“Sorry, what can I do? Politics!”

A most interesting and fun evening was spent attempting to keep up with my old friend MV, both in walking speed and intellectually. We met at Liverpool Street for a drink and chat, and the first thing she did was to hand me a leaflet from a bunch of “Truthers”* called We Are Change. This group claims the 11th Sept 2001 attacks were set up, or at least allowed to happen, by the US guvmint, to allow them to start the War on Terror.

*meaning any group which has the word “truth” in their title, such as (these are made up) MMR Mothers For Truth, 9/11 Structural Engineers For Truth, or any group which says they are searching for truth. What it often means is that they have a fixed view of the world, and a fixed agenda, which they claim is the truth, and anything that doesn’t agree is just plain wrong.

The leaflet is the usual mish-mash of “why are these questions still not answered?”, and quotes from unnamed structural engineers who claim that the steel used couldn’t have collapsed the way it did, etc. It would often state a “fact”, such as “the temperatures in the wreckage reached 10000C” then ask “how could this have been without explosives”. But the “facts” themselves are not attributed or referenced, so you have to take it on trust that they are true. And the questions may not even be relevant.

It’s all very difficult. It often comes down to a clash between investigations or research, and in that respoect it’s similar to the arguments surrounding homeopathy and other Bad Science. Some piece of research has one finding, another piece has another finding. Both are reported by the media equally, or unequally to push an agenda or sell papers with sensationalism (usually in tabloids like the Daily Mail or The Express). But often one piece of research is later discredited, and it isn’t reported. The example of the MMR vaccine is a classic. One piece of research said it was dangerous, and all the breeders got up in arms. Think of the children (translation: “Think of my children”)! Then lots more research was done which discredited the original. But some people said, “There’s no smoke without fire”, a phrase which can be used to prove anything you want.

I would link to the Truthers site, but it just crashed my browser, which is a bit of a giveaway if you ask me. Surely if You Are Change, you want as many people to read your site as possible, and you won’t do that by punishing IE-at-work users. Pillocks. If your message is so powerful, like a snowball of truth smothering the tyranny of imperialism (to paraquote the page), then plain HTML should do the trick, shouldn’t it?

Anyway! MV and I had some sushi (great reverse tempura) and Kirin in Liverpool Street, and then went for a pint of Youngs Special in Dirty Dicks, complete with mummified cat, jackalope head, and what appeared to be a stuffed animal with the head of another stuffed animal stitched to its arse. A Push-Me-Pull-You?

A really nice evening, and MV was able to offer advice about what I should do to get to LA ASAP. OK?