Monday, March 08, 2010
Monomaniacs & Werewolves
The stele of the hero who slew the Beast of Gevaudan.
Hero until MonsterQuest got done with him. Scientists.
MONSTERS. Another high risk post. A bunch of seemingly disparate stuff bouncing around inside my head. Any chance of pulling it together into an enlightening discussion? The odds aren't good. But let me give it a try. Because I'm trying to find my way to some matters that are important and relevant to all of us. Just bear with me as long as you can. I'm planning a big (really big) payoff.
Let's do it.
After an incredibly busy Saturday, the old bones just wanted to veg out on Sunday, but television proved a challenging medium yesterday for someone who was tired (!) of the endless rehashing of healthcare headcounts and desperate to avoid the flurry of Oscar-related hype and pile-on programming. (Who wants to see the movie The Oscar? Ever. Ultimate spoiler? Sinatra wins.) Dodging the morning network interview programs, I stumbled on a two-hour documentary called "The Real Werewolf." Here's the thumbnail description:
MonsterQuest recently aired a two-hour episode investigating the killing of over 100 peasants by a werewolf-like creature in southern France during the mid-1700’s. As the slayings occurred over 240 years ago, extensive speculation and reconstruction was [sic] involved as provided by a cryptozoologist and a criminal investigator.
The Beast of Gevaudan slaughtered primarily women and children in an often gruesome fashion, at times decapitating the victims, eviscerating them, or consuming limbs. The killings began in 1764, and continued for about three years, drawing the attention of Louis XV whose expert hunters dispatched a large wolf but failed to halt the peasant slayings.
That task was accomplished by one Jean Chastel, who used (–what else?) a silver bullet to kill the beast. Speculation by the MonsterQuest investigators and others has been that the true “werewolf” was in fact a striped hyena, which may have actually been trained to accomplish his mayhem by Chastel himself!
The show is responsible for my title, because the investigation touched on all these sensational phenomena. There was a local French monomaniac who had devoted his entire life to amassing an impressively large library containing every scrap of evidence about the Beast of Gevaudan. The investigators were both borderline monomaniacs -- a cryptozoologist who couldn't look at the evidence without seeing echoes of the chupacabra (of whose existence he had video proof) and a criminal profiler who couldn't look at the evidence without seeing an 18th century Jeffrey Dahmer-esque serial killer. Flummoxed by evidence neither perspective could entirely explain away, they flirted with a conspiracy theory involving the Catholic Church's supposed attempt to intimidate French protestants by fabricating an apocalyptic vision of divine punishment for anti-Catholic heresy. And ultimately they settled on a theory in which a monomaniacal psychopath trained an exotic foreign beast to kill on command so that he could become the hero of the legend he created and redeem himself from protestant ostracism.
The whole process of arriving at this utterly unprovable conclusion is presented to us as a triumph of reason and science. There's no question that real science was involved. The ballistics testing of the properties of silver bullets fired from rifles was fascinating (far less accurate and lethal than lead bullets) (though there was no attempt whatsoever to reconcile their arguments about rifled barrels with 18th century muskets and their whopping musket balls... just saying). The long postponed smoking gun of a documented taxidermy exhibit at the Paris Museum of Natural History, titled the 'Beast of Gevaudan' and labeled a 'hyena,' was compelling. The self-satisfied and libellous indictment of a man 200+ years dead as a happy compromise of the two investigators, however, was less so. Both investigators were perfectly willing to discount contemporary eyewitness accounts that didn't agree with their assumptions, but they stuck slavishly to the one-shot-at-20-meters-with-a-silver-bullet version of the beast's slaying memorialized in popular legend. One wonders if either gentleman had ever read "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" and its hilarious sendup of heroic exaggerations. Or, for that matter, fishermen's tall tales about how they single-handedly subdued the Giant Marlin on the wall. Plus, it's hard to escape the impression that they didn't so much abandon the theory of a formal Catholic conspiracy as let it drop in order to avoid unnecessary controversy. As they strolled into the credits like a latter day Bogart and Claude Rains, it was still possible to believe they suspected their man-beast "werewolf" was a cunning invention of the secularist's Transylvania, namely, the root of all evil known as the Vatican.
Okay. I've said more about this case than I meant to. My apologies. But then there was the Oscar coverage no one can completely avoid. And a very long and interesting article this morning about Global Warming. What if all these things are related? Or what if I can relate them? Wouldn't that be grand? You know it would.
First, what may be a red herring. By the time I learned about the Beast of Gevaudan, I had already partially failed in my attempt to avoid the Oscars. On Fox & Friends, I had the misfortune of hearing Lauren Green's exegesis on the importance of faith in many of the Oscar-nominated movies this year.
Guess her picture didn't have to be so big. But she's a doll.
Predictably, she praised Blindside. And Up. Christian and/or life-affirming and so forth. Then she was asked about Avatar and asserted [paraphrasing here] a Christian allegory of physical resurrection -- by the maimed hero -- in a symbolic 'Garden of Eden' setting that I have heard described as such nowhere else. Which reminded me that Fox News in general has resisted any acknowledgment of the conservative opposition to Avatar that has been so thoroughly documented at Big Hollywood. Steve Doocy expressed great affection for the movie when he saw it, despite his otherwise habitual rightwing biases. Born-again Minnesota Republican Gretchen Carlson keeps repeating she hasn't seen it without specifying why. The dyslexic Brian Kilmeade... well, who cares? So: this supposedly rightwing cable news network acts as if there hasn't been a huge reaction against the film on the grounds that it if it's an allegory, it's an allegory of the Iraq War, anti-military, anti-Marines, and an anti-American twist on the experience of 9/11. And that it's also decidedly anti-Christian in the sense that it expresses a pantheistic and expressly pagan view of existence which holds that divinity resides in Nature rather than any transcendant relationship between God and Man. But devout Catholic, troop-loving Doocy claims he loved the movie and Lauren Green seems determined to whitewash it for evangelistic fundamentalist Christians like herself. Interesting. I was wondering, is there some transcendant but clandestine relationship between News Corp (the parent company of Fox News) and the financial success of James Cameron's Avatar? Is this the hint of some conspiracy we might all want to know about? The Nav'i all do have tails, but no one's talking werewolves. Yet. Stay tuned
Now for Global Warming. It's our bridge to the big (really big) payoff. This morning, The Weekly Standard has the best summary yet written of the meltdown underway in AGW science. The author is Stephen Hayward. Love the cover art.
Needless to say, RTWT (er, Read the Whole Thing). Print it out. Keep it and distribute hard copies to the deranged lefty acquaintances whom you still care to associate with for whatever reason. (Also needless to say. Don't understand the desire to maintain friendships with lunatics of this sort, but that would be your business.)
Anyhow. There were two passages in the article that I found hyper-relevant. The first describes the process called the "issue attention cycle" laid out by a political scientist named Anthony Downs about 40 years ago:
A group of experts and interest groups begin promoting a problem or crisis, which is soon followed by the alarmed discovery of the problem by the news media and broader political class. This second stage typically includes a large amount of euphoric enthusiasm—you might call this the dopamine stage—as activists conceive the issue in terms of global salvation and redemption. One of the largest debilities of the climate campaign from the beginning was their having conceived the issue not as a practical problem, like traditional air pollution, but as an expression, in Gore’s view, of deeper spiritual and even metaphysical problems arising from our “dysfunctional civilization.” Gore is still thinking about the issue in these terms, grasping for another dopamine rush. In his February 28 New York Times article, he claimed that an international climate treaty would be “an instrument of human redemption.”
The third stage is the hinge. As Downs explains, there comes “a gradually spreading realization that the cost of ‘solving’ the problem is very high indeed.” This is where we have been since the Kyoto process proposed completely implausible near-term reductions in fossil fuel energy—a fanatical monomania the climate campaign has been unable to shake...
“The previous stage,” Downs continued, “becomes almost imperceptibly transformed into the fourth stage: a gradual decline in the intensity of public interest in the problem.” Despite the relentless media drumbeat, Gore’s Academy Award and Nobel Prize twofer, and millions of dollars in paid advertising, public concern for climate change has been steadily waning for several years... I
“In the final [post-problem] stage,” Downs concluded, “an issue that has been replaced at the center of public concern moves into a prolonged limbo—a twilight realm of lesser attention or spasmodic recurrences of interest.” The death rattle of the climate campaign will be deafening. It has too much political momentum and fanatical devotion to go quietly.
The lingering question is whether the collapse of the climate campaign is also a sign of a broader collapse in public enthusiasm for environmentalism in general. Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, two of the more thoughtful and independent-minded figures in the environmental movement, have been warning their green friends that the public has reached the point of “apocalypse fatigue.” They’ve been met with denunciations from the climate campaign enforcers for their heresy. The climate campaign has no idea that it is on the cusp of becoming as ludicrous and forlorn as the World -Esperanto Association.
Here we have mentions of monomania and apocalypse. And perhaps the best possible demonstration of what a large-scale conspiracy looks like (clearer by far when you read the whole essay). It's not exactly secret, it's just parochial (i.e., confined and institutionalized with allied communities), elitist, and willingly devious. It doesn't rely as much on subterfuge as it does on a facade of invincible scorn for those it is determined to mislead and manipulate. It is also morally and intellectually dishonest, in that it is willing to use the perception of its its own disinteredness for spectacularly selfish objectives. The major corrupting influences are the desire for power and the arrogance which justifies that desire. It's all for our own good. Except for the ones who are in it for the money. Who know that the only good they're interested in is their own. Instructive that people of such diverse motives can work together so effectively without destructive discord. But not surprising. The desire for money and the desire for power are not exactly strange bedfellows. They're just the yin and the yang of the most dangerous human corruptions.
Almost there. Almost to the big enchilada. As I read the Hayward piece, I thought of the best piece Ed Morrissey has ever done at Hotair -- which was about the utter failure of the American media to pursue the collapse of AGW science -- and I also thought of a phenomenon I had noted without understanding at the best science aggregator site I've found as a resource for InstaPunk, GrahamHancock.com.
This is where the werewolves leap back into the picture. Graham Hancock's site has been one of my favorites for years because it provided links to science stories in every field without editorial or predisposing comment. Physics, cosmology, archaeology, anthropology, paleontology, genetics, biology, biochemistry, computer science, linguistics, anomalies, UFOs, psychology, consciousness, religion, and, yes, climate science. No hypothesis articulately stated and defended was too extreme to reference. There's also a separate Forum section devoted to alternative science theories that range from the seriously academic to the mystical and outlandish. (Not that there were no politics. Pyramidologist John Anthony West is the ultimate lefty moron.) At the site as a whole and particularly in the science section, I thought I saw an understanding that monomania was not bad per se, that one could respect learned and determined devotees of virtually any discipline, as long as they made arguments that could be checked, verified, and evaluated on their own terms. I never saw there an advocate for werewolves, but I did see people brave enough to argue scientifically for the existence of Bigfoot, which I am not laughing at btw, although I realize some of you out there will.
But I have noticed that this seemingly all-encompassing aggregator site has not been following the AGW meltdown any better than the American media. I continued to see citations of articles talking about symptoms and consequences of Global Warming even while the AGW establishment was dissolving into a chaos of fury and denial. Is that odd or what?
I'll answer the question for you. It's odd. And it's not. What the AGW advocates don't want anyone to know is that their base (like Obama's extreme left wing core) is not rational at all. It's not scientific at all. It's an alliance of New Age tribes who pick their science the same way they pick their belief systems, based on a worldview that is every bit as irrational as the 'ignoramuses' they look down on. There's no criticism of the AGW belief system because it's one they all -- Wiccans, pyramidologists, Druids, UFOists, psychics, multiverse channellers, and Graham Hancock himself -- all subscribe to. An archaic, pre-Christian, pagan, uh, post-modern view that man is a doomed mistake of some kind requiring an external intervention -- by them or some other brilliant agent -- to prevent his inevitable self-destruction.
They're every bit as hostile to arguments against evolution as they are to skeptics of anthropogenic global warming. Their postulate, the one that binds them all in Mordor, where the shadows lie, is the original sin of man that makes him a blight upon the earth unless he's willing to accept the range, impact, and lifespan of a deer. (Well, we're willing to forgive them cave art, pottery, and weaving, but not reins or arrowheads or scalping unless they're Hopi Indians who assure us they have all the answers and some good psychotropic drugs as well.) What nobody anywhere wants to recognize or accept is that Richard Dawkins is the leading contemporary exponent of original sin. The only twist science and its irrational bastard followers have added in their New Age wisdom is the impossibility of salvation.
But they know better. Because they are better. With their crystals and rituals and covens and vibrations and the other crutches that prop up their scientific certitude about Dawkins and AGW. Why are so many of the alternative science "rebels" so leftwing? The source of their unyielding ivory tower oppression is adamantly, unabashedly leftwing. It's pitiful -- the frenzied duel to the death between Stalinists and Trotskyites.They both know better than everyone else and someone's going to get an icepick in his ear. But at least it won't be at the hands of a Christian prole.
SIGH OF RELIEF. We're here now. To the payoff. Which brings me to the Oscars. All those Marxist egalitarians in their mega-dollar getups. Mrs. CP wanted to see some Red Carpet stuff. She's still pining for Joan Rivers, who knew how to puncture superficiality -- with even greater superficiality. (Oscar Wilde would have loved the Rivers woman.) I saw Matt Damon in his perfect tuxedo. I wondered, Who does he think pays for that tuxedo? While he gets ready to promote the virulently anti-American "Green Zone" and his History Channel subversion project called "The People Speak"? Not the first time I've hated Harvard. (Or the first time I've been cross at the Stones.) The Intertubes had also been full of Tom Hanks, sire of Band of Brothers and the Pacific. Why was he suddenly such a lefty? As I remembered my own WWII father's dying declaration that government paternalism had made a mockery of what he fought for?
I read what the self-proclaimed "most cynical" Hollywood blogger had to say about the Oscar telecast. Nikki Finke hated all the old white men, yearned for last year's "Gay" telecast. Which was just one more thudding bore in the long decline of this annual joke. (Sorry, Nikki. You're a bigger bore than the all old white men put together. Nothing more boring than fag molls.) But she said one thing that struck a note:
Wait a minute, it's still going on? Yet another example of how Hollywood insiders are treated more special than anyone else in showbiz who died in 2009. (You don't think this had to do with the fact that Hughes made a lot of his films for Fox, whose execs dominate everything associated with this Academy Awards? Academy president Tom Sherak (at one time a bigtime Fox movie exec), Oscars producers Bill Mechanic (at one time a bigtime Fox movie exec) and Adam Shankman (currently a bigtime Fox Broadcast talent), and Academy Board Of Governors member Jim Gianopulos (currently a bigtime Fox movie exec?)
So 90 minutes have gone by. Can I get those hours of my life back, please?...
Wait, I forgot Best Cinematography.
Achievement In Cinematography
“Avatar” (20th Century Fox) Mauro Fiore
Demi Moore, the living commercial for full body plastic surgery, comes out. Am I the only one who finds it hysterical that she's introducing the "In Memoriam" section of the Oscars marking the 2009 passing of showbiz insiders? Because they're gone, but parts of Demi will live on forever. [boldface added]
[I left in the part about Demi Moore because she seems to have purchased a new mouth along with everything else. Sad. Awful, really. Especially the new mouth. Who would do that to her? Can anyone blame me for thinking about conspiracy theories? Or werewolves? Is Benicio del Toro the next Oscar winner now that it's established werewolves are in the process of replacing vampires (too remindful of menstruation and manipulative male controlishness) as the new sex symbols in movies? (WWs are so out of control and excitingly violent, though pitiful, like, well, all heterosexual men.) Yeah. We agree with Nikki. Bring back the gays. What America wants. The Real America, inside Hollywood, South Beach, and SoHo.]
Which got me to thinking about conspiracies. Global Warming is actually the best example we have of a truly huge successful conspiracy. It's a shame all the intellectuals who worked so hard on the 9/11 conspiracy, and the New World Order, the Illuminati, the Bilderberger Group, the Tri-Lateral Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations, etc, didn't have this kind of prototype to reverse-engineer. Because I think I've figured out the real conspiracy, the one that's been at work the longest and has done the most to achieve a world many Americans wouldn't want to live in.
Yes, I have a brand new conspiracy to warn you about: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Think about it. (More than that: I want a website, videos, hysterical manifestoes and eyewitness reports. You know. CONSPIRACY shit.) They've been around for 82 years. They control one hell of a lot of money. A lot of which they pump into politics. They pretend to be something other than what they are -- I mean, they act like they don't care about politics. Right. Except for all the actors and directors they give awards to. And now think about this -- every time an actor or director gets rich and praised and powerful enough to be even considered for an Oscar, what happens? No matter where they're from or how humble and unlikely their origins, the actors suddenly start becoming leftwing, anti-American loons -- Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda, Barbra Streisand, Susan Sarandon, Jody Foster, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise, Woody Harrelson, Tim Robinson, Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Sharon Stone, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Hudson, and Meryl Streep. And many many more.
Some of them went to Harvard (Matt Damon, for a while), but most of them didn't. The majority of them who aren't Yalies are high school dropouts. When did they get so smart about politics all of a sudden? They didn't. What they got was absorbed into the world's largest and most influential conspiracy of all time, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Which, by virtue of its power to contribute to political campaigns and show up smiling on enemy daises around the world, is able to influence everything that happens in the world. To the detriment of America. While we all pay them to do it.
Summing up. We have people who would ordinarily be humble high school graduates. Something turns them into revening beasts leaping at our throats on behalf of some dark destructive energy. Werewolves. Many of them are mildly talented until the Manchurian button is pushed by some faceless power in the Academy and they transform into one-dimensional ideologues obsessed seemingly with destroying their own careers. Monomaniacs. And they spend the rest of their time in service to an organization that has utterly preempted all the excellent work of the Bilderberger Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Tri-Lateral Commission to prevent the barbarians of the world from destroying us. Conspiracy.
Which brings us back again, for a final time, to werewolves. Do you think there's only one way for you to get your throat torn out during a full moon? Look at your own cable listings. The Green Channel. (Ed Begley, Jr, needs to be put down. I'm just saying.) All the apocalyptic overkill on the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, History International, the Science Channel, and, well, it goes on. The shows about hypothetical Megadisasters (earthquake, tsunami, and hurricane) in every major city and region, the fusillade of shows about killer asteroids and comets, the endless if outdated crank crap about Nostradamus and 2012, the endless permutations about what variation of climate change killed the dinosaurs, the mammoths and the Mayans, and the appalling glut of completely obsolete crap about what global warming is doing to polar bears, arctic glaciers, antarctic icebergs, the Himalayas, and will do to Miami Beach. The downright masochistic exercises in species self-hatred about what will happen to the works of man after we become extinct. And, now that global warming is under attack, what will happen when we run out of oil next year.
STOP. FUCKING STOP IT.
Don't care if you can get Alec Baldwin to narrate your newest apocalyptic "science" series. I know the Academy thinks it knows what it's doing. But "apocalypse fatigue" is here. NEWS FLASH: The overwheling majority of human beings don't think it's curative, enlightening, or entertaining to encounter your barely suppressed delight about how much better off Wisconsin will be without cheeseheads in residence.
One last turn around the title nouns. The conspiracies are all yours, and they're all designed to kill us. The apocalypses are all imagined to excite those of you who hate yourselves and us by projection. The monomaniacs would be you -- the narcissists whose divorcement from reality is so complete you don't think of yourselves when you wish for the annihilation of evil mankind. And the werewolves would be -- uh -- YOU. The ravening animals who delight in preying on your kind because you fancy yourselves something superior: once a year in civilized black tie and for the other 364 days amoral animals who rut and fuck and act out in ways you know your own parents would never have approved of. Because you're too good looking to be held to account.
Got news for you. The world is never going to be conquered by good looking people. There are too many of the rest of us. And a lot of us are smarter than you are. Which means, when the shit hits the fan, you'll be looking for protection from those of us who know how to do all the things you never had to learn.
Who's the werewolf? The thing that can't control its urges and acts on base instinct? Think about it.
How did I do? Did it cohere somehow amazingly at the end?
P.S. Forget all my MonsterQuest opinions. Because there's this from Lloyd: "A reminder that the Starchild and I will be included in a new episode of "MonsterQuest" on the History Channel next Wednesday, March 10, at 9:00 pm eastern time." Watch. That's where I'll be.
UPDATE. The always reliable Lake offered this as a dessert topping:
As always, it was the right sweet note.