No offense to any actors out there – as it happens, I’ve always found you to be a perfectly charmin’ bunch of narcissists – but I can’t imagine a more frightening conspiracy theory than one that posits that they secretly rule the world, which is exactly what Ed Chiarini, aka DallasGoldBug, suggests in his hilarious, bizarre and entirely entertaining “research.”
It can often seem as if conspiracy theory secretly aspires to transform everything into cinema. Apollo 11 – which many conspiracy theorists would like to see added to Stanley Kubrick’s Wikipedia filmography – is an obvious example, as are the array of special effects that populate 9/11 conspiracy theories, ranging from holograms to exploding buildings.
July’s Aurora shootings faced plenty of this sort of speculation. Here, after all, was a massacre that occurred in a cinema during a Batman screening, executed by a Joker copycat. A few days later, Batman himself (well, Christian Bale) would swing by the hospital. For the victims and perpetrator alike the line between cinema and reality was already smudged, and many conspiracy theorists have since asserted that the entire event was a kind of meta-hoax, with some even suggesting that the following impromptu press conference with an Aurora emergency doctor is a cameo by Tom Cruise!
Personally, I can’t see it (a pity – I love the idea), but whatever your reaction to the above – “fuck off!” or “fuck me!” – plenty apparently experience the opposite, while the idea that public life is riddled with doubles, doppelgangers, actors and clones currently finds itself in a kind of conspiratorial vogue.
Which brings us to Ed Chiarini. Many contemporary conspiratorial “researchers” have their own gimmick nowadays, and Chiarini’s is a selection of “biometric” techniques including voice recognition, handwriting analysis and ear comparison, that he uses to argue that numerous figures in the public eye, from politicians to famous felons, are actually played by actors who frequently reappear in other high profile roles.
We’ll get to some of these shortly. They’re pretty fucking out there. Chiarini’s three-hour, three-part magnum opus, The Truth EXPOSED , however, begins quite reasonably, gently taking the open-minded viewer by the hand, and leading them to the edge of the deep end before hurling itself in and attempting to pull them down with it.
After a cursory explanation of ear biometrics (the ears never lie, got it?) the documentary begins by arguing that various US “reality” television characters – none of whom I’d ever heard of – were played by actors who also appeared in other reality shows. It then moves on to the news, arguing that the actors from the “reality” shows also crop up as witnesses and protagonists in current affairs, alongside other recurrent performers. Chiarini supplements the amateur biometrics with other examples of apparent staging in the news, with particular events – like 9/11 and the Occupy protests – ostensibly swarming with plants and choreographed coverage.
At this point, my politely suspended doubt was meandering further and further afield, and I was quite comfortably ensconced in Chiarini’s world of luridly fraudulent news…
All of a sudden, though, it was back, and hammering madly on the window. Out of the blue, Chiarini seemed to be arguing that JonBenét Ramsey grew up to be Lady Gaga, and that Lady Gaga “was” (the supposition here is that they’re all played by an actor) none other than Amy Winehouse! As a Brit, this rather offended my pop music patriotism, but maybe, if he’d left it at that, Chiarini could have reeled me in a little further. As it was, the revelations were coming in so thick and fast you didn’t even have the chance to finish laughing at the last one.
Here, off the top of my head, are some of the best…
Matt Stone and Trey Parker “are” Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold
Barack Obama “is” Osama Bin Laden.
Karl Rove “is” Mark Chapman.
David Ike “is” Richard Branson.
And my own and any other reasonable person’s personal fave….
Henry Winkler – aka the Fonz – “is” Iran’s President Ahmadinejad…
Which prompts the perfectly reasonable supposition that Ed Chiarini “is” taking the piss.
For many fellow travelers in the conspiracy racket – at first extremely hospitable to Chiarini and his biometric party pack – the above claims and the many others like them stretched even their extremely flexible credulity to breaking point. Chiarini didn’t do himself any favors with this target audience by treating many of their heroes to a DallasGoldBug mash-up, suggesting that…
JFK “is” Jimmy Carter
Bill Hicks “is” Alex Jones
William Cooper “is” Jordon Maxwell (I can actually see where he’s coming from here).
The predictable result of these was that Chiarini was accused of being a shill sent by the secret government to make conspiracy theorists look like a pack of dickheads. In other words, they accused him of being an actor! Excluding a small hardcore of followers who’d probably believe him if he said Jon Bon Jovi was Albert Einstein, the sense was that Chiarini had gone rogue, madly folding his folded world while hollering “sue me” at anyone who objected to reading that they weren’t real.
Personally – and I’m quite possibly on my own here – regardless of whether he’s a nut-job, a spy, or a prophet in the wilderness, I find something oddly sublime in Chiarini’s claims, and the concept they throw up of an entirely artificial world in which the heroes and villains that constitute history, from Churchill (Lionel Barrymore) to Hitler (Kermit Roosevelt – who also played Walt Disney), are theatrical inventions seducing us from precipice to precipice in a daze of bogus love and loathing.
My imagination enjoys itself in Chiarini’s parallel universe, too. Take, for example, the aesthetic logic in Obama “being” Osama. What I love about this one is how experimental the latter’s assassination becomes – one character cannibalizing the other to enhance their essence, while their real consanguinity is hidden in plain sight by the near – and extraordinarily improbable – correspondence of their names. This showbiz Illuminati, it would appear, are not immune to a touch of l’art pour l’art.
There are, also, times when Chiarini’s parallel universe impinges upon this one. His commentary (see below) over that famous flick known as The Lonesome Death of Lee Harvey Oswald (starring Jim Reeves as Oswald and David Rockefeller as Jack Ruby) is a case in point, and leaves it looking – well, for a glorious moment or two – laughably, transcendentally phoney…
Thanks to Mark Reeve at ORB Editions