Jesse Ventura

#953: The Moment I Dumped Conspiracy Theories

RECORD STORE TALES #953: The Moment I Dumped Conspiracy Theories

With a lot more free reading time on hand after quitting the Record Store, I dove back into one of my favourite childhood topics:  UFOs.

It was Canadian nuclear physicist Stanton T. Friedman who re-convinced me there was something legitimate about the subject.   Described as a “genius” by those who knew him, Friedman spent 50 years as a ufologist.  He often said, “Most sightings can be easily explained.  We’re not interested in those.”  His point being there is a small but baffling number of contenders, that have yet to be fully debunked.  I began buying up his books, and found his stance as a “facts and figures” man quite convincing.  He was quite convinced that the United States and other governments had engaged in a “cosmic watergate” to cover up certain unexplained events.  He went to great lengths to find and verify documents in US archives, going so far as to find out if certain typewriters were used in certain offices.  If they were not, then the document was a forgery and he discarded it.  He put a tremendous amount of time into his research.  After seeing him speak in a documentary called Out of the Blue, I was intrigued.

I bought every book by Friedman that I could get my hands on.  To balance it out, I also read The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan.  It is important to read the view of the sceptic, but even so I thought Carl overlooked some things.  Then I bought Jesse Ventura’s book called American Conspiracies, which expanded the field into JFK, 9/11 and more.  Only one chapter on UFOs, but Ventura’s experiences were interesting at least.  Finally, I misguidedly bought a highly reviewed book by Richard Hoagland and Mike Bara in which they presented for evidence a number of photos of “glass domes” on the moon.  Suddenly and unwittingly, I had crossed the Conspiracy Threshold.

The Conspiracy Theshold is the line between the conceivable and the asinine.  It’s subjective, but exists for all who delve into the world of conspiracies, just as certain and invisible as the air in their lungs.  Much like the line between clever and stupid, it is a fine line that differs from person to person.  Glass domes on the moon was way, way past my threshold.

What happens if you go further?  In my experience, all conspiracies eventually flow to a weird, apocalyptic religious end.  How far you go is up to you, but that’s where all roads lead.  For example, when I followed UFO conspiracies too far on the way to the top…Barack Obama ended up a being satanist lizard alien.

Q Anon are now the latest who believe in lizard aliens.  Cool story.  Hey, you know what, I saw “V” as a kid too.

There are variations of the lizard alien theory, with the Queen, the Pope, the Clintons and the wealthiest families in the world all secretly running things in their lizardly ways.  You’ve heard of the Bilderbergers?  They’re the head honchos, when it’s not the military-industrial complex or the Pentaverate.  They’re all aliens, demons or both.  It’s a fine line — some who believe that the concept of aliens violates the Bible say that aliens and demons are the same thing.  Whatever the finer nuances of a given conspiracy theory, this is where they all lead, if you follow the breadcrumbs all the way.

By that time you’ve either realized you’ve gone too far and need to take a step back, or you’re too far gone to be reasoned with.  Not surprisingly, today’s “Pandemic Conspiracies” ultimately take you back to…lizard people and the End of Days.  Go far enough down the rabbit hole and eventually you become the rabbit.

These people have sucked the fun out of conspiracy theories.  With just a hint of sadness, I for one will never travel that aisle of the bookstore again.



BOOK REVIEW: Jesse Ventura – American Conspiracies (2010)

Cheers to this article at the KeepsMeAlive site for the inspiration!


VENTURAAMERICAN CONSPIRACIES: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies That the Government Tells Us by Jesse Ventura (2010 Skyhorse)

I’ll admit that I was a Jesse Ventura fan as a kid, so this book was not too hard to like. Ventura is an afficianado of conspiracy theories. Not so much the really fringe stuff such as UFO’s and Roswell, but the stuff that most people in this day and age have their doubts about. Stuff like the assassinations of JFK and Malcolm X. Stuff like 9/11.

The writing style can be a bit rough at times, but by and large this is an interesting read and a potential launch point to pick up some of the sources Ventura mentions in the book (and there are a lot). Ventura supplements his research with his own personal anecdotes and experiences as Governor of Minnesota and a former Navy SEAL. For example, Ventura once had a face-to-face one hour meeting with Fidel Castro, and could not resist asking him what he knew about JFK….

American Conspiracies will not make a believer out of a hard core debunker (nothing will). It will however allow you the chance to read possibly for the first time a lot of vintage news stories and testimonies that have since been buried. Some of Ventura’s arguments are very well drawn and cogent. Others are not as convincing. Ventura’s personal encounters with personnel from the CIA however are seldom friendly and usually foreboding.

I think most people today believe that our governments lie to us on a daily basis. Nobody believes a politician anymore. So why read a book by the former Governor of Minnesota? Because he was an independant outside of the political structure. His perspective is different from the rest.

If you want some not-light but not-too-heavy summer reading, I would recommend American Conspiracies by Jesse Ventura. I plowed through this one in a weekend, I didn’t want to put it down.

4/5 stars


MOVIE REVIEW: The Running Man (1987)

Mick Fleetwood and Dweezil Zappa appear in this cheesey 80’s classic!


THE RUNNING MAN (1987, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, directed by Paul Michael Glaser)

It’s hard to believe that, as goofy as The Running Man is, it came so close to predicting what aspects of our society would be like in the future. We still have a few years before we hit 2019, perhaps we are right on track for our 2019 to match this version!

The Running Man is loosely (and I mean, very very very loosely) based on the novella by Richard Bachman, otherwise known to his “dear readers” as Stephing King. Where the King book involved a desperate man who needs money to buy medicine, and a game where he can travel anywhere in the world, the movie scales things back. Ah-nold, at his one-liner best, is Ben Richards, a former pilot who disobeyed orders and refused to fire on an unarmed mob. He is imprisoned but escapes, and is now about to appear on “The Running Man”, a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week television show (hmmm, Big Brother?) and fight for his life. The prize is a full pardon for your crimes, a loss means death.

This story was recently ripped off in a lil’ smash hit movie called The Hunger Games.  Perhaps you’ve seen it, or a 13 year old girl wearing a Peeta shirt?

Society is now a police state (hmmm?) and the people are distracted by endless game shows on television (hmmm?). News is heavily censored and “edited for television” (hmmm?). Ben Richards’ crime of disobeying orders has been spun by the networks — they show a fake video of him firing on the unarmed crowd, earning himself the nickname “The Butcher of Bakersfield”. Now he will have the chance to win his freedom on The Running Man, but the odds are well stacked against him. By his side, also fighting for their lives, are two captured freedom fighters.  These guys are hoping to use their capture to find the source of network transmissions.  Then they could jam it, and broadcast the truth of what the world has become….

The Running Man is not a great film. It’s an 80’s Arnold film.  If you’ve seen one, you know what you’re getting.  Lots of action. Arnold must battle “Stalkers” on The Running Man. Much like the gladiators on American Gladiators, these stalkers will do everything they can to stop Arnold from winning. They include:

* Sub-Zero, as played by Professor Toru Tanaka (weapons include hockey stick blade and exploding pucks)
* Fireball, played by Jim Brown (flamethrower, jet pack)
* the opera-loving Dynamo (who has a punk-rock-looking suit that can fire electricity; sings)
* Buzzsaw (so named for his use of chainsaw and motorcycle)
* the retired Captain Freedom (Arnold’s friend Jesse Ventura)

The show is run by Damien Killian (subtle!), played by former Family Feud host Richard Dawson. Nobody could have played this role better than Dawson. While playing a game show host was not a stretch for him, Dawson was absolutely flawless in the role. Other famous names include Yaphet Kotto (Alien) as another Running Man contestant, Mick Fleetwood as former-musician-turned-freedom-fighter named Mic (I like to think Mick is just playing the future version of himself) and a very young Dweezil Zappa.

The blu-ray disc has enough bonus features to keep you going after the film has ended, including audio commentaries and featurettes. The audio is really nice, mastered in sweet, sweet 7.1 surround. When Arnold is in that little pod heading down to The Running Man’s play area, the sound was awesome. If you have 7.1 at home you need to check this out. I really enjoyed the sound.

If you like other cheesey Arnold Schwarzenegger movies such as Total Recall or Commando, add The Running Man to your collection. If you like movies with a stirring plot and dramatic acting, avoid at all costs. Regardless of your feelings on this film, do try to read the book. I have always felt that a remake of this film, following King’s book, is well overdue.

3/5 stars