Two magazines, two covers, one confused reader

Two stories about heavy topics that will blow your mind.

First, the new issue of Rolling Stone. Breaking news! Led Zeppelin was a good band!

I’m trying to imagine this pitch meeting. The great writer Mikal Gilmore bursts into Jan Wenner’s office, his fedora pitched back on his head and a butt dangling from his lower lip. Wenner is talking on the phone, Mikal presses the button to hang it up.

M. Stop the presses, boss! I’ve got a story’s gonna set this town on its ear!

J. This better be good. That was Billy Joel I was talking to.

M. Okay — what’s the biggest story in rock music today?

J. Lance Bass is Gay.

M. Bigger.

J. Jack White has formed a new group.

M. Bigger.

J. Sleater-Kinney has broken up.

M. No! Led Zeppelin was a good band!

J. (coffee sprays from his mouth) But that’s ridiculous! Can you prove it?

M. I got all the goods right here, chief.
(throws down a file folder.)
Testimonials, musical analysis, best of all, sales figures. CDs, DVDs, T-shirts, everything.

J. But this — this is extraordinary. How did you find all this out?

M. I’m a journalist, chief. I hear about a hot story and I chase it down. That’s what I do.

J. (looks through the data) But — if this is true — why, it would shake the industry to its very core. Do we dare print this?

M. Dare?! Is this the same Jan Wenner who got Elton John to say he was a fruit? Is this the same Jan Wenner who dared to suggest that George W. Bush is an incompetent president? Is this the same Jan Wenner who gave five stars to Mick Jagger’s Goddess in the Doorway?

J. You’re right, you’re right — by God, this is just the kind of incendiary, match-lighting story this magazine was built on!


And then there’s Newsweek. You can’t see the headline very well on their website, but it’s something like “OLIVER STONE’S 9/11: The Controversial Director Chooses Courage over Conspiracy for “World Trade Center”.

Okay. So Oliver Stone is a Controversial Director. True.

Oliver Stone is also a Conspiracy Nut. True, if one has not seen an Oliver Stone film in fifteen years.

Here’s the thing. By choosing this headline for their issue, they didn’t make me think “Good for Oliver! Way to go, choosing Courage over Conspiracy! That’s m’boy!” Instead, I saw the cover and thought “Wait, Newsweek is telling me there was a choice?” That is, Newsweek is saying that there was a conspiracy, and isn’t it nice that Oliver Stone decided not to focus on it?

Back in the day, it was only certain crazy friends of mine who used to talk about the “planned demolition” of the World Trade Center, and how the federal government plotted the whole thing out, using the Al Qaeda people (or someone) as decoys, how they conspired with Al Qaeda to have their guys fly the planes into the towers, after which they would destroy the buildings, and thus begin the process that we’re living through today, ie the institution of our current facist state, permanent control of the government by religious fanatics, etc, etc.

All of which I used to hear and think “Come on, guys, get a grip.” Are you telling me that the same guys who screwed up Afghanistan, screwed up Iraq, screwed up New Orleans, the same guys who haven’t succeeded in doing anything else in six years of unrestricted power (besides stealing two elections), are you telling me that these guys demolished the World Trade Center?

And now, looking at Newsweek, I have to ask: What do they know?
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25 Responses to “Two magazines, two covers, one confused reader”
  1. toliverchap says:

    Content context

    So Rolling Stone is a magazine about music and “popular culture” of that kind of music right? And Newsweek is using alliteration and Stone’s “controversial past” (for what it’s worth) in the same way Roling Stone would use Eminem with his hurt boy look and “controversial” lyrics to sell an article.

    • Todd says:

      Re: Content context

      With tragic, heartbreaking results.

      • toliverchap says:

        Re: Content context

        Well, I’ve heard a bit about the conspiracy stuff for 911. Penn and Teller did an episode about it for their Bullshit show about a year ago and I’ve seen some Free Speech TV documentary talking about steel strengths. I’m not sure what is “heartbreaking” that Newsweek is capitalizing on conspiracy theories OR that it isn’t giving it the credence that some blogs are? Maybe I’m an overly skeptical cynic but I don’t put my heart into ramblings on the net or the way magazines “sell out”.

        • Todd says:

          Re: Content context

          The point is, I didn’t even think there was a conspiracy regarding the World Trade Center until Newsweek brought it up.

          • toliverchap says:

            Re: Content context

            Yeah, I am a cynic to be sure. I expected all of this would happen about 30 seconds after I saw it happening almost 5 years ago. There is a conspiracy theory for everything and I think the growth of the internet, blogs, etc. has motivated a fundamental change in the way people get and interprete “news” such that what might start as smaller localized conspiracies are now able to grow. It’s a good thing that there is more out there (kind of a post-modern explosion) but the difficulty is in knowing to put everything in it’s right place (to quote a Radiohead song (have they been in Rolling Stone?)).

          • Anonymous says:

            Re: Content context

            There absolutely was a conspiracy theory, a professor at Wisconsin University [I think] became a Fox News lightning bolt at how ‘People who Disagree with us can make more people disagree with us, and thus are ruining America’. The evidence is interesting, but I have a hard time believing Bush is so darkhearted. Not impossible though, but unlikely. However, the fact that he took a month long vacation before the attacks IS very suspicious…

            Do you actually believe in the conspiracy? Hmm…HMMM…

            As for the Rolling Stone, oh yes, that was extremely dissapointing. However, Entertainment Weekly is featuring Snakes on a Plane, which is kind of refreshing considering most mainstream critics have a stick up thier face regarding current culture [or they’re just jerks from jadedness…].

            • robolizard says:

              Re: Content context

              [the mighty robolizard mumbled]

              • automatoid says:

                Re: Content context

                It all begs the question –

                Why would the government have wanted to blow up the WTC in the first place? It seems like an awful lot of BS to go through just to get into Iraq (Remember Afganistan? Neither do I. And anyway, they didn’t even go with the “Saddam is aiding Bin Ladin” excuse in the end).

                And how the hell was the guy who would go on to develop a movie about the dangers of global warming -of his own accord- defeated by an incompetant, arrogant, can’t-even-chew-pretzels-right, coke-fiend imbecile in the first place?

                But you know what’s even more depressing than the most powerful nation on earth being run by a retard, or even the notion that the American government might have killed thousands of innocent civilians for reasons unknown? There’s nothing we can do about it. I mean, freedom of speech and soapboxes and all that crap is great, but really – the current government hires a few assassins to cap some rogue beaurocrats (ei anybody displaying a disturbing lack of faith) and a police state is declared and BAM. Even without political assassinations and martial law, if Bush came right out and said “9/11 was our doing. We did it to achieve X.” how many Americans would grab their guns and start a revolution?

                • robolizard says:

                  Re: Content context

                  Honestly, all of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the country was not a pile of rubble and smoke by the end of the day. I know there’s a conspiracy. Maybe not one where they CAUSED 9/11, but something is in the air…

                  • automatoid says:

                    Re: Content context

                    The way I see it as having gone down is this:

                    1) US Gov’t gets reports that Al Queda has plans to hijack and fly commercial airliners into the World Trade Center. The fact that these reports exist is common knowledge. Until the Ministry of Truth rectifies this mistake, anyway.

                    2) This, by some facet of the government, is seen as the perfect opportunity to put their terrible plan into action! What is this plan, you ask? I’m not exactly sure (and maybe neither were they), but it definitely involves the need for some insane amount of patriotism and maybe a bit of racial hatred. The middle-east is, of course, the new enemy of freedom after all. British? Waaaaaay old news. Nazis? Nowadays they’re all just fat and stupid. Communists? Took care of them like fifteen years ago. So at last it’s on to all those pesky muslims and arabs and etc etc. For the sake of this conjectural piece of literary spittle, I’m going to say that the plan was to get into Iraq. In all honesty, that seems like a really petty thing to accomplish through such destructive means, but it’s all I can see – everybody feel free to suggest the possible ends of this conspiracy.

                    3) The report is hidden away and perhaps withheld from the proper folks.

                    4) 9/11. Everybody’s terrified. Two planes have just crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. One plane has crashed into the Pentagon. One more crashed into a field in pennsylvania, most likely while en route to the White House. Is it just a coincidence that the one flight that missed it’s target was the one headed for the president’s home? Probably! “We’ll get to the bottom of these cowardly attacks frosty poop yadda yadda”.

                    5) It was Osama Bin Ladin! American soldiers are ready and willing to be shipped off to Afghanistan in order to avenge/protect their country. The world joins in the hunt for this vile beast of a man!

                    7) Oh yeah, also Saddam Hussein did it. I mean…he has weapons of mass destruction! Huh? I dunno, missiles or something. But seriously these are like…WHOA! Totally massively destructive. They could, like, destroy everybody in the world or something. Seriously dudes. I’m like, not BS’in you or anything even. WMDs…explosions and stuff…totally…

                    8) Leaders of the world quickly assemble to discuss this half-assed and highly illegal war plan.

                    -“Hey ! You can’t invade Iraq!”
                    -“Fuck you, United Nations! We’ve gotta save the world from Saddam! He’s got WMDs! (Seriously we like, totally saw them). And if that doesn’t float your boat, we also have to free the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein (More like So-Damn Insane! Am I right? Am I right?)
                    -“Stop! Or we’ll ask you more politely!”

                    9) Saddam Hussein is the new public enemy numero uno. 9/11 – Never Forget. Huh? Never forget what? Oh right, the trade center thing. America invades Iraq and captures former Iraq president and dictator Saddam Hussein. WMDs? Yeah, whatever. Anyway, let’s get to assembling an America-friendly government for them. Eh? Oh yeah, sure, I’ll bet Iraq would totally vote for these same guys anyway.

                    Meanwhile Osama Bin Ladin (the trade-center-thing-guy) sits comfortably in a cave somewhere, despite the internet’s most amusing flash cartoons.

                    10) After five years of people obsessively or otherwise studying the videos, photos, and reports, it’s evident that there are were an awful lot of strange inconsistencies and mysterious goings on. Todd Alcott posts an entry referring to 9/11 in his blog. People discuss. The End.

                    • automatoid says:

                      Re: Content context

                      ^I spaced on the part where the government places explosions throughout the WTC for maximum destruction – thus making it a bigger loss to the American public, and a better incentive for war (or some event that allows for “Terrible Plan™”‘s excecution). They probably had some guys watching the buildings for the whole day just waiting for the planes, and then settings off the proper bombs with a switch (if they were all just wired to automatically explode when the planes hit, they would have gone down too fast, and the smaller explosions would be obvious. Notice on the video how only “bombs” near the dust cloud go off. The ones outside the dust cloud could be attributed to nerves on the part of the button-men or because some only knew the general areas of the bombs, causing them to just trigger the bomb they felt was closest to the crumbling.)

                    • robolizard says:

                      Re: Content context

                      The end!? Certainly not! Why if anyhting else, this is merely the beginning… or the sick middle of an ineffective war on terror eating the country from the center and a war that cost 240 million [or more…] a day [enough to feed several third world countries for quite some time] and has caused more deaths than 9/11 in itself. Oh what… context…

                    • automatoid says:

                      Re: Content context

                      You know what? I’m gonna come right out and say what we’re all thinking.

                      Did anybody here actually see the planes hit? We all saw the video, but who saw them?

                      Dun dun duuuunnnn!

  2. popebuck1 says:

    Q. Why has Oliver Stone directed another movie?

    A. Because going door-to-door hitting people in the head with a sledgehammer was just too damned inefficient.

  3. greyaenigma says:

    Not to mention Vanity Fair.

    I can’t help but think that, like the forged document in the Bush National Guard debacle, the demolition fire is being fanned by the right just so they can make their opposition look foolish.

  4. leborcham says:

    Laughing so hard right now….at the Gilmore/Wenner convo that is.

  5. ghostgecko says:

    Oh boy, Stone. I imagine his investigation of the “conspiracy” is about as shocking and in-depth as the thing where you fold a dollar bill and it shows the towers being destroyed:
    How can you not believe PROOF like that?

    • robolizard says:

      Its unlikely, but very creepy…

      • ghostgecko says:

        It’s probably a control issue. Back when gov’t conspiraces were new, people were really shocked and upset by them. Now we expect the big bad gov’t to be working against the little guy but terrorist attacks are new and scary for Americans, so it feels safer to go back to the comfortable paradigm. Also note how gov’t being big and bad fits into that sort of hero’s journey thing, where the little guys fights the amassed forces of evil and wins, whereas the terrorist groups are the “rebels” and we’re (America, that is) the “empire” – not saying terrorists are the good guys, of course, but it’s unnerving to realize that to them, you’re just one of the stormtroopers being knocked over by stray blaster hits while they fight their way to the big showdown with Darth Vader.

        • robolizard says:

          Well, America is used to holding its government into account, but the people cannot control Bin Laden. Still, if such is true and Bush DID orchestrate the attacks, a lot of things would make sense, a lot of things would not, and anarchy would rule the streets. [Also would explain why the most powerful nation in the world can’t find a dying guy in a cave… delivering video tapes… Batman could do it… why can’t the US?]

          • ghostgecko says:

            Dude, I’m amazed Bush can spoon feed himself, much less organize something of that nature. Of course, it would be in the evil gov’t’s best interest to seem incompetant to throw us off the track, yes? I think it’s a christian conspiracy, myself. Heh.
            I tell you, some days I really do feel like putting on the ol’ tinfoil hat.

            • robolizard says:

              It would be perfect wouldn’t it, get an idiot to be the government’s face, and its whipping boy while the true gears work thier vile magic. This isn’t an ordinary conspiracy, somethings add up here and there. The terrorist attacks make the most sense, but only because the motives seem simplest. Why Kerry gave up the election when fraud was more than obvious, Florida in 2000, the vacation. Too much seems suspicious…

              • ghostgecko says:

                Nothin’ suspicious about Florida – I mean, gee, the governor was Bush’s brother. That is SO wrong.
                Besides, as I was saying elsewhere, all “elected” officials are actually blood-drinking reptilian aliens in disguise who are subjugating the human race. S’truth.

                • robolizard says:

                  See, you mock it, but the diffirence is you’re going on a hunch. The evidence is very suspicious.

                  • ghostgecko says:

                    Wait . . . evidence about vote-counting fraud, or evidence about Bush being a reptilian?
                    I joke because it’s an outlet for frustration. It’s batshit unfair, but there’s nothing one can do about it at this point.