August 25, 2010
Professor Stanley Fish has penned a piece for the New York Times covering a 9/11 Truth event that happened in the Livingston Manor, NY two weekends ago.
Describing everyone there in a tone that sounds much like the diary musings of a vacationer observing the quaint rituals of foreign savages, Fish wrote:
“Like many others, I was aware of these theories and aware too that a significant percentage of Americans (about the same percentage that believes President Obama is a Muslim who was born in Kenya) was at least partly persuaded by them. But on Aug. 15 I got an up-close look at the phenomenon when I attended a meeting of Truthers that just happened to be held in Livingston Manor, a small Catskill town about 20 miles from my house….The thing about people who hold beliefs you find unbelievable (in two senses) is that they are in most other respects just like you and your friends.”
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The professor and his editors obviously found the fact that regular people question the official story of 9/11 to be so profound that the last line above is repeated in a special quote box to drive home the point.
Fish also wrote:
“I distanced myself from my discomfort by regarding the event as theater and inventorying the dramatis personae. They were straight out of central casting.”
In reality the presentation Fish witnessed was just one part of a pioneering event, spearheaded by Sander Hicks (activist, columnist, and author of The Big Wedding). It was the first meeting of the “Truth Party”– a fledgling political party centered around ending the wars and advocating for a new 9/11 investigation.
The reader may raise an eyebrow at such an idea. Indeed, something like a “Truth Party” would face a number of obstacles, from the reality of 9/11 Truth being such a controversial issue, to the fact that political parties are normally based on strict ideologies involving broad economic and social issues. The event attracted people from all over the political spectrum, from hardcore Libertarians to devout Marxists…all with their own ideas for how a government should be run. While it may seem hard to imagine people with such dramatically different views uniting under the banner of a single political party, every attendee shared one common principle– governance with sincerity.
For example, it’s often been suggested by peace activists that the real choice for president should be Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich. These two men are often held up as the ideal election because even though each candidate would bring strikingly different ideologies to the table, both candidates are seen by many as men who would govern with America’s best interests in mind– not Goldman Sachs’ or KBR’s.
As I attended the event myself and talked with other attendees, (up to three in the morning around a kitchen table one night) my own skepticism at the idea of a Truth Party diminished. I came to see that what was being proposed was a simple return to the way politics should be, not what it’s become. The first step towards achieving that ideal is simply getting those who are in the fight to do right, (not those seeking a political career) to sit down together and talk. Though some debates became heated, there was a general respect of different opinions felt among everyone there, along with a shared rejection of the two party political machine.
If a single political party can bring sanity back to the political process then the notion of a Truth Party is ahead of its time.
As far as Professor Fish is concerned, he may want to remember that it’s important to include accuracy amidst the arrogance when writing a hit piece. In his article he implied that people at the event believed the anthrax attacks was a hoax. This created a good opportunity for him express outrage by inserting the line “although the anthrax was real and deadly” in parenthesis, yet his assertion is false. The person who spoke about the anthrax attacks, Barry Kissin, not only talked about the anthrax attacks happening, but warned about the potential dangers posed by weaponized diseases.
The entire event is available on YouTube and can be watched in the player below.
Towards the end of the article Fish wrote, “At the end of the afternoon and before the conference-ending dinner, I slipped away. I thought about identifying myself before leaving. I should have, but I didn’t.”
Actually, I don’t think it would have made a difference one way or another if he had, though this may be a surprise to him. The opinions of obscure newspaper columnists that gatekeeper editors choose for their readers has become more and more irrelevant over the years. More people are turning away from the mainstream press and are now getting their news from the alternative media instead.