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106 Ash, The Avalanches
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‘ 1 12 Trigger Happy TV, The Miles Davis Story
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Them: Adventures With Extremists (Picador 5‘16) 000..
on Ronson is known for his whimsical
columns and documentaries, which
uncover the delightful quirks of ordinary people, with Ronson as a shambolic Everyman who stumbles into bizarre environments through his own naivety. Observing his career, you’d think his future lay in absurdist sitcoms or spoof detective shows.
Instead, he has come up with this complex and possibly even groundbreaking study of Western capitalism, conspiracy theory and governmental intransigence and their complex and often disturbing inter-relations. Them is framed as a series of Dickensian comic fables in which our fumbling narrator befriends a selection of ‘extremist’ figures. Ronson’s thesis is that all political extremists believe ‘that a tiny elite rules the world from inside a secret room’. On the surface this is upheld, although the details change: David Icke believes that the secret room is populated by giant lizards; the KKK believes it is populated by pro-black activists and Jews.
Comedy comes not from jokes, but the many points at which the methods and manners of the good guys overlap those of the bad guys. Thus Omar Bakri Mohammed ropes Ronson into acting as his chauffeur and bumbles affany through the international furore following his declaration of a Holy War in England; Dr Ian Paisley, preaching Christian charity in Africa, is a pathetic bully, addressing Ronson as ‘the Jew’ throughout his trip.
At their basis, Them and Ronson’s forthcoming TV series, are incisive studies of the relationship between citizens and authority. The ‘secret room’ of paranoiacs’ fantasies becomes a metaphor for governmental opacity and control, a place where the truth is converted into something different and fed back to society.
The second and best piece in the book, ‘Running Through Cornfields’, introduces a
family, the Weavers who, although they believed that ‘a clique of primarily Zionist international bankers . . . wanted to establish a genocidal New World Order’, rejected overtures from the white supremacist Aryan Nations. Yet,
they were still tricked, monitored, surrounded and shot by the FBI, state police and other armed forces, killing two members of the family. It demonstrates, with wrenching bathos and sadness, how misinformation, paranoia and fear on all sides can escalate into tragedy and corruption.
He also tries to trace the mysterious Bilderberg Group, and is intimidated, discouraged and ridiculed for his tenacity and verges on becoming one of the fanatics he wished to investigate. But guess what? Bilderberg is a collective of internationally famous white, male global capitalist leaders who meet secretly to determine future market and governmental strategy across Western Europe and North America.
While Ronson’s infiltration of one such meeting is hilarious, the underlying message is vitally important. Everything Douglas Coupland and Naomi Klein suspected was true; there is a One Nation movement after all, and it takes the form of fundamentalist capitalism. Bilderberg is what we have instead of God.
Citizens count for nothing in terms of political power. Read Them
and learn. (Bidisha)
I The Secret Rulers
Of The World starts Channel 4. Sun 29
jun Ronson HHfM
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Everything Douglas Coupland and Naomi Klein ' ' suspected was true; gums there is a One ' Nation movement ' after all, and it takes the form of fundamentalist capitalism. *
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1 1 7 Restauranteurs have their say
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