Three tales of cultural madness
O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all the visage wann'd,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
A broken voice, an' his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing,
What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears,
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty, and appall the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculties of eyes and ears.
Like an awful lot of people who value a free speech policed only by reasonable self-restraint and courtesy (and not always then, given some of the blogs I enjoy) I used to like going and reading crazy conspiracy theory and pseudo histories. The crazier the better. They were relaxing, and I suppose conveyed a certain smug sense of superiority when one read them in the bath with a mental editing pen and noted the particular fallacy or syllogism employed to come to whichever crazy conclusion.
But here are three recent stories, that appear to be true;
1) Her Majesty's Ministry of Justice is considering placing chips under the skin of prisoners so that they can effectively be imprisoned in the open air anywhere in the country. Senior officials are at least briefing on those lines to national newspaper correspondents.
The source for this is the usually unreliable, anti-Catholic, anti-Israel, screaming Green (and sometimes laughably self-righteous) Independent newspaper group. It used to be that only crazies on the American libertarian Right warned of this sort of thing. Have any of the political science hacks in control of the government heard of Somersett's case, or even viewed The Prisoner?
2) Canadians have set up crazy human rights tribunals predicated on the investigation of any offence caused to anyone, with associated civil penalties. David T at Harry's Place put a rather chilling video of just such a proceeding (possible I assume because the hearing was not in a courtroom) here, at Harry's place.
3) Major publishing houses are marketing the absurd Secret History of the World as history. Then again, I guess the pass was sold when Von Danikenites turned into Da Vinci Code millions, but even so...I like Thompson's Holy Smoke blog,where I found this information, and can only recommend in advance his new book attacking the crazier sort of conspiracism.
Yet we live in a world where conspiracism on the Left and the Right seems to come true. At the same time, the capacity to dismiss anyone pointing this out as some sort of tinfoil-hat wearer is of immense benefit to anyone who really is up to something, so perhaps we should all get working on an encyclopedia of nonsense if only to establish where genuine questions exist.