Say hello to the deathers
- From: "DGDevin" <DGDevin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 2 May 2011 16:41:49 -0700
“Truthers,” “Birthers,” Osama’s Death, and the Tin-Foil-Hat Brigade
by Bruce Feirstein May 2, 2011, 4:15 PM
And so it begins.
With less than 24 hours on the clock since Osama bin Laden met his 72 virgins, the tin-foil-hat conspiracy brigade is out in full force on the Internet. I won't provide links, as it only encourages these people, but the idiot speculation is both sad and unsurprising:
• We faked the killing.
• We buried him at sea in order to cover it up.
• The DNA is inconclusive.
• Any picture the U.S. government releases is a fake.
• Obama did it because he needed a bump in the polls.
Consider this "news" article from Sky News, which will no doubt fan the flames of all this:
Can US Offer Final Proof Of Osama's Death?
The circumstances surrounding Osama bin Laden's reported death raise urgent questions over how the US is so sure it got its man....
But photographs of Bin Laden after his reported death have not been released.
The fact his body was buried at sea has so far only added to the speculation, although as a Muslim, he had to be laid to rest as quickly as possible....
The release of a photograph purporting to show bin Laden's corpse—which was later confirmed to be a fake—added to the confusion....
The announcement is not the first time the world has heard of Bin Laden's death. Claims that the US and Britain kept up a pretence he was alive in order to continue their war on terror have been dismissed as conspiracy theories....
And as for his audio and video statements, their authenticity has continually been questioned.
One of his video statements, released just days before the October 2004 US presidential election, was said to have been crucial in helping George Bush secure a second term in office.
It would be easy here to reference Richard Hofstadter's seminal 1963 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” to explain the need for people to disbelieve everything the U.S. government says and find conspiracies under every rock. Someone will no doubt mention this. But it would also be wrong, as Hofstadter was writing about the rise of politicians and media figures who prey on people's darkest, most paranoid fantasies—from the hidden power of the Illuminati, to Freemasonry, McCarthyism, the K.K.K., and the John Birch Society.
So the real question is: What desperate, craving need for attention causes people to post this stuff? Or worse, what twisted mindset causes them to believe it?
Watching Twitter last night in the moments before President Obama's speech, I was struck by a particularly childish, and unseemly, dispatch by a British writer, Melinda Ferguson:
"I am not happy that Bin Laden is dead. I am just not happy and jumping up and down for anyone actually killed by a pack of yankeedogs."
Reading this, I couldn't help but wonder: What kind of person thinks that this is appropriate to post, for the world to read? What malevolent spirit in their heart possessed them to come out with this? Is everything in their universe so black, so joyless, that even the death of a mass murderer invokes a tantrum?
Or, put another way, is there no one who will look at these people and simply say, “Give it rest. You're crazy”?
Clearly, and unfortunately, on the basis of what's being posted on the Internet today, the answer is no. And the “Osama Lives” fantasy will now join the rest of the conspiracy theorists' pet delusions:
• Hitler escaped, and went on to live in Argentina.
• The U.S. government covered up the alien crash at Roswell.
• The C.I.A. killed Kennedy.
• We didn't land on the moon.
• Bush knew about 9/11 beforehand.
• There was thermite and explosives in the World Trade Center.
• An unmanned drone flew into the second tower.
• The Pentagon was hit by a cruise missile.
• Obama faked his long-form birth certificate.
Osama bin Laden is dead. Alas, the same can't be said for the Tin-Foil-Hat Brigade, who have put on their headgear and will continue merrily—and suspiciously—typing into the night.
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