Letter from Seeker
So I got this problem. People say I talk too much about things they don’t want to hear, but it’s actually really important things that they need to know about. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie “Loose Change,” but it is probably the most important film of the past decade.
I keep trying to explain to people that the federal government was behind 9/11 and the usual response is “Jesus, not this shit again.” I mean, the film lays it all out there in the open. The movie is a great way to find the entrance to the rabbit hole. From HAARP to the federal reserve, man, we live in dangerous times.
I’m just trying to help my buddies and they just want to drink beer and blind themselves to the truth! So how do I get my friends more interested in this subject without alienating them?
Thanks in advance. Awesome articles.
~ An Answer ~
We all have our 9/11 story; our own internal documentary of that pivotal point in history. Like any documentary, the truth of one story may not be the truth of yours.
Thousands of miles away from New York, I watched the events of September 11, 2001 unfold on live television. I saw the second plane dive into the south tower. I watched both towers burn. I trembled and sobbed, mouth agape, as they crumbled. In the days and weeks after, I watched them fall dozens, if not hundreds, more times. I had close family coming home by way of the Newark airport; their fate was unknown to me for days (safe). I was a bartender who sang and soothed, and wept with my patrons for weeks after. Since those surreal several months, I’ve intentionally avoided footage, movies, reenactments or in memoriam spreads of 9/11. The day… those days are forever imprisoned in my memory. I don’t desire to revisit them visually.
“It’s been long enough” I thought after getting your letter and, in the interest of this column, attempted to watch Loose Change. I lasted about 12 minutes before I had to turn it off. I stopped at the end of the beginning credits. “Written by Dylan Avery”. I started following the rabbit there.
Before you can believe a source, they need to earn your trust. I’d never heard of this guy. A cursory search for Mr. Avery leads you to a Facebook page, where it states that in 2005 he “began writing the screenplay for a thriller in which a group of friends discovers a government cover-up of the September 11, 2001 attacks”. This young man, only 18 at the time of the attacks, wanted to deliver his experience of 9/11 as a big-budget, historical-fiction thriller with a what-if-it-was-a-conspiracy angle. And he mostly did, just in a less expensive, documentary style film. Filmmakers on a budget can save millions using stock footage, voice overs, scrolling text and non-union actors (i.e. witnesses). Evidently, he made a successful, plausible story.
I recall many captivating documentaries that sent my activist’s soul on outraged tangents or enlightened paths; and some that made me feel like people are all a bunch of lemmings swarming over the cliffs. (Turns out lemmings don’t actually swarm over cliffs, and the idea that they do was a lie invented by a Disney nature documentary in the 1950’s to add drama. And murder a bunch of lemmings.)
Take for instance, that 22 million Americans doubt the Apollo 11 moon landing. In 2005, a French documentary made a compelling argument that Stanley Kubrick was hired by the CIA to film the moon landing in Hollywood. Check it out, it’s only an hour or so.
Compelling stuff. Total bullshit.
Still, people wanted so bad to believe in this shady plot, they question what most hold as set-in-stone truth. Will we ever really know? How much can you trust anyone? Only the people involved know for sure. Remember that time a Moon Landing truther called Buzz Aldrin a liar? Papapa-POW!
It can be embarrassing, and sometimes outright dangerous to assume videos under the heading “documentary” are unbiased, objective accounts of history – they aren’t (See also: every load of garbage on the History Channel). There is always an angle. Whether the filmmaker is trumpeting the story of an individual to get us to pay attention to a tragedy across the world; or the filmmaker is directly selling himself. A documentarian is often a filmmaker first, an activist second. It can be a very profitable venue.
We are the customers and like any product, they sell to our psychology. Exploiting weakness, fear, and raw emotion to intentionally trigger our adrenaline and put us back in a moment like 9/11 – selling us on the picture they are painting. Finding a more sinister, deeper meaning to pointless horror actually helps some people rationalize an irrational event. In that sense, a well played documentary film of the conspiracy theory genre fulfills a need. If they dig deep enough, filmmakers (and people) who seek a nefarious plot can find evidence to support it. And people will eat it up. Google “conspiracy website” and you’ll plummet down endless rabbit holes.
I’m not insisting to always accept the given narrative. I encourage you to continually question authority. Your passion excites me. Yes, the government, the corporations, the churches… are often probably doing awful things! Historically it is through the persistence of truth seekers that dark secrets come to light. People like Edward Snowden, Karen Silkwood or Mark Felt looked deeper and changed the world.
So, be passionate, but do your research; and always question the motives of your data. If you are going to disseminate information, make sure you are on the correct side of legit. No one wants to be the guy that was sure the Blair Witch Project was for real. Even worse to be the guy still making the argument.
As I peeked a bit more at the movie “Loose Change” (because I am an ever-curious soul), details that seemed too weird to be true sent me down your rabbit hole to review and counter some of Avery’s evidence. I discontinued my search because I suspect you have found your own evidence to support a truth in which you have complete faith. Where I would seek evidence to refute this film, you would seek evidence to reinforce it, as an act of that faith. Whether the generally accepted story of the 9/11 attacks is true or not is almost beside the point. We select our reality and choose the best means to support it.
You seek advice for how to get your friends to see reality as you do. That may not happen. If they had an inclination to bend towards your reality, they would probably be chasing rabbits with you through the warrens of conspiracy theories.
Neil Gaiman says “There’s none so blind as those who will not listen”. The world is full of people who wish to remain blind – no amount of screaming will get them to see. That said, please be ever mindful of whose eyes, ears and mind, are closed – sometimes it may be your own.
You maintain we live in horrifying times. If you only provide your psyche with scary, horrifying input, it will always seem so.
In actuality, we are living in the most peaceful, kind, and compassionate time… ever.
So, kick back, and drink a beer with your friends once in a while. Times are also good.
Do you need some life advice? Submit your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and you may see your answer get published in a future column.