Tuesday, 4 March 2008

To the Moon, Marion

So Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard thinks maybe the 9/11 attacks weren't the work of terrorists, after all. Perhaps, she told an interviewer, the Twin Towers were deliberately downed because it would have been too expensive to "re-cable" them. Her remarks are just another reminder that you shouldn't stick a microphone in an actor's face unless you've given her a script to read.

Some are defending Cotillard's remarks, saying it is a healthy intellectual exercise to be skeptical. Governments do lie, after all. But there's a difference between being skeptical and being stupid. When al Qaeda takes responsibility for the attacks, one has to wonder how Cotillard could think it was the work of overzealous real estate developers. (And why the Pentagon?)

Cotillard's lawyer--perhaps imagining the evaporation of his 10 percent fee as American producers hunt around for Audrey Tautou's number--retracted her remarks. But I didn't see him quoted on another bit of intelligence the actress passed on in her interview: "Did a man really walk on the Moon?" she wondered.

Yes, Marion, a man really did. Several men, in fact. They also hopped on the Moon, steered little rovers on the Moon and drove golf balls on the Moon. NASA magic-- or, as JFK put it, the process of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth"--is even more amazing than Hollywood magic.

My older daughter has been studying something called theory of knowledge, or TOK, a part of the International Baccalaureate curriculum. It's an exploration of how we know what we know. The Moon landing was one of the events students in her class discussed. A sizable minority--nearly a third--think the United States faked the whole thing.

I'm convinced some of that disbelief stems from the fact that many of the students at her international school come from countries that were once part of the Soviet Union. Twenty years after the Cold War ended, there is still residual distrust of anything American, dismissal of American accomplishments. And relations between Russia and the U.S. (and the U.K.) are just as frosty as during the bad old days.

Then there's the way many people think of America seven years after the attacks that Cotillard is skeptical about. Where were the Iraqi WMDs George Bush promised us? Though, if you think about it, shouldn't a nation that can fake a moon landing and kill 3,000 of its own citizens in a deadly fit of urban renewal be able to plant some nerve gas and atom bombs?

I'm all for skepticism, for questioning the line that elites feed us, but swallowing the half-baked notions of a few wigged-out conspiracy theorists is just as dangerous.

5 comments:

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

"deadly fit of urban renewal" - ha! I like that. And don't you see, the Pentagon attack was a feint - you know, like the Allies tricking the Germans into thinking the D-Day invasion was going to be at Calais (or wherever)...

And Al Quaeda? Whoever was behind the destruction of the Twin Towers paid them off to admit to the destruction...

Everything has an explanation - that's the beauty of the conspiracy theorists' world - paranoia has an answer for everything.

Anonymous said...

Oh great, so now I have moral dilemma of deciding whether or not to order "La Vie en Rose" via Comcast On Demand or not!

But seriously, I get a little bit ill when I read or hear about deniers (from the excrable Holocaust deniers to the silly moon landing deniers to this absurd business about the 9/11 attacks). I wish that absurd woman could have been in my hometown on Long Island where the cathedral bells rang for the funeral masses nonstop for weeks after the attacks. I wish she could have been at the church in Alexandria where we mourned the passing of my neighbor who was on the plane that crashed at the Pentagon.

Candadai Tirumalai said...

Distrust of authority, however unfounded and irrational, is one of the features of our time, just as respect for authority was a mark of other times. And authority has been caught out in brazen lies: "anyone who has lied before will lie again."
In Britain conspiracy theories surround the death of Princess Diana.

feckless man said...

Oh man, I'm so confused with all these experts weighing in recently on 9/11. First Willie Nelson, now Marion Cotillard. I think I'll reserve opinion until I hear from Tom Cruise or Mel Gibson.

Anonymous said...

John Kelly is a defendant in a major lawsuit in Washington. Log onto www.washingtonpostgotsued.com He used to work for the Washington Post but now his has taken his act to England after being shipped out of the US to avoid disgrace. Hey Kelly, you can run but you cant hide the english press will be on you shortly. You must own up to your past.