Monday, March 03, 2008

Bare Truth or just Bullshit?

Here is Zeitgeist, The Movie:

Complete Version:
Zeitgeist, The Movie - Remastered / Final Edition

Separate Parts:

Part I: Religion
Part II: Facts on September 11
Part III: Central Bank and World Wars

Here is an article on the whole Truth Movement that has created the movie:

It’s inaccurate to refer to Truthers as conspiracy theorists because, as they’re quick to point out, many of them don’t have a theory. They only have questions. Some of them believe that the government is guilty of knowing about the attacks and simply allowing them to happen, others believe that the planes were remote-­controlled and no passengers died in the attacks, and still others believe that the Pentagon was hit by a cruise missile and no plane was involved at all. Many Truthers believe that Flight 93 couldn’t have crashed in Pennsylvania since the crash site is only 6 feet wide by 20 feet long. A radical few even claim that no planes struck the Twin Towers. The debate within the movement is intense and not always polite; some Truthers believe that denying that hundreds of air passengers died on September 11 is disrespectful and stupid.

The first Internet-distributed movie that turned people on to the Truth movement was Loose Change. Despite being an amateur production, Change is paced and edited like a mainstream documentary. It’s a shame it’s so bad. Director/narrator Dylan Avery’s voice is nasally reminiscent of Ira Glass’, which partly explains why Change seems like an episode of This American Life on acid. Avery makes crazy suggestions and then stops and says, in a folksy stage exclamation, “Wait a minute! What did I just say?” The last third of the film posits that Flight 93 never crashed in Pennsylvania. By this point it’s clear that Change is the work of someone who’s spent too long examining the evidence and needs to step out for fresh air.

The Truth movement’s newest, most popular film is a documentary called Zeitgeist. Not as professional as Change, Zeitgeist still has weird power: Based solely on anecdotal evidence, it’s probably drawing more people into the Truth movement than anything else.

The first 40 minutes explain in detail why Christianity is a sham and Jesus Christ is not the messiah. It’s fairly well argued and revolves around commonly known facts: Many early religions had messianic stories involving virgin births, crucifixions, celebrations on December 25, and so on. The second part is devoted to 9/11 Truth, and it’s probably the most clearly stated case I’ve seen, covering the “facts” concisely. The third part of Zeitgeist lost me entirely—it’s a screed about how everything has always been a part of a master plan to create a New World Order, and the film’s emotional climax involves a documentary filmmaker befriending a loose-lipped Rockefeller family member who blurts out the events of 9/11 . . . nearly one year before they happened!

It’s fascinating, this structure. First the film destroys the idea of God, and then, through the lens of 9/11, it introduces a sort of new Bizarro God. Instead of an omnipotent, omniscient being who loves you and has inspired a variety of organized religions, there is an omnipotent, omniscient organization of ruthless beings who hate you and want to take your rights away, if not throw you in a work camp forever. Zeitgeist is the film most Truthers mention online when they’re new to the movement, and it believes in a magical fairyland dominated by evil villains. It’s fiction, couched in a few facts.

Many people are quick to dismiss the Truth movement the second a Truther starts talking. This is a mistake. In many ways, Truthers represent a step forward, in part because of the high value they place on reason—nothing to sneeze at in a religious age. Outside of the always-to-be-expected lunatic fringe, the majority of the Truthers I’ve met have used clearheaded and civil discussion as their primary method of coercion, and it’s worked remarkably well. The problem is that many of the believers—like the ones who love Zeitgeist—have started to fall for spiritual hooey and Masonic bunkum. There’s a cult of coincidence just waiting to be born in the Truth movement that could prove to be every bit as awful and wrongheaded as any religion, but if the intelligent rationalists that I’ve met can keep their wits about them, be reasonable, and stick to facts, they could become a very important force.


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