Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Poisoning the well

[An article in today’s edition of The Independent by columnist Nicholas Lezard contains the following:]

I think we long ago passed the My-Eyes-Glaze-Over moment when it comes to JFK's assassination. (...)

Unless, of course, you are a diehard conspiracy theorist, one of those for whom the assassination of the warmongering, hypocritical and mendacious US President has something approaching the status of a creation myth. The compound adjective most often used to describe the people obsessed with grassy knolls and so on is "swivel-eyed", but these men (and they are, invariably, men) actually betray a terrible fixity of vision in which they see only what they would like to see.

This kind of thing would be harmless, sort of, if these people hadn't, somewhere along the way, mutated into the kind of nut-jobs who think Obama isn't an American citizen, or is a Muslim, or that 9/11 was a put-up job (although they can't agree on whether the job was put up by the Pentagon, the President, the Jews, or Mickey Mouse). They also poison the well for those who have legitimate grounds for doubting official versions of events – the most interesting at the moment being, for my money, the ongoing doubts about the conviction for the Lockerbie bombing.

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