Five years ago, discussing (in A Nation Gone Blind) the phenomenon of the half-truth and the nature of commercial television, I wrote, “The repugnance of this form of lying—called bigotry in the ignorant, propaganda in the purposeful—is evident to all, and I would skip the entire subject if I could. But the fact is that the subject of television is the subject of lying, and, further, that the subject of our media-drenched culture is the subject of lying. The sixty years [from 1947 on] that have brought us the new America have brought us also a virtually perfected socio-political culture of lies and lying, a culture built on a foundation of lying, framed by walls of lying, covered by a roof of lying.”
Now, having managed to survive a second half-decade after the repellent and purulent events of 9/11, it seems to me that the situation is much worse than it was back then, when I simply called America a house of lying. Now, not only is the house but everything around it, above it, and below it positively imbued with the poison of lies. The poison is in the air we breathe, the food we eat, it is in the soil, in the water, and it’s also in every molecule of every cell of every mind among the vast tribe that makes up intellectual America, not to mention the even vaster tribe that makes up America in general.
Do I exaggerate? I wish. The thesis of A Nation Gone Blind was that Americans—especially but by no means only writers, artists, and academics—were no longer capable of using their own eyes to see and judge things as they actually are, but were able, instead, only to “see” things as they had already been prefabricated and packaged by an all-pervasive popular culture and mass media.
Now, half a decade later, in that earlier book’s successor, The Skull of Yorick: The Emptiness of American Thinking at a Time of Grave Peril—Studies in the Cover-up of 9/11, I am compelled to face up to an even more advanced case of the same disease. Living in an environment of deceit, fraud, deception, and lies has carried the American population to an even higher plateau of infection, debility, blindness, and handicap. In short, Americans have begun going insane.
Or have already gone insane. Take something seemingly innocuous, a bit in the paper. Take Roger Cohen in the New York Times for Sunday, July 2, a piece that ran under the title “New York and the Planes.”
Many people saw this short op-ed article, I’m sure—and sure also that those who actually read it are wondering how in the world I can possibly find in it evidence of imbalance, let alone insanity.
After all, it’s a pleasant, upbeat, almost wistful piece of writing, right? In it, Cohen hearkens back to a “remarkable little essay” by E.B. White, written in 1948 “in a sweltering New York hotel room” (no air conditioning in those days, you know) and given the title, by its renowned essayist, author, and contributor to the New Yorker magazine, of “Here is New York.”
It’s very well known, or once was, and Roger Cohen has read it before—although the last time he did so was before 9/11. Perhaps that’s why he notices something this time around that he hadn’t particularly noticed before.
This passage, about New York City’s vulnerability to attack by air, is what now catches his attention: “A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition.
Cohen speculates that when he wrote these words over half a century ago, what E.B. White must have “had chiefly in mind” was “nuclear Armageddon.” But for today’s reader, says Cohen, the shadow—or foreshadowing—of 9/11 is inescapable: “[White’s] words captured some deep truth. Ten years ago. it was the perverted dreamers of Al Qaeda who loosed the lightning. New York shuddered; the world changed.”
All right. Back to our subject—that being, as you remember, the subject of insanity. Let me ask: Has anyone found, so far, any whiff or hint of insanity in Roger Cohen’s piece? I suspect not. The hint of madness, I can even imagine, may be thought more likely to lie in me than in Roger Cohen.
Still, I say he’s mad, although that hardly puts him anyplace lonely. After all, the same assertion about people being crazy can be made—the same assertion is made—in The Skull of Yorick, where name after name appears, each one accompanied with bona fide certification of madness, mostly in words straight from the mouth of each disturbed person—Amy Goodman, for example, Mark Mazzetti, Bill Keller, Tom Englehardt, Frank Rich, Thomas Friedman, Matthew Rothschild, Nicholas Lemann, Jacob Weisberg, Arianna Huffington, plus others also in that malignant crowd.
Malignant? I can use that word for poor Roger Cohen when I haven’t even made the case, yet, for his being crazy? I’d better go faster.
The first evidence of there being madness-worthy behavior in Cohen is something similar to the behavior of someone who won’t quit smoking even though they’ve lost two of their four limbs to circulatory disease. Or it’s akin to the behavior of someone who can’t swim but goes on jumping into the deep end of the pool, to the great irritation of the lifeguards. This is a person, in other words, in a state of apparently absolute denial of an empirically proven truth—that he or she can’t swim.
And Cohen? Back in 1948, he says, E.B. White must have been thinking of nuclear attack. “Ten years ago,” he continues, meaning 2001, “it was the perverted dreamers of Al Qaeda who loosed the lightning. New York shuddered; the world changed.”
No it wasn’t. Not for a New York minute was it “the perverted dreamers of Al Qaeda,” never was and never will have been. The assertion about Al Qaeda is one of two things: Either a bald-faced lie or a case of denial every bit as powerful, extreme, and clinically indicative of imbalance as that of the non-swimmer jumping into the deep end of the pool.
And who is crazier, Cohen for telling a whopper that destructive and that big in a place that public, or us the readers for going along with so incredibly high-stakes and demented a game as this particular one of the 9/11 Emperor’s new clothes?
How can I be so sure that Al Qaeda didn’t pull off 9/11? Well, that’s a truth that’s been obvious, known, and clear for a decade, although at the same time it has also been commandeered, lied about, misrepresented, muddled up and contradicted by all manner of spies, deceivers, infiltrators, propagandists, and false representatives of one position or another. For anyone who seriously wonders how an entire decade could have passed without any real clarity emerging to provide conclusive focus on the truth about 9/11—well, here’s the answer: So complete and so effective and so nearly-universal has been the control and suppression of ideas and information in our land of freedom that the brigands, pirates, and murderers who constitute our leaders have carried on quite unhindered not only in keeping the big falsehood alive and well but also in using it as their excuse to go on despoiling the planet, killing legions of human beings, destroying the Constitution, and sucking out the last drop of life-blood from the America nation itself.
What a perverted, murderous, earth-killing whopper of a lie it has been, the 9/11 lie, and how well—how diabolically, murderously, well—it has worked. And yet now, at last, its time in power is over—or, by all that’s right and true and honest, its time in power should be over. For, finally, a change has been made in the equation. Finally, we have been provided with a weapon against the great black lie. Finally, we have been given a stake to drive through its ugly, putrid, black, oozing heart.
And what does this stake consist of? A book. It consists of a book. A book has been published, a book of science, a book powerful, irrefutable, extraordinarily moving, and true. Take a minute to imagine how puerile and stupid our Roger Cohen would have looked, non-swimmer diving headlong into the pool, had he taken it upon himself to refute Copernicus in 1543, or Galileo in 1632, or Darwin in 1859. His simple-minded clinging now, in 2011, to the absurd tenets of The Great 9/11 Lie, after the publication of Where Did the Towers Go? The Evidence of Controlled Free-Energy Technology on 9/11 is no less nutty—or no less ignorant, or no less submissive to the dictates of crazed and oppressive masters—than would have been his clinging to the pre-Copernican, pre-Galilean, or pre-Darwinian conceptions of the world in 1543, or 1632, or 1859.
I need to insert a small corrective here, a note to the effect that Roger Cohen is far from alone among the many who are deserving of castigation, shame, and perhaps clinical help. He is a mere single person among masses of other writers, chroniclers, and analysts behaving as madly—or as stupidly, or as submissively, or as coweringly—as he. It just happens that he wrote “New York and the Planes” this past Sunday, it just happens that I read it, and it just happens to be yet another piece exemplifying the insanity that for a decade now has been instrumentally helpful in destroying our nation, our freedoms, and, quite possibly, our world.
No offense to Roger Cohen as such. After all, e pluribus unum.
And now again to the book. Its author is Dr. Judy Wood. Its title is Where Did the Towers Go? And its sub-title is The Evidence of Directed Free-Energy Technology on 9/11.
References like those I’ve made associating Dr. Wood with historically towering figures like Copernicus, Galileo, or Darwin are not fanciful, nor are they whimsical, grossly hyperbolic, or unwisely made. They are suitable, appropriate, and chosen for their intellectual rightness and appropriate measure. The person who provided a Foreword to Where Did the Towers Go, in fact (Full disclosure: That person was me, Eric Larsen, the one writing these words now) wrote this as his opening paragraph: “The book you now hold in your hands is the most important book of the twenty-first century. Let me explain why I say such a thing. Where Did the Towers Go? is a work, assuming that its content and message are properly and fairly heeded, that offers a starting point from which those who genuinely want to do it can begin, first, to rein in and then, perhaps, even end the wanton criminality and destructiveness of a set of American policies that took as their justification and starting point the horrific events of September 11, 2001.”
The execrable, world-wrecking lie that Roger Cohen—far from alone, yes—perpetrates is now exposed for the great and shameless lie that it is. Any who refuse to acknowledge the scientific, empirical proof of this fact as it is now put forth by Dr. Judy Wood for all humanity to see; any who refuse or fail to inform themselves of the great and openly offered gift of that proof, or any who choose or otherwise fail to accept it in spite of its obvious and compelling scientific merits—such people are, or such people will be, every bit as ignorant, backward, blind, bigoted, and harmful to the prospects of good for all of humanity as were any of the members of the Inquisition who persecuted Galileo or as any of the zealots today who persevere blindly in denigrating natural selection thanks to their swooning and mindless preference for the end of the world and rapture.
To repudiate the validity and achievement of Dr. Wood’s work, or to show it to be false, is no more possible than to repudiate the validity and achievement of Galileo’s proof that the moons of Jupiter move in orbits around that great ringed planet. The evidence is irrefutable, both in the case of the moons and in the case of the presence of directed free-energy technology on 9/11. The idea (a nod herewith back to the start of this essay) of refuting the irrefutable, is—well, nuts. Or, if you wish, delusional.
That isn’t to say that plenty of people, compos mentis or non compos mentis, won’t do or aren’t already doing all in their misbegotten power to cause Dr. Wood’s work to be sidelined or ignored or looked upon with suspicion, scorn, or distaste, all in the hope that the irrefutable can be made to become, at least, the repudiated—through whatever combinations of bigotry, ignorance, malice, blindness, confusion, greed, hatred, and pride they can manage to cook up. That same crowd as before, that crowd of spies, deceivers, infiltrators, propagandists, criminals, liars, profiteers, and false representatives of the truth are busily at their work of smear, innuendo, deceit, falsehood, and profit. Their work, of course, is work, essentially, of lying. And it can quite reasonably be asked whether taking that work up, for the purpose of bringing harm rather than betterment to the prospect of humankind—betterment through free energy, for example—is or is not insane.
Roger Cohen, admittedly, is not of that crowd, although others at the Times may be or may have been (check Yorick for more information). But Roger Cohen is of another crowd, and an enormous one: He’s part of the crowd of the many who have been altered, debilitated, or in other ways made infirm through ingesting the poison of the great 9/11 lie for an entire decade. Lies, after all, are poison not only metaphorically but actually. They hurt you. They harm you. That’s why everywhere around us today we see crowds and crowds and crowds of people who are damaged, crowds of people who are harmed, diminished, lessened, often infantilized. The worst form of damage is that last one, infantilization. Here’s how it comes about: Lies that for too long a time remain unexamined will undergo a dreadful change in that they will come to be believed, no longer even something to be considered, but believed. Now, the only people who believe in fairy tales, or in magical explanations of things, are children. And believing in the fairy tale version, the Al Qaeda version, of 9/11 makes children of millions upon millions upon millions of Americans.
Usually, although certainly not always, this infantilism goes relatively unnoticed, since most of the time you have little idea of what is or isn’t going on inside someone else’s head—when, for example, they’re reading, tossing a salad, or hailing a cab. But what if such people are writers? People’s writing—far, far more than their talking or speaking or daily physical behavior—can give you a wonderfully wide open view to what’s inside, a clear view right through the foyer, living room, dining room, all the way back to the spare bedroom in the rear.
If you’ve been infantilized, probably the best advice you could take would be to put nothing in writing. But that’s hard advice to follow if you happen, say, to work for the New York Times, and especially if you work for the Times as a writer. As a result, the Times is one of the richest sources in the land for examples of infantilization.
Roger Cohen, for example, in “New York and the Planes,” much like a member of the Inquisition sitting in judgment of Galileo, looks especially sheltered, unaware, and kindergarten-like if one considers that Where Did the Towers Go, the most important book about 9/11 that’s also actually written for grown-ups, has been available for at least six months but is still unread by him. The same is evidently true of Elisabeth Bumiller, who, in the Times for July 10, 2011, reporting on Leon Panetta’s “first public remarks in his new post” as Secretary of Defense in “Panetta Says Defeat of Al Qaeda Is ‘Within Reach’” informs us that Panetta is speaking “about the decade-old war against the terrorist organization, founded by Osama bin Laden, that was responsible for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”
No, it wasn’t. And, again, no, it wasn’t. Al Qaeda was “founded” not by Osama but by the CIA. As for Osama himself, he was a CIA asset, and, also, Al Qaeda was not “responsible for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.” Now, here are the possibilities as to why we’re reading the ignorant nonsense that we’re reading in the great newspaper of record. Bumiller’s infantilization makes her willing to write in this ridiculous and mendacious Cliff’s Notes way either because 1) she knows that her employer won’t continue employing her if she doesn’t lie, or 2) she actually believes that she is writing the truth.
If the first hypothesis is correct, Bumiller has agreed to behave like an infant and thus obediently writes the fairy-tale nonsense that she writes. If the second hypothesis is correct and she believes that what she has written is the truth, then she believes in fairy tales and, ipso facto, is a child. Therefore, she is either corrupt beyond redemption or infantilized beyond ditto.
Examples of such human and intellectual destruction and waste abound, but we tire and must draw to a close. As for Roger Cohen’s “New York and the Planes,” please do read it for yourself. Among its untruths—“the perverted dreamers of Al Qaeda,” “planes-turned-missiles” (again, whether these are job-required lies or signs of a clinical condition, we can’t know)—you’ll find that Cohen has in effect written a nostalgia piece about 9/11. This is shocking, yet it’s hardly unprecedented in the august pages of the Times. As the fraud-and-horror-show of 9/11’s tenth birthday comes along, I still think top prize for Most Shamelessly Grotesque Perversion of the Meaning of 9/11 should go, without question, to Frank Rich (with help from Don DeLillo) for the true abomination he ran in the Times Book Review of March 27, 2007, under the title of “The Clear Blue Sky.”
The whole story of that perversity and outrage is told in The Skull of Yorick. Do yourself a favor. Get your hands on a copy. Read all about it.
Eric Larsen is Professor Emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. Novelist, writer, and critic, he is also the founder, publisher, and editor of The Oliver Arts & Open Press.