Pizzagate -- or: The difference between clowns and monsters
If you haven't seen it yet, this Colbert segment is must-viewing. However, he is far too soft on Alex Jones.
It goes without saying that AJ will now go after Colbert. Right now, much of the conspiratard right is tweeting "proof" that the great comic is a devil-worshipping child-raper.
It must be understood that guys like Alex Jones are not clowns: They are monsters. What makes Jones a monster are his demonstrated inability to question himself and his smug presumption of his own rectitude. Although I've never met Jones personally, I've met a lot of guys like him -- and by "a lot" I mean a lot. They all radiate absolute jackass self-confidence coupled with a blinkered refusal to admit even the slightest possibility that they could ever be wrong -- about anything.
If a guy like AJ steps on your foot, the fault must be yours for putting your foot there. Alex Jones would rather bite off his own nipples than squeak out the words "I'm sorry."
And yet these conspiracy-crazies consider themselves Christians, even though they are no such thing. They may go to church, but they disdain the one virtue that every Christian denomination has always revered: Humility. Right-wing plot-spotters consider humility weak and effeminate. Brash, bombastic, rage-filled, hyper-macho Texas thugs like Alex Jones are as addicted to pride as they are to paranoia.
I've said it before, but it bears repeating: If you take Julius Streicher, shave off his mustache and give him more blubber, the result will bear an uncanny resemblance to Alex Jones -- physically and intellectually. Y'see, most of the Nazi bigwigs considered Streicher a dummy; he had his uses (until the very end), but he was still a dull-witted, lowlife brute. After the war, an American examiner placed his IQ in the 90-100 range. That sounds about right as an estimation of AJ's brainpower.
Although I'm not inclined to believe in reincarnation, certain cases make me wonder.
As infosec and Twitter personality @SwiftOnSecurity tells it in a tweet on October 30th: "Started off as a 4chan joke, InfoWars nuts thought it was serious, trolls keep up fascade, people think they're serious, big cycle."
That epidemiology may not be accurate. As we've seen in previous posts, the earliest versions of this conspiracy theory -- "Ur-Pizzagate," we may call it -- appeared in print just before the election, when two fake news sites -- True Pundit and Subject Politics -- published a bogus story claiming that the NYPD had raided Hillary's home and found evidence of her involvement with a child abuse cult.
So just who is behind True Pundit and Subject Politics? Do we have names? Do we know who funds those sites?
As far as I know, nobody has proven those two sites to be connected to the Trump campaign. Then again: Michael Flynn said that Pizzagate should be taken seriously until it is completely "debunked." If turnabout is fair play, perhaps we should treat the Trump connection to True Pundit as a given until someone can prove otherwise.
This article identifies one early Pizzagator -- a "stay-at-home mom" in Ontario:
Stefanie MacWilliams, a contributor to Planet Free Will, wrote an article last month that took off on social media. In it she recounted a man’s claims about a politically connected pedophile ring housed at the Comet Ping Pong pizza parlour in the U.S. capital.
“I kind of wanted to put out the information that was there with the statement I’m not accusing anyone of anything, there’s no concrete evidence of anything,” MacWilliams said Wednesday, adding that her readers were very interested in it.
Hey, gang -- I have an idea! Let's spread the story that Stefanie rapes her own children with a broomstick, as demonstrated in the infamous TV movie Born Innocent. And when she complains about that smear, let's act affronted. With a great pretense of innocence, we will say: "We're just putting out the information. We're not accusing anyone of anything. Maybe there's no concrete evidence that she uses a broomstick. It's just that our readers are very interested in it."
Planet Free Will was among the websites recently called out by the New York Times for sharing fake news.
“I was personally a little bit insulted,” said MacWilliams of the label, adding, “Fake news has become used as this ridiculous term . . . it’s the new ‘conspiracy theorist.’ ”
Damn right, Stefanie. Although you will always be too pigheaded to admit it, there's a good reason why "conspiracy theory" has become a term of opprobrium.
Again: I know the conspiracy theory subculture well. When I was younger and much more naive, I got a snoot-full of that odious milieu -- and then I made my escape, at a time when Stefanie MacWilliams was probably still in grade school. Having briefly glanced at her work on Planet Free Will, I feel fairly confident in classifying Stefanie as a classic paranoia-addict: Like AJ, and like so many of the guys I met "back in the day," she displays a complete lack of humility and an inability to confess the harm that she has done.
Monsters like Stefanie MacWilliams don't give a shit about other people. They thoughtlessly toss around accusations of child abuse -- one of the worst crimes imaginable -- without asking themselves the single most important question: "What if I'm wrong?"
That's what always separated me from the conspiracy buffs, even back in the bad old days when I kept very low company. I was always asking myself: "What if I'm wrong?" Self-doubt is a natural result of my upbringing. I had an Italian mother and a Jewish stepfather, so if there's one thing I know about, it's guilt.
Guilt and doubt are what saved me. Those two lifelong companions kept me from turning into a monster like Alex Jones or Stefanie MacWilliams.
I wrote several articles on DailyPUMA many years ago begging the Clintons to get into the media game and create a daily moderate news show. When Current TV was sold, I had hoped the Clintons might lead a group to buy it. My NRA PAC Russian connection story would fly like a kite if it had been conservative based, but because it is about conservatives there is no counter force on the liberal side to promote the story and give it legs. The Bottom line is Comey put FBI agents on email duty when those same agents should have been boots on the ground prior to and on election day making sure there had been no infiltration of our vote polling locations by "volunteers" with NRA or Russian alliances. And Comey needs to do another press conference prior to the Electoral College Vote day where he explains why Trump was not under investigation for anything.
Alessandro, Al Gore did buy a media locus and tried to recruit amateur journalists to provide video content. It didn't work. I don't know why. Maybe Al Gore had a bad reputation among hipsters. Maybe he was deliberately trying to bust the hopes and waste the time of amateur journalists.
Obama seems to have been very effective in making his young supporters cynical, and Bernie after. Feeling Berned Out? To their credit, many passionate Bernie supporters are pouring enormous energies into third parties.