Monthly Archives: July 2008

An Ironic Twist For Hannibal Lecter

Haniball Under Arrest...

Haniball Under Arrest...

According to The Morning Star:

Police have arrested Anthony Hopkins in connection with the body of a woman found in his freezer.

Evidently police think the body is of Hopkins’ wife, who hasn’t been seen in public for three years.

True to a Silence Of The Lambs scenario, the body cannot undergo a post mortum to determine the cause of death until it has fully defrosted…

Even more horror surrounds this case however, as police were allegedly investigating Hopkins for rape, sodomy, sex abuse and incest, and now murder is being added to that list…

As The Morning Star says:

Hannibal Lecter … would no doubt be impressed…

Of course this couldn’t be the real Anthony Hopkins…. could it…?

The Irony Of English Superiority

Following on from my last ironic post on The Irony Of American Superiority, I thought it was only fair to balance the books in some way. So, today we ask the question:

Why Do The English Think They Are Superior?

Could it be their Long History Of Civilized Society? Perhaps it is… which is why they have tried to force it upon the rest of the world at some time or another…

The English pride themselves on being Kind To Their Neighbours, but I’m not so sure the Irish, Scots and Welsh would agree with that…

The English are so ‘civilised’ There has Never Been A Real Political Revolution in England By The English People. There has been a political revolution in England involving some country near France… but I doubt if the English people even noticed it. Could it be that they have always been too lazy to get off their butts and find out?

Of course, we must remember that The English Were One Of The First Countries To Have A Female Prime Minister…. although a lady from one of their former colonies was first…. and in any case, did the World really need Margaret Thatcher?

Perhaps the English feel superior because of their Pioneering Spirit? Well, there have been many pioneers in English history… but many of them stayed in the country they had ‘discovered’ and never returned. Perhaps they preferred it there…?

And talking of that Pioneering Spirit, The English have a Great Sense of Travel And Adventure… as long as the place they are travelling to has a fish and chip shop, an English pub, and satelite dishes so they will not miss their favourite English TV soaps…

Along with the enjoyment of travel come Great Linguistic Skills… as long as the language spoken is English. They refuse to learn anything else.

But it doesn’t matter if the English only speak English, because everyone loves The Great British Accent, dont they? But which one do they mean? London? Manchester? Liverpool? Tyneside? Dorset?… Truth be told, the English often cannot even understand each other.

Never mind, the English still have The Strength Of The Great British £… They try to ignore the fact it is falling rapidly against the Euro.

Nevertheless, the English can pride themselves on their Sense Of Fair Play. This usually means “We don’t mind so much about coming in last”. And have you ever been able to sit through a cricket match without falling asleep? Do you care whether there is fair play or not? And in any case, I don’t think the English Soccer thugs are very fair, do you?

The English are well known for their Great Television Serials and their thrillers are usually very good. Pity they make so few of them they have to repeat them year after year, until everyone knows the plot word for word…

Same with English Television Comedies. Who can forget the excellent Monty Python, or Fawlty Towers? Are you still patiently waiting for new shows of this high calibre? Or are you still trying to laugh at Little Briton? I didn’t think so…

But we have to admit that the English have a Great Sense Of Irony. And this is sharpened by their ability to laugh at themselves. Well it would be wouldn’t it? After all, there’s so much to laugh about…

So What Is Really Superior About The English?

Well, many countries admire or copy their Great National Health Service. and rightly so… even if successive governments have tried their best to pull it apart.

But wasn’t the idea originally proposed by a Welsh man? And didn’t the Scots actually have it first…?

The Irony Of American Superiority

What is it about so many Americans which makes them think they are superior?

Is it their Government? Sincere and capable Mr Bush and his cronies? Surely not….

Is it their great Bill Of Rights? Many ‘rights’ left in the US? Not a lot…

Perhaps it’s the great US Education System? The one which churns out kids able to put hand on heart and salute the American Flag… but who are ill-equiped to face the real world. And didn’t I read somewhere that more and more US public schools are relying on the parents, to fork out most of the money for their kids books? Bet that works just great in the inner cities…

There again, it could be the US Dollar. Doing great at the moment against the Euro, isn’t it? Perhaps not…

Perhaps it’s that ‘pioneering spirit’? The one which produces all that belief that ‘I can do it!’ …. if I have the money/contacts/family background/color/gender which fits…

The Americans certainly have a great record on Race Relations, don’t they? Could be a Black American President soon. Way to go! Wonder when we will see a Native American President? Guess we might have to wait a while longer on that…

What about the great American Sense Of Fair Play? You know the one – ‘if we can’t win at a sport we will either (a) invent our own, or (b) threaten to boycott the country where the sports are being held.’ Yeah. That’ll do it!

And this ‘sense of fair play’ carries over into American Business Practices too. ‘We don’t invent much, but we sure as hell know how to buy (cheat…) a system out from under a small company and make millions from of it. And for good measure, we’ll call what we sell ‘a licence’, so we can change it without the purchaser’s permission and then sell them upgrades to put it right.’ Nice one! I’m typing this post on one of those systems now!

But all Americans know their business practices are right, don’t they? I guess that’s why they will be fleeced again and again by their own countrymen, but then declare they never trust in doing business with anyone ‘outside US shores’.

Because The American Way Is The Right Way, isn’t it? I guess it must be because:

Who can ever forget the great American way of Declaring War On Other Countries? Because (a) ‘We were given the wrong information, but it’s okay – we did the right thing anyhow.’ Or (b) ‘We don’t like their politics’. Or (c) ‘We want their oil….’

Perhaps someone would explain to me just What Is It About Being An American Which Gives Someone This Overwhelming Sense Of Superiority?

I know. Perhaps it’s their teeth? Those lovely wide, white smiles. (So sincere too…). And I have to say that they do seem to have better orthodontists in the US.

For those Americans who can afford them that is…

What Is The Point Of A Conspiracy?

What Makes A Believeable Conspiracy Theory?

In my last post, I wrote about Conspiracy Theory Plots and how these are structured. But I also asked, “are Conspiracy Plots and Conspiracy Theories for real?” As a bit of a conspiracy theorist myself, I like to think they are – at least some of them anyhow. But I am also a realist and I know that there are many people who want to believe conspiracy theories just because they are conspiracies. I also know that Conspiracy Theories themselves, can be set up as ‘diversions’ to take our minds away from the real conspiracy.

So where do we go from here? Is there any way to tell whether a Conspiracy Theory is based on actual facts? And if so, are those ‘facts’ correct?

I tend to take a simple view – Motivation. I look for what our so-called ‘Villain’ wants to get out of his conspiracy. What does he want to achieve through his dastardly plans? What motivates the leader of a conspiracy?

  • Religion: Many of the best conspiracy theories are based on the premise that a group of people with particular beliefs (and often particular needs…) insist that everyone in the world should follow their path. Look at one of the most popular conspiracy theories doing the rounds at the moment – Zeitgeist. The first part infuriated Christians by the thousands. Many of them were so incensed with the premise of Religious Conspiracy (in this case, that Christianity was a re-hash of earlier religions) they failed to look at the rest of the movie, and see it was also about…
  • Greed: Karl Marx’s Das Kapital was considered by many to be an illusion of a Capitalist Conspiracy to take over the World. I wonder how many people feel the same way now…
  • Self-Protection: It is not hard to imagine that a country, race, or social group who have experienced dreadful wrongs in the past would want to take power to protect themselves from further attack. When you look at how Jews and Arabs have suffered in their history, it is not hard to take this one step further and build up a conspiracy theory that these people (not together of course) would want to take control, to put right past wrongs. It could be argued that is this the basis of many false conspiracy theories, set up by a coalition of government and media moguls, to keep us all scared.
  • Madness: Many claim Adolph Hitler was mad (although others do not agree). They argue that his plans to Rule The World were not based on reason, but on a psychological flaw in his character. Those who helped him with his goal followed out of greed or fear of reprisal if they did not. Others say that Hitler’s plan to take over the world was based on an extended definition of fascist politics and carried forward with such force because of his…
  • Ego Mania: The Ego Maniac may not be mad, but it would not be hard to tip him that way. He or she has an unshakeable belief that they are right and others are wrong. Therefore they must take power, to ensure that ‘right wins out’. The ego maniac will fit into any of the above groups.

All of the above groups appear to have Motivation To Rule The World (or a large part of it). To Take Power.

But what happens if the motivations get mixed up?

Is Zeitgeist A Believable Conspiracy Theory?

I’m thinking particularly of the movie Zeitgeist. Moving forward from the debate on Religious Conspiracy, which I have no problem with, the remainder of the argument is based around taking power via financial, psychological and physical control. Shutting out whole communites from participating in society at large, controlling us all by taking over financial exchange, and, for good measure, microchipping us all to control our actions. And the conclusion is, that we will be so brainwashed with fear by this time, that whole populations will ask their governments to do this for them.

The way things are going in the developed World, it isn’t hard to believe any of this.

But I have to ask myself “What is the Point?” Who exactly is behind this massive conpiracy? What exactly is their motive?

Is it pure greed? Ego Mania? Madness? What Exactly Is Behind The Conspiracy That Is Outline In Zeitgeist?

The film producer has not come up with a coherent answer; just a mesh of other conspiracy theories. And, although many of these theories do make sense, the mix of them here does not. I wish it did, because the gut reaction I get from Zeitgeist is that it is more likely to be right than wrong, but this grand scheme to grab complete power and domination doesn’t, for me, show the real concise underlying motivation behind the conspiracy plot. It just throws different models into the mix.

And I have to know What Truly Motivates A Conspiracy in order to take the step towards believing it.

With Zeitgeist, I am more inclined to ask what was the motivation behind making the film itself? The producer claims it is just to make us ‘question the truth’.

But this applies to Zeitgeist too. Shouldn’t we be asking who produced the film and what their motive was? Could Zeitgeist, compelling as it is, be another false conspiracy to turn us off our tracks and hide a much better organised plot?

Conspiracy Theory Plots

How A Conspiracy Theory Works

I love a good Conspiracy Theory. Some of them even turn out to be true, and I like dissecting them all; just to see if the scenario they propose is viable.

A Conspiracy Theory contains a Simple Plot:

The ‘villain’, who wants to achieve power of some description and will do anything to get it. He, or she, will have to lie, cheat, steal and bribe other villains.

A problem for The Villain is that most of the free World believes in some form of Democracy. People believe that their freedom/political thoughts/homes/families/right to live… are sacred. Our societies are also extremely complex. Therefore our villain has to devise a cunning and complex plan.

The villain will seek to control our minds. The best way is to do this by fear, but he will need help to achieve this.

Therefore, the villain will aquire Allies: those who are also greedy for power (or just plain greedy), but are not quite as capable of rising to the top of the pile as our villain.

The Allies will use their various skills, contacts and political/financial strength to manipulate society. This will usually involve Setting Up a False Scenario in order to fool the people and make them afraid of losing the things they hold dear.

And, as “you can’t fool all of the people all of the time” (Abraham Lincoln Quotes), this scenario, or plot, will have it’s sceptics and investigators. So the Conspiracy Plot has to be extremely complex, with many twists and turns, so that anyone who investigates will be the continually sent down the wrong path to a dead end.

The Conspiracy Plot Will Involve:

  • A Crisis: This will involve a threat to ‘everything we hold dear’. The ‘everything’ will depend upon the group the crisis is targetted at.
  • A villain, or group of villains of the Allies’ making (for clarity, we will call them ‘scapegoats‘…) who are Causing The Crisis.
  • A ‘Hero’ (or group of ‘heroes’) who will make it their live’s purpose to thwart the scapegoats.
  • The Crisis will remain in place for a long time, because the scapegoats will be strong and cunning. They will be hard to beat. But beat them we must ‘for the safety of the (particular) society we hold dear’.
  • It will be as well to make the Crisis as long and drawn out as possible, with the ‘Allies’ constantly finding new ways to demonstrate to the people they still need the ‘heroes’ to fight for them. To ‘keep them safe’.
  • Because, once the crisis is resolved and all the scapegoats are thwarted, the people may wonder why they still need the rules set in place ‘to protect them’.

From time to time, new Rivals will emerge who want to overthrow our Villain. These will be True Rivals, rather than the scapegoats set up by the Allies. The Rivals will sometimes be as cunning as our Villain and it will take all his Allies’ resources to beat them.

New Rivals will involve a new set of complex plans and new plots to fool the people. Some Villains will win this round and others will fail. Some will lose their Allies to the opposition.

Either way, the people will still be left with a Villain in charge and new Conspiracy Plots to deal with.

And that’s why I love Conspiracy Plots. They read like a good thriller. But this thriller can be serialised in many parts.

But are Conspiracy Plots and Conspiracy Theories for real? I’ll look at that next time.

How To Brainwash The World

How Governments and Media Moguls Control Our Minds

This is nothing particularly new. I guess most of us nowadays have heard the phrase ‘the medium is the message’. Generally, this means that our message is received by our audience in relation to the medium we use to send that message.

An example would be a writer on left wing politics, who wants to get his message across to all types of different people, not just people from the political left wing. But he is halted at the first bend… because of the way his writing is presented.

He sets up a website or blog. This is the medium he has chosen to get his message across. It is dark, with lots of red highlighting. He has flashy banners which are ‘in your face’; they show caricatures of President Bush and ask us all to support the latest outrage imposed by the US Government.

He has immediately alienated any readers who are right of center (and probably center also). He has come across to some as ‘an extremist’, because they see the colors and banners as ‘extreme’. Even some left wingers may avoid his posts, fearing reprisals if they are caught reading them.

The only readership the political writer is left with are those who agree with him anyway. He has failed to get his message across to anyone new. It is almost like he is talking to himself.

The medium has become the message.

Governments know this. Media Owners know this – they are experts on generating messages in a particular style; to get the message across in a particular way and via a particular medium.

And when Governments and Media Owners work together, they have the ability to Brainwash The World.

Just think about the ‘news’ you watch on TV. When was the last time you viewed real images of War? You know – the blood, the carnage, the dismembered bodies, the people cowering in fear because they have no idea where the next strike is coming from?

Have you ever seen real images like these? And even if you have, I bet you have first been warned that ‘these images may be disturbing’. So if you don’t want to watch the real horrors of war, you turn away. Instead, you watch the pictures of soldiers ‘on operations’ and reporters who speak to the camera about ‘the latest events’, rather than seeing the gory details for yourself.

You read about all the troops who are killed and maimed in the fighting, but you do not see the full atrocity of their injuries and, unless you watch films by Michael Moore, you probably will not have seen the total distress caused to the soldiers’ families. Yes, you know it would be ‘viewing someone’s personal horror’ to see pictures of badly injured troops. You respect their and their families’ privacy. But in doing so, you fail to see the whole picture, to even begin to feel the true horrors of war.

So you become detached. You watch your Fox News and think you are getting the whole picture (even though, deep down, you must realise you are not). And many of you never stop to think of why you are receiving your ‘news’ this way.

Is it all about the ‘privacy of families’ and ensuring you are not stressed out by images?

I don’t think so.

Take a look at the article Why Media Ownership Matters and then asked yourself that question.

The article demonstrates just how much Government Involvement there is With Powerful Media Moguls and suggests what this is doing to our understanding of World events.

TV is a medium we all share. It is ‘cosy’ most of the time. We accept it into our homes – into our private lives. Because it is safe. Nearly everyone has a television in the developed World. Most of us would be lost without it. And if we don’t like what we are viewing, we can switch off, can’t we? And in any case, we don’t believe everything we see on TV, do we…?

Just think about the way the messages we see on TV are presented: ‘cozy chats’, ‘sincere’ newsreaders, pieces of humor to finish with. And TV shows all news events and all political viewpoints doesn’t it?

Well, that would be impossible because there is so much news; so many different viewpoints. So those who produce our media viewing have to be selective and choose what they think are the best things for us to view.

Trouble is, their choice will most likely not be ours, but we do not necessarily know this, as we have no access to the other information in the first place. Newspapers? Aren’t these owned by big media too? The Internet? It’s supposed to be the last bastion of freedom, but is it? Doesn’t our search engine of choice make our reading limited by what they think we should see on page one?

Who makes these choices? Who presents our messages to us? What do they have to gain from presenting the message in a particular way and through particular mediums?

Read the article about Government Involvement with Media Owners and you may have some of your answers.

You may not be a US citizen, but that does not leave you untouched. You may think that your TV viewing is uncensored and does not affect your political views. After all, we all agree that real censorship only exists in places like China, don’t we…?

But ‘Brainwashing’ sounds a little strong, doesn’t it? Isn’t that usually left to the ‘loonies’ and conspiracy theorists to discuss while we get on with our rational lives?

If you watch TV; read a Newspaper, browse the Internet, or just sit back and relax with your favourite magazine, you may well be being brainwashed. Your political views will be affected in some way, that’s for sure.

Because the medium is the message. And the messages we are receiving often lie.

Hello Ironic World!

And thank you to Mr WordPress.com for reminding me that I need an opening post.  Never would have thought of it myself…

More later…