I love it when a 'real journalist' takes on the corporate 911 denial system. - Dan F.
Who knows what happened on 9/11?
Dan Hind - Guardian.co.uk
Thursday July 17, 2008
Earlier this week Charlie Brooker generated the largest number of online responses to an article in the history of Comment is free. His theme was conspiracy theory in general and the 9/11 conspiracy theories in particular – and it collected more than 1,700 comments. Brooker thinks conspiracy theories console those who find reality too dull and complicated without the garnish of a hidden agenda: "Embrace a conspiracy theory and suddenly you're part of a gang sharing privileged information; your sense of power and dignity rises a smidgeon and this troublesome world makes more sense, for a time."
Brooker's line belongs to a mini-genre of attempts to explain the public's willingness to entertain conspiracy theories in psychological terms. Indeed he is very close to that stern rationalist Melanie Phillips, who has decided that, in the absence of religion, conspiracy theories satisfy "our desperate need to make order out of chaos".
The conspiratorial world view does have its consolations. But so does Brooker's. There's a certain pleasure and drama in declaring that the world is driven by incompetence and error, and that things are more or less as they seem. You can preen yourself on how well-adjusted you are, how you haven't fallen for that stuff about lizards, or Illuminati. You have learned to live without magic. You're saying "I don't believe in 9/11 conspiracy theories", but you are signalling that you are sceptical and rational and that you don't have personal hygiene issues. There's a psychological pay-off for both the cock-up and the conspiracy theory of history.
And while elements in the American state angle for another war in the Middle East, Melanie Phillips and Charlie Brooker will doubtless continue to heap scorn on an irrational public. Which seems a little, well, paranoid, under the circumstances.