all know rich people don’t get prosecuted). Hillary Clinton publicly apologised. But Trump’s followers wanted her locked up for what I thought was a minor misdemeanour. What I didn’t realise was when she ordered pizza, it was a code word for children to be delivered to her and her paedophilic followers, who would rape and eat them. They would also milk them for a substance, a by-product of fear that would give them eternal life. #PizzaGate wasn’t about pizzas. Badham shows that any relationship with badly scripted B-movies and The Matrix is intentional and unintentional.
The $4 million damages awarded against Alex Jones— his defence costs running at $49 million— were the standout tag for public and political theatre. The right-wing profiteer who said the Sandy Hook school shootings were a hoax, and helped propagate the lie using his site InfoWars as an internet megaphone amplifying lie after lie for personal gain was forced to recant.
Jones’s highly priced attorneys made school-boy errors. They released two years’ worth of text messages from his phone to his legal adversaries and then failed to claim client privilege. A counterpoint to Stop the Steal.
Infowars website was making $800 000 a day from merchandising was one of the facts revealed. His net worth $279 million revealed to the parents of a family of a six-year old boy shot and killed and targeted as liars by Jones’s trolling followers.
Alex Jones, like Trump with ‘Stop the Steal’, ran on paranoia and promoted self-serving lies, all the way to the bank, and beyond the Presidency. The show is still running.
Alex Jones was quick to apologise to the bereaved parents of Sandyhook children. He was willing to admit ‘the attack was ‘one hundred percent real’.
Jones also admitted #PizzaGate was a lie. The Ping Pong restaurant run by James Alefantis in Washington, DC, did not have dungeons and basements which ran underground and fed the voracious appetites of Hillary Clinton and her cabal for very young children, who they liked to torture before eating. #PizzaGate: The Bigger Picture on YouTube.
His YouTube messages to his tens of thousands of followers that he was going down there to investigate was also a lie. He’d no intention of visiting. Online activists, digital soldiers, kept the churn going, until Edgar Madison Welch from Salisbury, North Carolina did visit with rifle in hand. He sent a text message to his girlfriend and children. He was ‘Raiding a pedo ring, possibly sacrificing the lives of a few for the lives of many. Standing up against a corrupt regime that kidnaps, tortures and rapes babies and children in our own backyard.’ In other words, Madison Welch was being heroic.
Jones was also forced to apologise for perpetuating lies that a yogurt factory was also a centre for supporting child rapists and the spread of tuberculosis.
19th August 2020, Joe Biden was announced as the Democratic candidate that would run against Donald J. Trump in the forthcoming election—which he, of course, stole, if you believe the 45th President of the United States and his dim-witted followers.
In the White House, the moron’s moron was asked at a press conference what he thought about QAnon and its followers on social media (and indeed in the White House itself when they invaded it in an attempt to shut down Congress and lynch the Vice President of the disUnited States, Mike Pence).
‘They are people who love their country,’ was the moron’s moron’s reply. Meme speech follows familiar patterns.
When the call came Ashli Babbet and Rosanne Boyland came to Washington, DC, like Maddison Walsh because they saw themselves as heroic. They were willing to die. And they did. Yet they were disowned by QAnon as false-flags. Later to be lionised.
Who or what is QAnon? Van Badham suggests it may have been Steve Bannon. The government insider who played Deepthroat in the deep web of 4chan and 8chan. Or it might have been someone from Breitbart or Cambridge Analytica. Certainly, they had help from Russian FSB. Lieutenant General Flynn is put in the frame. Both received pardons from the then President Trump. Or it may have been lawyers such as Rudy Giuliani. Or it might have been all of them. It didn’t really matter. QAnon went silent after Trump. It helped create a meme as President.
Silicon Valley pioneered computer software to get you clicking on cute cats doing silly things. You became the product. You are part of Big Data sets and A/B testing on server farms.
Amazon, for example, identified me as part of the tens of millions who bought and read Donna Tart’s The Goldfinch. Ninety percent of us finished it.
Amazon knows I’m a sucker for books. I’m also part of the millions of buyers who bought Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Piketty shot down the idea of a trickle-down economics being a shell game using offshore companies to hide profits and help create an ideology that was based on lies. But we lost the propaganda war, by us I mean the poor people that are reliant on wages as their sole source of income and who get to retire when they reach between sixty and sixty-eight (if we’re not dead first). The French economist urged governments to tax the rich. The two leading candidates of the Tory Party vie with each other to go in the other direction. Taxing the poor has always been popular in certain elite groups that don’t eat children.
But Amazon also knows I’m the exception to the rule. Only three percent of those who started Piketty’s book, finished it. I’m glossing over that I forget more than I remember and in an examination I’d fail, but Amazon doesn’t know this. It just quantifies pages turned. And I’m a page turner.
But I’m also part of the growing minority that believes we are living in the end of times. Unchecked global warming will end civilisation in the next fifty years. A YouGov pole at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic found that almost a third of those questioned anticipated a life-changing disaster in their lifetime.
A 2019 survey found that almost half of those polled in US, UK, France and Italy belief that civilisation will collapse in the years to come.
Conspiracy theories thrive in such an environment of fear. It’s not what you think, but what you feel. Van Badham’s prescient book came out before Alex Jones’s trial. In a way it vindicates her work, but nobody is listening to things they don’t want to hear is the real message of this book. QAnon metamorphoses into something more right-wing and hateful and will go on and on destroying lives. Jones shows were the money and political influence lies. It’s not surprising his phone records have been subpoenaed by Congress investigating the role the 45th President had in insurrection and civil disobedience in Washington, DC.
Jon Ronson has the kind of job I’d like. He meets interesting people and writes books that are worth reading. Here over eight episodes and around four hours he investigates the culture wars in American where he lives. They’re happening here in Britain too, with the little Trumpet Boris Johnson lying about Brexit to get elected and pretty much lying about everything else. But this is America, where the lies are bigger and more stupid. What strikes you when listening is the power of the Christian Evangelic movement. And how such nasty fuck-ups have come to represent the life-affirming words of Jesus Christ, taken off the cross and his face rubbed in shite. No vision of a risen man, but attempts to keep others down where they belong with the other wretched strangers, carrying no luggage, the fathers of the nation in exile. About suffering, Christ was never wrong. William Blake, the strangest of men, but in his poem suggested Every Thing That Lives is Holy, but that was written before the father of lies was born, Donald J. Trump and elected President. Politics is one of the oldest tricks in the black books of history. But there is bitter black hope. Tammy Faye Bakker did perform a minor miracle. Jon Robson reported he received his greatest feedback after that Podcast. My notes are below. Don’t bother reading. Listen to the broadcast. But I know from experience those that listen to the broadcast are those that don’t need to listen to the broadcast. I’m tired of that wretchedness and repetition. Things fall apart.
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) The Second Coming.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosened and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction; while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi.
[Spiritus Mundi>World Spirit]
Cultural Wars: everything people yell at each other.
Buffalo, New York.
1960-70s. Switzerland. Fundamentalist commune Frank Schaeffer. Francis (father). Shelter. How Christians should engage with modern art. Eric Clapton. Billy Zeoli, Christian channels. Evangelical. Directed niche documentary. How Should We Then Live?
Satre’s relativism: help an old woman across the street or run her down (slippery slope argument)
Human fetus, unborn baby. Roe v Wade 1973, unborn child considered not to be a person. Ear shift. Christian evangelic not-yet-in the field of abortion.
Make last two episodes about abortion. Me and Jeannie were teenagers. We’re having the baby. We love her.
Showed to audiences of 15-20 000 eg Madison Square Garden.
Mass audio-cassette machines. Francis Schaeffer sensation in evangelic word. My da’s book selling 5-1 of contemporary fiction.
Frank take what the evangelics didn’t want to think about. Give me a piece of family business.
Second series, all about abortion. Ghost children. 1000 dolls anti-abortionist doctor standing in the Dead Sea. Slaughter of the innocents.
Dad’s last books sold a million.
Second tour, no one came. Launched a crusade. Out of ego and belief. Trying to get abortion on the agenda. Editorial board of Christian magazine. We’re not pro-life.
New York Post. Strange avante-garde film. Picketed by anti-feminist movement. Turned up and picketed by evangelical women, not because they were pro-choice, but because they other. Local news also turned up.
East Coast snobs. Us v Them.
Muscling in on their issue.
Pickets and protests became enormous. Abortion clinics bombed. Shot. Kopp.
The man who killed my uncle, Barnett (Bart) Slepian, was Kopp.
Part of the job. I know we’re not taking care of children we do have. They stopped doing it. No way is a bunch of idiots bullying me out of my job.
They followed his kids to school. Amanda, October 8th 1998.
All of them began with Scaefer documentaries. Jim Kopp, supposed to be a doctor. Schizophrenic by 17, became religious. Couldn’t become doctor.
Fan, Kopp travelled to Switzerland. Francis Christian manifesto. If you’re a Christian, act like it.
Oct 1998. Travelled to Buffallo New York. Went to Synagogue. There was this ping. I think I’ve been shot. Bullets. Children between ages of 7 and 15.
Frank long gone from the movement. Jerry Falwell. The Moral Majority. I’d just take them out the back and shoot them. (Homosexuals).
So uncool and so ugly.
Cut 20 minutes, show-reel. Agent, off and running. 1982-1986 directed 4 films.
Ripples, Last 30 years trying to undo the damage.
Publishing memoir, Crazy for God.
My father and I have blood in our hands. I have no words…I am ardently pro-choice.
Rev Rusty Thomson. Operation Save America. We go to exposed areas where child sacrifice and
I believe it is more of a man’s issue, to protect, guide and care for children.
All that changed with Donald Trump’s election 2016.
Installed 3 judges to Supreme Court.
Activists joined ‘Stop the Steal,’
Some of our leaders were there. A great opportunity. Set up a powerful sound system.
Abortion. Culture wars. Ambitious kid wanted to make it in Hollywood.
Sept 2021. Texas allowed to cut off abortions after six weeks. Schaffer ripples.
2) Dirty Books.
A writer living in America.
Origin stories. Pebbles causing ripples.
Complicted interesting people stripped of nuance and weaponised
US, Spring 1968.
Martin Luther King protesting racism and Vietnam war. Rejected conformity of 1950s.
Alice Moore moved with 5 children to West Virginia, St Albans, most churched place in US. Pastor husband. School having sex-education programme. Cut-away of woman and man. Complained to Superintendent of Schools. Nothing you can do about it. We’ll see about that. They needed something in the inside. Signed up for school board. Focussed from the start.
June 1974. New school textbooks. None of us had read and reviewed them. Had 325 delivered to my house and started reading them.
Christian Evangelics tended to live separate lives. 2000 came to the meeting. Their children were being taught angels didn’t exist.
Everything about war was negative.
Contextual ethics. That’s there’s no answer. Jim a pastor. She took over. It was all black and white. God said it> I read it.
Suspicions. Why did publishers introduce them in Virginia? Conspiracy theory.
She was invited on local tv.
Poem about making love on a bus. Roger McGough. Moral sentiment, you can’t just give way to your feelings. BBC colleague.
Special thanks to Roger McGough. For her ambiguity, nuance, didn’t matter.
That’s what really woke things up. Alice’s following grew. Boycott of schools. Picketed businesses.
Textbooks removed. They won.
Jim Lewis, Pro-text-book pastor.
Eldridge Cleaver. Black Panther movement, who has been convicted of rape.
But he was featured in one book. His misdeeds didn’t explain why other black author’s books were rejected. Langston Hughes.
Ron English asked to represent black authors.
Her support came mainly from poor white communities. The Hollers. What you heard rather than what you heard.
Twitter prompt, read an article before sharing.
Not being heard. Respected. It could have built common ground.
Why would some
Dick Gregory. Was committed to non-violence. Former comic. Flatfoot. Sit down. Sensation. Appeared on Tonight Show 1960s. Full time activist. Not OK for him to be OK sitting in a hotel room and simply sending a cheque. Struggling with how white his world had become. Sat down and told us the family came second to the movement. You’re taking me off the front line.
1964 wrote memoir. Contentious language. ‘Nigger’. Memoir, 10 years later on her list.
I can’t remember specifics. Where the BPanthers were talking about killing the pigs
1974, KKK, Rev Marvin Horn, on steps with them.
I never saw a Klan member.
Alice getting death threats.
Shot fired. Bill fired a weapon. Who survived.
Oct 18th, 5 shots fired at school bus. No children aboard. Bombed school.
Midway Elementary School. Dynamite before sunrise.
Levity in Alice’s voice. Skip first shot by pro-text book advocate.
Martin Horn jailed for 3 years. School returned textbooks.
I had to remove books and they were all burned up in basement. Unused. You have to get rid of them.
27% take the bible as the word of god.
One book on banned list still causes turmoil. ‘Nigger’, Dick Gregory. These were from my own collection and she was fired.
Textbook wars. Causes more uproar.
Just like Alice wasn’t interest in intention, but impact. To dominate social justice.
3) A Miracle.
Watershed and harmony in brutal cultural war.
20th Century, Evangelics kept away from mainstream society. 1970s Francis Shaffer and Jerry Falwell. Satellite TV Old time gospel hour. Vast audience. Jimmy Swaggart.
They didn’t try to entertain. Until one did. Pzzas. Tammy Faye Bakker. Steve Peters.
Odd and awkward and surprising.
Tammy Faye Bakker. Poor. No movies. Son James. Met Jim at Bible college. Eloped and preached. Children’s puppets. Fans of modern trends. PTL. Jim and Tammy show. Only network.
Jerry Falwell wanted to rule the world.
They were on all the time. Mum 10 broadcasts. Dad 6 broadcasts. TV pledge drives. Heritage USA. Theme Parks. Christian Walt Disney. Passion Play every night.
Evanagelists appalled. Telly Tubbies supported gay agenda because Tinky Winky’s antennae was like a gay pride symbol.
Tammy anxious and upset. Feeling of not being enough. Overdose on medication. Jay was 11 then. He knew what to do. He rebuked her hallucinations. ‘I rebuke you in the name of God’.
Brooklin schoolteacher died of unknown disease. Rare form of ‘cancer’ AIDs. End of 1981 131 died. End of 1982 12000.
Aids and herpes, Jerry Falwell. Reagan silent to please his political action group. The Moral Majority.
Mum did interview with somebody that had aids. Sept 15th 1985. Steve Peters.
What a brave thing. Now you’re going to show you’re an openly gay pastor with AIDs. Given Rev Steve Peters, still alive 2021.
What brought him? Christian pastor’s worst were Jerry Fallwell and Jimmy Swaggart. They’d talk as if homosexuals were paedophiles. They’d come and take your children.
1982. All manner of disease. 1984 full-blown AIDs Near Death Experience. They revived me. 2 weeks before Tammy Faye interview.
Try to reach an audience more of us LGBT couldn’t reach.
‘Tammy is sick and is cancelling the show’. I later learned that was a lie. Camera crews fears. Satellite hook-up. Both ear-pieces keep popping out.
Have you ever had a sexual experience with a woman?
I’ve necked. But my orientation was towards men.
When she started in with haven’t you given women a chance?
When you found out you’ve had AIDs. I’ve experienced remission.
Did you feel lonely? Everybody so deadly frightened. Same air.
Asked not to use toilet. Served on paper plates. Steam-cleaning cups I’ve used.
I remember after the interview was done. I hadn’t done very well. I thought nothing would come of it.
I knew she was doing something radical. (her son)
Steve got home and forgot about the interview. Troy Perry. 1000 people stood up and cheered. Steve heard from Tammy’s people too. Apparently, people phoned up and said she had a son that she thought was going to hell, but now she knew he was going to heaven.
She sent me this song. Don’t give up on the brink of a miracle. Don’t give up. Remember you’re not alone.
I’d sing along and got my miracle. I was blind and now I see.
I dunno, I know a lot more faith than me, that didn’t survive. One in a million chance, why not believe and act accordingly. I set out and did all the right things. Laughter therapy, diet, etc.
I am one in a million.
Two years and the Tammy empire crumbled. Jim jailed for financial theft.
She took Jay, her son, to hospices and to gay parades. Extraordinarily helpful. Same-sex marriage.
Emily Johnson, aural history, it had a huge impact. A more accepting world.
Tammy showed you could be gay and Christian.
Tammy died 2007. I knew she was getting an eviction notice from her body, because I’d been there. How ironic she’s the one to die first.
Steve heard the enemy talk in a calm cultured environment.
4 Believe the Children.
We can lose all reason.
What happened to turn so many Americans so irrational during the 1980 and 1990. There is a cultural war for the soul of America.
Anathemas of Pat Buchanan, Republican Party.
The idea that gay men and women can have the same rights…
Discrimiation against religious schools. We must take back our culture and our country.
Bob Erdogan The left had won. And taken over the media.
Cultural running away from them.
Bob Larson. Arizona. Death Metal bands, blood lust and…
Culture war and liberals they should be left alone.
Is there some diabolical scheme, plotted in hell himself. Radio show from listeners. Killing babies. Eating human flesh. Secret cabals abusing children. Dead cats nailed to pulpits.
I saw myself as a reporter. Bob wanted to spread the warning and novel ‘Dead Air’.
You had intergenerational occult. Passing a woman or child through a dead horse and takes away from…
QAnon, derived from same spring.
Bob Larson. Numbers of people telling me the same story. You can’t go to a ceremony. They’d do things so bizarre. You’d not been
John Trott critic v Bob Larson on Larry King show. If it’s true. Where’s the evidence. 90% US population, Christian.
Ramarez, report on Satanism. Highest ever ratings.
Police: we have kids being killed, cattle mutilated. Child abduction.
Kelly Michaels live in Pennsylvania. 1985.
Just out of college. Artistic bent. Lived 20 minutes from New York.
Where you aware of Satanic panic?
I was aware of some case in California. McMartin case were satanic case where children claimed underground tunnels and…
Daycare centre. Took the job. Stepping stone for life. WeCare DayCare. Accountants. Lawyers> Moderately affluent.
Better paid, and different job in another daycare centre.
3 detective. Investigating child abuse in WeCareDayCare.
Complaint about mother, doctor’s office. That what happened at school. But not with thermometers. Good cop. Bad cop.
We can take care of this if you admit it. They seemed satisfied and drove me home. I thought it was wrong. A reasonable if bizarre event.
One child told them about making poo-poo and pee-pee cakes and then they were all at it.
Six-year old taken from school.
Frequent talk of abduction and satanic rings.
Mothers that used to stay at home and now at work.
They said I’d played the piano naked and making them drink urine off the school floor for 150 days. It took two years. It took that time to convince parents that this could have happened. Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention.
Guilt about abandonment to centre and guilt involved. Horrified about lack of awareness. 245 accounts of abuse against over thirty children.
All over America this happened to different carers.
‘We Believe the Children’ movement.
Children very calmly answering questions. Absence of trauma, meant more trauma.
August 1998. First charge. Taking temperature rectum. Thrown out. Then the guilties began. Sentence 47 years in prison. Aged 27.
I was taken to punishment wing. I couldn’t process of crimes that no only I didn’t do, but didn’t happen.
2 years later. Harper’s Journal. Kelly Michael innocent.
Journalists who prided himself
Case overturned. Ambiguously
Parents faded back into life. No apologies to Kelly.
Bob Larson, I didn’t have an axe to grind.
The world’s most foremost expert in the occult. I do exorcism.
I survived this..I was accused of abusing children. It’s so injust, but I can’t do anything about it. I’m this nice little church lady. And they can’t believe it.
Professional people, but under certain conditions, they can succumb to moral panics (more easily). And the media. I was shocked. Surely The New York Times will say something.
Social Media shaming. When something terrible happens. Steamroll reality and facts.
We’re all primitives.
Escalators of cultural wars, Christian right. With the internet it moved online.
5 A Scottish Jewish Joke.
A war who the internet belong to?
1980s before the World Wide Web. Brad Templeton. Epiphany, use computer to talk to other people. Usenet.
Central square. Your computer calls other computers.
Brad Software company. He was in his 20s. Audience, more elite (needed to access through colleges).
Brad, 1982, Full stops in email address. That shows how it begun.
Set up own message board.
Rec.Humour. Funny. 24 K subscribers. Jokes. One a day.
Automated programmes. Approved joke. Pick one at random and send it out. First person to be publicly shame because of something he did online
Kristlnacht. Night of Broken Glass.
Scotsman and Jew having dinner. And the Scotsman pays for it. The next day, headlines, Scottish ventriloquist found strangled?
Jonathan < shared flat with Amir. He clearly was affected by. Something important about the date. But the date was set at random.
LookingGlass Software. But running my own software company.
Next turned to the Usenet Community. But almost nobody took his side.
Amir my parents emigrated from the UK.
If something like that was left unchecked…
We hatched a plan. Hit the University of Waterloo through bad press.
Lousie…I thought this was a very important story. I read these jokes and I heard my stomach turning. In traditional media you can go to someone.
The way I described that joke…University of Waterloo system used to send racial jokes.
1980s, Italian and Jewish and in a struggle to be taken seriously. Made me feel marginalised and denigrated.
Brad: An actual Nazi contacted me.
University suspended Brad Templeton account.
Brian Reid. What a fool, they think they can ban? It was uncensorable. Built into design. Brad’s page, up right away.
Campus in 80s. Progressive. Conservative. Eric Charles. Conservative. I don’t understand why anyone would join the military. And I was in the military.
Are you a conservative that wants your voice heard?
Peter, quiet (cold and calculating). Lamenting political correctness.
Do you believe in freedom of speech of not.
Jean Genus? Scottish Jewish joke. I thought it was funny. Then the whole hoo-ha. John Sack. Director of Stanford Data Centre.
How Stanford respond? Ban the joke or let it stand?
Town and gown. Birth of Silicon Valley. Navigation of shoals of how much to do for people. Engineers of the internet. Steering the ship?
Brad’s page, banned. Rationale. Stanford’s freedom of expression…
John McCarthy. Founder of Artificial Intelligence.
What kind of man was he, I’m not going to answer that. He attacked my mother. Eugenics. Personal. Speech codes online
Gathered 100 000 signatures online.
John Sacks> John McCarthy’s argument (break things and move) we’re reaching the limits of free speech, lets run into it and test it.
2012 Free Speech wing of the Free Speech party (i.e. Twitter).
Brad, because of this kerfuffle. One of the mostly widely read on the internet.
Peter> went off to Wall Street. Thiel. Started PayPal.
Dave Ruben report. Peter Thiel.
Louise De Amato. White lives matter? March? Torn apart on Twitter. What happened to him, happened to me.
John Sack, who tried to get Brad’s jokes banned, thinks he was hemmed in by binary thinking.
6 Many Different Lives.
She asked if I was a woman? And I said, yeh. And she said Michigan is for women born women only. And you have to leave.
Nobody in this story intended for these things to lead to hatred.
Rebecca. Mixed race babies, unfamiliar. Race of familiar black. Race white. Mother black. wrote The Colour Purple (Alice Walker).
Alice and Melvin’s goal to embody ideas. Vagaries of marriage. She moved to San Francisco and two years in Washington. My mum partnered with afroAmerican. Father, Jewish woman.
Wizard of Oz, auditioned and was given the part of the wicked witch of the North. I fancied a white boy. Brian North.
Back in black life. More accepting on the whole. Black relatives call me a ‘cracker’. Demonic, based on their horrendous treatment of black people. Part of whiteness. Moving from world to world like different planets.
Gloria Steinem was her godmother. New wave of feminism. 2nd phase of feminism. Betty Friedman’s book. 1963. Women had been struggling alone. Protesting for change. Equal rights. To have a job. To have respect. Won Roe v Wade 1973.
I had grown up in very feminist community. Propaganda against feminism incredibly strong. Called lesbians. Wouldn’t shave their legs. Whether lesbians should be included etc. Extremist movements. Post-feminism.
UCLA, intersectional feminists.
How can we re-define what the movement is? I am not a post-feminist. I’m third generation feminism. Third wave.
They accused us of matricide. As if we had been replaced (murdered). We’ve been talking about this forever. This is not new.
One is not born a woman. One becomes one. Simone de Beauvoir.
Isn’t tied to societal facts, but women’s movement should open up these categories.
Mitch fest? Michigan fest. 1981 Overwhelming impression was breasts. Women removed their tops and shirts.
Lying on small bamboo mat. And smiling
Campsite for and built be women. Some partying. Some overthrowing patriarchy.
Nance Barcholder? Mitchfest 1991.
I’d been cross-dressing over the years, but I knew I wasn’t gay. I went to see a therapist. I want to be a girl. Gender reassignment 1983.
I wasn’t go to come right out as trans. Went next year. Nancy’s friend, went away. A couple of women came up and they said we need to talk to you. This festival is for women only. Are you a women?
I said yes.
She asked, if I was transsexual. And I said, it was none of her business. I had a driving licence. I had a work record. And here I was being rejected.
Laura comes back and we drive away. We fly back to New Hampshire Bay Window, Boston magazine.
Acknowledged there were other transsexuals. But they didn’t ask gender.
Janice conducted survey. 75% felt they would have been very happy to be there. Following year, where we set up camp, across the road. Went back next year. Camp Trans. Hundreds of people came out.
Most festive goers are open-minded. Atmosphere of love and joy will bring us together.1995 Camp Trans escorted onto the land.
Camp trans and Mitch Fest under own group.
Pre-op, shouldn’t they be allowed into Mitchfest, because they couldn’t afford it? Point of division.
Mitch Blyh? Angry emails about Mitch fest no allowing trans into their festival. They wanted a name. Trans-Exclusionary-Radical-Feminist.
How TRANS people should be recognised. Self identify. Not having the medical establishment in Britain for example have you live as a woman for two years before gender reassignment surgery.
Mitchfest shut down. 1992. Became associated with exclusion. Third wave become fourth wave.
Rebecca? All experiments need to be rigorously accessed.
Tone set by both sides, Alienation?
7 A Secret Behind a Fake Wall.
Edges of Hollywood. Isaac Kappy.
Filled with people imagined they’d been abandoned. Takes us
Wendy Kappy, mother born New Mexico.
Best friend ross. Hung out. Get on our bikes, cruise around. Monster Pools. Champagne Bikeride. Picked up.
Breaking Bad. Thor. Paid pet-store clerk.
He wanted to be a star and famous. Saw himself that way. Looked like could happen. 2011, Albuquerque industry died. Left and went to LA. Competing with 100 times number of people.
Issac struggled to find work. New best friends. Paris, Michael Jackson’s daughter. MacAulay Caulkin. He’d been a conspiracy theorist. About 9/11 being an inside job.
2016, during primaries.
He was a Bernie Sander’s supporter. They did all they could to stifle him. Felled by conspiracy. Took steps down rabbit hole.
Pizza Gate, secretly sex headquarters delivered children for sex and to eat.
Alex Jones, Pizza Gate is real.
December 4th 2016, family Pizza joint and opened fire. Admitted there were no dungeons. Intel. Not 100%
Then something happened.
Ross: I don’t know if I got the whole story. It’s a little uncomfortable, to talk about that. The incident. Tallies with March 2017. Confided with them, that certain people in Hollywood part of world-wide conspiracy. They told him he was right. And if he wanted to become a famous man. He had to come and rape the child behind a fake wall.
I got asked to join the Illuminati.
During the weeks that followed. Hollywood friends disturbed him further. He truly believed they had a child in a dungeon.
Came to Albuquerque. Stayed for a month. Breakdown.
After sitting on his secret for 8 months. On Alex Jones. Names his well-known friends. After that experience I tried to black it out. This is not a media stunt. I believe it.
When you go on Alex Jones and even he debunks your information.
Started posting periscopes online. Life links. QAnon. Trump had a masterplan to eliminate the Illuminati and Satanist child abusers. Narcissists.
Diagnosed with being a narcissist. Posted online. Paranoia. In LA asked a group of police officers to arrest him for his own safety.
Naming with no evidence, continuing names of Hollywood stars, with zero evidence. Went online. QAnon started re-posting his videos.
Ross: He got worried and stopped going out.
Answering questions from QAnon fans. Once I found out about PizzaGate…Maybe I’ll be back later.
Set off to visit his parents. He went over a bridge and died. Flagstaff, Arizona. Two men tried to save him. Fell backwards.
Ross talked to him last time. He apologised for things he’d done.
Incident happened around 7.30am. We were informed about 4.30pm.
Lowest things, people obtained pictures of his corpse and posted them online. YouTube refused to remove them.
May 13th 2019.
But this isn’t where his story ends.
Lin Wood said he’d been murdered. John Ziegler writing about him for decades.
Been deformation Covington Kentucky, as if they were taunting native American, wearing Trump hats. Racists. Outrage.
Other videos questioning narrative. Lin Wood got settlement for kids.
They were out there going after those young boys. Cause celebrity among Trump world.
I though he was fantastic. Very logical. But in 2020, after Trump went overboard. Avalanche of insanity.
Bush, Clinton, Obama involved in child sex abuse and murder.
Kappy was about to heroically deliver the tape to Trump before he was murdered.
He’d been working to try and get the election changed.
Trump’s official lawyers told zero chance of getting elected.
Outside lawyers. Came in. Insane solutions. Lin Wood. Online elements. Read the same stuff online. Information silos.
Jonathan’s story inside Trump’s head.
Sidney Powell, information conspiracy. Trump puts her on mute. Then unmutes and asks her what are we going to do? Sometimes we need a little crazy. So what are we going to do?
Insurrectionists, support Stop the Steal.
Lin Wood any attempts to connect them to insurrection are nonsense.
It’s good v evil.
Trump allowed this destabilising farce because sometimes you need a little crazy.
8 A Mock Slave Auction.
How the school text book wars have become so pervasive we can’t escape them. So You’ve Been Publically Shamed, Jon Ronson.
Traverse City, Michigan.
Naeve Walston? aged 16. Last April 2021. Hey, Snapchat? my friends trying this group. Late at night. texted. This is really bad. You were in it. You were sold?
Invite only. SnapChat.
92% Travis City White.
Auctioned for $100 but went for $3.
Some of the stuff being said. Good for cotton. Cherry picking. All blacks should die. Eugh and gross.
1.2million slaves sold 1760 -1860.
I’ve lived a sheltered existence. Kinda tension when slavery was mentioned. Never experienced racism in LA. Wow, this town isn’t a friendly as I thought.
Scheduled school board meeting. Just regular meeting. 7 school board meeting sit in circle. 3 minutes questioned by public.
Not an isolated incident. Paul Sinclair, educator. Mr Sinclair, but as soon as I walk out the door, black man. Stopped 13 times in a month by police.
2 page draft resolution. Immediate opportunities to learn about racism. Anti-hate learning.
School board meetings no longer modestly attended.
Identical scenes across America but fundamental change.
‘God loves you, but I’m not judging you’ (but I am).
Let’s look under the hood…CRT (Critical Race Theory) shorthand for all racist ideas. Tucker Carlson. Robin DiAngelo White Fragility.
John McWhirter. Nobody
Robin DiAngelo white role in systemic racism. Death threats. Single mum. Living in car. Feed of clothes of house us. Mom became sick. Cancer. Don’t tell anyone. She died when I was 11.
Went to college when she was 28. Career centre. Divesity training. Go out into field. Typically, 100% white. Meanness. Any suggesting racism was systemic.
Origin moment. Essay. Then book.
Fragility how little it takes to cause offence.
2018. Black Lives Matter. Books sold in droves. New York Times bestseller. George Floyd’s murder. That’s the narrative. But it had already been in the top 10.
I signed up for one of Robin’s workshops. Bowled over for couple of hours. Seas of white faces. Statistics. 93% white what shows we see. 82% school teachers.
Unsure, living in car. I knew it was better being white. How can you measure that? White priviledge. Eg Opiod addiction
Robin. How are we going to help people with opioids? How are we going to criminalise these (black) crack addicts?
If you are white your opinons are going to be superficial and ill-informed. Devote years to study and practice. Everyone’s opinion aren’t equal.
Dick Gregory ‘Nigger’.
Dean fired/suspended. Student pushing for dismissal. All that mattered was the impact.
Robin: I think intentions irrelevant? What we’ve got to focus on impact.
We emailed her, the gist of what I offered that student.
Dick Gregory, where the willing to engage in academic discourse?
I tell Robin about Traversee sister.
‘Yes, our ancestors made mistakes…’
Let’s move on.
Robin, oops. I made a mistake…
Being silenced. I’m going to go the biggest elephant in the room. People with investment in the status quo.
Anger, in Traverse City, people being told they need to be good in a different way.
Isn’t Robin’s fault. 1300 CRT mentioned on Fox News.
Trump mentions it again and again. Something to rally against.
Naeve. We acknowledge racism and we’re going to do everything we can. No teaching of CRT.
Fudge. Appease divided community. Many echoes of past repetitions pulling more and more things into its orbits.
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed?
How we should be more empathetic. Fleeting mentions of bestiality and porn-shoot. As with Roger McGough, an optional book.
Two teachers suspended for putting the book on the reading list.
Biggest ambition, culture wars not becoming culture wars. After Tammy’s episode, so many messages of support.
I can’t remember very much about Derren Brown’s guide to practicing stoicism in an unhappy world, Happy. This is the follow up. Pretty good fun, more like a chapbook and diary (his father died during Covid). I’ll no doubt forget all the lessons learned here too.
Stoics taught us fortitude comes from controlling our thoughts and actions. The common mistake we make is to try and manage things we cannot (serenity prayer). Derren suggests, You are not fragile, you have all the resources you need.
Without stoic wisdom, what is our default mode? Mine is to read books and leave the real world behind, or in front, or wherever it goes when you’re reading.
No feeling is final. Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Hours.
Let everything happen to you.
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
Leonard Cohen Beautiful Losers:
How can I begin anything new with all of yesterday in me?
I remember moments of my own excessive certainty; my many years as a Christian patiently explaining to anyone who would listen how Jesus must have risen from the dead. There were simply no other explanations for the events that took place. P31
Whenever a spiritual revelation is enshrined in an institution invented to carry its meaning through time it is easy to understand how its guardians can become overprotective of the treasure they are responsible for, especially if their access to the original it theoretical rather than experiential…there is a clear tendency in subsequent generations to overdefine and concretize the original revelation.
Divinise the one to whom the original revelation came.
Cf. political revelations, ‘Marixsm-Leninism’. Maoism, Fascism.
The New Seekers in the early seventies would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. The Seekers, a small Chicago based group that believed the world would end 21st December 1954 at 7am. A flood would wipe out humanity. But they would be saved. Picked up by UFOs with whom they were in contact by psychic links with the planet Clarion via automatic writing. The group had been infiltrated by social psychologists that monitored what happened next, when the flood didn’t happen and the alien never showed up. The group, like the Jehovah’s before them had given away all of their belongings and removed all metal items from their clothing such as fly zips and bra straps, in accordance with the instructions they had received.
Tears and disbelief were put aside when a message came through the channel of automatic writing that the group had been spared the coming apocalypse. And because of their belief God had also spared the world.
The believers doubled-down on their belief with an outpouring of evangelism. Much like anti-vaxxers, Trumpism and a belief in QAnon hadn’t been channelled, not be automatic writing, but by Russian state hackers.
Michael W. Miller, writing in the Observer about Janet Malcolm makes sense of this cognitive dissonance by quoting her.
Hypocrisy is the grease that keeps society functioning in an agreeable way, by allowing for human fallibility and reconciling the seemingly irreconcilable need for order and pleasure.
Aristotle: the good life as principally steering a course between the extremes of temperament. Neither intellectual cowardice, nor plastic New Age wisdom.
We have largely forgotten the role of Fortune in our lives. The Greeks were very keen to remind us. Pride, in our modern mantras, at the mercy of FATE.
Schopenhauer mankind trapped between pain and boredom.
Slippery selves every face having its opposite.
Rilke: People in love are the furthest distance.
Arthur C Clarke (1962) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic [or Star Trek]
We live longer and more happily when we have friends around us.
David Bosiano (2018) Emotional Success.
Prosocial feelings, no man is an island.
Pride in ourself(ves) and others.
John Paul Satre: ‘bad faith’ , an insincere existence.
Nietschean ideal of ‘Become who you are’.
Jonathan Rauch (2018) The Happiness Curve.
Wait, Wait. Wait. Life gets better after your forties.
Paul Harris, American magician: A baby arrives in the world and embarks upon a gradual process of disenchantment.
Busyness. A marker of success. Doing becomes being.
Identity: cognitive dissonance, rationalize and edit out what does not fit in with notions of ourself.
Jim Steinsmeyer, designer of magic and theatrical special effects. Magicians guard an empty safe. [cf Wizard of Oz, when the curtain pulled a man pedalling a bike and shouting through a megaphone]
Emanuel Levinas: Face to face encounters the bedrock of our existence.
Beauty, striking beauty, causes the body to ache.
Shyness, can make those suffering from the condition (introverts) seem cold and aloof. Susan Cain (2012) Quiet.
Shyness a fear of negative judgement.
277 Schopenhauer. Most people discover ‘when they look back on their life that they have been living the whole time ad interim, and they are surprised to see that which they let go by so unregarded and unenjoyed was precisely their life, was precisely that in expectation of which they lived.’