Why do people act so stupid? This is a question I’ve thought about a lot over the years, as I’ve tried to combat fake news and fake history.
My documentary, Conspiracy Theorists Lie (2015), has been available on Amazon Prime for about a month now and I’m happy to see that many more people are finally getting an opportunity to watch the film. Unfortunately, this has also attracted more diehard conspiracy true believers, who hate my work (if not me personally). Elma johannessen [sic] left a one out of five star review entitled, “Movie made by a sheep,” with a single sentence critique: “Seriously just a LONG movie to say that if you believe there is a conspiracy in the assassination of JFK you’re an idiot!”
At two hours and twenty-five minutes, I readily admit that my film is long, but it was hard to decide what to exclude. As it stands, there was far more left out than in, but still, it is long, and I’m sure that discourages some people from checking it out, or sticking with it to the end. Beyond that, however, I think Elma’s review speaks far more about the mindset of the history denial crowd than it does about me or my work. I know that I can come off as arrogant, since I am telling millions of people they are wrong about a topic they hold dear, but I have never said, and do not believe, that these people are idiots. It is precisely because I do not believe people are idiots that I have tried hard to reason with them. Elma needs to make up rude words to put in my mouth, so that she can pretend her own rudeness as justified.
Sadly, this is typical of so many people I encounter, not because they are stupid, but because human beings are often ill equipped for the world in which we find ourselves. Most people, regardless of the time and place they live(d) in, have a natural inclination to stick with what they think they know. They are comfortable with it, therefore it must be true. We rely heavily on our emotions and tent to use our reasoning skills only as a means of propping up our feelings, rather than making a genuine effort to examine if our feeling are justified. We also get caught up in narratives far easier than we evaluate facts. And we take it as a personal challenge when the facts do not fit the narrative traps we are in. To make matters worse, we do little as a society to teach critical thinking skills (no, being critical of others does not equal “critical thinking”), which is very unfortunate, since thoughtful assessments of reality are vital to our technologically advancing and democratic world.
I would like to believe that my work can help counter this tide of misguided thinking, but I fear I am only succeeding in making the haters hate me more.
Giorgigirl is another Amazon customer who give me a one of out five star review, under the title, “LAMBERT IS ANOTHER MEDIA HACK!” Her argument: “This Lambert and everyone interested in the real truth of the murder and coverup should read and study the US Government’s final findings by the AARB. This was ordered by Clinton. The year 1992. A wealth of facts including names in Government high positions that were involved. I find this insulting to the life’s work on many intelligent and educated men and women who have risked their lives to expose this truth. Many in fact have been silenced by odd and convenient deaths. Research yourselves, study all the facts, not hearsay.”
It is almost funny how Giorgigirl can warn people to avoid hearsay and study the facts while completely misrepresenting all the salient points. The AARB (The Assassination Records Review Board) was a group headed by four historians and one lawyer who examined all the available records related to President Kennedy’s assassination. They spent years going through material, including many things that had not been seen by the Warren Commission or the subsequent Congressional investigation of JFK’s murder. Their job was to compile information and recommend dates for release. It was not another investigation of the crime, per se, but it would have been huge news if they found anything that pointed to a conspiracy. I do address this piece of history in my film, where I show a lengthy clip of one of the historians on the review board speaking on C-SPAN, and making it clear that they did not find any evidence of anyone in the government, high or low, or anyone other than Oswald involved in the shooting, but maybe Giorgigirl didn’t watch that part? Regardless, she doesn’t actually quote anything from the AARB, or any other “research” she has allegedly done for herself, to back up her assertions and beliefs. Why do you think that is?
I could go on like this all day – countering lies and errors, pushing back against hostility and willful ignorance – but, is it worth it? I haven’t received one new, positive review for Conspiracy Theorists Lie since it went live on Prime, and that’s pretty discouraging. Still, I soldier on. Perhaps that is my own, special brand of stupidity in action?