December 16, 2008

Toys for Tyrants?

There are certain places around the world that I am convinced are loci of all sorts of foolishness. Berkeley, California comes to mind as the capital of hippy-dippy weirdness, as do Idaho and Michigan, home of various "militias" and "survivalists." Another such locus is Austin Texas. It earns its wings as a Nexus of Nuttiness for housing not one, but two high-profile nuts.

One nut is Texe Marrs, who never encountered anything that wasn't a grand conspiracy meant to usher in the New World OrderTM. (For example, Marrs has actually argued that vaccinations are a ruse to inject citizens with mind-control nanobots to be controlled by low-frequency transmissions from giant dish antennas disguised as World Cup soccer stadiums. No, you weren't dreaming that you read that.)

The other nut is, of course, talk-show host Alex Jones. Like Marrs, Jones is no stranger to the grand-scale conspiracy theories - he pretty much spearheads the whole 9/11 "truth" movement, after all - but if a Marrs theory is a buffet table of global intrigue, Jones seems to prefer his conspiracies portioned out in little snacks like dim sum.

Here is an example from Friday's program. Alex tries to reveal the true purpose of the Marines' Toys for Tots program, which is to "acclimate the public" to seeing armed soldiers in the streets of the New World OrderTM:

I have to hand it to the Marine sergeant he spoke to: despite all of Jones' attempts to bait him with multiple items of conspiracy wingnuttery, he didn't bite, and managed to plug Toys for Tots about four or five times. (Talk about keeping cool under fire!)

Jones' broader argument appears to be that frequent appearances of military personnel in uniform: in schools, at sporting events, doing Toys for Tots, and so forth, is nothing but a "brainwashing" campaign intended to get the public used to seeing the military in the streets. After the clip posted to YouTube, Jones intones, "The troops bring you toys," in a nasal, sarcastic tone, as though Marines had never collected toys for children before. Toys for Tots began in 1947 and went national a year later. The program has been going on for 60 years, so the claims made in the program that seeing uniformed military personnel in public is unusual, just don't hold water. They should be at least as familiar as a bell-ringing Sally Ann volunteer. Besides, who doesn't know at least one soldier?

Have a woo-woo Christmas and a whackadoo New Year.