: I'm now deleting the comments from CD nuts without reading them. So why are you guys still writing to me? Scuttle back into your holes; civilized people want nothing to do with you.)
I finally caught up with Matt Taibbi
's excellent book The Great Derangement
. His main thesis: American political discourse has become a competition of kooks.
Naturally, Taibbi devotes a few chapters to what I call the "tranny" movement. ("Tranny" is my personal term of derision for CD-ers, a.k.a. the 9/11 "bombs in da buildings" theorists of 9/11.) You don't see many trannies these days; they have all pretty much scuttled off into their rat-holes. Occasionally, one or two of them will pop into the light and squeak out their famous cry: "But you don't understand the laws of physics...!"
Then they will scurry back into the darkness, raiding the trashcans for bits of cheese and pizza crust.
Not many years back, they were far more visible. And they tried very hard to take over the left.
As long-time readers know, I once gave these rodents a chance to squeak freely on this forum. They behaved abominably. They were so atrocious that I began to lose faith in humanity itself. (This would be circa December, 2006; the comments published at that time will make your hair stand endwise.)
Much the same thing happened to Taibbi:
But almost instantly after the column went up online, my mailbox started filling up with hate mail. And what hate mail! If there is a consistent characteristic of the 9/11 Truth Movement, it’s a kind of burning, defensive hypersensitivity, a powerful inclination to be instantly offended, which expresses itself in a tendency for its adherents to seem literally to leap out of their seats in anger even in e-mail form.
“Fuck you, you prick!” said one letter. “Left-gatekeeper cocksucker!” said another. “You’re the one who’s clinically insane,” said a third. “I can’t believe you call yourself a journalist.” Numerous complainants promised to kick my ass. Even a column I’d written celebrating the death of the pope hadn’t come close to inspiring this much invective.
About six days into this I called Jan Frel, my editor at AlterNet, and he mentioned, casually, that my 9/11 column was setting some kind of site record for comments. When I looked on the site I noticed that some of the comments touched on the actual subject I was writing about, but the vast majority were focused on that one “clinically insane” line...
I can't resist quoting an exchange which occurred when Taibbi tried to engage some "truthers" in a civilized dialogue:
Just then a lean, bearded figure, dressed in an army jacket, stormed through the front door of the diner and made a beeline straight for my side of the table. It was as if he’d studied my probable seating position beforehand; his entrance was executed with military precision. He pulled up a chair, spun it around to sit with the chair back facing forward, plopped down, and started barking at me in the frenzied, heavily accented English of a German film student sent to the emergency room for a meth overdose.
“Who zent you!” he screamed. “You left-gatekeeping scum! Who paid you off! Who made you do zis? You are vorking for zomebody! You...”
He kept screaming. I looked around the table in shock. The others looked down at their food.
“Hah! Who vas it! Answer me! Answer me now!”
“Jesus,” I said. “Calm the fuck down!”
“I am not CALMING DOWN!” he screamed. “You vill give me ANSWERS!”
I reared back in my chair. I didn’t know it yet, but this was my introduction to Nico Haupt, the so-called mad genius of the 9/11 Truth Movement, a feverish blogger who is credited with inventing the famed movement acronyms LIHOP (let it happen on purpose) and MIHOP (made it happen on purpose) and seems to be a ubiquitous presence at any 9/11 Truth function on the East Coast. Haupt is the movement mascot, the future propaganda minister of the Truth Republic.
I have not met Haupt, but I've run into many people like him.
For reasons which psychologists ought to study, conspiracy buffs tend to be "talkaholics." That's the defining characteristic of the breed. They like to think that they are being repressed, when in fact, they are shunned for the same reason we all shun all rude and obnoxious people. A true conspiracy buff refuses to allow anyone else the luxury of a completed thought. Just mention a noun, any noun, and the buff will interrupt you in order to deliver a five-minute brain dump, a stream-of consciousness riff suggested by that noun.
You know who else behaved that way? The unruly Obama mobsters of 2008. (Today's teabaggers also tend to act in a similarly appalling fashion, but that's a tale for another time.)
I believe that this pattern of verbal aggression and "interruptitus" derives, in large part, from a subconscious sense of desperation. I spent much of the early 1990s sparring with the conspiracy buffs of that pre-internet era. They were always trying to sell me crap about Mena or the Illuminati or Roswell or whatever. Eventually, I figured out why they would not let anyone else complete a sentence: A fully realized argument might contain an effective rebuttal. Sheer verbal aggression can rattle an opponent so thoroughly that he loses his train of thought.
A person who interrupts you continually knows, deep down, that he's full of shit.
The blogworld analog to Mr. Haupt's tirade would be a barrage of hate-filled comment spam, and we all know what that
looks like. We saw a lot of the stuff on Democratic blogs throughout 2008. As Taibbi documents, a similar barrage of comment-hate occurred a couple of years earlier, when the 9/11 lunatic legions went on the rampage.
Both the truthers and the Obots represented the successful infiltration of right-wing conspiracy memes into left-ish territory.
Taibbi is, on this score, a somewhat sloppy journalist. He seems to think that trutherism was -- is it safe to use the past tense? -- a purely left-wing phenomenon. Not true. Look at the movement's origins and you'll see that the story is more complicated. Trutherism began in that under-recognized region of the right which is so
far to the right that the Bush family is considered a clan of pinkos who want a Socialist One-World Gummint.
The very first tentative "controlled demolition" articles were written by toilers who seemed to have no particular political stance. But the field was soon taken over by Holocaust revisionists and other weirdo extremists, such as Eric Hufschmid, Jeff Rense, Chris Bollyn, Jim Marrs and David Icke. You know: Those
guys. In short order, the cry was taken up by Alex Jones, who became the Truther King. Although he is not a Holocaust denier, he is
locatable on the fringe right.
Around 2005, the idea spread from right to left. As I wrote in an earlier post:
Yet many within the progressive community -- younger people, whose enthusiasm exceeds their IQs (or so their writing style would testify) -- have bought into these far-right lies. I have been fascinated by American fringe movements since the early 1970s (in other words, since before most trannies were born), and in my estimation, the tranny cult represents the most successful penetration and subversion of the left by the right in American political history.
The cult has proven so successful that the tranny movement is erroneously considered liberal or progressive. In fact, the leading progressives want nothing to do with it.
A similar pattern occurred in 2008, when psychotic Clinton-haters -- whose antics I've documented at great length in many previous posts -- took over the Democratic blogs. The haters resurrected every anti-Clinton hoax from the 1990s: Whitewater, Vince Foster, Mena, the whole lot. Kossacks became Freepers.
Taibbi does not mention the 2008 phenomenon (even though it fits right into his "great derangement" thesis) because he is himself a Clinton-hater. Granted, he is not as loopy about it as the Kossacks were, but the hate is there nevertheless, and it blurs his vision.
At one point in his book, he infuriatingly suggests that PUMA blogs originated the "birther" nonsense. Not true.
The PUMA movement began on the Confluence. That site is run by lefties, as were all the genuine PUMA sites. (There were never more than a handful.) They never
had any tolerance for birther claims. In fact, they published the research of the late Lorenda Starfelt, who dug up newspaper announcements proving that Obama was born in Hawaii. The PUMA-friendly site you're reading right now once devoted much energy to debunking birther claims, although I now see no point in doing so: Birthers, like trannies, are impervious to rational dialogue.
True, there were a few right-wing sites which deceptively adopted the PUMA label, and which helped to spread birther paranoia -- but those blogs were set up by opportunistic operatives for the GOP. (Those guys never miss a trick, do they?) All of those bloggers eventually revealed their true right-wing allegiances, just before they collapsed into the tea party movement.
The "too liberal for Obama" crowd -- my
crowd -- never bought into that horseshit.
If you can get past the occasional outbursts of Clintonphobia, Taibbi's book is a must-read.Update:
I was under the impression that the tranny-rats had scuttled off into the darkest alleyways of the internet. My mistake. If you go here
, you'll see how they poke their heads into the light of day and show their little rat teeth, in non-response to some very good points Taibbi makes about WTC7. (I had made pretty much the same argument years ago, incidentally.)