Well, the duh-rama between Freedomain Radio and Liberating Minds has subsided. I’m not saying that I’ve lost interest in the websites, but I’m sort of treating it like I tread Heroes: I was totally into it, but then it got predictable, yet weird, and I’m keeping up with episode summaries until something blows my socks off. Then I’ll tune back in and start calling my friend to close-read it every Tuesday. The media attention has stopped, and it’s pretty clear to me that the Government (whose government I was never sure of–it could have gone Bush, Howard, or Harper) isn’t going to shut them down a la Christian Slater’s pirate radio in Pump Up the Volume.
I put that reference in as a joke, but check out the plot summary from IMDb! It’s cracking me up. Not the suicide part, but isolated adolescent, short-wave radio community, charismatic leader part:
Mark is an intelligent but shy teenager who has just moved to Arizona from the East Coast. His parents give him a short-wave radio so he can talk to his pals, but instead he sets up shop as pirate deejay Hard Harry, who becomes a hero to his peers while inspiring the wrath of the local high school principal. When one of Harry’s listeners commits suicide and Harry- inspired chaos breaks out at the school, the authorities are called in to put a stop to Harry’s broadcasts.
Christian Slater is the right age now to play Molyneux. Why not make a movie? Maybe Lifetime will commission it. The Truth Is a Virus, kids.
So anyway… I just wanted to point out two funny things from each site before going into stasis on this topic. Our friend QuestEon from Liberating Minds dug up some letter that Molyneux wrote for a college newspaper in 1987. In it he expresses very different sentiments than he does today, but the style, as the Liberating Minds posters point out, is very much the same. I’m not even going to call him a hypocrite because I wouldn’t want to be held to things I said in college either, but I will just point out that this is no different than Dr. Laura posing for naked pictures in her 20s and recommending to young women that this is not a good thing to do. (Of course, Dr. Laura doesn’t play games with language and she doesn’t hide her message from the general public and she doesn’t self-publish her books and her audience is not half-asleep when they listen to her.)
What I find most interesting personally about the letter is the penultimate paragraph, especially read against the podcast about genocide and how much damage governments have done (the one I wrote about a few months ago in the “Blue Pill” post):
The other complaint raised was the ‘level of crime’ in the West. This is a real problem, of course, but we must not forget that our government is dedicated to relieving crime, whereas the Soviet government is responsible for the majority of it. The Kremlin is responsible for the murder of over 20 million of its own people since its inception. Try to find comparable murder statistics in any Western country! As any student of history will tell you, governments have been responsible for the vast majority of the ghastly atrocities in human history. Stacking the crime rate of western criminals against that of the communist governments is a ridiculous premise.
This paragraph makes a very clear distinction between the governments that cause this kind of violence, but the podcast–which is, admit it, directed at the citizens of Western nations–conflates all governments. This letter’s point is fair; the podcast’s point is not. The podcast’s point, in fact, is loony–but that’s the topic of another post.
What caught my eye at the Freedomain Radio site today was just something stupid. They love making metaphors and analogies over there, and a lot of them just don’t make sense. I don’t even want to get into the convolutions of the Dinner Party and the Rapist or the Gun, but I will tackle this business about forests and trees because it’s just wrong. The idea that a forest does not exist has been said more than once over there (or that sports teams don’t exist), and it’s the kind of fast and loose language that I despise (like equating public schools to concentration camps) because they ignore salient facts about forests and trees to make some crabby propaganda point.
“Failing to See the Trees for the Forest”
A forest, folks, is not just some arbitrary delineation of trees that has no meaning beyond the human-derived boundaries. It’s not just some concept. It is a distinct ecosystem. You can easily distinguish an actual forest of pine trees from a Christmas tree farm. That’s why people get wound up about logging and old-growth forests. In this case, someone actually called the first poster on this misuse of the word forest (and the misuse of the word government), and he’s so far had the last word. So the thread itself is unremarkable, but it reminds me of other stupid stuff that I am too lazy to link to, but also inadequate to the task because it creeps in everywhere.
I probably should have said nothing. I ended up proving with my actions my point that nothing noteworthy is going on. So let’s have some more Christian Slater! Here is a clip from Siskel and Ebert’s review of it. Christian
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UPDATE 1:51 PM:
OK. So it’s out of habit now that I look, but this thread (“But MY Parents Were Nice”) has a nice reveal of Molyneux’s MO. Note how the poster asks him explicitly for advice, and Molyneux’s immediate answer is to go read the book that Molyneux himself wrote, that reading the book should help. (It’s an answer given within nine minutes of the question being posed–that’s pretty immediate in cyberspace.) Ten minutes later, he realizes that he’s not actually a guy qualified to give advice even if he did self-publish a therapy book, so he comments again reminding people that of course the first step to take is to speak to a therapist before making a decision of the magnitude of cutting off all permanent ties to your parents. It’s such an afterthought.