Never be bullied into silence, never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, define yourself.”
~ ROBERT FROST
Excellent advice from an American icon, but what happens when it’s carried too far? Is that even possible? Oh yes, dear reader, it surely is! This post first appeared on my Jack’s Hideout blog on November 11th, 2011. I had more fun writing it than possibly any other post I’ve ever put together, and as my regularly scheduled blog date falls on November 11th this year, I am indulging myself by dusting it off and reposting it here. My apologies to my long-time readers who have seen it before, but I have gathered a lot of new readers since then, and simply can’t resist. So, without further ado, I present for your enjoyment 11-11-11.
Happy Veterans Day, by the way, and thank you all for your service!
What is it about dates like this that bring them out of the woodwork like some kind of biblical plague? You know who I’m talking about. The conspiracy theorists… The UFO enthusiasts… The out-of-body travelers… Ghost hunters… Moonwalk deniers… Remote viewers… Abductees… Spirit Mediums… Interpreters of the Mayan calendar… Well, I could keep this up all morning. You’ve heard ’em. Maybe you’ve even had the tragic misfortune to rub up against one in your personal life. If so, and if you’ve challenged his or her story about how a friendly bigfoot saved his friend’s life by performing emergency heart surgery with a sharp stick while he lay dying in the back country, then you’ve doubtless been accused of being a brainwashed tool of the Government Disinformation Office whose mission is to prevent those among us who are truly enlightened from bringing their higher awareness to a disenfranchised public at large; ah, for the simple life of an idiot!
I was at work last night, and into this morning. As it was the night before a holiday, my main function was to serve as a weight to keep a desk from floating away. Not feeling my jazz station, I decided to check in on the Lunatic Fringe and see what they’ve been up to since I last visited, so I tuned in Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. Hoo, boy! Now, I don’t recommend a steady diet of this stuff, but everyone should turn this on about once every three months just to remind themselves of how many of these wingnuts are running around loose out here unmedicated, voting, driving motor vehicles, and in some cases, reproducing. You don’t need the bogey man to scare you; that alone ought to do it.
I used to listen to Coast to Coast a lot back in the 90s when I was trying to write fantasy. I considered it my best source of WTF ideas that, being sane, were way farther out there than I could ever come up with on my own. Once I accepted the reality that I was not going to be the next Steven King, I moved away from it, as I was worried that if I spent enough time wallowing in this stuff, my own brain cells might begin to rearrange themselves to mimic what they were hearing.
The Coast to Coast of my days with it was hosted by Art Bell, and came out of Parump, Nevada. No subject was too far afield, and he brought in a range of guests who spoke on a myriad of topics, but who all had one thing in common; no news or science show would get close enough to touch them with a laser-pointer. I read somewhere, in reference to this show, that it is dangerous to give deranged people a soapbox. I don’t know. On the one hand, I don’t believe in censorship in any form. On the other, I think that in order to live in an uncensored world, it is your responsibility to have enough intelligence to sort trash from treasure. In other words, as long as you understand that when tonight’s guest is going on about his trip to Venus aboard the Benelarvian starship Graximandr, he is either A, trying to entertain you, or B, stark raving mad, then everything’s good. Sadly, unless all the callers are plants employed by the show, this is not the case.
An example will suffice. The show has several phone lines: East of the Rockies, West of the Rockies, International, First Time Callers, you get the idea. At least a couple of times, Art Bell used to make an announcement very close to this:
“It is said that the Antichrist has been born, and is even now living among us. If that is true, and if you happen to be listening, Antichrist, we’d like to hear from you. What do you like to watch on TV? What’s your favorite dessert? What are your plans for humanity? If you are the one true Antichrist, call the Antichrist Line at 123-4567 now. This line is reserved for you.”
For the rest of the show, he never hung up that line. Somebody would call up and rant for five minutes about how he loved the basic evil of society, it made it so easy to mold people to his needs, and here’s what he’s got planned for us after the rapture. That guy runs down and hangs up, and Art instantly presses the button again. Next caller introduces himself by screaming, “That guy’s not the Antichrist, I’m the Antichrist! How dare you put that impostor on my private line?!” I always had the feeling that Art was rolling on the floor laughing while this was going on, but sadly, those callers weren’t.
The show, under George Noory’s stewardship, has taken a most insidious tack. It now starts with an hour or so of “hard” news right from the headlines. Then, when the rest of the show devolves into guests and callers with Frequent Flyer Miles on the Mothership, it seems like a continuation of the news to those who lack the sophistication to make the distinction. In other words, while Art was an entertainer, I don’t get the impression that George entirely disbelieves all this stuff.
So, last night, he has on a series of guests who told this wonderful story about having taken part in the government’s beyond-top-secret Project Pegasus, in which young children were put into an elevator in El Segundo, California, and teleported to the surface of Mars, where they cavorted freely without any form of environmental suits or similar protection. I should throw in a disclaimer here: Being a member of the great underprivileged masses who were brainwashed as children by good science teachers, and were encouraged to develop that part of the brain that can discern a nugget of truth among a field of fertilizer, there is no way I could follow these enlightened geniuses sufficiently to explain the details of their incredible experiences. Nonetheless, I think I can hit the high points.
The lead guest was Andrew D. Basiago, an attorney, holder of several degrees from UCLA and Cambridge (who must be bursting with pride at their alumnus’ accomplishments), and part-time time traveler on the government’s secret dime. Seems back in the 60s and 70s, while I was involved in mundane things like fighting in the Vietnam War, he was gallivanting around the Solar System with the likes of Barack Obama (who went by the name of Barry something, Sandaris, I think he said). His training officer was Major (then Captain) Ed Dames, himself a frequent guest on Coast to Coast, and more on him shortly. Since this top secret project had not only perfected teleportation, but time travel as well, they already knew that Barry would be president some day. The scorcher is that they also told Basiago that he is going to be president as well. He will be running in 2016. Don’t waste your time voting against him. They’ve been to the future; it’s already happened. For a thorough examination of this future president, check this out. I think it’s all the information you’ll need.
Appearing with him were shills fellow project members Brett Stillings and Laura Eisenhower, a descendant (she says) of the famous and beloved General and President; poor man must have done a backflip in his grave. To Ms. Eisenhower’s credit, she didn’t claim to have participated. Her contribution was to elaborate on how hard she had to resist the agents of the program who wanted her famous name to be involved. Why a beyond-top-secret program would want a high-profile name involved in the first place is something I can’t begin to fathom, but like I said earlier, I don’t claim to be half smart enough to follow these guys.
Anyway, they needed children to do the actual teleportations because adults were too big for the equipment. So, Mr. Basiago arrives on Mars in environmental gear, where he is scoffed at by the shirt-sleeved scientists who awaited him (Wait, how did they get there? Oh, I know, they were sent years before when they were children. But who trained them to become scientists? Oh, my head! I’m not smart enough to follow these guys.). However it worked out, once on Mars, our intrepid hero and future president shed his useless environmental suit and skipped off to visit the Martians, who he says resembled Nosferatu, and try to avoid the half-a-hundred varieties of deadly predators that infest the surface. He (a child, remember) was given a suicide pill to take in case he was cornered by one of these predators. So rife and dangerous were they, that of the 49,000 (!) people sent to Mars in this program, only 7,000 returned to Earth. An undisclosed number lives there still, and the remainder were killed and eaten by these predators.
All right, as fascinating as I’m sure you find this, I’ve had about enough. Go to the Coast to Coast website if you can’t live without a transcript. Here’s how looney this was: Ed Dames, the supposed training officer, is a recurring Coast to Coast guest based on his “work” in Remote Viewing. For the uninitiated, remote viewing is where you close your eyes, go into a trance, and send your disembodied consciousness off through time, space, and dimensions to examine basically anything that does, has, or will exist. Wow, sounds like a good subject for Coast to Coast. Oh, wait… Anyway, as the guests were describing their experiences, Ed Dames called the show and laid into them for including his name in their “delusional fantasy” about teleportation to Mars; even Doctor Doom didn’t want to be associated with these loons. Draw your own conclusions.
For the record, as a young adult, I wanted to believe stuff like this. I did. Chariots of the Gods? remains compelling to me to this day. All you need to do is look at the sarcophagus of Palenque to see an astronaut in a capsule. Mainstream archaeologists “explain” this away by saying, “That’s not what it is.” Fine, what is it? Oh, it’s the deceased king ascending to join his Gods; well, that’s all different. There are things in this world that can’t be explained just by saying “That’s not what it is,” and von Daniken pulled a lot of them together in his book, but just because they’re mysterious doesn’t mean the explanations have to be supernatural, or just plain ridiculous. I look into the night sky and see 6,000 stars; that’s the number Isaac Asimov said could be seen by the naked eye. I know there are trillions more that I can’t see, and I can’t imagine that there aren’t other intelligent beings up there somewhere looking at their own night sky and wondering about me. I can’t imagine that some of them aren’t more advanced than we are. But consider this:
Consider the cost of developing the technology and engineering the equipment to put the International Space Station in orbit, the ancillary equipment to deliver people and supplies, the ground support infrastructure, everything. It took the developed nations of the world using their tax bases and their ability to borrow money without collateral to get it done. Now private enterprise is being invited into the field, because governments are finding it insupportable. Now imagine what it might cost to send an expedition to another star, whether you postulate faster-than-light drive or not (and what would that cost?). Once you arrive at said other star, you find a thriving civilization. Obviously, your mission at that point becomes to hide in a swamp near a small town, and get your jollies frightening the town drunk… Who’s in charge of the space program for these visitors, John Cleese?
So now I have to present a conclusion to all this rambling (If you haven’t caught on yet, this post was unplanned; I’m working very much without a net here). I guess it would be, sample everything the wide world has to offer, no matter how absurd. Enjoy whatever tickles your fancy, no matter how outrageous. Do no harm. And above all, keep a tight grip on your sanity, because a lot of this stuff is just waiting for a chance to suck it right out of you, and you don’t have to look far to find people who have already lost that battle.
All right, show’s over, folks. All things willing, I’ll see you on the 15th with another assortment of Other Voices. Til then, get out there and live life like you mean it!