We're in big trouble
I have always been fond of conspiracy theories. I haven't exactly sought them out, but it's good to know there will always be people who insist on challenging any truth, solid though it may seem - people who will insist on making us see things another way. This is how scientific revolutions were born, after being seen for years as denying the truth and sometimes even dooming the brainstormers to burn at the stake.
Human progress and technological development have often been relied upon to help eradicate conspiracy theories. The truth was assumed to be so certain and transparent, that no one would dare come out against it.
It transpires, however, that the conspiracy-minded people not only survived human and technological progress - they harnessed it to their needs. Video clips, medical data, Internet information and even pure science serve the suspicious souls in establishing the other possibility.
Last Thursday, the United States and the world marked the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. Most of the world has adopted the truth that the four planes' crash was carried out by Al-Qaida people led by Osama Bin Laden. Everything is clear: Planes were seen crashing into buildings, the collapse was witnessed on live TV, there was wireless transmission, clear pictures of the suspects, survivors' testimonies, etc.
But that night, the Science Channel broadcast a program claiming to present the alternative version of the 9/11 events. The bottom line was that the American administration was behind the act - to get the public's go-ahead for a war against Afghanistan and Iraq.
Sounds groundless? If you haven't watched the show, you may well think so. But after 50 minutes of viewing first-rate television research, even yours truly, a man rational to the point of dullness, experienced a crash. Suddenly there were other firemen's testimonies; scientists explained that the planes' conflagration would never have caused the meltdown of the buildings' steel foundations; cell-phone conversations of the kidnapped people were said to be impossible due to the planes' considerable height, and it was said that Flight 93, which reportedly crashed in an open field in Pennsylvania, in fact landed and its passengers had boarded other flights. Earth-shattering.
One could dismiss the whole thing by blaming the lateness of the hour but the next day, at a much more reasonable hour, everything seemed even more convincing. Add to this the fact that few Americans believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the one who murdered John F. Kennedy, or accept the fortuity in which Jack Ruby settled the score with him; return to the cases of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., not to mention the Jewish connection to every tragedy that befell the United States - and you'll realize that we're in trouble. Real trouble.
It was possible to argue, as usual, that these stories were reserved for America. But what am I supposed to do with a relative, a senior physician, a cancer researcher, who has been claiming for years that Yitzhak Rabin was not murdered by Yigal Amir? He has a coherent medical theory and every time he tells it, his listeners feel ill.
The truth is that it's a little too much for a pretty ordinary brain. So I decided to escape reality and enjoy a one-time performance of Beatle Paul McCartney. I had already reconciled myself to increasing my very real bank overdraft by another NIS 500. But on Friday morning, Army Radio broadcast a rerun of Yoav Kutner's 1975 program, which won that year's Broadcasting Authority prize: "Paul McCartney is dead."
With research that Ilana Dayan could only dream of, Kutner proved that by playing a certain Beatles' song backward you can hear John Lennon, ironic as that may sound, saying, "Paul is dead, Paul is dead. I buried Paul."
Add to that the solid facts about a mysterious traffic accident the Beatles were involved in, the sudden interruption of their 1966 tour, etc., I bought it. NIS 500 to watch McCartney's double? Go find another sucker.