Saturday, April 20, 2013

Alex Jones: Brilliant At Pretending To Be An Idiot

(photo @ infowars.com)

This article has been stewing inside of me for a while, but the recent horrific events in Boston (and Alex Jones' predictable yet shockingly tasteless reaction to it) finally convinced me that I needed to put it out there.

And yes, I am well aware that most of you with a functioning brain don't take Alex Jones seriously. I'm also well aware that most of his of very large listener base will refuse to listen to reasonable arguments or have a logical debate about why Alex Jones is a about as good a source of information as graffiti on a rest area bathroom stall.

Now to be fair, I do think that he actually believes the core ideas from which everything he says comes from...and believe it or not, there is a little bit of truth to some of it. A cursory amount of research and knowledge about the Federal Reserve is enough to make any conservative or liberal's blood boil with populist outrage.

And let's not forget that government conspiracies can and do happen once in a while. Operation Northwoods, Project MKUltra, and the Gulf of Tonkin incident constitute more than enough evidence to make any determined skeptic cast a wary eye towards official government narrative that sounds suspicious.

But most people seem to think that Alex Jones is simply a deranged idiot. With videos like the one embedded below, it's not hard to see how they would come to that conclusion.

When Jones recently appeared on CNN with Piers Morgan and had what appeared to be a catastrophic shut down of all higher brain functions, many believed that they were watching someone who didn't realize just how crazy (and bad) he was making himself look. On the contrary, his behavior was probably very carefully orchestrated and played perfectly to his large, disposable cash spending audience

Just like I've pointed out with Glenn Beck and Michael Moore, pundits on the extreme end of the political spectrum have an audience that tunes into them specifically to have their beliefs validated and enhanced, not to be challenged or to think critically.

If Alex Jones got on the air after the Boston Marathon Bombing and said "Hey guys, this wasn't some elaborate plot; it was just a couple of angry, deranged/radical individuals," then his listeners would tune out and find someone else who DOES think that every national tragedy is layered in cover ups and false flag operations.

As one commenter on a Fark.com thread said recently, many conspiracy theorists have an elaborate story pre-loaded in their heads for every time a dog farts. Alex Jones then swoops in to make sure that dog fart is backed up with an exhaustive amount of unrelated research, out of context mainstream media reporting, and a healthy dose of hyperbole and theatrics.

"The New World Order ...listen to me folks...they're trying 
to make your homes smell like poorly digested Snausages

The man knows his audience and he knows how to keep them listening...all while turning a very healthy profit. Let's take a look at Alex Jones and how he's turned his brand of crazy from some deeply held (and bizarre) beliefs into a very profitable brand of crazy.

The New World Order: Playing the Long Game

Jones has been warning everyone who will listen about the imminent end of our world as we know it since 1996 when he was just a crazy (but very popular) radio and cable access television show host in Austin, Texas.

Part of his theory about how things will go down is that the New World Order, a group of powerful people who run the world from behind the scenes, will somehow eliminate approximately 80% of the world's population while the "elites" that are left will live forever thanks to the magic of technology.

While it shouldn't be a shocking revelation to anyone over the age of 10 that people with large amounts of money and political power control how the world works, I'm not convinced that they all like to get together, put on robes, and sing the Stone Cutters Song.

But let's say that I'm wrong. Let's say that the global elites have been planning to wipe most of us out (myself included since there is no way I am even in the top 50% of the population) so that they can live forever like Larry King or Suzanne Sommers.

If this is how things work, than I have a couple of questions. First of all, let's just look at our government. How can a group that historically has had so many instances of incompetence (even by Alex Jones' own analysis) also be able to pull off such an elaborate scheme?

And my second question: What exactly is taking them so long? I mean, according to Jones, the U.S. government secretly develops and withholds all types of technology that is decades ahead of what the general public has access to

Why keep letting all of us 80% commoners keep breeding and having our "eyes opened" by people like Jones as information (and misinformation) flows more and more freely across the world?

Who knows; maybe he's just joking about that part...which brings me to my next point.

The Sliding Scale of Satire

In a 2009 interview with NBC, Rush Limbaugh told Jamie Gangel that his show was "equal parts satire and serious commentary." As a formerly avid listener of the Rush Limbaugh show (for which I am still deeply ashamed), I can tell you right now that at the very least, his 50/50 percentage split is way off. 

With the exception of his ridiculous songs, Rushbo sounds dead serious when telling you how America is going to crumble into dust under the rule of Obama (just like he was when Clinton was president).

Limbaugh, however, is one of the many pundits who has become smart enough to know when to use the old "it was just satire" card whenever he is really wrong about something or makes an incredibly offensive statement. Alex Jones, on the other hand, hasn't quite figured out how that system of deception works.

On the eve of the year 2000, Alex Jones did a special broadcast that included claims of missiles being launched at the United States by Russia, nuclear power plants failing all over the world, ATM machines not giving people money, short wave radios going down, and  that more military conflicts were happening right at that moment all over the world than had occurred in 50 years. Here are some of the highlights: 

During this time, Alex Jones apparently forgot that the internet existed and that someone would record what he was saying on the eve of the year 2000. When questioned about his claims in 2010, Jones explained that he was just "joking around" and had simply been taken out of context.

If you listened to the first part, I think that even giving the most liberal benefit of the doubt to Jones would still leave you with the conclusion that he was not joking. Blatantly lying to garner ratings, maybe, but definitely not joking.

For a more recent example, one only needs to look at a recent statement he made while protesting a 2012 meeting of the Bildeberg Group

For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a meeting private meeting for many of the world's most powerful people in the world of politics, finance, entertainment, and commercial industries to discuss the state of world events and the global community (in other words, a conspiracy theorist's wet dream).

At last year's meeting, Alex Jones packed up his bullhorn and headed out to protest the event. One of things he shouted (which was caught on tape) was that the people meeting inside were having dead roasted babies wrapped in gold foil delivered for them to eat.


"Please hurry and sign for this so 
that I can go cry myself to sleep."

Jones didn't just say this in passing, either (although to be fair, talking about dead and roasted babies in gold foil is hard to just slip into a statement). He used his usual qualifier of "you can't make this stuff up," emphatically reiterated that he wasn't joking, and even got angry at one of the security guards who dared to laugh at him about his claim.

He went on to bet the guard $10,000 that what he was saying was true...although if it was, I'm not sure how they would go about proving things for the sake of the bet without causing quite a scene.

A video of Jones saying all of this is embedded below for your viewing pleasure/disgust.

Luckily for Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, who is one of his writers at InfoWars.com came to his defense. He explained that Alex was simply "engaging in a piece of dark satire" while also expressing shock and dismay that people seemed to be keying in on that one statement from the websites' hours of Bildeberg Group coverage.

First of all, Mr. Watson, a claim that people are cooking and eating babies is probably going to stand out quite a bit more than anything else you had hoped to expose during your "coverage." Secondly, is "dark satire" something Alex Jones engages in frequently? Because if it is, than we might need a bit of clarification about some of these:

Predictably Wrong Predictions

One thing that many of Alex Jones' listeners love to cling to is their claim that their messiah figure predicted 9/11 before it happened. The problem with that line of thinking is that he didn't. Jones made some very vague claims that a false flag attack on the United States was going to happen...just like he had been doing for the last decade.

If I predict every year that the Cubs will win the World Series, then I don't get to call myself a prophet when/if that finally comes to pass.

You win this round, Bartman...

He also was never able to put a specific date/location on his prediction, something that Jones has actually been particularly smart about for the most part. Most of his prophecies are said in a way that they could happen tomorrow or a million years from now.

He's also usually pretty good about creatively back peddling. During the swine flu outbreak in 2009, Jones claimed that the government had created the swine flu and that it was killing off far more people than anyone realized.

Later, when swine flu turned out to not be the giant world ending epidemic that he had predicted, Jones explained website explained that it was simply a "beta test" for government population control...and an excuse to take our DNA.

But every once in a while, he gets a little too bold and attaches a finite timetable or definite result to what he claims will surely come to pass. Embedded below is a list of a few of those, though to be fair some were predictions made by his guests or that don't give a definitive time frame in which they will occur. 

After the video, a list of the failed prophecies that did give a (failed) due date has been compiled for your amusement and more efficient mockery.

-June 15, 2008: US Dollar will be devalued 90% over the next two years.

-February, 2008: Hillary Clinton has been chosen by the "elites" to be president.

-February 1, 2009: Obama to stage an attack in 2-4 months.

-February 4, 2009: Inaugural bombings to be staged by US government in 6-7 months.

-February 26, 2009: Staged terror attack to occur before the end of 2009.

-May 17, 2009: 16-year-olds in training to be part of youth corps to help implement martial law in 2-3 years

-June 22, 2009: Obama to stage terror attack in 60-90 days.

-August 24, 2009: Bernie Madoff will soon die of cancer.

-September 17, 2009: Internet will be shut down in 2 years.

-February 28, 2010: Within 16 months, at least 15 European nations will collapse.

-March 3, 2010: Staged terror attacks coming April 15 or 19 of 2010.

-March 29, 2010: Massive staged terror attacks coming in the+ next month.

-May 23, 2010: US Dollar will be devalued 50% in next two years.

-December 15, 2010: All pension funds will be gone in a couple of months.

All these dire predictions makes one wonder where Alex Jones gets his information...which brings up another point...

Suspect sources and sourcing

If you spend any time at all listening to Alex Jones or reading the material produced for his websites, you'll notice a large amount of disdain for the mainstream media. This is a bit hard to reconcile with the fact he also tends to cite all of them (often times completely out of context) whenever he goes through the news of the day, but I digress...

One thing that happens quite a bit on his website is obsessive linking to sources, something that I myself am often guilty of. The difference is that when I link to a source, I try to make sure that it goes to information that actually supports my statement.

Info Wars and Prison Planet, however, don't seem to have the same 'A to B' standard. Below is a screenshot of this article by Paul Joseph Watson and Kurt Nimmo of InfoWars.com. In it you'll notice a an eyebrow raising claim from the New York Times that the "vast majority of domestic terror plots in recent years were "facilitated by the FBI."

That blue underlined text on the words 'New York Times reported' really adds in air of authenticity...except for the fact that the article it links to doesn't say that at all. It's actually a piece about FBI sting operations that are used to catch terrorists.

Just because you attach a hyperlink to a statement doesn't mean that it goes to a source that confirms it. For example, I could claim to have verified/sourced information about Alex Jones being sexually attracted to ostriches, but that's not what I linked to. 

Unfortunately, some people won't bother to click on the link and watch a funny ostrich peck around someones car. Instead, they'll see the highlighted text standing out from everything else, assume that it's true, and use their own confirmation bias to cement it as a fact in their minds.

"And make some of us have to disclose our 
relationships before we wanted to ya jerk."

So why is he doing all this?

If you spend some time searching the interwebs for Alex Jones meltdowns, you are in for what could potentially be hours of entertainment. One of my favorite ones is embedded below. In it, Jones yells at...well...whoever is behind all the conspiracies and claims that they have "ruined his life."

I guess if all the claims he's made about everything being one giant, population exterminating conspiracy (that is taking a REALLY long time to happen) were true, I could understand his frustration.

But that desperate, ranting lunatic you saw in the video above doesn't really jibe with man profiled in this Rolling Stone interview he did with Alexander Zaitchik. What we see outside of the studio is a jovial, happy, and surprisingly soft spoken man who takes his family to church on Sunday, has long phone conversations with his grandmother, and likes to joke around with his staff members.

Heck, he even refers to what he considers his "boring and conventional life" as a "love letter to humanity." That doesn't sound at all like the keeper of such a heavy burden as how the world will end for almost the entire human population.

Jones also seems to have no problem making sure he lives comfortably off of the DVD/merchandise sales and ad revenue that his media empire generates.

Why go to the grocery when you can 

The most current property records that I could find (listed under E. Jones--Alex's middle name is Emerick) show Jones, his wife (who is also listed on the property deed with her maiden name), and three children living in a beautiful 4,036 square foot home (estimated to be worth about $850,000) that is located in a very nice looking gated community.

You'd figure a guy with his belief system would be holed up in a bunker somewhere, but instead he seems to be living the typical upper middle class life (when he's not ranting and raving on the airwaves)....which still doesn't stop him from asking his listeners to send in their money to keep his media empire going.

So What Can We Do About This Guy?

Well, you could try to debate him and his followers seriously, which will garner the same results that you would obtain by hitting your head repeatedly against a wall...

...or you can do what Howard Stern did and make Jones and his followers look like complete idiots.

In February of 2013, Stern brought Jones onto his show and started things out by making Alex feel as though he was talking to someone that was on his side. This should have raised some red flags in Jones' highly attuned mind due to the fact that Stern doesn't really subscribe to Jones' way of thinking.

From there, Stern and his crew work their usual magic of getting people to talk about things they really shouldn't out loud and to an audience of millions. Audio of the entire interiew is embedded below, but you should be wary of a couple things:

1. It's Howard Stern, so it's a bit NSFW.
2. At one point, Alex Jones begins talking about government-caused shrimp suicides. It gets much crazier from there.

So the next time someone comes up to you and tries to preach the gospel of A.J., here are a couple of ideas to help you get through it.

1. Point them towards the Howard Stern interview.
2. Share this article with them (I won't mind the extra page views; I promise).
3. Just start laughing.

It's what he's doing all the way to the bank.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Internet Celeb of the Month: Hannah Fierman

Despite the fact that it is becoming an overused film making technique, I am still a sucker for a well done found footage-style movie; especially when it comes to horror films. 

Maybe it's because of how personal and claustrophobic they can feel...or maybe it's because of how overproduced and stylized many horror films made today can look. But give me a movie shot from the point of  view of a moderately unsteady home camera (which can somehow also do wide angle shots as well as film in HD) and I'm at least interested in watching it.

That's why when I heard about V/H/S, a found footage horror anthology that featured four unique and terrifying tales, I was pretty excited. 

The early reviews made it sound very good...but then there were also those weird reports about people passing out during the screenings.

Was this just a marketing ploy, or was the film really so scary and visceral that it could make someone lose consciousness? When it became available online, I decided to find out for myself.

For any of you that are interested in seeing the movie (it's available on Netflix), I must warn you that while I did not pass out, it is pretty terrifying and fairly gruesome in some parts. The only part I didn't really care for was the wrap around story that connected the rest of the short films together. Otherwise, all four vignettes were very entertaining.

---------Spoilers for V/H/S Ahead--------
(But you really should have seen this movie by now)

The first one in particular, however, entitled 'Amateur Night', was by far the best of the bunch. It involved a group of three douche bags who were going out that night to find some girls to take back to their hotel room...and secretly film their raunchy activities with. 

To get around the whole "Hey, what the heck is that red light?" problem, one of the men had equipped himself with a pair of hipster glasses that also had a camera installed, making a recording of everything he saw...and giving a great reason to get around the whole "DROP THE CAMERA AND RUN, YOU IDIOT!" issues that plague the more intense moments of any food footage story.

The group heads out and picks up a couple girls. One of them, played by Hannah Fierman, is not at all what she seems. Sure enough, things go from drunken hedonism to people getting eaten and having their balls ripped off (yes, that actually happens) pretty quickly.

                                             photo by Kelly Blackmon     
Before consuming alcohol

After one too many wine coolers

You know things have gotten bad when you actually feel yourself sympathizing and even rooting for a group of douche nozzles as they are brutally slaughtered by a relentlessly homicidal succubus. Fierman's performance was so unsettling that it instantly made me regret watching the movie alone at night with the lights off.

What really struck me about her portrayal of 'Lily', however, was how much range she showed. While she was meeting the trio of men at the bar (before turning into an out of control killing machine) her character came across as some sort of alien being without the aide of any prosthetics or effects.

Her repeated whispering of "I like you" to the one guy she was able to restrain herself from eviscerating was also a little bit sweet and insanely creepy.

This normally means that your wing men are no
longer needed, not that they will soon die a terrible death

The film had a limited release in October, but it developed a large cult following online thanks to Netflix (and probably a fair share of illegal downloading). Most people loved it, some didn't, but everyone seemed to have been spellbound by "the 'I Like You' girl" from the first segment of the film.

I decided to look Hannah up and see what else she had done. It turns out that her young career is being steadily built upon her ability to transform completely into different types of characters (all with big, beautiful eyes).

Hannah's acting reel, which is embedded below, features her as:

-A terrified woman being stalked 
-An early 20th century aristocrat
-A comically homicidal redneck
-A dimwitted best friend with poor parenting skills
-A neurotic (and strangely voiced) admirer
-An illegal prescription drug dealer

I decided that RamblingBeachCat.com had to get an interview with her before she hit it big and was surrounded by a wall of agents and E! Network interviewers. Because she's awesome, Hannah agreed.

RBC:  How did you end up getting involved with V/H/S?

HannahDavid Bruckner (director of the Amateur Night segment) asked me to audition after a mutual friend suggested I audition.

RBC: For anyone who hasn't seen V/H/S yet, how would you describe your character?

Hannah: I'd say that she's the classic misunderstood monster.

RBC: What was it like having all those prosthetics done?

Hannah: It was very time consuming; 5 hours most days. Fawn Ortega, Blake Myers and Lisa Charter did the FX make-up.

They had to use a lot of alcohol and acetone in order to get the desired effect. It was chilly because I was nude most of the time. It was pretty much full-body make-up.

RBC: Nice...

[The room] wasn't very well ventilated either which made it all the more grueling.

The retouching of my feet (because it was silicone) also made it difficult to walk without messing them up. 

So basically, every time I got up to walk or do anything, I had to sit down again for 30 minutes for them to redo my feet that I had just messed up.

RBC: How physically demanding was the part (like when you picked up that guy and flung him into the air)?

Hannah: That was actually my stunt double, Elizabeth Davidovich. She's a contortionist, a stunt woman, a gymnast, and probably everything else....she's amazing.

For that scene, they used some type of pulley lift. Elizabeth was also the one who jumped on the guy after standing in that weird pose (because she can dislocate her shoulders).

RBC: What do you think ultimately happened to that poor guy who you carried off at the end?

Hannah: I think she took him to her nest and he became her love slave.

                                                                       photo by Stefan Jeremiah

Not the worst fate in the world...

RBC: Have you ever been tempted to go out with your friends and freak out a guy with the 'I Like You' line?

Hannah: Well, since I wouldn't know if they had seen the movie or not, that could make things really awkward.

But after my agent saw the movie he called to say that he was now officially terrified of me. I responded by whispering back "I like you." 

He totally freaked out.

RBC: What were you channeling while playing the part of Lily to make her seem so alien and creepy?

Hannah: At first when we were just forming what the Lily character was going to be, David Bruckner showed me a picture of a bat. [The bat] was really kind of endearing, but grotesque at the same time.

I watched a lot of videos of bats and implemented that into the character along with bird-like and cat-like movements.

I just sort of mixed them all together and tried to make it subtle enough so that it wasn't really in your face, but so there was enough to be like "this girl is strange."

                                                                                                        photo by Stephen Gelb

RBC: It's really funny that we're talking about subtlety when your character eventually ends up murdering a bunch of people and ripping one of the dude's nuts off.

Hannah: Well, the guys were not respecting Lily's space, so the more defensive she became, the more creature-like she became. 

She'd been holding it in, but when they crossed the line, she had to retaliate.

RBC: Well, I must admit that even though I was pretty terrified watching what you did, it was still kind of fun watching that group of douche bags get what was coming to them...especially the blond haired dude.

Hannah: That's Joe Sykes. He's a wonderful actor and really great to work with; not a douche at all! In fact, none of those guys are at all like the characters they were portraying.

RBC: Is horror normally a genre that you gravitate towards?

Hannah: I think that horror is such a broad genre now. When people say "horror", they normally think of slasher films with lots of blood and guts. But it doesn't necessarily have to be that.

I do enjoy doing horror, but I don't particularly enjoy watching it because I get frightened really easily. I actually terrified myself watching V/H/S; I knew what was going to happen and it still scared the crap out of me.

What's really cool about V/H/S, though, is that there is something in it for every different type of horror fan.

RBC: What originally got you into acting and how long have you been doing it?

Hannah: I've been acting since I was three. I did my first performance and enjoyed it so much that I just never stopped. It's what I've always wanted to do and feels more like a calling than anything.

RBC: Do you still do a lot of theater work?

                                                           photo by Kelly Blackmon

Hannah: I love theater, but I'm more focused on film and television now.

RBC: Do you still get to sing? (scroll down to the bottom of this page to the Game Hound demo to see why I asked about that...she's really good).

Hannah: A little bit; I've done a few songs for films and soundtracks.

RBC: Most of the clips I've seen of your other work make it look like when you aren't mutilating men and turning into a terrifying creature, you're actually pretty funny. Do you think you'll be doing more comedic roles in the future.

Hannah: I hope so. I like to do extreme, quirky characters and I absolutely love doing comedy; it's the most fun I have on set.

                                                                  photo by Karla Jean Davis

RBC: Has V/H/S opened up more opportunities for you?

Hannah: Yes, it's been amazing! I've been contacted by a lot of directors and producers and been cast as the lead in five features.

RBC: Are you allowed to talk about any of them?

Hannah: I'm almost done filming The Unwanted, which is a modern day take on the novel 'Carmilla.' It's directed by Bret Wood and my co-star is Christen Orr (I play the role of Laura).

That is probably going to be the first thing to come out (or the first thing to be finished) that I've been working on lately. It's sort of a horror/drama/love story...it's interesting.

I'm also about to do a feature called 'Hold Me' directed by Teace Snyder. We'll be filming that in Canada in the next few months. I think that's the only two I'm allowed to talk about right now.

RBC: Any chance of seeing you return for V/H/S 2?

Hannah: No, I'm not in that one. But I've heard that it's really good, though. I think they had a bit more funding this time around, so they were able to really take it up a notch.

RBC: Besides directors and producers (or scum of the earth bloggers like myself), do you ever have any fans try to contact you with weird declarations/requests....like marriage proposals?

                                              photo by Kelly Blackmon

Hannah: I do! How kinky is that? A few have even been like "If you came up and tried to hit on me, I'd totally let you kill my friends." 

A lot of the contact from fans I have gotten has actually been profoundly personal. Maybe its because the character has broken the 4th wall. I don't know

I really do appreciate all the wonderful feedback I've gotten about my role as Lily. 

I wouldn't consider my character to be terribly approachable, but for whatever reason, people seem to have really embraced her.

                                                                              Photo by Emily Dryden

Make sure to follow Hannah on Twitter @ HannahRoseFierm, check out her website, www.hannahfierman.com and art site, www.hannahfierman.info, and LIKE her Facebook fan page.

You can follow me on Twitter as well, but I'm not nearly attractive or entertaining.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Weird Crime: The Second Rule of Bite Club--'Adults Don't Chomp Children'

Cincinnati, Ohio

On April 11, 2013, trouble was brewing at Andrew's Friends Pre-School & Daycare; two of the children had gotten into an altercation that ended with one of them biting the other.

While biting someone is a surefire way to show that you mean business (or that you've lost the intellectual high ground), it is also a good way to spread diseases or cause an infection for the person who has been bitten.

Due to the serious nature of such an incident, the chomping child was taken to the daycare's main office for what he surely though would be a well deserved stern talking-to along with some type of disciplinary action. Instead, a 56-year-old staff member by the name of Robin Mullins, who had worked at the daycare for the last six years, decided to go the 'eye for an eye' route and bit the offending child on the arm.

This wasn't just a little nip, either. WLWT News 5 obtained this picture from the boys mother, which looks more like the work of a rabid ferret than an elderly daycare employee.

Mullins apparently went Hannibal Lecter on the kid to teach him a lesson. Now usually, I'm totally fine with a harsh punishment for one child physically assaulting/biting another. But there are some lines that should never be crossed...and an adult biting another child is well past wherever it is drawn.

When the boy's mother arrived to pick him up, she was understandably irate about what had happened. But when she confronted Mullins about the incident, her response was to explain that she didn't mean to bite him that hard. She then turned to the boy and smugly proclaimed "But it taught you a lesson, didn't it?"

"Yes...adults can have behavioral disorders, too."

Robin Mullins was arrested, charged with assault, and taken to jail. She was later freed without bail, but (predictably) has been fired from her job at the daycare center.

Her trial was set for the morning of April 12, the results of which have not yet been published.

If she does end up doing time, however, she'll be alright; no one
wants to tangle with a woman who's a biter and has a mustache.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.