Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Aaro sets in for an afternoon's nutpicking ...

Aaro picks nuts, oh yes he does ... once more raffling through the bargain bin at the airport bookshop to support his overall thesis on conspiracy theories. Then seques smoothly into what unnamed "China's officials" say, and "spokesthings" from the Iranian government, who claim that the BBC supported the democracy protestors. Which they didn't, of course, that was Twitter.

All of which is preliminary to some material from that well known fantastic news source ... the comments section of the Press TV website!!!! For crying out loud Aaro, lift the arse off the chair and do some real research, please! Remember that interview you got with Mark Oaten? That was really good. More of that sort of thing and less hanging round the Harry's Place comment section would be my prescription, and don't even think of sorting out an internship at the Times for Brett Lock.

In semi-related news, kudos to Flying Rodent and yah boo to me, on an issue which relates to conspiracy theory! I thought that Normblog (and the rest of the Decentosphere) wouldn't fall for a transparent piece of crap from Atlantic magazine trying to suggest that Human Rights Watch is a front organisation for anti-Semites under control of the Saudi government. FR thought they would. He was right.

53 Comments:

Anonymous Marc Mulholland said...

It's a nice example of Normblog's patented 'more in sorrow than anger' weary shaking of sage grey locks. There's probably a tear welling up too.

7/22/2009 09:22:00 AM  
Anonymous saucy jack said...

1/ It's a long time since Norm had any lccks, sage, grey or otherwise.
2/ According to Haaretz "The Orthodox Union has apologized for the publication of a booklet its staff distributed to Israeli soldiers, implying that the Vatican organizes tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members to teach them how to kill Jews."
I wonder if any of our pals has picked up on this story, or is it a step too far even for them?

7/22/2009 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger donpaskini said...

Off topic, but hilarious - Nadine Dorries is now the chair of the Henry Jackson Society!

http://blog.dorries.org/id-1461-2009_7_Lady_Lynn_Forester_De_Rothschild.aspx

7/22/2009 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

That Dorries piece is absolutely stuffed with comedy gold - my favourite is the Haitian immigrant whose opinion on wealth redistribution is a near-verbatim repetition of the Republican party line. A rich, rich seam of hilarity from start to finish.

On Norm and HRW - in fairness, the conversation at the time was about Amnesty, and I just shoe-horned the Norm/HRW thing in there. That's because Norm has lots of form in kicking HRW for unverified statements that its officials may or may not have said, almost always based upon the dubious reports of Some Guy With a Website.

When it comes to smears on HRW, it really doesn't seem to matter how ridiculous the allegation or unreliable the source is - he just can't stop himself.

And on conspiracy generally, the book I'm reading right now notes that the White House's initial denials of the Watergate break-in were based on the ineptitude of the "third rate burglary". The Washington cops backed them up, opining that "the break-in was not a well-financed operation planned from "up high", because it was "bungled too badly have been the case".

In other words, the break-in was too incompetent to be a conspiracy, which casts the screw-up version of history in a whole new light.

7/22/2009 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Of course there was this: Doctor who tried to save Jimi Hendrix says murder claim plausible in the Times on Monday.

7/22/2009 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

thinking about it, I am increasingly intrigued by Aaro's:

Myself, I can’t help thinking that (a) the method of murder described above is a little hit and miss

Grabbing someone as they sleep and forcing barbiturates and wine down their throat until they drown sounds like a bloody good way of murdering to me; I'm very interested to know what experience it was that made Aaro conclude that it wasn't reliable enough for him.

7/22/2009 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I think she was only chairing that meeting, not the whole society, but you're right its hilarious. It might be the most embarrassing weblog article since Michael J Totten went drinking with Christopher Hitchens. http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/000730.html

7/22/2009 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

But, having just reread Michael J Totten's article, I must say the Dorrie's one doesn't come close. Totten's really is a work of genius.

7/22/2009 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" "The Orthodox Union has apologized for the publication of a booklet its staff distributed to Israeli soldiers, implying that the Vatican organizes tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members to teach them how to kill Jews."

Israel's propaganda really has jumped the shark.

7/22/2009 01:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Justin Raimondo suggests that Haaretz article should be renamed - "The Protocols of the Elders of the Vatican."

7/22/2009 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

I don't think that was official Israeli government material.

7/22/2009 04:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Grabbing someone as they sleep and forcing barbiturates and wine down their throat until they drown sounds like a bloody good way of murdering to me.."
Compared with shooting, poisoning, stabbing, hanging or plain old battering, you mean? Which may explain why the old wine and barbiturate forced down the gob routine is such a common form of murder? Honestly BB, do you ever think before you write?
Fraternally, Phil D'Bap

7/22/2009 06:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Marc Mulholland said...

I suppose the point of such a cunning method of murder would be getting away with it and picking up the life insurance, as is indeed alleged to have happened in this case. As Aaro points out, it's not on the face of surprising that a rock star might kill himself with booze 'n' drugs. If Hendrix had died from "shooting, poisoning, stabbing, hanging or plain old battering", old plod might have been a bit more suspicious of the manager.

Which is not to say, of course, that the conspiracy theory is true, only that Aaro's common sense reasoning isn't quite as obvious as he seems to think ...

7/22/2009 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Do you know, I never worked out why Maureen Lipman's character had the name she did in the adverts, and I've only just worked out Phil D'Bap.

I dunno. Nothing going on up top at all sometimes.

7/22/2009 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

"Which is not to say, of course, that the conspiracy theory is true, only that Aaro's common sense reasoning isn't quite as obvious as he seems to think ..."

That's it in a nutshell.

Surely the point is that high profile deaths are always the focus of an "oral history" take on the circumstances and that those nearest the point of the death (John and Robert Kennedy bodyguards, Michael Jackson's doctor and so on) are "last" witnesses which makes them open to suspicion but also of fabling.

The original point that CC made (if I understand it correctly) was that Aaro is demeaning conspiracy theory per se and flogging it, literally and figuratively - and - in the light of that; using it as a weapon to disassemble a viewpoint that would question an official line.

He's in smoke and mirrors territory here and chugging on a big fat cigar. (excuse the horrendous mash of mixed-metaphors and Daily Mirror-esque allusion!)

7/22/2009 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Kitty said...

"The original point that CC made"

Sorry, read BB.

7/22/2009 08:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't "cunning", Marc Mulholland, it's highly undependable, hence Hendrix not being quite dead when the ambulance folk got there. And the doctor - at the time - never once suggested the possibility of murder. Or for forty years thereafter. Why not? You are really are being silly.
Phil D'Bap.

7/22/2009 09:04:00 PM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

OT, but a couple of points of interest in the latest Eye. There's a moan about the BBC payout to Mohammed Abdul Bari, without consulting Charles Moore, which is linked to the Beeb's payout a few years back to Marcia Falkender, over the protests of Moore's line-dancing partner - yes, it's Rottweiler of Decency Francis Wheen.

Also, a "Letter from Caracas" that looks more like a cut-n-past from You Know Where than an actual missive from Venezuela. Reminds me of the Letter from Tbilisi they ran a while back, the thrust of which was to praise Dave Cameron and slag off Malcolm Rifkind.

7/22/2009 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

A quick bit of googling around determines that barbiturates + asphyxiation is quite a popular method of murdering; once more, I demand some credentials from both Aaro and Phil before I am going to take their word on this - ie, how many people have you murdered, by what methods, and how was it that you came to conclude that barbiturates & red wine wasn't a goer? I'm not particularly interested in the Jimi Hendrix theory, which is why I described it as "nutpicking" and "airport bookshop bargain basement stuff". I am, however, very interested in this habit of making very definite statements about things that you have absurdly little knowledge about, a habit you share (ironically) with Norman Baker MP.

The single act, in my mind, that will save the Comment is Free comment section when it faces St Peter on Judgement Day, was Maureen Lipman's inaugural column on it, when she chose to give us her views on those Palestinian bastards, and how they needed to be locked up and shot a bit, in the name of democracy.

The very first comment was something along the lines of "Apologist? She's got an ologist!"

7/22/2009 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Oh yeah, Beattie. Thanks, ejh, for reactivating that particular synapse.

7/23/2009 08:33:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Reminds me of the Letter from Tbilisi they ran a while back, the thrust of which was to praise Dave Cameron and slag off Malcolm Rifkind.

Even more off topic, but did anyone else notice william Hague's definition of Tory foreign policy the othre day? it included this howler:

With a Conservative government the door will be open to improved relations with Russia

i'm guesing it was Hague who suggested Cameron's trip to Tblisi...

The MCB payout would have probably been acceptable even under less draconian libel laws, I'd have thought. The Eye does however commendably give Amis a kicking for his posthumous column on Updike in which he reveals that actually he never liked updike's work all that much anyway, but would only have admitted this once he was dead. and equally, it's clear that Cohen's not writing remote controller since it lavishes praise on Paul 'Shameless' Abbott. Interstingly Nick has never once mentioned The Street in his Standpoint TV columns.

Back on topic - on conspiracy theories - the point is surely that Aaro's entire idea of hat constitues a conspiracy theory is that Aaro has decided whether it is likely or not. Just like Phil up there says that barbiturates aren't a usual murder method ergo Hendrix wasn't murdered, this is based entirely on one bloke thinking something unlikely, with little evidence other than his own prejudice.

The Aaro method is a completely unworkable historiographic theory, and equally, it's relativist in the very worst sense, because it pretends it's empirical but actually relies on the supposedly-objective-but-in-reality-not-objective-at-all opinion of one man.

7/23/2009 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Marc Mulholland said...

I still can't see the pun in Phil D'Bap's nom de blog, which admittedly does mark me as being silly.

7/23/2009 08:42:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

By the way, on nutpicking comment sections of websites, you might want to check out the new CST report on antisemitsm. four pages of which simply reproduce the comments (not the article, but the comments) from a New Statesman blog piece. and that's their sole evidence for 'antisemitism in the mainstream media'. There are also pages of CiF comments republished, entirely out of context.

David Toube has enthusiastically embraced the report, but that part of itwouldn't reflect too well on HP Sauce, surely.

Actually the more I look at the report, the more it looks like a typical piece of Harry's Place 'media analysis'. And it does the entirely commendable movement against antisemitism a disservice.

7/23/2009 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Filled Bap". HTH

Sue D'Onym

7/23/2009 09:23:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Would they serve filled baps at Islington dinner parties, though?

7/23/2009 09:28:00 AM  
Anonymous ichomobothogogus said...

i think the point is that Phil D' in typical Decent fashion chose his name because its butch and working class and honest-to-goodness British and therefore a slap in the face to all effete leftist latte-sipping, chardonnay-swilling foreign food-guzzling prole-hating islington liberals. presumably he doesnt realise that everyone else's names are piss-takes.

7/23/2009 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Freshly Squeezed Cynic said...

Lady Lynn Forester De Rothschild. That was the one who infamously called Obama an "elitist", wasn't she?

After that, I felt there was nothing about American politics that could surprise me ever again.

7/23/2009 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A quick bit of googling around determines that barbiturates + asphyxiation is quite a popular method of murdering;" Um, no it doesn't. Or if it does I'd love to see your search term. Under that rubric I can find plenty of asphyxiations and much suicide by barbiturate, but just ONE case of forced barbiturate and alcohol ingestion. Yep, the Jimi Hendrix case. This makes sense, because if you're intent on murdering someone it is hard to rely on them being a moment when they are sufficiently comatose to be force-fed pills and booze without any sign of a struggle.
Aaro can speak for himself as to his methods, but I can't help thinking that in describing his imagined sloppiness, BB, you are in fact describing your own increasingly obvious fey way with the actualite.
Phil D'Bap

7/23/2009 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phil: here's how (not) to kill someone by using drugs to pacify them first: spike their omelette

[redpesto]

7/23/2009 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you red-p. But I think you may have been seduced by the headline. If you read the article in full it is a fairly obvious illustration of the point that I was making about the unreliability of such a killing, since it involved spiking a drink, battering over the head and setting fire to the house, and even then death was not assured. Yet in the Hendrix hypothesis we are talking about a pre-planned hit (supposedly). Come on folks, are we being a little desperate here?
Phi D'Bap

7/23/2009 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, for drink read omelette. PD'B

7/23/2009 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

I can't help thinking that in describing his imagined sloppiness, BB, you are in fact describing your own increasingly obvious fey way with the actualite

which reminds me that I still haven't had that apology and admission of defeat over our original bet, Brownie.

7/23/2009 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous ichomobothogogus said...

your opinion on the unreliability of the method of killing. seems to be "because a stupid person made a pig's arse of it a clever person wouldn't be able to do it either" which seems a little stupid. presumably if it was a pre-planned hit by someone at least marginally competent you'd be less likely to see things like setting fire to houses and omelettes. It is all completely irrelevant however, and the original post (rather than the comments) seems to sum it up pretty well, its just nutpicking and guilt by inference (here's a stupid conspiracy theory therefore all conspiracy theories are stupid) i do have to take my hat off to Mr Bap, for his consistent ability to pick peripheral issues and run with them while ignoring the wider points. In case anyone has forgotten the wider point, to reiterate: Aaro is a malevolent lying tossbag who is consistently wrong about politics and knows bog all about history.

7/23/2009 11:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Marc Mulholland said...

"Filled Bap"

Ah, I see. Mind you, what with names like 'Brownie' & 'Bap' there may be some Northern Ireland thing going on there, as well as a riposte to Bruschetta and Chardonnay.

Now its certainly true that the IRA didn't generally try to hide evidence of fatal assault.

7/23/2009 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In case anyone has forgotten the wider point, to reiterate: Aaro is a malevolent lying tossbag who is consistently wrong about politics and knows bog all about history." Ah yes, I forgot, and was temporarily beguiled into thinking that an argument was possible here. BTW icho-whatever, though malevolence, wrongness and ignorance may be matters of opinion, lying is not. Perhaps then you could furnish an example of Aaro actually lying? Or would that be nit-picking?
PD'B

7/23/2009 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

That Bloody Prediction?

7/23/2009 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

That bloody review of that Adam Curtis documentary? It was like Aaro and I had watched two different shows.

7/23/2009 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous ichomobothogogus said...

first of all what's with the faux-ignorance? "icho-whatever" as if my nym wasn't RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU on the screen? If you can't be bothered typing the whole thing out then icho is perfectly sufficient. as for your putative wish for an "argument" why not argue about something important (ie the substance of aaro's book or the insinuations behind his column) rather than waffling on about pointless ephemera? the whole Jimi Hendrix debate is pointless, seeing as no-one here appears to believe he was murdered and the only possible actual argument boils down to whether or not its possible (not even likely merely POSSIBLE) that someone could have been murdered by being deliberately overdosed on barbs and booze. I see no reason to doubt that Hendrix died by accident but faking an accidental drug overdose in a notoriously druggy rock star might appear a plausible way to disguise murder. the fact that it would be a stupid way to kill someone is hardly evidence against it. People have been murdered in far stupider or more over the top ways before and murderers don't have to be smart or cunning. So why focus on it? what exactly is your point? and what's Aaro's point? Do you agree that this current column is just an excuse to throw shit at people who dont agree with him by insinuating they're the same as nutters who believe Di was murdered? If not then what is it about?

as for his lying, I'm terribly sorry, i was under the impression that you were a reader of David Aaronovitch's comments and also of this website. my mistake. I suggest going back over both from say the last year or so then getting back to us, but here's one to be getting on with:

"If nothing is eventually found, I - as a supporter of the war - will never believe another thing that I am told by our government, or that of the US ever again"

7/23/2009 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

And more or less everything he's ever written about the Lancet surveys of mortality in Iraq.

7/23/2009 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

David Toube has enthusiastically embraced the report, but that part of it wouldn't reflect too well on HP Sauce, surely.

Quite. As one of the commenters points out, if you judged HP on the comments to the recent "Eurabia" piece... I mean I know much has been said here about comments at HP before but that was particularly vile.

7/23/2009 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK icho, your point turns out to be that you agree with Aaro re Hendrix and that this annoys you because he is evil or deficient in all the ways you mention. Nevertheless the example you give of him lying is patently not an example of him lying, at least not according to any definition I've seen. But since you say that his oeuvre is replete with such lies it should be no problem for you to actually find one. Go to it, oh choleric icho!
Phil D'Bap

7/23/2009 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Go to it, oh choleric icho!

Somebody really needs to invent a killfile for reading blog comments. Anonymous: this is the part where we all start ignoring you and you declare victory. Knock yourself out.

7/23/2009 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

"Nevertheless the example you give of him lying is patently not an example of him lying, at least not according to any definition I've seen"

really Phil? So if I were to say: "If you just admit that I won our bet abut 'Voodoo Histories', I'll be your friend forever", and then you admitted that I won our bet about 'Voodoo Histories', but I continued to be rude to you, then you wouldn't think I'd been lying?

7/23/2009 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, BB, no I wouldn't. I might add that it would be fun to see where exactly Aaro "lied" about the Lancet Iraq survey. And Phil, don't worry, you can have your blog back, in all its unanimity. I have no desire to be a pest.
PD'B

7/23/2009 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

And Phil, don't worry, you can have your blog back, in all its unanimity.

At the moment I think there's only one subject on which regular commenters here are unanimous.

I have no desire to be a pest.

Now that is a lie.

7/23/2009 03:18:00 PM  
Anonymous skidmarx said...

Some of you would have had the same problem as the character in ITV's "Bad Girls" who started receiving letters from a "Phil McCracken".

7/23/2009 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I don't, for what it's worth, particularly see Aaro as a liar, although I think TBP can be placed under that rubric with rather more justice that the claims which prompted it. I do think he sometimes has a case of the groundless "hint hint" as well as a tendency to not see things that don't suit him (the de Menezes business being perhaps the most disgraceful example).

Broadsheet columnists aren't liars, on the whole - their papers can't afford it.

7/23/2009 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

By the way, if I was Dave, I'd be heartily pissed at whoever it was who chose to put the sub-heading "We supporters live with the price of staying (in Afghanistan)" under his latest piece. Okay, it's a fair summary of he's been saying for about eight years, but it makes him look like a prize tit.

Shorter Aaro, for those who haven't seen it yet - "Unwinnable is a state of mind".

7/24/2009 08:37:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

We know it’s hard and we may not succeed. But we have to do it. And we have to keep explaining why.

This would be ok if he hadn't just done a spectacularly bad job of explaining why.

From a very muddled article, I think he's pinned the entire thing on women's rights, but he doesn't mention the 'legalise rape' law that the current, elected govt would have enforced if it weren't for western disapproval...

7/24/2009 08:47:00 AM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Kerching, but decent racism alert:

http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/07/24/caption-competition-7/

7/24/2009 09:27:00 AM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

Nor that said law was a function of the government being elected - that is, Karzai pitching for Hazara votes in the runup to the election. This is where Decents suffer from a common liberal fallacy - they identify the democratic process with liberal outcomes, and their brains can't process it when democracy gives you illiberal outcomes.

7/24/2009 09:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed, Splinty. In political circles in the USA it is very common to hear the phrase "we support democracy because democratic regimes are more likely to be friendly to the USA". This is something that crops up a lot, for example, in literature of the Council for Foreign Relations. Maybe it's true, maybe it isn't. However it does mean that the US has difficulty in dealing with those cases where people vote for parties that are less frendly to the USA, or where democratisation has unexpected or unwelcome outcomes.

This appears to have been imported here by Decency, among others. Apparently we have troops in Afghanistan to fight for women's rights, while the invasion of Iraq has sent women's rights there backwards. Does not compute, but few people mention it.

Guano

7/24/2009 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous ichomobothogogus said...

"OK icho, your point turns out to be that you agree with Aaro re Hendrix and that this annoys you because he is evil or deficient in all the ways you mention"

What utter gibberish. If you genuinely believe that is my position based on my last post then i have to say (even though it pains me greatly, more in sorrow than in anger etc.) that you're either delusional, dyslexic or merely dim. why on earth would I be upset because I happen to agree with Aaro on a specific issue? Im sure there are lots of issues we agree on, its hardly a big deal. my specific point re:hendrix (which i thought was fairly obvious) is that calling people liars or idiots for saying "scenario X is possible but probably didnt happen" is slightly over the top, considering that its largely a matter of opinion and furthermore is peripheral to the main thrust of the argument. My own opinion about conspiracy theories is that most of them are obvious nonsense, some of them are plausible but unlikely and some are probably true, and its highly dishonest to tar everyone who believes in anything termed a "conspiracy theory" with the nutter brush based on selective quotes from a few mentallers. Aaro goes out of his way to smear people in this underhand way, in fact it seems the whole reason he writes about conspiracy theories is so he can fling shit at people he doesnt like. This is a fairly standard debating tactic among Decents that was originally gestated on sad right-wing blogs back in the early 00s (you libs are all just like Hitler because I found some guy youve never heard of who said something objectionable) but its ubiquity doesnt stop it being utter bollocks. You've shown no desire to engage with the wider debate, and my question about Aaro's column has gone unanswered, which I believe proves my point.

"Nevertheless the example you give of him lying is patently not an example of him lying, at least not according to any definition I've seen."

So it's your opinion that Aaro genuinely believed what he said and only later decided against actually following through with his own promises? so he wasnt really lying at the time even though it retrospectively turned into a lie by his later actions? Why give him the benefit of the doubt? he's done nothing subsequently to deserve it. It seems far more reasonalbe to say he was being deliberately dishonest, issuing a sort of half-hearted mea-culpa-but-not-really in the hope that it would take the heat off him till everyone forgot what an arse he had been.

"But since you say that his oeuvre is replete with such lies it should be no problem for you to actually find one"

here we go again. you asked for an example I gave you one, now you want another one, and presumably another one after that. we've been here before. you have a habit of this kind of thing demanding X then complaining because people didnt give you Y.

"I might add that it would be fun to see where exactly Aaro "lied" about the Lancet Iraq survey"

If you think it would be fun why not go research it? I'm assuming you have "the internet" in your house so it shouldnt be too hard. if instead you want someone else to do all the work for you you might have to wait a while.

"Go to it, oh choleric icho!"

I'm sorry, I don't speak Twat.

7/24/2009 10:25:00 AM  

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