Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 10  Num. 90
                     ("Quid coniuratio est?")


In CN 10.84 Conspiracy Nation reviewed the movie "Conspiracy Theory," starring Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts. In that review I asked Kenn Thomas, editor of a remarkably wideranging magazine covering conspiracy research (Steamshovel Press), whether he had seen the movie before or after he criticized it. Here is Kenn's reply:

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You caught me. I have not seen the movie yet. I tried when I was in Nevada last week, but it's so long that the boat taxis along the Colorado River stopped running before it was over, so I couldn't get a ride back to my hotel. This makes my point about how a half dozen good researchers get the five-second soundbyte on the HBO special "Making of Conspiracy Theory" while the poseur Mel smooches the Pretty Woman and dodges Captain Picard for two and a half hours.

It is clear, though, that Mel is a caricature of a conspiracy "theorist", a lone nut who produces his rants for a subscriber list of five. I am as offended by this as any black person might be by the image of Steppinfetchit. So my critique has little to do with the filmography of the thing--"Birth of a Nation" and "Triumph of the Will" are fine films--than its function as an artifact of the military -industrial-entertainment complex.

Did you see the ad in NY Times with Mel for the Sierra Club Defense Fund? Visually, it was an ad for the movie. It did much more for Mel than it did for the environmental movement--a movement that in the first place has been infiltrated and co-opted, as many readers of Conspiracy Nation understand. It bothers me to see the idea of conspiracy research being used to advertise some Hollywood movie under the pretense of a PC cause. Talk about false dialogues.

Jon Vankin and Bryce Zabel have a letter writing campaign for a Conspiracy TV program now too that I'm less than enthusiastic about. I understand the need for popularizers and really do wish them well. As with the letter writing campaign to save the silly Dark Skies show, though, I see it as a tactic of the Star Trek gits and TV addicts (victims of the con, in my view) basically to create a vehicle to sell advertising. That will be the only point of any "research" such a show would broadcast. Why should we lift a pencil to help when we are already pre-occupied with the difficulties of continuing to maintain our own feeble (by comparison) attempts to collect and broadcast information?

Oliver Stone made good with his bid to be Hollywood's "Mr. Conspiracy" for while because it was grounded in the reality of the Garrison case and helped lead to the creation of the Assassinations Materials Review Board. I get rankled, though, when what we do--"we" being a community of people such as Skolnick, Weisberg, Judge, etc., all better looking than any any matinee idol--gets reduced to just another part of somebody's star image.

Anyway, you're welcome to use these comments in Con Nation or not. I certainly respect your opinion about the movie and will, in fact, make more of an attempt to actually go see it now.


Kenn Thomas
Steamshovel Press
POB 23715
St. Louis, MO 63121
subscriptions: 4 issue: $22
single issue: $5

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