In CN 10.84 Conspiracy Nation reviewed the movie "Conspiracy
Theory," starring Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts. In that
review I asked Kenn Thomas, editor of a remarkably wide-
ranging magazine covering conspiracy research (Steamshovel
Press), whether he had seen the movie before or after he
criticized it. Here is Kenn's reply:

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You caught me. I have not seen the movie yet. I tried when I was in
Nevada last week, but it's so long that the boat taxis along the
Colorado River stopped running before it was over, so I couldn't get a
ride back to my hotel. This makes my point about how a half dozen good
researchers get the five-second soundbyte on the HBO special "Making of
Conspiracy Theory" while the poseur Mel smooches the Pretty Woman and
dodges Captain Picard for two and a half hours.

It is clear, though, that Mel is a caricature of a conspiracy
"theorist", a lone nut who produces his rants for a subscriber list of
five. I am as offended by this as any black person might be by the image
of Steppinfetchit. So my critique has little to do with the filmography
of the thing--"Birth of a Nation" and "Triumph of the Will" are fine
films--than its function as an artifact of the military
-industrial-entertainment complex.

Did you see the ad in NY Times with Mel for the Sierra Club Defense
Fund? Visually, it was an ad for the movie. It did much more for Mel
than it did for the environmental movement--a movement that in the first
place has been infiltrated and co-opted, as many readers of Conspiracy
Nation understand. It bothers me to see the idea of conspiracy research
being used to advertise some Hollywood movie under the pretense of a PC
cause. Talk about false dialogues.

Jon Vankin and Bryce Zabel have a letter writing campaign for a
Conspiracy TV program now too that I'm less than enthusiastic about. I
understand the need for popularizers and really do wish them well. As
with the letter writing campaign to save the silly Dark Skies show,
though, I see it as a tactic of the Star Trek gits and TV addicts
(victims of the con, in my view) basically to create a vehicle to sell
advertising. That will be the only point of any "research" such a show
would broadcast. Why should we lift a pencil to help when we are already
pre-occupied with the difficulties of continuing to maintain our own
feeble (by comparison) attempts to collect and broadcast information?

Oliver Stone made good with his bid to be Hollywood's "Mr. Conspiracy"
for while because it was grounded in the reality of the Garrison case
and helped lead to the creation of the Assassinations Materials Review
Board. I get rankled, though, when what we do--"we" being a community of
people such as Skolnick, Weisberg, Judge, etc., all better looking than
any any matinee idol--gets reduced to just another part of somebody's
star image.

Anyway, you're welcome to use these comments in Con Nation or not. I
certainly respect your opinion about the movie and will, in fact, make
more of an attempt to actually go see it now.


Kenn Thomas
Steamshovel Press
POB 23715
St. Louis, MO 63121
subscriptions: 4 issue: $22
single issue: $5

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