This Is Not an Odd Books Discussion: Stop talking about Libor shooter conspiracies

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

I run a site devoted to bizarre books and ideas. I am about to launch a site devoted to debunking bad ideas, mostly focusing on books about conspiracy theory. While I would not consider myself an expert on conspiracy theory, I think it can be accepted that I know a thing or two about a thing or two.

Let me state very clearly: There is no link between the Libor bank scandal and the Aurora and Newtown shootings. Fabian4Liberty, one of the main sources for this theory, made a video explaining the conspiracy. Far be it from me to suggest he should crawl under a rock from the shame of manipulating the deaths of many to fuel the vainglorious arrogance that stokes conspiracy theory (he knows the real truth, dontcha know, and the rest of us are sheep if we disagree and rely on fact rather than half-baked and scurrilous speculation).

It is all nonsense. There are no Senate Banking Committee hearings scheduled on the Libor scandal and even if there were, neither Holmes nor Lanza would have been called to testify. There is no witness list because there are no hearings scheduled. I repeat: Robert Holmes and Peter Lanza are on no Libor hearings witness list because the Senate Banking Committee has no Libor hearings scheduled.  You will note that none of the proponents of this conspiracy theory have produced a list of people who were scheduled to testify at this non-existent hearing.  There is not a lick of actual evidence that proves anything Fabian4Justice asserts.

That should be the end of it, but most conspiracy theory True Believers won’t let that deter them, and they are spreading this garbage all over the Internet.  So let’s discuss it in a bit more depth.

Robert Holmes, father of the Aurora shooter, was an anti-fraud engineer for FICO. In a way, there is a certain demented logic in linking Holmes to the Libor scandal because FICO assigns credit scores in the USA . But it is a stretch to extrapolate an anti-fraud engineer for FICO into having the expertise necessary to be an expert witness on British banks falsely reporting interest rates and how that affected US derivative markets. A large stretch. There is no link between FICO and the Libor scandal and Holmes’ anti-fraud work with FICO. None.

The situation with Peter Lanza is even more tenuous and, frankly, stupid as hell. Lanza worked for GE as the vice-president of the tax division. GE has no link to the Libor scandal at all and one wonders how a man who worked in a tax division of a large corporation would have the expertise needed to help unravel interest rate misreporting in the UK and how it affected US  financial products like student loans and mortgage rates.

So there are no Libor hearings scheduled by the Senate Banking Committee. There is no witness list.  Neither Holmes nor Lanza had the expertise needed to testify in such matters.  Those simple facts slay this bizarre theory, and there is no need to discuss the fact that Suzanne Collins is from Newtown and that The Dark Knight Rises had financial shenanigans in the plot. Moreover, if the fact that the theory has descended into such minutia wherein it is important to note that an author of a Young Adult dystopian novel series hailed from a place where a disturbed young man killed children does not give you pause, then likely nothing anyone says can dissuade you from this strange and demented course of anti-logic.

But let me throw this your way, just to be another voice in the wilderness asking for sanity: Say Holmes and Lanza had been on a witness list for non-existent Libor hearings.  How on earth did “the forces that be” gain access to their sons, engage them in intense brainwashing so that they would commit horrific mass killings and do so without anyone noticing. Lanza lived with his mother – it beggars belief that a group of covert bank apologists working for some shadowy New World Order organization could have taken him from his mother and engaged him in the sort of brainwashing that would have led him to go on a rampage.

People unfamiliar with psychopharmacology may think that anyone who takes certain drugs can become a Manchurian Candidate. Possibly, but the sort of drug reaction that can make one psychotic enough to snap and engage in a mass murder will make it impossible to engage in the sort of planning both Holmes and Lanza exhibited before their rampages. The sorts of drugs that can make one susceptible to rampage training do exist but it still takes time to train such people and, if MK-ULTRA is anything to go by, mass murder assassination training is dicey at best.

But all of this asks the question: If there was indeed a list of people meant to testify before the Senate Banking Committee, what would training the unstable sons of two of the witnesses to perform mass murder ultimately do to the hearing process? Was this shadowy agency planning on manipulating mentally shaky family members of each person on the list? And if so, how does doing so manipulate those called to testify into withdrawing as witnesses? The government could compel them to testify even if they withdrew. Also, if I knew my child had been coerced into mass murder on behalf of a strange government organization to prevent me from testifying, I would redouble my efforts to make sure my voice was heard. Many would. Especially if they were already against the wall, known as parents as some of the worst mass murderers in history. What more can happen to their reputations and family?

And if this was an attempt to discredit the witnesses by painting them as untrustworthy because they raised mass murderers, it brings us back to the idea that this shadowy agency would have to engage in a lot of covert brainwashing in order to discredit all the people on that imaginary witness list.

Guys, there are unstable people in this world who do terrible things. While the motives behind those who create these theories are often unclear to me aside from the self-aggrandizement that comes from being separate from the “sheeple,” I understand all too well why people believe this crap. But it makes them defensive when I state the reasons, so I won’t.

Instead, I will just ask that any True Believer demand to see the witness lists that Holmes and Lanza supposedly appeared on.  Withhold judgement until you see those lists.  Do not take anyone at their word – not even me.  Demand solid, clear proof before buying into any of this.  Demand actual, accountable proof before you forward a single e-mail, share a Facebook status or retweet anything.

Conspiracy theory preys on the modern lack of perspicacity, as we see words on a screen and assume they have legitimacy.  The purveyors of lies rely on people believing them without question, which is the same reasoning they use against non-believers.  They accuse us of being mindless robots who refuse to see reason, but  refusing to believe without proof is a sign of mental strength. Don’t be weak. Don’t fall for this garbage.  Children were killed because an unstable young man shot them to death.  Not because the government wants to control your access to guns.  Not because an unnamed shadow organization wanted to stop testimony.  The children are dead because a mentally ill man shot them.  In this case, the truth really is harder to accept than the all the various lies.

One last thing: May those who have exploited the Aurora and Newton shootings to fit their pet paranoias eventually feel the hot blast of shame and condemnation deserved by charlatans.

This Is Not An Odd Book Discussion: Apology and some incredibly absorbing links

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

As my readers may know by now, when a bout of cyclical depression hits me I am very quiet.  People often have the idea that my lack of online presence during these times is because I am shuffling through my days like a middle-aged Sylvia Plath, tearing at my hair, or politely planning my suicide, stuffing my pockets with rocks as I walk dramatically into Lake Travis.

It’s far less cinematic than that.  Far less interesting, too.  When I am hit with a bout of my depression, which is sort of akin to a brain fog, I move slower, can’t sleep, and am down, to be sure, but the key symptom is a lack of attention.  I cannot hold a thread in a conversation.  I forget words for common objects.  I cannot really read anything longer than a blog entry, and I certainly cannot write well.  They last anywhere from a few days to a couple of months, but generally I get off lightly as they seldom last longer than a few weeks.

That is what it is, and I came out my my most recent bout in time to post that pile of words about Knut Hamsun.  Then I almost lost one cat, Miss Baby.  While we were worrying about her, a completely unrelated and seemingly healthy cat of ours, Wooster, dropped over dead.  Wooster was a strange, furtive, but lovely cat and his death was a blow to the house beyond anything we could have anticipated.

So I’ve been far more useless than I would like.  I have some interesting discussions in the works: an odd books zine from a writer in Australia, an Alasdair Gray collection, A New Bizarro Authors Week, and more.   I’m looking forward to the latter – it’s been a while since I had a giveaway.

But until then, let me share two of the amazing conspiracy theory sites I found when wandering the web late at night in the throes of insomnia.

The first is the site September Clues Research Forum.   This site is dedicated to the idea that 9-11 did not happen, that the attack itself was staged with media complicity, that no planes crashed into anything that day, and that not a single person died.  I found this site because I had a copy of Don Delillo’s The Falling Man and found myself Googling “falling man,”  the iconic photograph of a man who jumped from the World Trade center.  It was through that Google that I found this site.

It’s a small board, with a max of around 1000 members, far fewer active.  It’s beyond the Loose Change crowd (and the key players on this site declare that Truthers are part of the conspiracy, a smoke-screen so that no one focuses on the “real” truth).  It is some of the most hardcore conspiracy theory I have encountered in recent memory.  Convoluted, intricate and detailed, these particular True Believers have created an alternative reality wherein all the victim photographs are really photoshops or were created from one main photograph using photo manipulation.   The families of the dead are all actors or lying for some reason, the Ground Zero pictures were all staged, and everything we saw that terrible day was an elaborate theater used to trick us into war in the Middle East.  None of it happened.  Famous victims like Barbara Olson didn’t die on the planes – in Olson’s case, they posit that she got a ton of plastic surgery and came back to remarry her husband Ted Olson in a new identity.  Their proof for this is… both hilarious and the result of lots and lots of work.  If there is a means by which I can link to individual comments on posts, I cannot find one, but I also think this is for the best.  Little bits and pieces of this are almost worthless – one has to experience the whole of this by reading posts and threads as they come.

I seriously cannot list the amount of intellectual endeavor on this site, but a word of warning:  the makers of this site and the people who are key in this theory aren’t anything like the Loose Changers.  They are not engaging in a coy, “what if/I’m only asking hard questions” stance that the Truthers use to shelter themselves from the hard criticism that comes from asking “hard” questions.  The main players on September Clues Research Forum believe they have proven their case for this extraordinary conspiracy beyond any reasonable doubt and don’t like people challenging them because they brook no dissent.  So if you decide you want to interact with these folks, bear that in mind.

The second site appears to have been abandoned, more’s the pity, because, while not as outlandish as September Clues Research Forum, this blog contains some excellent conspiracy theory analysis. The site analyzes the use of Monarch Program, Illuminati and Masonic, and MK-Ultra imagery as found in movies, music videos, and photoshoots.   Pseudo-Occult Media is a site after my own heart – verbose, given to extreme analysis of media and completely whacked.  The author, one Benjamin Singleton, does not appear to be writing anywhere else, but if anyone knows where he is or if he is writing again, I would love to know what he is up to these days.

I found this site after landing on the Daily Mail, of all places, reading an article about how happy John Mellencamp is these days after divorcing his supermodel wife, Elaine Irwin.  I wondered how some of the other supermodels from the 90s had ended up and began Googling “Tatiana,”  “Linda Evangelista” and “Karen Mulder.”  It was the search on Karen Mulder that led me to the site, to this article in particular, wherein Mulder’s images and erratic behaviors are discussed with the assumption that she was a Monarch Program victim.  Singleton analyzed dozens of pictures to show the links between Mulder and the Monarch Program and Illuminati sex slave programs.  This is one of those rare sites wherein I don’t want to contact James Randi and see how to debunk it effectively because unlike many True Believers, Singleton showed his work.  While I can look at the work and simply say, “Images of kittens and leopards and butterflies are just common in photography,” Singleton makes an interesting case for how these images are used to tell specific stories and the stories often end up being very similar.  One does not have to believe any of it to just marvel at the work that went into the analyses.

I am not even close to finished reading the site, but I already have some favorite articles.  Singleton’s analysis of the imagery associated with Lana Clarkson, the woman Phil Spector shot to death, was fascinating.   Equally interesting was the use of Monarch imagery and the use of Alice in Wonderland as it applies to programming victims and the images of Peaches Geldof and others.  Whether Singleton is a lunatic or the Sanest Person You Know, after reading his blog, you will never look at black and white stripes, red shoes, butterflies, kittens, wild cat prints and Alice costumes the same way again.  Or maybe it’s more accurate to say you will be surprised at how common and overused they are in media, fashion and film.  You don’t have to fear the New World Order to find this worth a read and Singleton has a ton of content on the now defunct site.

So that’s what I was doing over the past couple of weeks as I waited for my brain fog to lift.  Hopefully y’all will find it interesting to some degree and I’ll have some book content up here soon.  Hopefully the Alasdair Gray discussion will be up Friday or Monday.  If any of you have some odd website, message board or blog recommendations for me to read when the next fog rolls into my head, share them please!

This Is Not An Odd Book Discussion: Looking at my comments

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

So, as we all know, or should know, I am often sucktastic about replying to comments. It’s a part of my avoidant personality, I’m told. Sometimes I can deal with digital evidence of human interactions and sometimes I can’t. So a lot of comments here may go unanswered because I am a notorious flake.

This comment, however, went unanswered because I simply did not know what to say. It’s stayed with me for a while because… well, I’ll show you the comment, left to my entry about John Coleman’s book about conspiracy theory and disease:

Im really nobody special. No special degree nothing fancy..just experience. All I can really say is dr. Coleman is gutsy. He taked a big risk. For that I commend him. I will never see another Dr for as long as I live. Its too bad …im only 22 and really wanted a family one day. Dont think I can do that now…its ashame fear runs through me knowing what theyll do to that new born baby. dr. c if you ever read this…I rrally think youd be interested in hearing what my father has come to find. I think you got it but theres more…much more. Maybe you know though, maybefor your own safety you stay quiet on the other things…probably smart however I hopeone day we meet face to face… I feel lonely in this. Its too bad my family wasnt part of the elite, born into it. Four families in this world striving for world domination. Can you guess who they are ? My dad figuredit out. Somehow someway I hope you get tomeet him.

This comment bothers me because it challenges my attitude wherein I enjoy conspiracy and wallow in its lunacy. I do challenge it here from time to time, but I also take an attitude wherein I just revel in the panoply of bizarre belief. But this comment makes it clear that there is a price to be paid with bad belief. Here is a young woman (or so she says – this could be anyone) who thinks that she cannot have a family because something bad will happen to her newborn child. Something so bad it makes her ashamed to think of it. There are other problems with this comment, but that is the one that stood out to me the most – the loss of potential family because of some bizarre, unspecified fear.

This Is Not an Odd Book Discussion – Horking and enormous time sucks

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Dear readers, I came down with what can only be described as the plague. Mr Oddbooks brought home some conference crud and I watched a neighbor kid, and as we all know, kids are crawling with germs.   The neighbor kid’s germs morphed with the conference crud to create a supercrud.  My house may or may not be under a CDC tent.  So I haven’t been doing much but occasionally showing my ass in political communities and staring, stunned, at how much I really need to vacuum. I hope to have the “insane” and outsider literature discussion up on Friday, but given how things have been, it could be Friday, it could be three weeks from now.

Also, lots of people have been sending me books to read and I appreciate it. However, I am behind because of many reasons that have nothing to do with the plague but have everything to do with personal organization. So if you sent me a book and I said I would read it and discuss it, it will happen, in the fullness of time. The only exception would be if I began reading it and decided that even a crushingly horrible review would not be in your best interest. But that’s only happened once so I don’t see that happening.

In the mean time, let me share some links.

Here is the website of Gabriella Chana, a writer who thinks that she is genetically half Catherine the Great and half King David, who has a soul bond, or some such thing, to Brent Spiner, the dude who played Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Jesuits are keeping them apart, and she has a list of hot, Hollywood stars who want to marry her but all she can do is have mind sex with them. Gerard Butler, Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Jackman and Brent Spiner all long for her, evidently, but cannot marry her due to the Jesuits, though they somehow manage to leave awkward comments on her message board. Plan to devote hours to reading and reviewing Chana’s (aka Gail Chord) YouTube videos. I don’t know why George Clooney has yet to want to marry Chana, but I think it has something to do with the fact that he dates so much the Jesuits cannot keep him in cloned women that have babies to force him to marry them. Thanks to Ted the Romanian for this enormous time suck. Truly lunatic, so lunatic that I feel like it has to be a hoax but it probably isn’t.

Less involved but equally demented (though definitely not a hoax) is this site devoted to the theory that Stephen King killed John Lennon. There’s a book about it and you can be sure that I will be reading this book. Well, it’s actually a booklet, but it seems worth a read. I can only imagine that the reason that Stephen King has not sued the man behind this site is because the theory is so devoid of anything approaching reality that there was really no reason to shut him down. But I found it pretty interesting so you may, too.

Hopefully, this trend of being sick constantly is coming to an end and I can get stuff moving here. Clearly I am not a stoic who can work through such things. I’m pretty sure I would have been one of those people who died very young before antibiotics, vaccines and a modern infrastructure that supports the weak. Bear with me, please.

2083 by Anders Behring Breivik, Part 4: All About ABB

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Now begins the last installment of my look at 2083.  If you’re just now joining the discussion, this is the fourth in the series.  You can click these links and go straight to Part One, Part Two and Part Three.

Throughout the previous three looks at Anders Behring Breivik and Fjordman, I did my best to remain on topic with the text only.  I still will derive most of Part Four from the manifesto text, but I will also be using information from the news and other sources as I discuss what I think this text reveals about Breivik.   If one reads the text closely,  Breivik reveals a lot of answers to questions that are troubling people.   I also think the text reveals a lot about Breivik’s motives in a way that gives lie to the idea that stopping Islamic immigration and ending what he refers to as cultural Marxism were his only goals.

In Part Three I mostly discussed the things that Breivik planned and the things he actually did.   Because of the level of plagiarism that Breivik engages in throughout the manifesto, it is hard to look at his writing and know if the words are indeed his, but there are patterns that emerge, times when it seems like writing flows and when it seems like he is parroting ideology from others in an awkward manner.   When he writes from a place of experience or a place of emotion, it flows smoother and simply feels more real.  So I tell myself that there are times I know I am reading Breivik’s actual thoughts, as well as text that is not plagiarized.

I need to explain that I am looking at his manifesto the way I read any text.   I am looking at the whole of the document – how it is arranged, how the writing appears, what Breivik considers important, what he does not.  There is truth in this manifesto of lies.   You know how it is when a seasoned poker player can judge the hands of the other players at the table?  It is because the other players, even as they try to present a flat demeanor, have what are called “tells.”  A finger twitches, eyes dart to the left, someone unconsciously clears his throat.  And the experienced poker player knows.  Breivik’s manifesto is littered with tells.

While I hope I am not sounding too arrogant, I am a reasonably good “poker player.”   I’m no expert on literary construction.  But I fancy that because of my time in the trenches of odd books, strange books, bizarre books, and the people who naturally accompany such books, I have a pretty good grounding in the unusual mind.   I also had some excellent teachers and professors in my day who instilled in me a habit of engaging with words in a manner that, at times, makes reading very involved for me.  So I fancy that I enter into Part Four with some skills for analyzing text.

But at the same time, I will be engaging in psychological analysis of Breivik that should likely be taken with a grain of salt.  In a way, psychoanalyzing him will be no different than analyzing other literary characters because in its way, this manifesto is as much a piece of fiction as any novel.   I don’t need a psychological degree in order to discuss the mental state of Emma Bovary, Gregor Samsa, or Catherine Earnshaw.   But if I acknowledge that I am analyzing the text in the same way that I would a fictional novel, hopefully that will make it clear that this is just speculation.   Once the professional psychological reports come back,  I have no doubt large chunks of this entry will be proven completely off-base.  As you read this, please keep in mind I am doing my best to discuss Breivik in relation to what I think his manifesto tells me about him, with some news articles to bolster the opinions I posit. I could be very wrong.

And all that having been said, I think I’m right on more than I am wrong.  I wouldn’t have written all this out if I didn’t have some belief I was right.

So let’s look at the insight the manifesto text gives us into the mind of Breivik.  Let’s look at how his text arrangement and emphasis show his priorities.  Let’s talk about what some of his plagiarism really means.  Let’s look at how so much of what he writes contradicts itself.   Let’s see if some of the initial media responses to him are borne out in his manifesto. Let’s see if we can pin down the mind of a killer via the words that meant so much to him.

2083 by Anders Behring Breivik, Part 3: Breivik

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Before I begin discussing Anders Behring Breivik’s words from 2083, I want to remind any new readers that this is a four-part series.  You can read my take on Fjordman’s articles from 2083 in Part One and Part Two.

I am dreading writing about Anders Behring Breivik.   Whether I understood it consciously or not, I began discussing Fjordman because he was so much easier to write about.  His words, even as they appalled me, were words I knew he thought were true, plus there is the added benefit that he never killed anyone.  Fjordman’s passion indicated that he was emotionally connected to his dreadful topics.  At no time did I feel like I was reading the whole truth when I was reading Breivik’s own contributions to his manifesto.  Many times he read emotionally flat even as he was discussing war and executions.

I don’t think anyone will ever see the real face of Anders Behring Breivik and that is why I dread writing about him.  He wears many faces and in so doing, hides his real motives.  He is a man who carefully constructed an image before his rampage and is carefully maintaining that image even after his arrest.  I can make no assertions that I have nailed Breivik because I am not a psychologist.  All I can say is that as a person who has a vast interest in strange ideas and strange people, I have met many people who had or still have ideas I find anathema to a healthy world.  Some of these people were friendly, intelligent and affable and their strange beliefs took back stage to the whole of their personality.  Some were dark, dangerous people whom I never hope to see or correspond with again.  But every one of them was a real person, charming and glib, or earnest and odd, or determined and frightening but there was a core of humanity to them that could not be denied even as I was appalled with elements of their ideologies.  Even when I wanted to shake Fjordman, the reason I wanted to shake him was because he is real, someone whose words could create an honest, human reaction.

The same cannot be said of Breivik.  Even taking into account the number of articles he reproduced from Fjordman and other Islamophobic writers, there was not much of Breivik present in his manifesto.   That sense of no one being at home was not helped by the fact that he often reproduced chunks of text from other writers without attributing it, leading to the impression that those words were his.  He outright plagiarized Ted Kaczynski.  I swear at times I felt like I was reading slightly repackaged essays from William Lind.   Hundreds of pages of  Breivik’s interpretation of historical events, political actions and religious beliefs, all as absorbing as entries from supermarket encyclopedias.  And about as facile, too.  His criticism of political correctness/cultural Marxism showed about as much understanding of the Frankfurt School and reactions to the New Criticism as an answer to a high school essay question.  And one assume those high school essayists would know not to crib entire entries from Wikipedia.

All of the plagiarism accusations, all of them correct, popped up after the manifesto was discovered and bloggers ran it through software that detects unfair usage.  People seemed jubilant in a manner I could not understand because, on its face, who cares if a mass murderer of children plagiarized his brick of a manifesto?  There are far more moral issues to discuss when talking about Breivik.  The plagiarism, rather than being one more example of the criminal nature of Breivik needs to be looked at in terms of what it represents.  Plagiarism is a form of lying, a form of intellectual theft, and when one steals the ideas of others, it can point to the notion that the plagiarist is trying to either align himself with ideas he thinks are brilliant or he is trying to cover up a lack of confidence in his own writing.  I think Breivik’s plagiarism points to both but it also points to something else I will discuss Part Four.

There were moments when Breivik wrote in an extemporaneous, personal style, like in the sections where he reproduced his diary and discussed actions he truly performed.  But even when he was talking about himself, he often used trite devices to distance himself from his exposure.  It was as if he realized he was talking about himself too much and wanted to distract from it, but couldn’t stop writing about himself even if he tried.  For instance, he produces an “interview” called  “Interview with a Justiciar Knight Commander of the PCCTS, Knights Templar” and for a few minutes, I thought that maybe, perhaps I was reading the words of a compatriot in Breivik’s scheme.  He makes references to having comrades in arms as well as ideology.  But no, it was an interview with himself (and whether or not I think the text proves he acted alone is something I will touch on in in depth my fourth article).

When someone who borrows ideology from others, when someone plagiarizes the key points of his manifesto, when he writes as if he has a book open in front of him, yet carries on an interview with himself that goes on for 64 pages, that is a clue of sorts.  That clue is that his personality is more important than his ideology.  I will later make the assertion that Breivik has a personality disorder, an armchair psychiatric diagnosis to be sure, but for now, Breivik to me is sui generis because he is so bland and so self-absorbed.  He is a media-age monster, grooming his image before and after his rampage.   It is almost as if how he is perceived is more important than how his actions are perceived, and that will be a key discussion in my part four.

As a woman who knows far more about mass murderers and sociopaths than I ever planned to discover, Breivik is a monster unto himself.  He lacks the simmering hatred with a catastrophic trigger that is associated with most mass murderers.  For a religious man, who discusses Catholicism as a means of conquering his greatest foes, he talks about it dispassionately and incorporates little of it in his daily life, the Knights Templar cover notwithstanding.  In fact, the only time I sensed Breivik was showing emotion was during the first pages of his manifesto when he discusses the utopia he feels like he lost out on because of cultural Marxism, and during some of the discussions of cultural Marxism itself.  When he expressed anger in the sections about Islam, the anger very much seemed borrowed from other writers.  I sensed none of Fjordman’s urgent paranoia.   In fact, I wonder if Fjordman was Breivik’s favorite writer because Fjordman had something Breivik lacks – a passionate identity.  Breivik’s utter lack of self outside of his interest in his appearance is remarkable.

Breivik, even in his manifesto, comes across as vain, isolated, and more of a Walter Mitty fantasist than a mass murderer driven by religious bigotry.  At times his manifesto read more like an RPG manual, casting a strange light over his use of video games to train.    I wonder if, in a narcissistic haze, he saw all of his victims as two-dimensional characters in the self-centered game going on in his head. He comes across more as a man trying on roles – Mason, Knight Templar, Eurabian theorist, chemist, marksman, international criminal and male model – than a man who was driven by hate for Islamic immigration or such deep love for his country he had to protect it at any cost.   And there is a reason for those disparities, one all too common.

The reason is that Breivik is a liar.  He lies to himself and he lies to us in his manifesto.  He hid a key motive for the murders behind hundreds of pages of vaguely relevant information. He isn’t crazy – people with personality disorders can be terribly deluded but they are not insane.  He is simply a fabulist, a man who hated the life he was born into and the life he had come to live and was willing to do anything to redefine himself.

Does this mean he was not influenced by Fjordman?  Of course he was.  I think I made my case for how it is Fjordman’s violent rhetoric influenced Breivik.  And in terms of common sense, you don’t reproduce article after article from another writer in your mass murder manifesto unless you are influenced or inspired by them in some way.   Even had Breivik never read a word of Fjordman’s work, it still would have been violent, bigoted and misogynistic.   It is just Fjordman’s great misfortune that his loaded mini-manifestos found a reader willing to take his words to heart.  But I think Fjordman may have influenced Breivik in a way that no one could have anticipated, a way no one can hold Fjordman responsible for.  I think Breivik, who already had distaste for Muslims and feminism, found Fjordman so intoxicating because he longed to have the influence that Fjordman had and probably still has.

Fjordman was a part of a tightly knit group of Islamophobes online.  People in that oeuvre looked up to Fjordman.  They found him to be a great thinker.  And Breivik even wanted to meet Fjordman but was rebuffed.   I cannot entirely make the case that Breivik had an ideological and sociological crush on Fjordman, but it sure seemed likely when I finished the manifesto.   And this is a stretch, but I also wonder how Breivik truly felt about Fjordman refusing to meet him.  In his manifesto, he makes little jabs at men who blog and do not act.    It is sheer speculation but it has a ring of truth to it that if Breivik could not meet his idol, if he could not become a part of the thinkers who fueled his ideology, he would best him in some manner.

But that’s just one of the theories floating in my head.  While Breivik was decidedly an Islamophobe, there definitely other motives that fueled his rampage.  The very way he begins his manifesto is a very good clue that he has mixed motives.  The beginning is not an overview of atrocities attributed to Muslims, but rather a discourse on how the family of the 1950s cannot exist in a politically correct world.  I intend to make the case in Part Four that Breivik was as equally motivated by twisted emotions about what he considers the destruction of his own family as he was the need to end Muslim immigration in Europe.  Though in his manifesto he gives a reason for why he did not shoot Muslims, the fact that he shot young people, teens, having fun at a summer camp, speaks to motives in addition to Islamophobia.  It is more in line with his loathing of cultural Marxism, but even that only goes so far.  By shooting teenagers, he violated even his own outline of the “traitors” who needed to die first.  He shot to death dozens of teenagers because he was striking out at a country he felt deprived him of the family and youth he thinks he deserved and missed out on.

So, in my estimation, Breivik is a liar both to himself and his audience, and his motives go further than just a look at his hatred discussed disjointedly and blandly in his manifesto.  Given that much of his manifesto is the work of others, either attributed or plagiarized, and that his pages and pages of historical revisionism and examples of Bad Things Muslims Have Done Over The Past 1400 Years are just regurgitated facts from Islamophobia sites, I don’t even see the point of discussing them.  Discussing Fjordman’s anti-Muslim beliefs is discussing Breivik’s anti-Muslim beliefs.  You can find analysis of those parts of his manifesto elsewhere, and in the comments on those sites you will find refutations that are then refuted and in turn there is more refutation but there is never a conclusion.  A True Believer in conspiracy theory cannot change his or her argument and non-believers are foolish even to try and convince them to see reason on an online venue.  So I am not going to examine all that minutia and those “facts” repackaged and filtered through Eurabia conspiracy theory.  It would just be my facts against their facts and it would be a colossal waste of time.

Instead, I intend to examine this manifesto in two ways.  In this article, Part Three, I want to discuss the framework Breivik set up for the massacre and the things he actually did to prepare.   I warn you – Part Three is the  least interesting part of my analysis and probably reads that way.  But it is worth looking at, I think.  Breivik  may be lying about some of the things he did, but that framework at least seems to have some authenticity to it.  The framework, in which he analyzed who should be killed, how to go about it, evasive maneuvers, etc. was clearer and seemed less copied and false than all the facts he vomited up.

There are some out there who seem to think this manifesto should not be discussed at all because parts of it read like The Anarchist Cookbook combined with some volumes from Paladin Press and to discuss it is to aid in the dissemination of such information. I find that laughable at best because there is nothing in this manifesto that the average teenager cannot find in several minutes using a Smart Phone.  Moreover, refusing to look at this section because it is deemed too dangerous to discuss just perpetuates the thought that Breivik had to have had help or financial backing, and feeds the fear that there is a sinister group of people training to kill Muslims and liberals in Europe.  If nothing else, this manifesto shows what the so-called super-empowered individual can accomplish on his own, which is cold comfort, I know.

All of that having been said, I don’t intend to reproduce any content that could prove a legal liability to this site or to my web hosting service.

In Part Four, which will hopefully come no later than early next week, I will discuss common questions the manifesto answers, Breivik’s emotional motives that fueled the murders, what I consider to be a personality disorder that is evident even to those who did not read 2083, and other inconsistencies and issues that cropped up as I read his “interview” and his diary.  That, I think, will be infinitely more interesting than this discussion.

But if you’re still here with me, let’s discuss Anders Behring Breivik.

2083 by Anders Behring Breivik, Fjordman: Part Two

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Today begins the second part of my look at Fjordman, the blogger who inspired  and was frequently cited by the Norway killer, Anders Behring Breivik (whom I will refer to as ABB throughout the rest of this discussion).  If you have not read part one, have a look at it here.

It would appear that my discussion of 2083 went a little viral, so welcome new readers!  I also welcome all comments, even those that may disagree with me entirely.  I encourage people to stick to reactions to the text but, of course, I understand political discussions will be inevitable where such a document is concerned.

It should also be mentioned that yes, I am verbose as a rule. Sorry about that but if length bothers you, you likely were not going to be interested in a quote-laden discussion of a 1500 page manifesto anyway. Also, please bear in mind this is a discussion of the book, not a review as such. I’m not judging the literary merit of the manifesto as much as I am just trying to reveal what the manifesto really contains and the minds of the people involved. I mean, I guess someone could review Mein Kampf or The New Libertarian Manifesto with an eye to the quality of the prose, but I really don’t recommend it.

2083: A European Declaration of Independence was so much more than a look at anti-Islam viewpoints that led to murder.  It contains a number of critiques, from how hip hop music is destroying black culture in the United States to misogynistic rants that contained rape apology.  It has reproductive ideas that sound like science fiction and instructions on how to make poison bullets.  It is all over the map. In many ways, I am glad I read this because it is a mistake to think that ABB was a lunatic who was just gunning for socialists whom he considered responsible for Muslim immigration.  His master plan, derived from the ideas of other thinkers, had something unsettling in store for almost everyone who wasn’t a white man. As progressive as we like to think we are, many of the more virulent ideas present in 2083 are rampant in political and social elements in the United States.

ABB is only a monster to us because he took his ideology to heart and shot people instead of blogging about it.  But he is only unique in how he displayed his hate.  And he is even less unique when you realize that all of his ideas came from other people.  As I said in my first article, in so many ways, Fjordman is more interesting to me than ABB, because Fjordman’s brain is on display here far more than ABB’s.  ABB is violently derivative.

This second part of my look at Fjordman will be when I show my snark teeth a bit more because it is going to cover  his misogyny that at times gives lie to his nationalist leanings, the messy contradictions present in Fjordman’s theories, his misuse of pop culture and literature, and some of the utterly bizarre things present in his writing.   Yeah, there will be snark.  I won’t be able to help it. Also, part two is mostly just a reaction to some of the more bizarre elements of Fjordman’s thought processes and misinterpretations. Mostly, this will be a look at the mind of a man who really is driven by hate to the point that he is rabid, inconsistent and just flat out weird.

Though I also mentioned in Part One that I find Fjordman infinitely more interesting than the murderer who cloaked himself in his ideas, Fjordman did not ask for any of this.  I did try to make a case that Fjordman engaged in rhetoric that seemed fated to send a True Believer on a violent rampage, but the fact is is that Fjordman was writing in that false, protective cloud that seems to envelop so many bloggers.  We write and write and write and it never seems possible that we could, without overtly meaning to, inspire someone to shoot up teenagers on an island.  Blogging is a new weapon in the arsenal of using the written word to change the world and Fjordman has, for me at least, become a cautionary tale.   And as I said before, Fjordman is not pitiful, but he is definitely pitiable.  That is, he is pitiable when he isn’t actively pissing me off.  There are some things that no woman outside of the stay-at-home-daughters in the Vision Forum can read and not be filled with disgust.

So let’s begin Fjordman: Part Two.

2083 by Andrew Berwick, aka Anders Behring Breivik

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Book: 2083: A European Declaration of Independence

Author: Andrew Berwick, real name Anders Behring Breivik

Type of Book: Paranoid manifesto, conspiracy theory

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Sigh…

Availability: It’s all over the Internet.

Comments: (edited to add: I mistakenly refer to the site Gates of Vienna as Gates of Brussels several times in this discussion. Mea culpa and I would change it but this article has been reproduced several places and the mistake is sort of cast in e-stone. Just know that the site is Gates of Vienna.) When I learned that the Norway mass murderer had salted his manifesto all over the Internet shortly before he went on his rampage, I knew I was going to have to read it. After all, I read odd books. And more to the point, I have an unapologetic interest in the aberrant mind. From all the commentary I read online and from news reports, Anders Behring Breivik was a fundamentalist Christian, he was a fascist, he was a racist, he was an Aryan supremacist, he hated Muslims, he was a loner, he was a part of a larger anti-Islam group, he was a lunatic, he was a mastermind – he was all kinds of inconsistent things and I wondered what was correct and what was the typical media rush to judgment.  I wondered if the people who were postulating about him and his sources had actually read the manifesto.

So I read it. Every last word. I will admit that at about page 1200 things at times got a little vague for me. Reading every word of this disjointed, strange monster of a manuscript would make even an Adderall addict bleary. I also admit that after a while, all the articles explaining the horrors of Islam and all the terrible things Muslims have done wore a bit thin. I have a feeling that were I forced to read some of them again, it would be like I was reading them for the first time. That’s okay  because all that “evidence” was not likely to be of much interest to me anyway. It’s largely unimportant because I examined this manifesto from the perspective of a person interested in strange minds and conspiracy theory. On both fronts, this manifesto was quite interesting.

Strangely, Anders Behring Breivik (to be called ABB from here on out) is not the most interesting part of this manifesto. Rather, it was the cast of characters who led him to the conclusions he reached and provided confirmation for his strange ideas. Most notable is Fjordman. So notable is Fjordman that I intend to devote two entries to discussing him. Initially, I declared Fjordman to be a complete asshole, and parts of that assessment still seem true, but as I reread and wrote my discussion, I began to find him pitiable. Not pitiful, but definitely pitiable.

Fjordman, who revealed his identity recently as Peder Jensen, a 36-year-old man who seems largely unremarkable, greatly inspired ABB’s thoughts and the terrible rampage that killed 77 people. Because Fjordman influenced many of ABB’s ideas, it seems logical to me to discuss him first. You see, though much of this manifesto consists of articles from other writers, the bulk of the articles came from Fjordman. If you have not read or browsed the manifesto, many articles from anti-Islamists are reproduced in full in the manifesto. Part two of this three-part manifesto was almost a static wiki of articles from other people. Though my eyes admittedly glazed over at times, I believe I counted 40 articles from Fjordman reproduced throughout the 1500 pages. Though there are articles from other writers (one of them a hilarious pearl-clutching treatise on the horrors of rap music), Fjordman’s words take up the most space and show a very clear path of how his words affected ABB. Though there are theories about a Brit in Malta who may have influenced ABB’s rampage, the fact is Fjordman’s paranoiac and violent rhetoric influenced ABB’s mindset and his plans more than any other writer or thinker. In fact, the subtitle of this manifesto comes from the title of one of Fjordman’s articles, and the date of 2083 seems very much influenced by estimates that Fjordman posits about the decline of Europe if Muslim immigration is not stopped soon. So logically, for me at any rate, to understand ABB, we first must talk about Fjordman’s articles and the part they played in ABB’s anti-Muslim fears.

Before you read part one of my discussion about Fjordman, there are some things I would like to share with you, gentle reader. Unpleasant things. Of course, I will never not be a little shocked when I discover a whole mess of people willing to accept conspiracy theory as irrevocable fact. I may devote my life to reading books about conspiracy theory, but it is unsettling when it hits home how deeply people can believe in it. It was shocking to realize that there are people who take the word of Bat Ye’or, the woman responsible for creating what I like to call The Protocols of the Elders of Mecca, as historical truth. It was horrifying to realize that people like Diana West (ahahahaha!), Daniel Pipes, and Robert Spencer are not laughed out of every quarter of contemporary political thought. It was disgusting to realize that there are no depths too low for the likes of Glenn Beck, Pamela Geller and Debbie Schlussel to sink as they try desperately to keep their names and ideas relevant in the minds of those who live and breathe race hate and bigotry.

But as unpleasant as all of this is, it is important that we understand how common conspiracy theory is in some form or other for a good many people in this world. For many the natural impulse is to dismiss ABB as a crazy man, and we dismiss him as a lunatic at our own risk because if he is a lunatic, so are many, many others. It is hardwired into the human brain to believe strange things, I think, and it’s hard to look at a man like ABB and realize that he is just one of many, a man who is different solely because he took things just one step further. That is why I ultimately feel pity for Fjordman. Fjordman, a True Believer in Bat Ye’or’s Eurabia conspiracy theory was building castles in the air via his online essays, never once thinking that his words, taken at face value, could have been seen as a call to arms.

We have a vested interest in dismissing all violence as crazy, labeling people like ABB as The Other, but his views are derived from other people and are influencing other people even after anyone with common decency would dismiss him. Killing innocent teenagers for a bizarre political and social agenda should have rendered ABB’s ideas untouchable for anyone with sense and a conscience – Fjordman is appalled by what happened on Utøya – but there is a fringe element who see what ABB did as being the work of a patriot. Think I’m exaggerating? I don’t recommend visiting Pamela Geller or Debbie Schlussel’s sites because if you do, you are rewarding their dreadful antics to draw attention to themselves. Rather, check out the analysis of some of these people on sites like Loon Watch, Spencer Watch, and, interestingly enough, Little Green Footballs. (It had been years since I had visited Little Green Footballs. Last time I visited the site, it was a hive of scum and villainy. Discovering the site is no longer devoted to race hate and biogtry was perhaps the sole pleasant element to come from reading 2083.)

Before I begin my discussion of 2083, I need to make it clear, very clear, that I am not discussing any specifics of the immigration situations in other countries or the specifics of Muslim immigration in Europe. I am not qualified to discuss it and I have no interest running to ground all of the statistics, determining what information is sound and what information is not. But even though the sites I have read that discussed some elements of 2083 focus solely on the question of Islamic immigration, there is so much more than that to be found in 2083. So much, in fact, that what began as just another of my long-winded looks at strange writings turned into what I think will be a four part series: two entries about Fjordman and two entries about ABB.

But being who I am, only part of the manifesto interested me. If you want a hard political look at Muslim immigration and the social implications of it, there are plenty of political sites on both sides of the issue to accommodate you. My examination of Fjordman will look at his beliefs and an analysis of his writing. My examination of ABB will be to look at his plans and his theories, and some postulation about his brain because I cannot resist the urge to armchair psychoanalyze him. And it should be mentioned that I am not going to stray from the text. Everything I discuss about either man comes directly from 2083, and to make it clear, every word from Fjordman comes from articles that ABB found so important that he reproduced them in full in 2083. I also will end up snarking some because, given the text we are discussing, how can I not? Some ideas, even those that lead to tragedy, have an arrogant comedy in them that cannot be ignored by a woman who has a black belt in sarcasm.

So begins Part One: Fjordman.

Strange Creations by Donna Kossy

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Book: Strange Creations: Aberrant Ideas of Human Origins from Ancient Astronauts to Aquatic Apes

Author: Donna Kossy

Type of Book: Non-fiction, aliens, bad science, utter insanity, conspiracy theory, evolutionary theory, whacked theory

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: AQUATIC APES!

Availability: Published by Feral House in 2001, it appears to be out of print, but you can still get a copy here:

Comments: I know absolutely nothing about Donna Kossy aside from the fact that she clearly revels in bizarre ideas and has more knowledge on the topic of strange people and crackpotology than I can safely absorb in one sitting. Just reading the bibliography for this book was vaguely exhausting. I have extraordinary respect for anyone who has read Helena Blavatsky from cover to cover, even if it was abridged. I have similar respect for anyone who managed to make it through Atlas Shrugged in one go. Such people are made of sturdier stuff than I am.

I wanted to read this book because it discusses one of my all-time favorite whacked theories, that of the aquatic ape. As I read, I discovered an entire world of bizarre, unique, unnerving and upsetting theories of the way humans evolved or came to be. In fact, this book made it look easy, reading such dense and lunatic theories and making sense of them, that it was the inspiration for my now-aborted “Alien Intervention Week.” As much as I love the strange, I have my limits.

But Kossy is an intrepid woman and possesses not only the skills to make the most extreme idea accessible to her readers, but is a writer skilled in revealing the humanity and humor in some of these beliefs. I will admit I never want to read the phrase “root race” ever again, but aside from that, I found the surveys of belief in this book fascinating and utterly readable. I was disappointed when, after a search on Amazon, I realized Kossy has only written two books and I already own the other, entitled Kooks. I comfort myself that even though there is no more Kossy for me to read, she led me to some superb and lunatic books. I will totally be discussing Behold!!! the Protong here at some point.

Cult Rapture by Adam Parfrey

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Book: Cult Rapture

Author: Adam Parfrey

Type of Book: Non-fiction, conspiracy theory, history, sociology, pop culture

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Well, the cover was pretty much a dead giveaway, what, with the David Koresh angel of justice drawing. But then you factor in that Adam Parfrey, owner of Feral House and an all-around-odd-content kind of guy, wrote most of the articles in the book and you’ve got an odd book on your hands.

Availability: Published by Feral House in 1995, it’s out of print, but you can still get a copy relatively cheaply online:

Comments: Lord a’mercy, I love books like this. I love these sort of collections of whacked culture, weird theories and weird people. If you’ve read Apocalypse Culture or Apocalypse Culture II, you have a good handle on what to expect from this book, though I sensed a healthy amount of snark from time to time. Or maybe I was just projecting my own snark. But even if there was not any snark, it was still a fun, entertaining book.

Over 15-years-old at this writing, much of the book could seem dated to a person who needs to be up-to-date on their high weirdness and occult-goings-on. Luckily, I need no freshness when it comes to topics odd. But even taking into account the relatively dated elements of some of these articles, this collection was informative, interesting, saddening, silly, funny and in some respects quite disgusting.

So, to make it easy on myself, I’m just gonna discuss the articles in the order they occur, but I will group the ones that left me with literally nothing to discuss at the end. I think my verbosity where certain articles are concerned may be a very good look at my id at the moment. Clearly harmless crazies, Nazis, gross people and certain areas of feminist thought incite my love of typing.