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Stanley Kubrick faked the Apollo 11 Moon landing?

smoonkub.jpg
 
So, did Stanley Kubrick fake the Moon landing?

Well, that’s the proposition of William Kare’s documentary (mockumentary?) Dark Side of the Moon, which originally aired on French TV channel Arte in 2002 as Opération Lune.

According to Karel’s (fictional?) film, Kubrick was hired to fake the Apollo 11 mission by the U.S. government. The evidence? Well, secret documents alluding to Kubrick’s involvement in the “fraud” were discovered among the director’s papers after his death in March 1999.

Moreover, Kubrick apparently left clues to his involvement into the scam: firstly, his being loaned lenses by NASA to recreate the candle-lit scenes in his film Barry Lyndon—how else could have got hold of these unless NASA owed him a BIG favor?; secondly, Kubrick allegedly made a confession of his involvement in the conspiracy that is contained in his film version of Stephen King’s The Shining.

Adding substance to these alleged facts, Karel wheels out a highly convincing array of contributors: Henry Kissinger, Buzz Aldrin, Jan Harlan, Richard Helms, Vernon Walters (who is claimed to have mysteriously died after filming) and Christiane Kubrick.

It’s a great romp, and for those who are tempted to believe, watch the bloopers reel at the end.
 

 
Via Open Culture

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The U.S. government tries to convince citizens to stay put after nuclear attack, 1951
05.08.2014
07:12 am

Topics:
History
Hysteria
U.S.A.!!!

Tags:
propaganda
nuclear war

 
“You know Fred, actually, staying in a city to help after an atomic attack is not nearly as dangerous as a lot of people think. The danger of, well, lingering radiation is not really very serious. After an atomic air burst, the danger of radiation and falling debris is over within… a minute and a half.”

You don’t say?

The Federal Civil Defense Administration produced a glut of Cold War misinformation and propaganda, but 1951’s Our Cities Must Fight is among the most baffling. An attempt to discourage urbanites from abandoning their fair cities after nuclear attack, the film fictionalizes a conversation between two patriotic newspapermen bemoaning the “take to the hills fraternity.” The men go on to imply that leaving a nuked city would be “pretty close to treason,” and then pile on the insane justifications—you couldn’t get through the traffic anyway! We’ll need you to fight fires and keep going to work! Oh, and my favorite—radiation isn’t really that big a deal!

I’m not sure if there really was a totally unrealistic perception that a post-nuclear city could still function, but I can’t imagine most Americans would stick around to polish the brass on the Titanic after an atomic bomb hit it—assuming of course that there were any survivors. With the memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki still fresh, it’s difficult to believe the FCDA ever thought anyone would stick around because of a silly government film!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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World’s angriest lady tries to justify driving 70 MPH in a 35 MPH zone during her test drive
03.23.2014
08:39 am

Topics:
Amusing
Hysteria
Stupid or Evil?

Tags:
Angry people


 
A poor car dealership salesman takes a wild test drive with one extremely irate woman. Her “reasoning” for being such an a-hole is er, something else.

There are a lot of F-bombs dropped here, so you may want to wear some headphones if you’re at work.

 
Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘God’s cartoonist’: The ongoing bizarre cult following of Jack T. Chick

angels chick tract
 
As a child in the Bible Belt I somehow missed out on Jack T. Chick’s weird fire-and-brimstone religious comic books. I was sporadically taken to a pretty low-key, boringly mainstream Methodist Church where his tracts would have been viewed as kind of embarrassing. As an adult I heard people with evangelical Christian backgrounds bonding over the nightmarish anxiety Chick comics had caused them as children. Fundamentalist churches made stacks of these proselytizing, emotionally charged, conspiracy-rich, racist, homophobic, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-pagan, anti-feminist, Islamophobic comics available to very young kids. Since 1961 over 235 different tracts have been published, selling almost a billion copies. They have been banned in many countries, including Canada, as “hate literature.”
 
chick deveil
 
Despite censorship, the comics have been read by a staggering number of people all over the world. Youth ministers hand them out on the street, and (presumably non-English speaking) missionaries distribute them overseas, spreading quirkiness like the Pope being the earthly manifestation of Satan. Someone once tried to hand me one in a bowling alley in England! People like Exene Cervenka were ahead of their time in recognizing Chick comics’ (and other Bible tracts’) value as collectible underground folk art and pop culture artifacts. The early X song “Beyond and Back” was taken from the title of a Chick tract. The online Jack T. Chick Museum of Fine Art contains an exhaustive collection of his titles, neatly summarized as:

He steadfastly exposes The Conspiracy of Catholics, Masons, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, New Agers, Rock & Rollers, and any other group the devil might use to damn your soul. Chick also offends Jews and Muslims with previews of their fiery futures in hell (but only because he wants to save them). The more taboo a topic, the more likely you’ll see it covered in a Chick tract!

Curator and tireless researcher Kurt Kuersteiner (who used to have a punk radio show) has written the definitive book about the worldwide phenomenon, The Art of Jack T. Chick, and in 2008 produced the documentary, God’s Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick, which can be found in its entirety here. You don’t get a glimpse of the notoriously private man himself, since he is so convinced that people want to kill him (he’s probably right) that he lives in seclusion and hasn’t given an interview since 1975 (his first and last). The earnest sheer batshittery of his close associates is like watching a train wreck. According to Rotten Tomatoes’ synopsis of the film:

...while some Christians distribute the tracts in hopes of saving their fellow man from eternal damnation, secular fans collect them strictly for their entertainment value; the comics are so vividly drawn and outrageously over the top that they at times transcend their own intentions to achieve a sort-of grotesque self-parody. Eventually, the tracts became such highly valued pop-culture commodities that they were presented in galleries nationwide, and earned a permanent collection in the Smithsonian.


Kurt also perpetrated an awesome April Fool’s prank to demonstrate the censor-happy disapproval that Chick’s work has inspired.
 

The trailer for ‘God’s Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick’:
 

Above, an episode of Boing Boing TV featuring Syd Garon and Rodney Ascher’s animated take on the Chick “classic” Somebody Goofed. This is Jack T. Chick in a nutshell. (Reportedly he’s seen this and liked it).

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Discussion
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Breaking news: IT’S RAINING IN LOS ANGELES!!!
11.22.2013
07:58 am

Topics:
Amusing
Hysteria

Tags:
Los Angeles
Rain


 
Call the National Guard! Call FEMA! It’s raining in Los Angeles everybody!!!

I live in Los Angeles. It rained (not heavily) for about five hours. This reminds me of when I lived in Cincinnati, OH, and everytime there was a possibility of snow—even for a freakin’ flurry—the news would call it “White Death.”
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Anarchy in the UK (for real): British establishment’s fear of an ACTUAL punk rock revolution, 1977
11.14.2013
07:25 am

Topics:
History
Hysteria
Punk
Television

Tags:
John Peel
Pete Shelley


 
To get an idea of how seriously certain sections of the British Establishment feared the threat of Punk Rock, take a look at this incredible piece of archival televison from 1977. It’s an edition of the BBC’s Brass Tacks, a current affairs series in which reporter Brian Trueman (also famed for classic kids’ shows Chorlton and the Wheelies and Danger Mouse) introduced a brief film on Punk, and then hosted a live studio debate between some of the youngsters featured in the piece—along with Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley and Radio One DJ John Peel—arguing the toss with a selection of town councillors, from London, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow. These councillors were out to ban Punk from various inner city venues. There was also comment from the press and Pastor John Cooper, who wanted everyone to come to Jesus. Alleluia.

Okay, this all may sound like the comic ingredients to some grand mockumentary, but these fears over the political aspect of Punk Rock and the potential for anarchy in the streets of Britain were all very real at the time. As Brian Trueman says in his introduction:

“Punk Rock is more feared than Russian Communism.”

But why? What the fuck were these people thinking? What were they scared of?

Well, to start with, 1970s Britain was in a mess. It had high unemployment, 3-day working weeks, nationwide power cuts, tax was at astronomic levels, food shortages, and strikes were commonplace, and the Labor government feared a revolution was imminent.

To explain why this all came about, let’s rewind the tape to a mass demonstration at Grosvenor Square, London, March 1968. This was where an anti-Vietnam War rally erupted into a massive pitched battle between protesters and the police. Outside of the American Embassy 200 people were arrested; 86 were injured; 50 were taken to hospital, half of which were police officers. The Labor government of the day, were stunned that a group of protestors could cause such disorder, and near anarchy, that could have led (they believed) to a mini-revolution on the streets of London.

In fear of such anarchy ever happening again, the government decided to take action. At first, ministers considered sending troops out into the streets. But after some reassuring words from Special Branch, Chief Inspector Conrad Hepworth Dixon, they were convinced that the boys in blue could handle any trouble. Dixon was allowed to set up a new police force: the Special Demonstration Squad.

This was no ordinary police operation, the SDS had permission to be literally a law unto itself, where its officers could operate under deep cover, and infiltrate left-wing, fringe organizations and youth groups, with the sole purpose of working as spies and agents provocateurs. Harold Wilson’s government agreed to pay for this operation directly out of Treasury funds.

The SDS carried on its undercover activities against any organizations that they believed threatened Britain’s social order. This include animal rights organizations, unions, and anti-Nazi, and anti-racism groups. They were also allegedly involved in the planting incendiary devices at branches of department store Debenhams in Luton, Harrow and Romford in 1987; and one member was later involved in writing the pamphlet that led to the famous “McLibel” trial of the 1990s.

The workings of the SDS were on a “need to know basis,” and only a handful of police knew exactly what this little club were up to. But their presence fueled genuine fears amongst the British Establishment that there were “Reds under the beds,” and that revolution was a literal stone’s throw away.

This was all going on behind-the-scenes, while out front, muppets like the councillors and journalists lined-up on this program, pushed the hysteria of Punk Rock riots and civil disobedience, that reflected the very genuine fears at the heart of the UK Establishment. (Note London councillor Bernard Brook-Partridge mention of “MI5 blacklists.”)

So, that’s the background to this fascinating archive of the year that politicians (and even the BBC) thought Punk Rock was a torch-bearer for bloody revolution.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘99% of stoners are Satan worshipers’
11.06.2013
06:50 am

Topics:
Drugs
Hysteria
Occult

Tags:
satanism


 
For a stretch in the mid- to late 1980s, Satanism was almost an everyday topic in the media. Future “Second Lady” Tipper Gore founded a group called the Parents Music Resource Center (shudder), which spent its days lobbying Congress for increased censorship of rock albums—two groups that attracted its scrutiny for its “occult” content were Venom and Mercyful Fate.

In 1989 Dr. Jerry Johnston published a book called Edge of Evil: The Rise of Satanism in North America, and this video—also with Johnston, I believe—must date from about the same time. (in this video he is unidentified; I’ve consulted pictures and videos of Dr. Johnston from more recent years—it’s probably same guy but he’s softened his preacherly accent quite a bit.)

Today Johnston’s focus is on more mainstream subjects like teenage suicide, and the tone is a lot less doomy. I would venture that he’s been influenced by someone like Rick Warren, who (like him or not) has given evangelism a more compassionate face. Anyway, in this clip the preacher is in full Satanic alarmist mode, speaking with such great understanding about the presumably hundreds, if not thousands, of teenage Satanists he’s met—“some of them, I noticed, on the little web between the thumb and right index finger was a Satanic emblem…. They had the pentagram tattoo and some of the girls were dressed in black. Closer looking at their fingers, I noticed they had skull rings.” In a troubled teen’s bedroom he spies “the decorative heavy metal rock posters of Venom and Slayer and Ozzy and a few others.” (His account of the Satanists he’s met for all the world sounds like something he read in a book or just made up.)

And I haven’t even gotten to the part with his impression of a teenage Satanist luring his would-be victims into undertaking human sacrifice with promises of drugs and easy sex…...

At the end of the video a number is given to call if you think you know of a teen who has fallen or is on the verge of succumbing to the allure of Satan—it’s 1-800-SV-A-TEEN. I called it the line is dead.
 


via William Caxton Fan Club (a.k.a. John Darnielle’s Tumblr)

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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List of reasons for admission to an insane asylum from the late 1800s
10.22.2013
07:26 am

Topics:
History
Hysteria

Tags:
insanity


 
After viewing this list of what could have gotten you admitted to West Virginia’s Hospital for the Insane (Weston) aka Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum back in the late-1800s, I’ve swiftly concluded that the criteria was rather all-encompassing. Who among us is a stranger to what’s on this list?

In this century, it looks more like a “wish list” for Dr. Phil’s guest bookers!

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is still open, but only for tours.


Sources: Appalachian History, Grateful Web, West Virginia State Archives, West Virgina Encyclopedia, Steampunk


h/t Richard Swanson!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Oh Jesus: ‘Left Behind’ author’s group behind apocalyptic Tea party shutdown?


 
For those of you either too young to remember them—or perhaps not raised in the Bible Belt—among the very top best-selling books of the 1970s were Hal Lindsey’s The Late, Great Planet Earth and its sequel Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth. These books are literalist readings of the Book of Revelation, presenting a fanciful, goofy paranoiac eschatology comparing vaguely worded end-time prophecies written over 2000 years ago (and reworded an unknown number of times since) with (then) current events. They’re about as intellectually serious as Chick tracts.

Nevertheless, The Late, Great Planet Earth was marketed as non-fiction Bible prophecy predicting and decoding last days milestones—the USSR invading Israel, the coming of the Anti-Christ who would rule over the European Union, famine, plagues, etc, etc, etc—before the Rapture and the subsequent return of Jesus. One of Lindsey’s main themes was that Jesus would come back “one generation” after the state of Israel was established, so by the 1970s, this was a very hot topic in what we now refer to as red states. (If you have ever wondered WHY Southern evangelical Christians are so obsessed with Israel, wonder no more, Hal Lindsey’s books were—and still would be, although I think people forget this—a huge, huge part of this strain of American Christianity. It was there already, but he brought it to prime-time, so to speak and amplified it culturally.)

Hal Lindsey’s books (co-authored by Carole C. Carlson) rivaled the sales of titles like Jaws, The Godfather and The Exorcist as the books most likely to be read by people who didn’t read very much. These books were staples of nearly every garage sale back then. Apparently over 28 million copies of The Late, Great Planet Earth were sold.

Among the known fans of Lindsey’s books in the 1970s was California Governor Ronald Reagan.

In December 6, 1983, during an Oval Office interview, Reagan informed two stunned reporters from People magazine:

“There were times in the past when we thought the end of the world was coming, but never anything like this.”

Tea party nitwit Pat Boone was one of Reagan’s closest friends. He said of the President:

“I believe that Ronald Reagan would make no decision that would run counter to his understanding of God’s direction and what God says is going to happen and what God says he wants to happen.”

(Reagan said this of Boone to a group of evangelicals at the kickoff of his reelection campaign: “And Pat Boone stood up, and in speaking to this crowd, he said, in talking of communism, that he had daughters, they were little girls then, and he said, ‘I love them more than anything on earth.’ And he said, (and I thought, ‘I know what he is going to say,’ and ‘Oh, you must not say that,’ and yet I had underestimated him). He said, “I would rather that they die now believing in God than live to grow up under communism and die one day no longer believing in God.” Big round of applause for Pat Boone, father of the (20th) century…)

Among Reagan’s cabinet members were men known to be to some degree influenced by Christian millennialist beliefs that we were living in the end times. Reagan’s notably asinine Secretary of the Interior, James G. Watt didn’t believe in ecological conservation because Jesus was coming back. It is known that General John Vesse, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Chief of Naval Operations, James Watkins, would meet regularly inside the Pentagon with Herbert Ellingwood, deputy Counsel to the President and Attorney General Edwin Meese III to discuss their common faith. I think it’s safe to assume that talk of Bible prophecy and a nuclear end of the world was on the menu at such meetings!

Reagan’s Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, an Episcopalian, told students at Harvard:

“I have read the Book of Revelation, and, yes, I believe the world is going to end - by an act of God, I hope - and every day I think that time is running out.”

Yep, these were the folks who had their mitts on the fuckin’ nukes. This was our side! (It should be noted that the Soviets were atheists! WHAT must the KGB have thought of these guys???)

When the great Texas progressive muckraker Ronnie Dugger penned the article “Does Reagan Expect Armageddon?” for the Washington Post in 1984, the frightening prospects of the crazy Americans bringing an end to the human race became a cause for alarm all across Europe. I lived in London then and there was a lot of anti-American sentiment at the time. I can vividly recall being quizzed about HOW?!?!? HOW?!?!?! could these (or did they say “you”?) idiot Americans believe in this stupid shit from three exasperated French guys and a perplexed English punk rock couple at a party once. I tried to explain it as best I could, but I don’t think my shoulder-shrugging “Look, that’s just the way it is over there, what can I tell you?” rationale for “my peeps” was in the least comforting to them!

Something I read this morning made me think back to those halcyon Cold War days of the almost quaint-seeming batshit crazy Republican Christianists of the 1980s: According to an article in the New York Times yesterday, one of the principal reichwing pressure groups architecting and advocating for the current Tea party-led GOP government shutdown was founded by none other than Tim LaHaye, the author of this current last generation’s mega, mega apocalyptic best-sellers, the “Left Behind” series. Tim LaHaye is basically today’s Hal Lindsey.

Lee Fang writes at The Nation:

The coalition is managed by Heritage and the Council for National Policy. The latter organization, dubbed once as “the most powerful conservative group you’ve never heard of,” is a thirty-year-old nonprofit dedicated to transforming the country into a more right-wing Christian society. Founded by Tim LaHaye, the Rapture-obsessed author of the “Left Behind” series, CNP is now run by Christian-right luminaries such as Phyllis Schlafly, Tony Perkins and Kenneth Blackwell.

Guess who else has his fingerprints all over this shutdown mess? Reagan’s Attorney General Edwin Meese III...

The Council for National Policy, the Conservative Action Project and Ed Meese himself know all too well that racial—not to mention religious—demographic trends in the US mean that there is a very strong likelihood there “their type” will probably never get their hands anywhere near the nukes again, but not content to merely fantasize, sidelined, about the end of the world (and their own perceived ROLES in this cosmic battle between good and evil, like the Reaganites who actually carried the nuclear football for eight fuckin’ years), this cabal of numbskull, dumbshit apocalypse-obsessed morons want to bring it on by destroying the world economy!

You have to give these Teahadist types some credit, they know how to fight dirty. These Republican economic suicide bombers are willing to shred the Constitution to bits to “save” the country from majority rule, aren’t they?

Yo’ dawg, they’ll end the world to save it. It makes perfect sense. TO THEM. Because Jeebus is on their side, of course!

This latest news introduces a whole new level of apocalyptic weirdness into the mix. I encourage you to read “Meet the Evangelical Cabal Orchestrating the Shutdown” by Lee Fang at The Nation. The implications of what he’s written there are fairly staggering if you ask me.

This is a battle between good and evil. It is if at least one side sees it that way. The Tea party jihadis want a Christian theocracy and they don’t really care if they have to force it on everyone else. In this way, how is the Christian Right in any way different from the Muslim Brotherhood they fear so much? Their brain-damaged beatific vision of a theocratic America, a country cleansed of gays, Muslims, liberals, illegal immigrants, science and where non-white people don’t get to vote will never, ever come to pass absent a massive genocide occurring in North America, which I don’t think is going to happen anytime soon. The concept of “the American Taliban” is becoming more real with every passing day and the rest of the world (especially the business community and China) is starting to notice it, too. And they are alarmed at what they see. Even the Taliban are brutally mocking us for being stupid!

Holy shit. Literally.
 

“I reveal my innermost self, to God.”
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘The elephant must go down. And it must be so wounded it does not get up for a long time to come’


 
Andrew Sullivan nails it…

“I regard this development as one of the more insidious and anti-constitutional acts of racist vandalism against the American republic in my adult lifetime. Those who keep talking as if there are two sides to this, when there are not, are as much a part of the vandalism as Ted Cruz. Obama has played punctiliously by the constitutional rules – two elections, one court case – while the GOP has decided that the rules are for dummies and suckers, and throws over the board game as soon as it looks as if it is going to lose by the rules as they have always applied.

—snip—

This time, the elephant must go down. And if possible, it must be so wounded it does not get up for a long time to come.”

Bingo.

He’s too kind, though. “Wounded”? Merely wounded? Like many of you, I’d dearly love to see that bloated, cigar-puffing pachyderm’s head paraded through the streets on the end of a pitchfork.

The longer this drags on, the worse it’s going to get for the GOP. What’s currently transpiring in Washington is easily the worst political miscalculation made by a political party since… since I don’t know when.

H/T Joe.My.God.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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