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Old, White Guy Conspiracy Theorist Porn: The Movie

Old people are wild.

For some around the fiftysomething point and beyond, something in the mind switches, a foot is dug in the mud, they become a sort of human creature who is unable to take in new information. They become stones. Something to stand on, something to lean on, sure, but not something that absorbs anything. Things may grow atop of the stone, things may break the stone, but the stone does not change form and is not easily influenced.

Such is life. Such is aging. Such is a lesson I have learned from volunteering with the elderly, particularly an elderly queer man who is quite progressive in a lot of aspects of life. But the Kennedy assassination? Nope: unchanged.

I learned this in being subjected to The American Media & the Second Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a 2017 film that the Los Angeles Times wisely describes as “two-plus hours of conspiracy theorist porn.” The two hour supposed “documentary” features actor John Barbour yelling his gravely warble over various footage related to the shooting, positing and spinning ideas of who shot Kennedy and how the media is backed by seedy government operatives and how the CIA came to be a shadow organization. It is mind numbing. It is like watching a scrambled television while a man with hot, pea soup breath somehow screams in both of your ears. It is painful.

Much of the film relies on Barbour interviewing certified loon Jim Garrison, a noted Kennedy theorist who opened up to Barbour because the two shared a literal crazy kinship, an obsession with going beyond facts to stare at the cerebral cortex in their own asses. There are many a hashtag old tricks at play, from making quickly aged jabs at Facebook and social media, drawing connections between new media companies to shadow governments. It supposes that this iMovie scrapbook of a film is law while anything from supposed “credible” publishing is actually a front. As someone who works in journalism, I wanted to rip all my teeth out, fashion them into a shiv, and hack at my chest until my entrails spilled out in a furious, bloody deluge that sloshed “FUCK YOU, JOHN” as far as my internal matters can go.

I could only stand an hour of the film, forty minutes of it spent staring beyond the television, at the ceiling, at the adjacent window, at the buttons at the bottom of the screen, at anything to make it look like I was “watching” when I wasn’t (as to not offend the elderly man I visit with). This was mostly because the film is boring, a five minute thesis stretched impossibly thing for way too long. It also features the footage of Kennedy’s brains being forced out of his skull on repeat. The first time? “Wow. That’s fucked up.” The second? “That’s so disgusting.” The third? “This is very traumatic and I do not want to experience it again.” The fourth? There was no fourth. I couldn’t stomach it (and I love horror, gore).

Once my time with the film had ended, I tried to bite my tongue. I tried to do the staring beyond, into the ceiling, as my answer but I had to tell the old what I thought: the movie is bullshit. It’s an unstable argument that repeatedly cites Wikipedia as a source, the ever shifting crowdsourced “encyclopedia.” It dares not do research, it dares not discuss, it dares not be anything but a chasm of shit built by one person for one person duplicated around the 1930s to the 1960s. It’s awful. This, of course, was met with a confounded sputtering that old white guys rarely face: you disagree with me? Why, yes, I do disagree and there is literally no convincing me because this way of thinking, this argument, is constructed from literal shit. I will not stand for it.

Thus is 2018. Note that my elderly friend does not have access to the Internet or to a smartphone. He is a deep luddite and a very liberal, smart person yet this bullshit is his jam. It’s easy to see how “fake news” and “deepfakes” are thriving when people – Smart, good people! – dare not question the integrity or source of an argument. Have we forgotten how to write a research paper? Ask a journalist and they will explain what this means in detail as this is our job.

For everyone else? For the olds? For the people who dare not look or listen beyond themselves? Wikipedia and yelling will do, I guess.

Photos via and via.

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