Art Bell has left the building. He could not have shot himself
in the foot more certainly than by declaring that ALL those who adhere to
ANY 911-conspiracy theory are "wingnuts" (i.e. whackos). What
credibility he ever had collapsed with those recent statements and his propagandistic
declaration the government's version of the events of September 11 is 100%
correct. Farewell, Art. A good portion of your audience is now leaving the
I am sure there are millions like me, who continue to have a certain fondness
for Bell due to many memories of wild and crazy shows enjoyed in the past,
both of the informative nature and the signature Art Bell "Wingnut"
variety. It was good entertainment, and many of us gave him a lot of leeway
simply because he entertained us with wild, weird and wooly things. Was
he an "operative" of some kind? Who cared? It was great science
fiction most of the time.
But 911 sliced through everything, and at this point it seems that what
a person knows and says about 911 is a now measure of that person...and
a measure of their intelligence. The vast, stupid majority (as always) accepts
whatever it is told and that becomes its firmly entrenched belief. Others
have questions and doubts, and by virtue of position or job or family are
obliged to uphold, outwardly, the official line. Still others smell a big
fat rat, and many have spent years studying every detail of 911 and assembling
knowledge, details and facts. Art Bell has either not done any of the latter
or he has been quietly told what to espouse. Who knows? Does it matter?
In any case, his recent comments about 911 conspiracies and this new feud
with Jeff Rense is probably the last straw for a lot of us.
Art has openly, formally proclaimed himself to be on the side of the powers
that be. He is anti-investigation. He is completely unscientific. He has
drawn a 911 line in the sand and firmly taken a stand on one side of it.
For Art, there is no debate and no questions remaining to be answered. Such
a stance completely undermines the very "character" he took decades
to develop and is contradictory to what we thought he was. One wonders why
he would cast aside a persona which took years to create and which made
him world famous.
We originally thought Art Bell was the one who asked forbidden questions
about hidden things, and investigated mysteries with guests who were often
investigators themselves. We thought he was...at the least...open-minded,
since he allowed all kinds of crazies to come on and talk to the nation
about weird and nutty stuff. Like all radio, however, it was essentially
just entertainment. And some of the wacky stuff actually filled a real need
people have for novelty - because life, as it is, is sometimes boring. Art
explored the "fringe," and there actually are some very interesting
ideas out there. And guests like Micho Kaku blew our minds with some of
the farthest-out ideas of all..
However, the current situation regarding Art Bell seems to illustrate the
axiom that "by 911 shall you be known." Clearly, it was one of
the great conspiracies of all time - it is also a vast puzzle. And one's
progress in grasping the vastness of ths real-life puzzle is a measure of
one's intelligence...and wisdom. It takes time, effort, thought and work
to solve a puzzle, so most people - feeling they already have enough problems
- just ignore it altogether. Is this Bell's position? It wouldn't seem so,
since his persona was built on presenting, investigating and trying to answer
things in hidden and mysterious areas. Is Bell then hereby casting off his
original public self like a tattered old coat? In the dissonance between
the persona of Art Bell and his recent statements, one sees yet another
set of illusions dissolve before one's eyes. We bought into the Bell persona,
we must now suffer the disillusion.
The feud with Rense is also very unfortunate, but let's face it, people
(the "fans") love feuds. To the feuders it may be unpleasant,
but the onlookers love it. So again, it all comes out as good enterainment
as far as listeners and readers go. (Does this indicate some deeper flaw
in the collective unconscious, this delight in fighting?)
Then Bell played the "anti-semitic" card on Rense, and at that
point I had to bail out on Bell. Any intelligent person familiar with Rense.com
knows that allegation is absurd. Bell's attack is the equivalent of someone
saying someone else is not to be believed because he/she is a "nigger."
If Bell is reduced to this level of argument, then there isn't much else
to say but "farewell, Bell, I hardly knew ya."
And then Art Bell invited millions of us to tune out...and millions will.
Oh sure, we'll follow some of the shenanigans as (yes) more entertainment,
but I accept Art's invitation to leave..
It feels oddly like the closing of an era, which means, I guess, the beginning
of a whole new era. Art has put millions in the position of children within
whom it is suddenly dawning that Santa Claus is a made-up story and completely
unreal. In the long run, it's no big deal. And it has been a good, long
run, as circuses go. Indeed, Art was a master at it, beyond even P.T. Barnum.
And in the end, I have to say, "good show."
Heroes rise and fall, but they are but dreams and illusions of the masses
- no more real after they have gone than they were before they appeared.
Art had a good run and popularized a whole new genre of entertainment: "weird"
radio, or whatever it is that he did for so long. I guess one could say
Bell's star has long crossed its zenith, and it doesn't matter much any
more what he says. To adamantly asssert that the official version of 911
is 100% correct is to declare oneself ignorant. And to advise all those
listeners who disagree to tune out is career suicide.
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