Monday, February 26, 2007

The Secret's in the Lighting

On the subject of smug, preppy twats telling noble lies…

Fans of the BBC documentary on 9/11 Conspiracy Theories aired last week - of which
I count myself as one, and here’s another one – were no doubt delighted by the performance of
Popular Mechanics’ Davin Coburn.

In spite of the fact that he only looks, and sounds, like he is fourteen years old Davin is the research editor at
Popular Mechanics and was responsible for fact checking the Popular Mechanics book ‘Debunking 9/11 Myths

In the BBC documentary a well-lit, confident sounding Coburn was interviewed in his spiffy New York office and at Ground Zero, assuring us that there were no significant unanswered questions about the failure to intercept the 9/11 planes, the collapse of WTC1, 2 and 7, or anything at all actually.

Typical Conspiracy Theory Debunker

In contrast, the 9/11 conspiracy theorists on the show were filmed picking their noses, shifting nervously in their chairs and generally looking a bit iffy. For some perfectly good technical reason I’m sure, on several occasions it was only possible to light their faces from below when being filmed

Typical Conspiracy Theorist

So, top marks to Davin for an excellent, if somewhat carefully edited, effort on the BBC2 show.

What a contrast it made to
that live interview Davin gave to a local US radio station where, unlike the BBC2 guy, the DJ actually had the temerity to ask what evidence Coburn was basing his assertions on.

If Coburn didn’t come across as such a self-satisfied little wanker I would have almost felt sorry for him


By contrast, the follow up documentary in the BBC Conspiracy Files series on David Kelly’s death shown last night was almost an example of rational, impartial film-making

I say almost

Connoisseurs of hit-piece dickumentary film making will have detected a lighter hand at work than in the 9/11 show. For the first half of the program the uninitiated might even have been lured into thinking that the documentary was going to deliver an open verdict on Dr Kelly’s demise

No chance

Many old-favourite ruses were applied but, like I said, with a much lighter, more nuanced hand than other examples of the genre…
  • Use of a straw man theory i.e. that the Iraqis may have assassinated Dr Kelly
  • Depiction of conspiracy theorists as fantasists including an interview with an absolute loon who claimed to receive personal phone calls from Henry Kissenger and who suggested that Kelly’s murder was the subject of a Tom Clancy novel
  • Lashings of psychobabble
  • A call to respect the feelings of Kelly’s family and to respect his memory by relinquishing all those silly conspiracy theories

The pyschobabble was of a particularly high order last night. I especially enjoyed a line of reasoning that went 'David Kelly was an intensely truthful man who deplored dishonesty. He was about to be caught (sic.) having told a lie. This led to a inner struggle which almost certainly put him in a suicidal state of mind'.


You'd kind of think someone who is suicidally honest probably wouldn't be inclined to tell fibs in the first place. But no matter. Let's not forget that David Kelly himself was obviously some kind of proto-conspiracy theorist, referring to "many dark actors playing games" and the risk of being found "dead in the woods", and therefore obviously mad and consequently more than likely suicidal.

Though how you can distinguish between someone who is mad and someone who is genuinely at threat from state assassination wasn't actually addressed in the show.

Anyway, case closed. Rest easy. Everything is just fine. Nothing to see here. Please move on…



Anonymous said...

Here's a picture of David Irving from, "Legal victory for B&B owner who evicted Irving for being too moody" to add to your collection.

Here's a link to Irving's defamation trial, "Irving v Penguin Books Ltd & Anor [2001] EWCA Civ 1197" if it is of any interest.

Stef said...


I've tucked that one away for a rainy day