Journalist Jon Ronson enters the world of conspiracy theorists.
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2001  

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Himself - Presenter / ... (5 episodes, 2001)
...
 Himself (4 episodes, 2001)
Jack McLamb ...
 Himself - Police Against the New World Order / ... (3 episodes, 2001)
Gail Gans ...
 Herself - Anti-Defamation League (2 episodes, 2001)
David Icke ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 2001)
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Jon Ronson investigates on a secret organisation called the Bilderberg group, which supposedly rules the world from behind. He demonstrates this organisation really exists by trying to attend one of their meetings. He interviews many people involved with the organisation, who give their point of view of this conspiracy theories. Written by Paras

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2001 (UK)  »

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When the continuity announcer described the tie-in book for the series, she said it was called "Theme, adventures with extremists", when in fact it was called "Them, adventures with extremists". See more »

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Dances With Lizards
18 March 2008 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

British journalist-writer Jon Ronson takes a refreshing, entertaining and sometimes shocking view at the world of conspiracy theorists: Does the Bilderberg Group secretly run the world? Are the Powerful Elite sacrificing children at Bohemian Grove? What really happened at Ruby Ridge and the Oklahoma City Bombing? Who are David Icke, Alex Jones and the Anti-Defamation League? I highly recommend to watch his series "Crazy rulers of the world" as a complement, and read some of his essays at www.coldtype.net — he's a much better writer than Michael Moore.

The best of the five parts for me is "The legend of Ruby Ridge", an incident hardly known outside the US that exemplifies all the cultural differences between gun-controlled, "civilized" Europe and the wild, sometimes unfathomable West. In the 1980's, Randy Weaver, a gun-toting, non-conformist, white underdog with Neonazi ties took his family to live in a remote cabin on the hills of Ruby Ridge. According to interviews in the film, federal agents tricked Weaver into selling them illegal sawed-off shotguns, to coerce him to spy on the Nazi group. Weaver refused and was issued a court date, where he failed to appear and let it be known he would not be taken off his mountain alive. What ensued — after a whole year in which the Weavers had time to develop their paranoia — was a full-blown law enforcement assault. A police officer turned activist narrates how US marshals killed the family dog and shot 14-year old Samuel in the back with automatic weapons, after the boy had sprayed them with a shotgun for killing his dog. Weaver's daughter Rachel, then 10 years old, recalls how her mother was shot through the head by snipers while holding the baby. "They were everywhere", she describes the confusion and terror inside the Weaver house. This is contrasted with media snippets where the killing of dog and boy is ridiculed and sneered upon, while protesters rally outside the siege cordon with Nazi groups holding up "Death to ZOG" (Zionist Occupation Government) placards. The Ruby Ridge victims, dead and alive, were turned into martyrs with their very own protest song. Rachel, the only fully innocent and rational human being in front of the camera, had to endure a live performance for the film. I wanted to slap the artist, and Randy Weaver double.

US law enforcement, Randy Weaver, Alex Jones, "Big" Jim Tucker and numerous other protagonists offer a tunnel view into the depths of the American mind, while David Icke is a British creation. I had never heard of him. Like his American ilk, he is targeted by the Anti-Defamation league for alleged "Anti-Semitism" and hailed by extreme-right-wingers for code-talking about the Jewish elite as "lizards", while Icke himself insists he really, really, really means Alien Beings From the Nth Dimension that have somehow infiltrated humanity. Once again, given the reptilian behavior of our leaders, many would agree they must be extremely cold-blooded and/or in dire need of burning an effigy of conscience in Bohemian Grove once every year. Icke is the perfect example how groups all across the spectrum can read their paranoid fears into almost everything. The spooky thing — watch the very worldly "Crazy rulers" series —, is how ideas mutate and spawn new ideas, or may be reinterpreted along the lines of very old ideas. So the ADL, with all the history of Jewish suffering in mind, may have a right to jump at shadows. On the other hand, they fit the description "conspiracy theorists" perfectly.

The true followers of Icke or Jones may be few, but much of what these two say and experience in the movie strikes a true chord. And Jones is sexier than Noam Chomsky — I've watched Jones's documentaries as enjoyable attacks on my wits, until I got to the water fluoridation part. Jones is arguably the most intelligent of the bunch. There is a real conspiracy, and it's been going on since time immemorial and involves all of us, to a degree. Call it human nature. The Germans bore Hitler — whom American right-wingers can only twist into an idol of freedom because the basic concepts of solidarity have been so thoroughly demonized in this one-man's country —, like people bear evil all over the world. It's only when they themselves become outcasts that they speak up. With few, but remarkable exceptions like Chomsky, John Pilger, Ilan Pappé, Ramsey Clark, the Ploughshares groups or any whistle-blower who paid with his career. Ordinary people pay the heaviest price, they are usually denied their share of glory or even recognition.

Jon Ronson deserves credit for braving controversy and going out to investigate the fringes of society, and thereby shed reflected light-beams on the attitudes of the whole.


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