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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Pour out a little liquor for the '9/11 truth movement'*

That's right, thanks to a truck driver in Oakland, we've finally arrived at the twilight for one of the most embarrassing American social 'movements' to have ever existed, the 9/11 'truth movement'. United by the central paranoia that 'something's just not right' about the massacre of thousands of people by Islamists on September 11th, truthers were able to cross political divides to come up with the most empty and distracting 'critique' that the American ruling class could possibly hope for. The left, which was looking for something more 'radical' than the superficial political economy on hand with the anti-war movement, was ready for the mystery meat of Alex Jones' (and others') cafeteria. Armed with the truth, they could now march with radical signs. Now they were digging deeper. The new critique took every aspect of existing society for granted in order to bury itself in forensics, in an almost monomaniacal search for the 'real killers'. Accordingly, an extraordinarily elaborate system of justifications was drawn up and distributed collectively, as a mode of participation....in something! The critique no doubt felt confrontational, since the dogma collectively prepared and re-hashed on the internet had to be disseminated within the anti-war movement through obscurantist arguments about the melting point of steel, the angle of incidence of security cameras etc. Hard work was demanded for all involved in constructing multiple fail safes in case the most obvious idiocies couldn't stand on two feet!

How tragic then that this enormous monument to crawling up one's own ass in self-refential 'scientism' now meets its end with the conclusive debunking of the 'movement's' central 'premise' i.e. that a free fire could not melt (or weaken) structural steel sufficiently to cause a structure to collapse.

Welcome to Oakland.
(CBS/AP) A heavily traveled section of freeway that funnels traffic off the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge collapsed early Sunday after a gasoline tanker truck overturned and erupted into flames, authorities said.

Flames shot 200 feet in the air and the heat was intense enough to melt part of the freeway and cause the collapse, but the truck's driver walked away from the scene with second-degree burns. No other injuries were reported.

"I've never seen anything like it," Officer Trent Cross of the California Highway Patrol said of the crumpled interchange. "I'm looking at this thinking, 'Wow, no one died — that's amazing. It's just very fortunate."

Authorities said the damage could take months to repair, and that it would cause the worst disruption for Bay Area commuters since the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged a section of the Bay Bridge itself.
It was Fark.com visitors who immediately picked up on the implications for conspiracy theory in this story, where fire had clearly weakened steel (enough to collapse a freeway overpass), proving that the 'theories' popularized by Loose Change et al (that the twin towers could only have collapsed via pre-set demolition charges since fires inside the buildings could not have reached an adequate temperature to weaken the structure) are utterly false and hereby proven so physically. No longer disproven only by mere circumstancial evidence such as the fact that a conspiracy of such a magnitude couldn't possibly be kept secret, as argued brilliantly by George Monbiot, and not merely by the fact that the conspiracy theory in question had to be studiously invented with ugly and visible stitch marks avoiding Occam's razor all the way...now after the Oakland fire, the only conspiracy theorists left are in fact actual conspiracists, engaged in an ongoing racket of inventing their own reality where they enjoy all the benefits of science without the pre-requisite of critically analyzing reality. Thus for them, the object of critique becomes the method of critique.

But this is no loss for the CT fringe, which of course existed in nuclei in variously libertarian, gun-clutching, anti-semitic and white supremacist guises far before people convinced themselves that the perpetrators of 9/11 were innocent of their greatest accomplishment. No, these lunatics will retreat back to exactly that line of acceptability that still permits them audience in the country historically responsible for the defeat of mid-century fascism. For the CTs it was an important foray, because their way of thinking was spread to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide (and the pre-requisite for the anti-semetic critique was laid; as a Fark poster put it, "Just blame the Jews and get it over with"). Daniel Kulla writes,

Any historian will abhor the inept mechanical history, any political scientist the personalisation, any social scientist the ignorance against the majority of people, any journalist the poor research - but by doing so they play the game. Conspirationists do not want to show the experts that they are equal or better experts, they seek recognition via the audience. They might break the rules applying for the respective profession but that is only of interest for those who are subject to these rules themselves, not for the layperson readers, TV watchers, cinema goers or event attenders. They will most often not know about these rules and with high probability they will be influenced in their judgement by conspirationist shindig, the pretension of authority I refer to as ‘travesty’. Sometimes if not often the audience will consider the conspirationist copy of science, history or journalism to be more scientific or adequate than the original.

Conspirationism manages to over-optimally emulate socially relevant structures on the level of their appearance. From their more or less marginal position, German protagonists of conspirationism usually present predigested information from US conspirology sources in a way that it forms a more consistent story and a more perfect system which then can be blamed for any personal failure. Having been defeated by these enormous historical powers makes any defeat somewhat heroic, but makes sure that no personal consequences are drawn from that defeat.

Conspiracy theory is the acceptance of defeat for the struggle against daily capitalist exploitation. It is loyalty to spectacular events that supposedly dictate everything but in fact draw power from our obsession with them. Marx described the dialectical method as a movement from the abstract to the concrete to the abstract to the concrete, progressively wearing away at levels of abstraction. In this case, the abstract was melted by the concrete, and society has the chance now to regain its senses and oppose the outrageous state of affairs that only survives by distraction.

*Note: I drink motherfucking Kirin Grand Ale, and it costs me an extra 30 yen for a smaller bottle of better beer. I'm not about to waste any of it on the 3rd grade physics of the 9/11 'truth' movement; hence the empty bottle.

Good one. The 911 crowd has taken over KPFK radio in LA and it's got to be the worst use of the public airwaves.
Thanks for quoting me and the posting, still I insist on the difference between somewhat open conspiracy theories and what I call conspirationism.

The open form usually generates a suspicion in all directions, thus widening the circle of suspects and making way for a realistic picture of everybody struggling for their own interest. That's closer to capitalist reality than many other concepts, I'd say.

Conspirationism on the other hand is organized prejudgment. It's about the usual suspects, the few that control everything and everybody which also means that most people aren't responsible. In conspirationist perspective capitalism is a conspiracy of the rich against the poor and does not depend on everybody working and exchanging goods all the time. Thus, conspirationism merely fills the gap that is left open by the non-acceptance of what six billion people do all the time - pursueing their own interest. The conspiracy is blamed for exactly that, and as they are supposed to be the only ones doing so - everybody else is just morally driven - they have to accomplish everything capitalism does.

So, the main "hidden agenda" is the real abstraction, is the general unconsciousness about the nature of what everybody does most of the time: "Nobody can fool you as much as you fool yourself about the logic of exchange."
Hey El Chavo! thanks a lot for visiting. I think it's absolutely outrageous that so much time has been allowed the 9/11 'truth movement' to spout its claims on the left and elsewhere. It really struck me when I was going through the archives of that Guns and Butter show that Loren Goldner was on how deep this ideology runs. The radical left in Japan has only just caught up to this malady, and are busy writing even more half-assed speculation than what you read in English, so now I have to deal with that...ugh.

I guess my question is: who will be held responsible and if they are, will they ever shut the fuck up? Now that the facts are on the table, will they be recant their lengthy factoid-packed diatribes? Or will we just keep suffering through the same shit?
Daniel I'm interested in an example of open conspiracy theories versus conspirationism? Would the former be for example be a critical investigation into a social event? For instance understanding the drive to war in the middle east as a collection of different factors, including personalities, companies, imperialist competition, local war-mongering tyrants etc.? Would an example of the latter be anti-semitism?

Where does the 9/11 'truth movement' stand?
It isn't always so clearly distinguishable. I think most of the time you'll find mixed forms. An ideologically driven conspiracy nut still can ask a question worth considering, sometimes he might be the only one who would look at certain facts.

The difference merely is: is there a prejudgment included or not? I think even the most far-fetched suspicion doesn't pose any threat or political problem as long as it's just treated as a suspicion and not as evidential proof.

If all this 9/11 stuff is only used to support an already given judgment about Bush, the Neocons, the Mossad or whoever - then it's prejudgment and pure ideology.

If it's driven by the demand to know what was going on 9/11 or before, if people aren't satisfied with explanations, if they are curious whether there was perhaps even more bureaucratic sloppiness involved than the Commission Report already displayed - that's just people who keep asking questions and that's fine.
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