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Hee! There's a Buffy-reference in the book I'm reading. Nick Hornby knows his pop culture.

I've been feeling a bit off lately. Work's still the same old, same old, but quite a few of the people I've worked with for years have gone in the latest personnel cull, and some of the rest are on holiday, which means it's been a quiet week, really. Except for the workload, which has of course increased.

On my way in to work, I've taken to reading the free rag rather than bringing my own quality newspaper as I used to do until June 1st, when I finally succeeded in cancelling my subscription (I'd been trying to since halfway through of last year, but I kept missing the deadline). As it's free, this Metro (or Sp!ts; there's two of them) is complete crap, but you'd be surprised to know how many people take it seriously. There was an article (I use the term loosely) at the start of the week, and no doubt prompted by the upcoming 5-year anniversary of the event, in which the 'reporter' not only cast doubt on the official explanation of what happened on 9/11, but even went to far as to suggest that the whole thing had been stage-managed by the American government itself. It took me a few days to find out that his 'facts' had actually been borrowed from the low-budget Internet documentary Loose Change; and to my horror, from the Letters To The Editor-section, I found out that quite a few of my countrymen, who I naively believed to be an educated and informed lot of human beings, subscribe to this crackpot idea.

Maybe I've spent too much time in the Middle East, but conspiracy theories get on my wick.
In Cairo, if the local bakery ran out of bread before the end of the afternoon, you could bet your bottom dollar that soon someone would start the rumour that it was due to Zionist infiltrators and agents of the West intent on suppressing Islam. Once, I almost got lynched for giving credence to the Western reports that said that an Egypt Air pilot had killed himself, taking his crate and his passengers with him, and my husband refused to speak to me for 3 days because I'd embarrassed him in failing to support the Egyptian belief that it had been an Israeli provocation. I can't help it. I may be unimaginative in my opinions, but I happen to have a firm belief in Occam's Razor: the simplest explanation is usually the best.

I'll never watch Loose Change. I believe I know what happened that awful day from the footage I watched, and what happened was that a bunch of islamic fundamentalists hijacked a couple of airliners and crashed them into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, killing thousands. And for what? Their entry into paradise, because it certainly hasn't helped the other muslims still trying to live their lives today any.

Anyway, halfway through the week I started to lose my disgust of this story and fret over another: Jet Li's announcement that he's retiring from making martial arts films, and that Fearless, which has just premiered, will be his last ever in the genre. The news knocked me for six, because as you may or may not know, I am a HUGE fan of Wushu movies, and Jet Li -- well, he's the embodiment of Wushu, really. But now he apparently feels the time has come for him to be taken seriously as an actor (according to the free rags) or to devote the rest of his life to promoting a better understanding of buddhism in the world (according to an essay he wrote and published on his website)-- quite how he thinks he will be able to do either with Rogue, his next film which is currently in post-production for release some time next year, I don't know, as it seems to centre on revenge in a criminal underworld, but good luck to him. Who knows, there might be room for another Chow Yun-Fat in Hollywood and\or Hong Kong.

And now I feel like I want to watch Xiao ao jiang hu zhi dong fang bu bai (aka Swordsman II) again, so...toodlepip!

Comments

( 11 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
spiralleds
Sep. 2nd, 2006 05:26 pm (UTC)
How terribly troubling that there are folks who thing the American government orchestrated 9/11. My trust of the current administration has worn thin, but I still cannot imagine that they'd have either arranged or allowed for such a human tragedy.

Besides if the government has been behind it a) they would have skipped the Afganistan middle-man and gone straight for Iraq and b) the president wouldn't have sat slack-jawed in a grade school classroom for the 10 minutes following the first reports. He would have sprung to action in a more heroic looking way. :-p

I do wonder about the level of folks who believe by default the conspiracy theories. For some, I think it is about the world already feeling out of the individual's control and believing their are puppet-masters who are actively keep us in the dark and controlled is oddly reassuring. Somehow totally helpless as the world buffets us around is more comfortable than being only partially helpless, because then there might be a need to try to do something about it. ::shrug::
gamiila
Sep. 2nd, 2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
How terribly troubling

Indeed. But I've come to the same conclusion you have, that to those who believe in conspiracies, it is at least conforting to know that they're blameless as victims, and needn't get off their backsides because it's all pointless anyway.

and the president wouldn't have sat slack-jawed in a grade school classroom

Ah now...but if there were a conspiracy, do you think they would have let him in on it? Hehe.
curiouswombat
Sep. 2nd, 2006 09:34 pm (UTC)
I can well believe in people who firmly believe the conspiracy theories - they are so much more fun than reality.

One of my favourites is that Diana Princess of Wales was murdered by the Secret Service at the request of Prince Phillip - so much more exciting than 'she was in a car driven too fast by the chauffer of a rather feckless playboy, who liked to be driven fast and collect famous women, and it crashed.'

Actually, talking about Dead Di, there was something on TV the other day - it being the anniversary - talking again about why the Queen should have shown more compassion, been more upset, led the nation's mourning etc. You've just mentioned you ex-husband - do you imagine your ex-mother-in-law would be desperately and despairingly distraught if you died? No?

Of course the lack of weeping and wailing by the Queen 'proves' the conspiracy theory about Prince Phillip - just as GWB sitting speechless (presumably becuase no-one wrote him one, in real life) after the attack on the WTC proves he knew about it beforehand because he was not distraught, despairing etc. etc.!
gamiila
Sep. 2nd, 2006 10:14 pm (UTC)
Hmmm...so you're saying it's the Duke of Edinburgh, then?What was his motivation?
In Egypt, it's a matter of common knowledge that Diana was killed by the British secret service on the express command of his wife the Queen, who didn't want the next King to be raised a muslim or to have muslim brothers and sisters (everyone knows Diana was pregnant by and about to marry Dodi al-Fayed, and had already converted to Islam herself).
curiouswombat
Sep. 2nd, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC)
Ah - Mohamed al Fayed says it was Prince Phillip - that should be reason enough for anyone!

Of course the little fact that any more children Di had would have no claim on the throne at all and that she would have little say in the remaining upbringing of the two princes anyway, the age they had reached, shouldn't get in the way of a good conspiracy theory! Di was so much the model of the perfect Islamic woman in those last photos on the yacht as well - just proves she had converted, eh? :~D

(Actually I don't really think she would have intended remarrying anyone - she would have lost her title then, and stopped being a 'lonely abandoned wife'!)
gamiila
Sep. 2nd, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
Of course the little fact...just proves she had converted, eh? :-D

That kind of fisking talk could get you some very dirty looks from the firm believers in conspiracy theories, you know. Whether it's MI5's succesful attempt on Lady Di's life, the Catholic Church's centuries long suppression of the knowledge that the founder of Christianity was married and had a child whose bloodline still exists today, or the events of 9/11; they take it all very seriously and will keep shouting their opinions until some idiot in the media will give them a platform and the dissemination of information continues. I guess this last bit is what really bothers me so much about the whole phenomenon; I'm still very much influenced by the ideals of the Age of Reason, and would like to see our civilisation continue to move forward, not backweard into supersticion and all kinds of wacko theories.
curiouswombat
Sep. 2nd, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC)
You are quite right - it is actually worrying to find that more than a small handful of people actually believe all this stuff - but Occam's razor is too simple for people who live a boring life I suppose. And it doesn't matter how much proof there is that the obvious solution is true, it makes them feel important to think that they 'know' something that other, more intelligent or richer or better educated, people don't - and the more ridiculous the theory the more likely that there are people who also believe it on the grounds that it must be true, becuase you couldn't make that sort of stuff up...!
dalmeny
Sep. 3rd, 2006 05:15 am (UTC)
I too was saddened to hear about Jet Li. I'm planning on seeing Fearless in the next week or so.
gamiila
Sep. 3rd, 2006 06:37 am (UTC)
It came as quite a shock, didn't it? Although apparently, he's been toying with the idea for the last 10 years or so. I think I'll go see Fearless some time in the next two weeks. It's getting mixed reviews, although most critics seem to agree that it's a 'dignified ending' to an illustrious career.
vegmb
Sep. 11th, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC)
Doing a bit of catching up on the FL today. The conspiracy theory about 9/11 has been going around since the week it happened. There were several others last year about how the US government had found some way to control the weather and created the huricanes that hit the Gulf coast, and had blown up the levees in New Orleans. The sad thing is that this stuff actually makes it onto the national news programs here.
gamiila
Sep. 11th, 2006 06:27 pm (UTC)
It's making it onto ours here too, now. Last night they showed both Fahrenheit 9/11 and Loose Change on Dutch TV, and The Path To 9/11 on the Beeb (okay, I caved and watched the latter - it's Harvey Keitel, after all!). People always seem to want to hear their government's no good. Yet they're the ones that voted them in in the first place.
( 11 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )

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