Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Herbie the Hedgehog recommends...

And in my post this morning…

The Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories (Rough Guides) (Paperback)

I think it’s worth mentioning because it’s a substantial, well-written book and even though it makes a couple of token nods in the direction of Elvis and Space Aliens it devotes most of its content to para-political conspiracy theories. Which is bad news for the Crop Circle / Ancient Sumerian Tablet brigade and potentially good news for those of us who don’t think you have to believe in Space Aliens to suspect the motivations and actions of the people who are currently running things.

However, because of my inherent mistrust of anything published by mainstream sources, I thought I’d ask my good friend Herbie – The Conspiracy Hedgehog to check the book out and share his objective opinion on its quality…




Herbie didn’t like it

Did you Herbie?



Actually, Herbie barely got past the Introduction, because generalisations such as the following made his fur stand on end…

“Nazi Germany was, admittedly, one of history’s most conspiracist regimes. But other totalitarian governments – Fascist Italy, Soviet Russia, Cuba and many contemporary Middle Eastern states, for example – have been equally conspiracist in their thinking…”

“It is curious that the majority of conspiracy theories seem to emanate from the right – notably when right wing beliefs are combined with fundamentalist religion…”

“Whether on the right or the Left, it seems that the world’s most conspiracist cultures tend to be those where people feel most disenfranchised. Without any chance to witness the chaotic workings of the machinery of power, it’s easy to believe that political affairs can be driven by sinister, implacable forces. Where there is no understanding of history, conspiracy theories are sucked in to fill the intellectual vaccuum…”

Whist enjoying the internal inconsistencies of the authors’ generalisations immensely Herbie thinks that what they are saying is a load of old bollocks and he’s a bit pissed off with me for rewarding them by buying the book



Sorry Herbie

But in my defence, the book is better written, more comprehensive and contains a lot more information than other attempts at this sort of thing I‘ve read and it’s worth the seven quid Amazon are asking for it as long as you keep the writers’ fairly evident bias in mind.

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Herbie did, however, enjoy a video on the subject of consumer debt I showed him recently...




In particular, The Herbster was really pleased to discover that he was not the only person to believe that, by accident or by design, student debt in the UK and the US was being thrust on young people to introduce them to a lifetime of debt slavery as well as a weapon to curb any inclinations they might have to rebel against the system.

He also liked how a couple of people in the film pointed out that traditional class divisions of working vs. capitalist classes had less and less meaning in increasingly consumerist, post-industrial societies and that future struggles within these societies would be between debtors and creditors.

All in all, Herbie enjoyed the film and thinks the first half is stronger than the second.

Unfortunately, the makers of the film have their own debts to pay and have not (yet) made it freely available

Herbie did do a spot of Chris Langham-style research on the Web and discovered that it is available as a torrent but also points out that Langham got busted

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As a brief aside, whilst carrying out his research into bit torrent downloads Herbie noticed that some wicked characters are making versions of recent Hollywood blockbusters available via torrent with the added bonus of spliced-in spoilers for the latest Harry Potter book…



Herbie thinks that a well-classy thing to do

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And finally, Mr H. also recommends watching Adam Curtis’ excellent series Pandora’s Box (an exploration of the dangers of technocratic and political ‘rationality’) currently available on Youtube - especially Episode Three…

Ep3. The League of Gentlemen

Thirty years ago, a group of economists managed to convince British politicians that they had foolproof technical means to make Britain great again. Pandora's Box tells the saga of how their experiments have led the country deeper into economic decline, and asks - is their game finally up?




Though Herbie is a little confused as to how someone as brainy as Mr Curtis can make a documentary about money supply, inflation and recession without making any reference whatsoever to expansion of money supply through expansion of credit.

Curtis implicitly endorses a notion that is still very prevalent today that inflation is primarily caused by wage rises, as opposed to lending silly people tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds they’re never going to be able to pay back to spend on shit.

The notion that increasing wages by a few percent will fuck an economy up but lending people shed loads of money at bonkers interest rates instead is good for the economy is a curious one and quite insane, unless you're a lender that is - in which case it's quite clever


Herbie thinks Mr Curtis is a very naughty boy

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7 comments:

paul said...

Without any chance to witness the chaotic workings of the machinery of power, it’s easy to believe that political affairs can be driven by sinister, implacable forces.

The problem I have with this, is that while we are indeed not privy to the 'chaotic workings', we have its outcomes shoved in our face every fucking day. These seem to have been moving one way, in a decidedly orderly fashion, for the past 30 years or so

Where there is no understanding of history, conspiracy theories are sucked in to fill the intellectual vaccuum…”

News and education are far more effective at filling the vaccuum than any conspiracy theory.
And if we don't have any sense of history, who on earth is to blame for that?

Herbie the Conspiracy Hedgehog said...

Herbie has a very thorough grasp of history, very possibly at least equal to the people who wrote The Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories and that is precisely the reason why he's so sceptical about what passes for Truth™ in some quarters these days

paul said...

I suggest an immediate e petition to have herbie made 'education czar'!

Shutter said...

Your starter for 10

Explain the difference betwen Herbie and Lord Adonis.

No foul language allowed .. please make the answer understandable to the 40% of 11 year olds who have failed to meet a basic standard of reeling, writhing and rythmatic.

paul said...

Well I doubt the good lord would risk his sinecure to the vagaries of the out of control democratic monster that is the e petition movement.
<translated into morlock>'cos herbster is,like, well skill and the adenoid,he's a fukking no mates kunt</end translation>

Sorry, couldn't manage it without the foul language

Anonymous said...

"The notion that increasing wages by a few percent will f[**]k an economy up but lending people shed loads of money at bonkers interest rates instead is good for the economy is a curious one and quite insane, unless you're a lender that is - in which case it's quite clever."

I read that, in 2004, people in the UK gave themselves an 18 % pay increase by taking equity out of their homes. In other words, not a piddling 2-3 % increase in pay but a massive increase in debt.

Stef said...

all of which, unlike a pay rise, needs paying back

with interest

I'd take the pissy pay rise in a low inflation economy any day