Thursday, December 30, 2010
If people are blindly accepting of widely circulated thoughts and theories developed and refined by people with influence, our generation will become naive and unable to question what politicians and other influential's such as Bono or Paul McCartney (remember the seal hunt people) throw out there. Over time this would lead to neglecting what generations before us fought so hard to achieve - our democratic rights.
While I do believe in the power a properly researched question, brought up in a socially acceptable forum. (ie. community events, election forums, a powerfully worded papers brought to the attention of the media in a respectable way) I do have a slight beef with those who obtain nothing short of a Charles Mansion type cult following to get their antagonistic views some media attention, these people I refer to are most commonly known as conspiracy theorists.
Ah conspiracy theorists, the advancement of technology it has turned every Joe, Dick and Harry into either a film maker or a photographer. These people document their side of a story from any biased perspective they choose. They edit their work make it sound extremely well researched and unbiased then they post it online making accessible to vulnerable people looking for something to believe in. People who refuse the conformity of organised events such as moderate religion or spirituality, turning to the Internet and finding the extreme beliefs posted in documentary format. Instead of mindfully taking what they have seen at face value, or researching all sides of the subject to ensure that they are obtaining unbiased information they internalize the extreme opinions and become conspiracy crusaders, determined to get the "truth" out to the masses.
Now there are a few fundamental problems with conspiracy crusades. First problem: generally you as the crusader are fighting for the theories and beliefs held by people with limited social influence. I am definitely not a scientist and I do not think that "An Inconvenient Truth" is equivalent to a 9/11 conspiracy documentary but Al Gore's opinions in "An Inconvenient Truth" were controversial. The makers of this documentary (it couldn't have been all Al) had a politican who is seen as a generally credible source present their passionate beliefs to the public. This documentary retained more water than a lymphodemic. If "Joe Blow" from the general population presented a similar argument it definitely wouldn't have been as effective. Instead of getting placed in the "Elvis is still alive in 2010" category, it got placed in the "This issue could really impact the lives of our children and our children's children" category.
The second problem with what I refer to as the conspiracy crusades is that the information seekers, who are seen in these documentaries seeking out the hard truths on the "streets". (ie. going to the government or the multinational corporation and getting rejected when trying to interview critical players) usually look like they actually live on the streets. Take Michael Moore for example, he seriously looks like a 400 lb homeless person. If his heart is honestly set on changing the world TODAY he would dress so he appeals to the average baby boomer and not the average indignant. Although some people in America may be able to relate to him quite strongly. Money however is power and statistically speaking low income is the number one predictor of obesity, so I think Mr. Moore is targeting the wrong market.
The third problem I have with the conspiracy crusades is that the information presented by the theorists and their followers is extremely biased in the majority of the documentaries I have had the pleasure of enjoying. Most conspiracy documentaries give a detailed one sided perspective of the issue at hand instead of investigating the opposing side to obtain a well rounded perspective. It is as if the film makers are afraid of involving all players equally, instead it is more extreme and therefore effective to provide a biased arugment with limited information. If your argument/theory is so strong, why would you be afraid to include opposing credible sources in your film? Just saying!
All in all however, I do love the entertainment value that conspiracy theories provide and I do think that people who are passionate create a more interesting world, just be careful about what you are passionate about and take everything you hear with a granule of salt. Even this blog, as this post is coming from a girl who takes astrology over religion and is a member of the Starbucks cult following...sigh.
Until next time!