I always feel a little guilty just dashing off these types of posts—you know, there’s no photos, no formatting, it just is what it is. On the other hand, these “Observations” seem to do relatively well in terms of views so…¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Just some stuff that has been on my mind…and the general topic of this post is Alex Jones, though there’s a discussion here about the media as a whole.
In terms of Alex Jones, to be fair: I was on his show a few years ago, and he and his staff were nothing but nice to me. In fact, he was probably one of the few people from the media who ever interviewed me that didn’t position my comic book writing as a “gender-based” thing. That stuff never came up and he never promoted me that way. He was just psyched that a person who had written for Marvel, who had written the Punisher & the X-Men, was on his show; period. The fact that I was a woman writing that stuff was not a factor—and I deeply appreciated that, because for most places it was usually the defining factor.
[EDIT: also, as context, this was the very first time I had ever publicly introduced the type of material I now write about on this site. It was a very big change from what I was known for, and I was scared shitless. Had that appearance went really south, I might have remained an anonymous writer on these topics.]
This doesn’t “wipe away” things like the Sandy Hook denial stuff, stuff he’s said, all this stuff. But I don’t think Jones is an evil person. And I don’t think he’s a complete fake, either. I first encountered Jones in the 2001 Richard Linklater movie Waking Life, in which he had a scene (he was later in Linklater’s Philip K. Dick adaptation A Scanner Darkly). After 9/11—I was in the city when it happened, that’s another story—listening to people like Jones was cathartic for me, as I am sure it was for many people similarly impacted who felt helpless.
Flashforward to 2015 to now, all the U.S. election stuff. Man, that was such an ugly time across the board. And I was done with Jones, you know? I was fucking done with virtually all media.
You see all those pundits out there? Anybody with a strong opinion? Perhaps they start out “pure”—perhaps they start out with this burning pure mission. But here’s an insight for you: the moment you start getting attention for your strong opinions, the moment you start racking up hits on your site in the hundreds of thousands—you’re going to have people try to co-opt you. Many entities are going to try to co-opt your opinions in order to push ideological agendas, sell soap, and etc. Many interested parties are going to attempt to work with you to control/water down your message. Because a Message that is not controlled in that manner is considered dangerous; dangerous to profits, ideology, etc.
And I’m not saying this happened to Jones. But I have seen it happen to people. And when I had my own shingle for a while and was getting a lot of attention—these people, albeit on a smaller scale of power, tried to co-opt me. And they tried to turn me into something I wasn’t. We’re talking agents, media people, publishers, etc. And once you say: “hey, I’m going to just be me, I’m going to do my own narrative”? Then the shivs come out. Then you’re going to be wiped off the map.
I remember when I had promoted my appearance on the Jones show, one person I knew from the comics media called me out and criticized me. And I said to her basically: “Nobody from your media ever promotes my work, or interviews me. Infowars contacted me to promote my work. You want me not to go on this show—where are all of you? Why aren’t you promoting me?”
Again—not to excuse everything Jones has ever said or done. But if there is one thing I can impart to you through this entire website, it’s the idea that things in life are usually “complicated.” Humans, by their very nature, are “complicated.” It’s rarely black-and-white. But promoting black-and-white thinking is an easy way to control large masses of people.
When I was on Jones’ show—it was to promote a non-fiction comic book I did on James Holmes and the Joker archetype—I told him that I liked the general idea espoused by Infowars about questioning mainstream news and doing research on one’s own, but that I did not agree with him on all issues. ‘Cause I don’t agree with him on all issues. And he said to me—not in angry defensive way, and not in a fake way either—that he supported the equality of all people regardless of race, religion, and other factors (I don’t remember the exact quote, but something along those lines). And I believed him, and I do believe him.
But human beings are complicated and inconsistent, across the board. What do we do about that? Do we make our minds larger, to accommodate paradoxes (I’m paraphrasing author Maxine Hong Kingston, here)?
I think Jones bet on the wrong horse, and it’s hurting him now. I think there are a lot of wrong horses out there. I’m not interested in fighting with people and getting into a pissing match as to who is “right.” The question is, where do we go from here? Where are we in three years, five years? This has become the central question, but most of us are too distracted by the circus to see it.
And there is a lot more circus coming into town.