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Re: <nettime> Douglas Ruskoff on 9-11 conspiracy theories
Benjamin Geer on Sat, 6 Oct 2007 22:38:07 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Douglas Ruskoff on 9-11 conspiracy theories


On 04/10/2007, Patrice Riemens <patrice {AT} xs4all.nl> wrote:

> CONSPIRACIES OF DUNCES
> by Douglas Rushkoff
> (from Arthur No. 26)
> [...]
> And that's where I suspect all this theorizing really takes us: to the
> heart of a racist jingoism worse even than the triumphalism justifying our
> foreign policy to begin with. They can't bring themselves to accept that
> our big bad government can really be so swiftly outfoxed by a dozen
> relatively untrained Arab guys. And rather than go there, they'd prefer to
> maintain the myth of American hegemony. On a certain level, it feels
> better to believe that we are only vulnerable by our leaders' sick
> choice--not by our adversarsies' increasing strength and prowess.

I agree wholeheartedly with the main point of the article, but on this
particular point, it might be worth adding a nuance: that 9/11
conspiracy theories also seem to be very popular in the Arab world,
for somewhat different reasons.  While some rejoiced at first, as
popular opinion crystallised around the view that the attacks were
barbarous, it became increasingly appealing to subscribe to the idea
that the US was behind them; that way, only the "other side" would be
seen as responsible for barbarism.  This view often goes along with a
belief in the near-omnipotence of the US, and an assertion that the US
"created" Osama bin Laden (and therefore that bin Laden could never be
anything other than a US puppet).

This sort of thinking (which of course has its counterparts
everywhere) is what happens when nationalism becomes the main
criterion of truth.  I don't think what I'm saying here undermines
Rushkoff's point above: perhaps the same idea, interpreted
differently, can serve the purposes of opposing nationalisms
simultaneously.

Ben

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