A recent blog entry at Dandelion Salad pointed me to a month-old Reuters article about a prominent French politician who insinuated that Bush “was behind” the 9/11 attacks. French Housing Minister Christine Boutin, before taking office, expressed publicly that she was skeptical about Osama bin Laden and al-Quaeda being able to pull of the 9/11 attacks.
Ms Boutin backs her assertion by pointing to the large number of people who visit websites that challenge the official line over the September 11 strikes against US cities.”I know that the websites that speak of this problem are websites that have the highest number of visits … And I tell myself that this expression of the masses and of the people cannot be without any truth.”
Part of Boutin’s confusion stems from the fact that “the masses” in France are quite different from those in the United States. Here in the U.S. we have no patience for the mundane, no interest in boring, run-of-the-mill reality. As a character in the movie ‘Idle Hands’ responded, when asked if he had watched the news that day: “I hate that show!” An embarrassingly large faction of Americans vote for characters on suspenseful reality TV shows but not candidates vying for the right to lead our country. We seldom pursue intellectual curiosity in America; often we run from it.
But in Boutin’s homeland France, deep-thinking intellectuals like Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault attain celebrity status; cult-like followers stalk them with the zeal of the swarming Paparazzi geeks who chase Lindsay Lohan from nightclub to nightclub. Given France’s higher levels of civic engagement, there might be cause for serious concern if ever French citizens flocked to conspiracy theory websites the way Americans do.
After 9/11, Americans have suffered a persistent feeling of anticlimax. The ‘National Enquirer’ sells more copies than most fact-based magazines. We don’t let celebrities die in this country; they fake their deaths and escape to remote islands, a la Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur, and the now 72-year-old Elvis. To avoid the dreaded “comedown,” everything becomes a conspiracy theory around here, a cheap thrill to help us put off persistent feelings of anticlimax.
Regarding 9/11, we’ve heard it all: the first plane was really a helicopter; the second one was a missile; nothing hit the pentagon. Bush knew; Cheney knew; Rumsfeld knew; Powell knew. It was Saddam, it was the Jews, it was the French, it was Cuba. Flight 93 landed safely in Cleveland, Ohio.
If there really is a dark secret about September 2001 and the months preceding it, these far-fetched absurdities do wonders for the cover up. Secrets will remain safe as long as hobby conspiracy theorists continue to clog YouTube with their 9/11 nonsense, plopping new piles of unfounded bullshit on top the older piles that have long since debunked. Even if someone gets close to uncovering what “really” happened on September 11th, it will be too easy now for Bush or whoever else to lump the legitimate inquiries with the absurd.
Valid questions regarding 9/11 have yet to be answered–about WTC Building 7, about the Saudi oil lords and bin Laden siblings that Bush let fly home. But why should the Bush administration bother to answer the tough questions while imaginative idiots persistently bombard them with easy ones?
Whatever secrets surround 9/11 probably will remain mysteries until the Baby Boomers have died off. A few decades from now the CIA and/or FBI will declassify those thirty pages of the 9/11 Commission Report, and everyone will shake their heads in awe and say, “I can’t believe how corrupt our government USED TO be.” But for now the truth is safely tucked away, the real conspiracy protected by the ever present false ones.