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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

By LRon Brooks


THE STICKS—Life can be pretty interesting if you stop following whatever the competing popular/media narratives are and start paying actual individual attention to specific stuff. Stuff like facts and things. There’s no end of facts and things out there once you think to start looking for them. THEN they become uncomfortably impossible to miss. Or dismiss.

Like the other week when I said I thought Mel Gibson’s time in the pop culture penalty box ought to be given a fresh hearing in the court of public opinion.

Like this morning, in an effort to meet my 15-year-old half-way, I am frittering away precious, dwindling hours of my life surfing random YouTube clips. In my mind, all I hear is an old tire with a leak that gets louder with every minute I waste, but I knew this job was going to be dangerous when I took it.

Ah. I digress. This morning’s revelation came courtesy of a vintage Tom Cruise celebrity interview clip. I remember the kerfuffle from the time; didn’t actually see the interview but heard enough about it that I jumped on the bandwagon: Tom Cruise is a pampered, thin-skinned jerk. It was lots of fun and may even be true, but having seen the offending interview at last, that’s not at all the impression I came away with. One Peter Overton, with 60 Minutes Australia (say it with me: WHO??) seems to have been chuffed that he was required to go to a 4-hour Scientologist cram session in order to be granted his personal audience with Cruise. On the one hand, it’s hard not to feel bad for our fellow. Any required cram session that lasts 4 hours is going to come off like unwelcome implicit arm-twisting at best. So point to our fellow Peter. On the other hand, our fellow beats the celebrity bushes in Australia for a living and he’s handed a one-on-one sit-down with the most successful working actor in the world? Get over yourself, WHO??. Balance one wasted afternoon of sci-fi indoctrination against the fact that anybody anywhere still has any idea that you used to exist.

And Cruise—as always, hopped up as he was on being Tom Cruise—comes off irritated for sure, but the case he makes on-camera for his irritation is more compelling than the fact of its existence. This Nobody from Downunder was so clearly looking to maximize his one shot at 15 minutes of fame, but for the fact that every point of exception that Cruise expresses is well-spoken, well-reasoned and holds up in the clear light of day. Without raising his voice or being shaken off his meta-purpose for being there (Must. Sell. Movie.), in this reporter’s opinion, Cruise decimates our friend from Downunder like a watchmaker disassembling then reassembling a precision timepiece blindfolded, hands behind his back. On a roller coaster.

Sorry Mr. Cruise. This reporter owes you a mitzvah. And oh dear God would I go to the theater to see a Tom Cruise movie directed by Mel Gibson; wouldn’t you?! Oy.

But pop culture isn’t what I’ve gathered us here today to discuss; I’m sticking to my usual stomping ground, a uniquely discomfiting interception [sic] of doomsaying and prophesy.

Couple weeks ago I pleaded Mel Gibson’s case, and this week… Maybe I should just call this recurring column, “In Defense of the Indefensible” and sleep easy at night.

Anyhow, let me set the scene for the record. There was January 6 in DC. Most of us have seen some or lots of the footage by now. It looked like Black Friday at a cross-burning. All the best of the worst of America were represented and not being shy at all about what they were there to do. Smashcut to minutes later, and some of the same exact lawmakers who were only recently filmed and broadcast worldwide in very real fear for their lives are already playing down the breach and series of attacks that followed. And the more time that elapses since the attack, the more the party—and specifically their leadership—tries to ‘tut tut’ it away.

And the media is playing this in its reliably binary, “us vs Them” fashion. One wing-o-sphere paints the lawmakers as acting in bad faith at a minimum, as—full disclosure—does the evidence of my own senses. (“Bad faith” is newspaper-writer courteous for—yeah, that.)

The other wingoverse doesn’t have a coherent story to sell in this case so has resorted to the usual clown carload of irrelevant and untethered conspiracy theories in a panicky effort to distract their eminently distractible audience.

But nobody is talking about this: If these semi-armed, violent anti-government mopes would travel half-way across the country to kill their legislators, why in God’s name would we expect them not to drive a couple hours down the mountain to their local politico’s office and try the same thing, especially now that they’ve done it once and the vast majority of them have still escaped justice? They have their proof-of-concept and I’ll betcha the actual lawmakers have realized the same thing I did: Disagreeing with the party line won’t just get you unemployed in lots of Republican circles and areas of the country, it’s going to literally put the lawmakers between cross-hairs. And let’s not forget, these legislators have families who live in their Districts full time that are vulnerable to the same kind of attack literally in their own back yard.

So a third potential narrative emerges. What if these lawmakers are indeed so frightened of, and by, their constituents they’re willing to paint themselves as historical fools to save their very lives? Unfortunately, that sick narrative tracks with both storylines currently on the table and seems to buttress each other’s most salient talking points.

So why is nobody talking about it? There are beaucoup ad dollars to made on shows with opposing blowhards screaming in each others’ faces about this third narrative. It’s juicy and all its meat is still on the bones; parts of it are even still twitching. Where are the media vultures? Because the binary storyline, as-is, reeks like week-past-the-sell-by-date Malarky.

No seriously, I’d like to know. Howcum I’m the first nobody to put the evidence of my senses together then tried to retro-engineer their own take on who musta brung us to this sorry state? Where have all the journalists gone, long-time passing?

No, seriously. I gotta know.


LRon Brooks is an author, educator and self-taught conspiracy theorist living far from the home he loves.