Proverbs for paranoids, indeed.
Interesting news of Kyrgyz v Uzbek violence breaking out in Kyrgyzstan. I confess to a dilettantish interest in the region, driven solely by mentions in my favorite work of conspiracy fiction.
Proverbs for paranoids, indeed.
Let me just state for the record that I do not give a jolly good goddamn about the World Cup, our jingoistic American Team, or yet another attempt to force our insular nation to join the rest of earth's benighted billions in watching grown men kick balls around a field as if it meant something. We are tiny blobs of carbon and water, on a tiny speck of dust spinning around in a rather dull and rocky solar system, one star among billions in our galaxy, one galaxy among billions in visible space. And we choose to waste our time watching people run around rectangles painted on grass and pointedly NOT USE the very opposable thumbs that catapulted us from the trees to the heights of soi-disant civilization?
One of the advantages of wrangling databases for a living is that feeling of power when you finally have all the tables built, all the relationships defined, all the data slurped in (the easy way for voter histories, a stack of CDs, or the hard way for tax assessor data, scraped off teh Interwebz). Then you sit back, enjoy a tall cool one, and type in queries and watch your screen fill up with results. This must be what it feels like if you're on the inside. Seeing and knowing. It took more than a month, late nights and lunch hours, but it's done.
Now, it only remains to write a few queries to spit out optimized walk lists for the seven days of my vacation.
The New Dorp public library finally got my copy of Holtzman's autobiography on interlibrary loan, and I've spent the weekend reading. Nothing here, just the typical fake "insider" tidbits, the unavoidable namedropping and backstabbing, self-justification, and overdetermined explanation. Not that it's a bad book, quite the opposite. For something written by a politician, it was quite enjoyable, and I did learn a bunch of backstory that may be valuable as connection points. She was probably recruited by White Umbrella forces at Radcliffe. Don't all secret organizations have outposts at the Ivies and seven sisters? I mean, really, where do you think they get their people? Kingsborough Community College?
After watching hours and hours of House Judiciary footage and reading endless transcripts and reportage, I'm even more certain that Elizabeth Holtzman is the fulcrum of the Nixon resignation. Like all conspiracies, Watergate is a public facade of "facts" and faces -- the Rodinos, Siricas, and Ervins and the puppet show for the cameras. And then there is the other order behind the visible. Those who want to know what is really going on know to look past the theatrics and search for fact patterns. Why did Holtzman win unexpectedly in 1972? Why did she lose her later Senate bids? Why did she advocate the impeachment of George W. Bush at a time when doing so was political suicide?
Only one hypothesis fits the facts, and you know what it is by now.
I did get work done this weekend, really. As difficult as it may be for my accountant to believe, buying and playing a bunch of videogames is research. (And nowhere near as hard to justify to the IRS as that admittedly ill-advised rental of a convertible in Dallas...) I could spend another month down the rabbit hole following the trail of the creators of the Resident Evil frnanchise in search of the roots of their decision to name their fictive shadow company the Umbrella Corporation.
I was noodling with teh google this week -- as I always do in my stultifying hours as an underleveraged, underappreciated microserf -- and came upon an image of Mary Poppins, drifting over the skies of London under her magic umbrella. That led me into a maze of twisty passages about Dickensian chimney sweep children and the incidence of cancer of the scrotum, as well as a scene in a 1967 Dick Van Dyke movie called "Fitzwilly" which features umbrellas deployed by the eponymous scapegrace in a climactic Christmas robbery of Gimbels department store.
But the root question seems to me to be whether Poppins is a symbol of one of the Umbrella factions. And if so, which one?
Spent the weekend exploring a fascinating -- but ultimately fruitless -- synchonicity: the August 7, 1974 walk of Philippe Petit between the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the resignation of Richard Nixon one day later. As delightful as it is to read Petit's performance as the literal enactment of Nixon's predicament at that time, there turns out to be no way one can tie the two together, even through the tendrils of the either Umbrella camp. Sometimes things just happen near each other, but not because of each other. Post hoc is not always propter hoc. No matter what some other conspirologists might have you believe. I'm here to tell the truth.
...is not evidence of absence. If it's a good enough axiom for Carl Sagan, it's good enough for me. Sometimes, when I find myself becoming obsessed with a minor detail -- in this case, Elizabeth Holzman -- I question whether I'm going off down a rabbit hole. Especially when the trail is cold and there's no information to be found.
And then I realize: that absense of evidence is, in fact, evidence. If you were trying to hide the action of a conspiracy, what better way than to emulate a bland, normal event. Of course people move away, die off after 40 years. Of course no one remembers. It was a momentary blip, an unexpected win in a primary. Who even remembers such things three-score years later.
In just such normalcy does the perfect conspiracy lie.
The conspiracy community is wonderful. After my last post, I found a note in my dead drop from a friend of a friend who knows a total Nixon buff. And this person had, in their personal stash, copies of the House Judiciary tapes. The full 78 broadcast hours. I've been working through the transcripts, but I find it very helpful to see how people actually talk, look at each other, fidget. Sometimes that's where the real data is. Anyway, I am deeply indebted to this -- of course -- unnamed source for my next couple of weeks of video entertainment.