Tuesday, April 09, 2002
I've been trying to figure out what to do about Thierry Meyssan. (In case you refuse to click through, he wrote a book - which is selling very well in France - claiming that the 9-11 attack on the Pentagon never happened. Oh, and Osama bin-Laden blew up the World Trade Center on instructions from the CIA. And so forth.) And I think I have hit on the proper response.
A direct refutation, such as the above, serves little purpose. It only will make the fellow feel important, and lend him legitimacy, and it will convince no one because anyone capable to believing these sorts of lies is invulnerable to reason.
Ignoring him is of course not acceptable, and even dangerous, as it may give him encouragement, on the one hand, or spur him to more daring feats of lunacy to finally attract attention, on the other.
And ridicule is inadequate, as it is likely to inspire pity for its object in precisely those hearts who might harken to his ravings.
No, the best strategy is, I think, quarantine.
Now, when you impose a quarantine, you can't just isolate the one individual you know to be diseased, or even those individuals you know he has been in contact with. No, you impose a wide cordon, to make sure that any possible source of infection is kept inside, even if it means some uninfected are thereby trapped with the diseased. This is the only way to ensure that the great majority of the healthy are kept free from plague.
In this case, we know that this man writes in French. His thoughts are French and his words are French and, no doubt, his disease is French as well. The only sensible quarantine, then, would be to wall off French and all that is related to the French from the healthy parts of the world.
We who are still capable of distinguishing reality from fantasy should, to preserve our sanity, not speak French, nor acknowledge the speaker who speaks to us in French. We should not eat French food or drink French wine. We should not read French books or watch French movies. We should not travel to France or transit through France on the way to other destinations. And we should try to remove all consciousness of France and French from our minds. We should even remove the name of France from our regular speech. We should not buy French's mustard. In America, we should start referring to French fries as chips.
The French are, for no obvious reason, terribly proud of their culture, but as that culture is plainly diseased we should avoid all contact with it until they are able to cure themselves. If possible, we should go about our lives without acknowledging the existence of France. Instead of referring to our European allies - presumably including France - we should refer to our British and German allies. (Oooohh.)
Is this silly? I don't know. During the Great War, the British started calling German Shepards Alsatians, so they wouldn't have to think of their beloved doggies as German. So why shouldn't we start eating Guernsey Toast?
Anyway, it would be a lot easier than blowing up the Eiffel Tower and saying they did it.