Truth on Downward Spiral
|by Regis Nicoll|
Seems like the concept of truth is on hard times.
First there was the “Word of the Year“—the word having gained most prominence in the previous year. For 2005, the honor went to truthiness: the quality of stating concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than facts known to be true.
Next came A Million Little Pieces: the story that author James Frey tried to pass off as a true autobiography of redemption through a life of alcoholism, drug addiction and crime. When finally caught in his web of deception, he defended his story saying, “The emotional truth is there.”
Then came Loose Change--the $10,000 film that two college students, Korey Rowe and Dylan Avery, produced that “shows the direct connection between the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the United States government.” According to Rowe and Avery, the tragedy of 9/11 was a sinister act of our own government to justify going to war. What’s more, those weren’t commercial airliners that crashed into the Pentagon on that fateful day, they were U.S. cruise missiles.
Amazingly, the film has gained currency, especially among college students, despite eyewitness reports, film footage, commercial jet debris, recovered black boxes and, oh yes, the fact that all the passengers on those flights were actually killed and buried!
Even better are the reasons given among young people for supporting the film: “We don’t know the whole truth” (So I guess we just make something up?); “It’s good to raise questions” (Maybe we should also question whether 2 plus 2 really equals 4?); “It stimulates critical thinking” (About as much as wasting thought on Holocaust denial theories). But my personal favorite, a la American Bandstand, is: “[It is] catchy, hip, with an upbeat soundtrack.” That oughta do it.
As nutty as all this may seem, it’s not limited to the cranial emanations of bored college students. According to a recent Christian Science Monitor report, Kevin Barrett, a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, believes “the US government planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks.”
Like young Rowe and Avery, Professor Barrett justifies his theory by pointing to a poll indicating that the public feel they haven’t been told the whole truth. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.