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A Conspiracy of Stupidity

history of godI am on a bit of an intellectual kick lately which is not to be confused with the idea that I might be an intellectual because I’m not. It’s just that even my frayed brain can only absorb so much bumper-sticker, social media drivel and pop-culture mediocrity before it simply rebels and demands something that actually has a bit of thought and maybe even some creative ability behind it.

I am an average mind in need of some above-average minds to stimulate it.

It was in this spirit that I bundled up the Maggmeister and the youngest daughter to head out to Chapters last Sunday in search of A History of God by Karen Armstrong. For my non-Canadian friends, Chapters is the Canadian equivalent of Barnes and Nobel, a huge book store that makes some public libraries look like they’re on a diet.

I didn’t get any argument from the ladies and within minutes we were off because they both like to read and buying books is – well – shopping and they both love to shop, regardless of what it is they’re shopping for.

I believe it is because women are better shoppers than men. Men and women both treat shopping like they treat sex. Men know what they want, go in, get it done and get out. Women, on the other hand, like to take their time, browse and explore. They don’t even care if they buy anything – they’re just so damn happy to be there.

As soon as we arrived, we separated. The ladies headed off to wander about and I used my internal GPS to locate the Religion section of the store which means I wandered around in circles for quite some time. The Religion section was a disappointment, just one small bookcase of a few dozen books and – no History of Religion by Karen Armstrong.

I readily admit that I’m stubborn, especially when disappointment is the only other alternative so I lumbered back across the store to customer service computer conveniently located about a mile and a half from where I was. I entered the book title only to be told that there was one copy still available – in the Religion section. Back to Religion I lumbered thinking that I should have packed a couple of sandwiches for the trip.

It wasn’t there.zealot

Back to the computer – “It’s there I tell you.” So back I lumbered but I still couldn’t find it. Aggravated, I lumbered around looking for Maggie which is what I do at home when I can’t find anything like my glasses or my car keys. I couldn’t find her either and had a fleeting thought that she might be in a change room trying on books. That is usually what happens when we’re shopping for clothes and I can’t find her.

I tracked down a sweet young store rep who was only too pleased to go to Religion with me to find the book. I say go with me but she walked a lot faster than I lumber so she was over and halfway back – book in hand – before I got halfway to Religion. I think it was hidden in the back room with other books so that customer service reps can look like they’re being helpful and we’re idiots.

But, the mission was accomplished and my troubled spirit was finally at peace. Because I felt like a heroin addict after a fix, I was relaxed enough to look for a couple of other books and picked up Zealot and Iago before leaving.

So – yesterday, I had the same inclination when Maggie and I decided to go to the movies. Our choices were Elysium, Man of Steel, 2Guns or The Conspiracy.

We had decided to go out for the evening and chose going to the movies last night because there is nothing we like more than paying $30 for a box of popcorn and trying to work our way through a drink that is so large we had to have to theater employees in colour-coordinated outfits carry them to our seats for us. It is the ultimate achievement in mass consumption although there is so much mass it’s difficult to consume it all in the two hours it takes to watch the movie.

I wanted to see The Conspiracy because it promised to be a little more intellectually challenging than watching a guy in tights fly about saving the world or Jodie Foster stumbling through a very bad French accent.

Looks good doesn’t it? It should. You just saw the best part of the entire movie.

The story is basically about two young film makers who stumble on a conspiracy theory freak in the streets and decide to make a documentary about him. As the movie unfolds, the freak starts to make sense. According to the synopsis he is articulate and has connected a series of seemingly disconnected events including the assassination of Kennedy, the Viet Nam War, 911 and so on.

The freak suddenly disappears and according to the synopsis the movie takes on a whole new suspense-filled search for the truth about a secret society that runs the world.

That was the synopsis.

The movie, which was shot as if it was a documentary – always more entertaining than actually just telling the story – never explained how Mr. Street Freak connected anything and when the film makers infiltrated the secret society, it turns out they worship – get ready for it – Mithras.

Mithras was part of the pantheon of Gods from the Roman Empire – a sun god who killed a bull that represented the old Persian empire. This means, of course, that the movie’s climax was having one of the film makers wearing a bull’s mask and hunted down in the woods by the members of the Secret Society who killed him.

Gee – didn’t see that coming.

And that was that. According to The Conspiracy, the world is run by a secret society of elites that controls everything and which puts on animal masks and worships an ancient Roman or Zoroastrian god. It was an idea so absurd and a movie so amateurishly produced that I wasn’t surprised to see that TeleFilm Canada had helped finance it. In fact, to be completely honest, it was so adolescent that I was surprised Justin Trudeau didn’t have a cameo.

Even worse – the $30 popcorn was stale and tasted like it had been left over from last year’s NDP Leadership Convention.

Quite honestly, I’d rather watch Antiques Road Show while twisting a serrated vegetable peeler in my left nostril than sit through an idiocy like that again.

I wanted to see the movie because I thought it might present an intelligent hypothesis about the contradiction I’ve never been able to resolve about conspiracy theories. I’ve never been able to resolve why so many people who daily rant about how stupid their governments are somehow bring themselves to believe that those same governments become brilliant when it comes to creating the “New World Order”. These are the same governments that can’t build a pipeline without years of discussion, debate, politicking and procrastination.

They’re so secret and efficient they can’t keep a couple of low-level hacks like Edward Snowden or Patrick Manning from leaking thousands of secret documents to the world – and have been unable to capture Snowden just to further underscore how efficient they are.

The financial side of the Secret Society were so good at what they do, they almost killed themselves with the Great Depression and the Financial Crash in 2008. I think, personally, that there is a significant difference between a conspiracy to run the world and a group of elites driven by blind greed and stupidity.

There is an elite in the world and they do discuss ways to facilitate things internationally and not always to the benefit of you and I. They’re driven by what’s good for them and in the belief that if is good for them it must be good for everyone else as well.

But it ain’t a conspiracy. They conduct their affairs and their meetings right out in the open and the media cover many of those meetings – when they feel like it, of course.

But that doesn’t stop the ongoing flood of conspiracy theories and my timeline on Twitter and Facebook are awash in them. I’m tired of stupid thinking or, more accurately, the lack of thinking which is what drove me to Chapters and to see The Conspiracy.

I’m simply tired of shallow thinking, intolerance, greed, bigotry, hypocrisy and above all else, I’m tired of stupidity.

In Canada, for example, Conservatives are once again shooting themselves in the foot with a small, intolerant group of them led by Gwendolyn Landolt the head of REAL Women Canada to condemn the Conservative government’s attack on traditional Canadian values.

“But it is not, and I repeat not, a Canadian value that homosexuals should usurp religious rights and traditional values.” – Gwendolyn Landolt

Really Gwen? Just what Canadian values are you talking about? We have a document call the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which spells out Canadian values pretty succinctly. You may not like them and that is your right but you don’t have the right to impose your somewhat distorted values on a society that has rejected them.

The government’s support for the persecuted in other countries does not – let me say that again – does not compromise her rights in any way. She is free to practice her religion and to go about her day pontificating as she sees fit. It isn’t the government’s support for an oppressed minority that infringes on human rights – it is her prejudice that threatens the human rights of minorities she doesn’t like or that make her feel uncomfortable.

Ms Landolt is a conspiracy theory advocate. She believes that there is a great gay conspiracy attempting to deprive her of her religious freedom and undermine Canadian rights.

“homosexual activists in Canada are intolerant of any resistance to their demands, and, as such have become a tyrannical minority.”

Ms Landolt and her crew of bigoted, self-righteous supporters need to get with the program before they end up so dividing conservatism in Canada they facilitate the election of the Liberals under Justin Trudeau in the next election.

I guarantee you that if she doesn’t like the tepid support that the Conservative government has provided to gays who are being persecuted, imprisoned and executed in other countries, she definitely won’t like what Canada’s Peter Pan will do if he gets elected.

But then – that’s stupidity for you. Stupid people would rather go down with the ship than share a lifeboat with someone they don’t like when they’re not busy using government funding to make a really stupid movie.

There really is a conspiracy. It’s a conspiracy of stupidity and it has been threatening to fry my brain so – if you will excuse me; I’m going to go and read for a bit. I need to wash the taste of The Conspiracy and Ms Landolt’s bigotry out of my mind.


Conservative Bigotry – Progressive Hypocrisy


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  • Wandering Mind

    Talk about small worlds- I met Karen Armstrong a few years ago. I shall reserve further comment. I will only say her her critics know of what thety speak. She is quite candid in private settings.

    See these, as (a couple of many) examples:

    Karen Armstrong: The Coherence of Her Incoherence http://www.newenglishreview.org/Hugh_Fitzgerald/Karen_Armstrong%3A_The_Coherence_of_Her_Incoherence/

    Karen Armstrong on the Jews: http://blog.talkingphilosophy.com/?p=5027

    As for Gwen and her ilk, I would only say they underscore the need for better public schooling. Conservatives everywhere have enough to deal with without adding inbred stupidity to the list,

    This post is why I really like this site.You attract smart, repel stupid and won’t tolerate bigotry.

    • MaggiesBear

      Good articles on Ms Armstrong. I’ve never met her but have seen her interviewed and read some of her commentary and she’s not someone I’d go for a beer with. . .if I drank beer. But, this book is a good starting overview of the three religions of the book and it a whole lot more interesting than yet another Dan Brown novel with mystical conspiracies.

      I have to agree with you about most of the people who seem to frequent The Rant. At least based on the comments, they seem pretty sharp and certainly a lot more thoughtful than many of those who leave comments on various news websites. I appreciate that.

      As for Ms Lindholt, I’m afraid she has done a lot of damage to the conservative brand. Once again she’s given progressives the opportunity to point and claim that all conservatives are redneck bigots – which we”re not. The bright side of it all is that there has been almost universal condemnation of her comments from both the left and the right in Canada, which begs the question. What values does she think she represents but it’s clear from the criticism of her across Canada, it sure as hell isn’t Canadian values.

      Thanks for your continuing support of the big blog. I appreciate and always look forward to your comments whether you agree with what I wrote or not.

      • Wandering Mind

        Are kidding? This place is great! I ought to be thanking you for your efforts, work and the obvious clear thought and reflection that goes into these posts. Maggie may make you better but you make me smarter and more reflective.

        • MaggiesBear

          Now I’m blushing.

  • Pingback: A Conspiracy of Stupidity | Grumpy Opinions()

  • damorris

    Don’t worry,God will see to it that Russia finishes out of “the medals ” in most sports.

    • MaggiesBear

      Does that mean it will be God’s fault if Russia does really well at the Olympics?

  • sebanders

    Back in the “intellectual” sixties, while working at a lowly job a the University of Toronto Library, sitting in the shade of a tree on campus on warm Summer days and sharing a sandwich and “thoughts” of a better world with a beautiful young lady, sometimes wandering in and out of the coffee houses of Yorkville Village to see and listen to the likes of Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell, or having “intellectual debates with a group of friends religiously on Saturdays, I coined the phrase (yes I dare claim authorship to the phrase unless someone can show me otherwise) “We live in the age of mediocrity.”

    Recently, as a result of constantly running into that wall of stupidity that you often refer to, on a daily basis, at work, on the streets, while shopping, on Facebook and other news channels where commentaries are moderately censored, I have revised, updated, or whatever the appropriate term is, my coined phrase of old to: “We live in the age of Mediocrity, surrounded by Stupidity.”

    I have capitalized both terms now because back then I was just becoming aware of the “social phenomena”, while now I realize that it has become ingrained into the social fabric.

    • MaggiesBear

      As I recall, we were all intellectuals back in the sixties but discovered we really weren’t in the eighties. Sometimes life can be a tough town.