Thursday, September 18, 2008

Conspiracy Theory, or Like Father Like Daughter

For the past couple weeks, a political activist has been recruiting me to his cause--to purge the corrupt government in Utah and the nation. It has been both stressful and entertaining.

The first time I talked to him, the long-winded pest woke me up from a nap and took an hour and 15 minutes of my sleepy time to talk about Bramble's evils. At the 45-minute mark, I informed him that I had been taking a nap and wanted to get back to it, but he didn't get the hint--too subtle, I guess. In the end, all he wanted was my email address so he could add me to a political discussion group. I gave it to him, immediately setting a filter to route all the emails to their own little folder where they are out of the way. I actually read all the emails but with a healthy dose of skepticism.

He has some crazy stories about Bramble. My guess is that they have at least some basis in fact, and I think Bramble needs to be exposed for the creep he seems to be. However, I have only my one experience with the pompous senator and will not pass on hearsay that I cannot verify, especially since I suspect personal injury affects my informant's rationality.

Mr. Pesky Crusader called me repeatedly last week and emailed me when I didn't answer my phone for the third or fourth time. I told him I would call him the next day, but that, if he was going to talk my ear off, it would be on my time and not in the mornings before I get up or on Saturday night when I am busy having a social life. (I wasn't actually busy having a social life on Saturday night--I was preparing my Sunday School lesson--but, as I am 24 and single, I should have been at the movies or playing mini golf or something. No need to tell him that, though.) He wrote, "I mean to be very sensitive to your time needs. My first calls to people often go long because there is so much history that most people have never heard of." Lies! My phone call with him the next day was even longer than the first!

Then, last night, he wanted to meet me in person. Jellyfish that I am, I agreed. He said he likes to meet people face to face so they can decide whether to work with him or say, "This is not the man I talked to on the phone." Little did he think seeing him in the flesh would convince me that he is delusional.

The most ridiculous part of the evening:

"There's someone I want you to meet. Are you familiar with 9/11 Truth Theory?"

"I don't know the details, but I've heard of it." The theory posits that US government operatives blew up the World Trade Center to incite a war with the Arab nations.

"What do you think of it?"

"Well, my father is one of the most respected metallurgists in the country, and he wrote the definitive article on the collapse of the World Trade Center. And I tend to trust my father." Apparently, he didn't get the hint. Too subtle again?

He introduced me to Steven Jones, the ex-BYU physics professor and leading proponent of 9/11 Truth Theory (I can't decide what to link to, so just Google him), who immediately connected me to my father.

"Your father and I don't see eye to eye on a lot of things."

"I'm aware." I miraculously refrained from saying, "That's because my father is a rational man and you are a fool."

"You say hi to your father for me. And tell him I was a bishop, too."

Brilliant. Way to win me over to your cause.

I have always considered myself much like my father, for good and for bad. At this moment, I became aware that my recent experiences have established one more commonality: people will listen to me because I am smart and honest, and I can trust myself enough to handle the criticisms and personal attacks from people who disagree with me. Another breakthrough to discuss in therapy!

Current songs: all of the London Calling album by The Clash, but "Guns of Brixton" in particular


Anonymous said...

Young Lady, Theodore Kaczynski was also a political activist. You should not be meeting people like that in person. They should not have your phone number.
Caution is not cowardly. Carelessness is not courage.

Anonymous said...

Conspiracy Theories Explained
Random events are deeply meaningful to paranoid schizophrenics. Is something happening in their brains? Paranoid schizophrenics are prone to delusions, tales in which random events become deeply meaningful. Some believe in complex conspiracies; others think they are Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

To elaborate its related to high levels of dopamine which can be a disorder or can be induced by use of amphetamine or methamphetamine...

Moderately high Dopamine levels make us on-guard, suspicious, and prone to misinterpret experiences in the environment. Known as an “idea of reference” in psychiatry, we begin thinking unrelated experiences are suddenly directly related to us. People observed talking across the street are now talking about us. As Dopamine increases, it can become so intense that we feel the radio, television, and newspaper contain secret messages directed at us from Hollywood or elsewhere. It’s as though we are attempting to incorporate/add everything we witness into our life. Planes flying overhead are snapping pictures of us and motorists talking on cellular phones are calling in a report on us. Our mind speed increases and races in an attempt to add all we see into our life. In an attempt to make sense, we may become extremely religious, paranoid, or feel we are a very important person. Increased Dopamine also increases the perception of our senses, as though turning up the volume in all our senses – hearing, vision, taste, smell, and touch.

utah voter said...

You are definitely smart and honest. Two rare qualities in most folks. You are making a HUGE difference for good in our little part of the world. Don't let the pinheads burst your bubble. Your integrity, strength, and intelligence are delightful! Glad you have decided to help elect RaDene. She has my vote, too.

Misbach said...

I feel like identifying "Mr. Pesky Crusader"... It's Mike Ridgway

Dale Kemp said...
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Katy said...

Ah, yes, the interesting characters you meet in the radical world. I am always glad that my Dad raised me with a healthy dose of skepticism whenever I meet people like this. And since my Dad is soooooo proud of having apparently instilled his skepticism in his brother and sister I think you got the same thing too. (Meaning my Dad likes to brag about your Dad.)

Honestly, you should enjoy these encounters with the far-outists. I adore the radical world just for this type of play. They might be completely off, they might be looney, they just might have some cool ideas too. If anything they're a good laugh and different ideas never hurt anyone smart. Maybe a little of your coolheadedness rubbed off on him.

But seriously, maybe block the number, cause political conversation at nap time is no good at all.

dj4aces said...

Political activism is a double edged sword. You are doing a world of good in your cause for RaDene in your neck of the woods, and I sincerely applaud your efforts.

Alas, they also bring out the crazies. You're right to take their words with a grain of salt, and I applaud that as well.

I like conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, but there are just some things that are too far out to believe. Believing the US Government, in all its ineptitude, had the collective brain power to collaborate in the destruction of the world trade towers to set off a war with the Arab world is sheer lunacy.

FamiLee said...

Keep your integrity, honestly, but please be careful. Scary. No seriously, I have selfish interests here. I want to buy your first book! So live, and no more sharing personal information with psycho's!! ;)

The Scooter Lounge said...

Steven Jones is said to have begun his investigation into 9/11 because of a speech given by a young girl who had a near death experience. Apparently the girl now has the gift of seeing beyond the veil on a regular basis and hangs out with Jesus on the weekends.

I suspect Dr. Jones' firing from BYU had less to do with his crackpot conspiracy theories and more to do with his associating with the fundies who follow this girl around like she's an oracle.

Embracemyvalue said...

I believe in honoring the dignity of others by questioning "what they do, not who they are."

When you ranted about Curt Bramble it was about specific "bad behavior" on his part. Mr Bramble is known for deliberately hurting people, and only seems to care about "his image".

When you ranted about Mike it was more about fundamentally "disagreeing" with his point of view, Mike is not out to hurt anyone, he seeks only redress for his grievances.

It appears in "both" instances you did not have the heart to be straightforward, instead resorting to character assassination. (No one wins when character attacks begin.)

Remember the "GOLDEN RULE" in your life, and then also remember for your next Sunday school lesson; ACCORDING TO CANONIZED SCRIPTURE, The behavior of a "FOOL" as described by the Savior himself, is "SOMEONE WHO MOCKS" (IE, A Gossip, or someone who bears false witness, etc,...)


Sad for a While said...

I admit I was too hard on Mike when I called him delusional. My mistake. I also agree that Mike is not out to hurt anyone. What I was trying to portray about him is that his passion sometimes clouds his judgment. In his zeal, he fails to relate to people appropriately, as when he ignored my request to end our phone conversation so I could resume my nap, as when he called me repeatedly to the point of being an annoyance instead of allowing me to return his phone call when I had time to talk, and as when he ignored what I said to him about 9/11 Truth Theory and thrust me into a situation where I had to endure passive aggressive attacks on a member of my family. I actually did address Mike straightforwardly in a private email the day after I met him, before I wrote this post. The intent of this post was not character defamation (as I did not name Mike) but the relation of a story my friends would enjoy. I hope that my readers do not trust me so much that they make the mistake of thinking I am perfect. I encourage them to take what I say with a grain of salt and think through things independently and rationally.

John Potter said...

Where has all the integrity and the selflesness gone in this once Great Nation?

I say "once" because things are far harder than they used to be, 95/5 used to own their own buisness in the early 1900's, now it's the other way around, our Dollar is 95% inflated, we are militarilly involved in over 130 coutries, the Federal Reserve is completely incapable of carrying out what it was "invented" to do(according to it's historical performance), and MOST people think that the Founding Fathers principles are no longer in order. How dare they say such a thing! They are still over 200 years later, CUTTING EDGE.

But more importantly there are people like you who can get corrupt officails out of local and State offices who sit by and don't do much, or who kill alliances needlesly with those who would not desert you in a time of need.

So enjoy nap time, watch or talk about Dancing with the Stars, Idol, Smallville, Presidential debates, and all the other little day-to-day Bramble ecounters, and continue to enjoy the stories about the people who still question goings-on with the Power Brokers, Political and Financial Elite, and just down right questionable events with plenty of historical evidence and ties to make anyone with common sense go, "Hmm?"

Now I think that this is more a statement directed towards the Culture and those in society who participate in a culture that has eroded the values of community and volunteerism which instills pride and worth in all who see the obstacles that can be overcome and good be done by a few resolute and determined people with the best interest of all in mind.

9/11, why spend the precious time talking about something like that? He has never mentioned it to me.

Your commenters seem to want you to keep writing for them so remember, Don't let them down and don't get involved with political activists you might learn something.

Conspiracy Theory:
a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators

Such a bad thing to come to different conclusions or possibilities because people laugh at you.

John Potter

Anonymous said...
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Embracemyvalue said...

I have heard various complaints, many of them are gossip. I understand the need to speak ones mind. I express raw feelings in my paper journal freely.

I also express them when appropriate with my life coaches; unbiased people that I trust to support me, when I need to move the energy attached to my circumstances, as I determine how I can respond better to my own mistakes and the behavior of others when it does not work for me.

As for not indicating his name: the context is the same. You knew exactly who you were talking about and so did many of your readers. Matt Misbach enthusiastically identified Mike by name for everyone.

As for the phone calls, after you have clearly expressed the need to go a couple of times, just say bye, and hang up. If it is not done rudely, they have no reason to be offended.

The gift of your attention is not the same if giving it does not work for you. Please make it a good gift, by letting people know what does work for you.


Dale Kemp said...

Just so you know,

Mike Ridgway read this because he emailed me.

I don't think he liked being called a nutcase.

But he did ask me an interesting question

"Curt Bramble: Hero or Tyrant?"

Is the world really that black and white for some people?

Sad for a While said...

Oh, I know he read it. He sent me a string of angry emails. The last one simply said, "Anna Eagar, go to hell." And I think the world is that black and white for him because he repeatedly told me what a good person I was until he read my post about him, at which point, he decided I belong in hell.

Embracemyvalue said...

You do not belong in Hell. I don't see you as a mean person, or an evil one.
As a dear friend of Mike and someone that sees the heart of his message, I can tell you about his pet peaves:
*(1)* Refusing to apologize*(Repent), by, A- Justifying behavior (I did not use your name), or B- adding insult to injury,(by throwing it back on him, for choosing to be offended by a blatant character attack on him, or a "good time" at his expense).
His character has been attacked right and left by rotten people,including Bramble, that would rather mock him for his PR skills then listen with their heart, and understand what he is about.
Keep your chin up : )


Dale Kemp said...

That's why so many people think he is a nutcase or at the very least an annoyance.

embrace my values said "...His character has been attacked right and left by rotten people, including Bramble, that would rather mock him for his PR skills then listen with their heart, and understand what he is about."

I say that he opens himself up to those attacks by his behavior. He made enemies within the Republican Party because if his "PR Skills" and got forced out by those enemies. Also, if he can't grow a thicker skin then he has no place in politics. Politics is war and you have to be willing to fight the battle, lick your wounds, then get up and fight some more.

He is passionate and that is a good thing. I respect passion but you shouldn't annoy those that you are trying to get to join your cause.

Also, Mike has made himself into a public figure so he shouldn't be surprised/upset/angry that he is discussed by the public.

Mike, I'm sorry if I offended you when I called you a nutcase but that was my impression of you. If you are misunderstood then you need to work to help people understand you. A lot of people agree with you on a lot of issues I am sure, but your approach leaves a lot to be desired. I've no doubt that we probably agree on a lot of things (like the need for reformation within the Utah/Salt Lake Republican Party) but if you annoy me then you will find it hard to get me on your side. And I have been very annoyed with you in the past.