Movie Night With the 9/11 Truthers -- Conspiracy Theories, Bad Music, and, Hey! Free Popcorn!

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An evening at the 9/11 Film Festival -- sponsored by, among others, the San Francisco Bay Guardian -- which commenced last night at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland.

The vibe here is mild, friendly, and decidedly Baby Boomerish. The guy who takes my ticket jovially announces that there's "free popcorn! " I wonder if the vibe is too mellow for people who sincerely believe that Republicans murdered 3,000 of their fellow Americans. 

As I settle into my seat, the familiar whine of acoustic guitars being tuned wafts through the P.A. system Once again, the American Left shoots itself in the foot by allowing goofballs with guitars onstage at a political event. The first guy sings a song called "London Calling 7/7/05" about the London train bombings: "They blew up some train cars/they blew up a bus/National Security something something/questions from us." He follows it up with a song about the dogs who worked with the rescue effort at Ground Zero, and how "their feet were getting burned by molten steel." Apparently this is significant.

The next guy sings a song which contains the line, "their noses grow longer/The Matrix grows stronger." He confirms my suspicion that Hollywood is largely responsible for the existence of the 9/11 truth movement.

Architect Richard Gage is an animated, happy guy, and the audience seems to like him. He represents "830 architects and engineers" who demand a new investigation into 9/11. Gage is a self-described former Reagan Republican who says he experienced a political epiphany after listening to a radio interview with 9/11 Truth figurehead David Ray Griffin.

After a stupendously tedious 10-minute video about Thermite and suspicious pools of molten iron (you get the feeling the audience isn't really paying attention either, but is just happy to have a sciencey-sounding guy on their side) he introduces: the David Ray Griffin.

Griffin is a Doctor of Theology and prolific author of books about 9/11 conspiracies. He is a very charming, elderly man whose current mission is to prove that Osama Bin Laden has been dead for several years, thus invalidating the Obama administration's justification for the War in Afghanistan.

While he does his thing, my eyes drift to a banner on the wall that reads "9/11 TRUTH ENDS WAR." This seems implausible. If it's eventually proven that a cadre of American neoconservatives murdered 3,000 of their fellow citizens, wouldn't that start a rather grisly and protracted civil war? I know I would be happy to enlist.

Griffin concludes his Bin Laden speech by stating that he hopes his efforts "can help shorten this [Afghan] war." The war he's referring to has been going on for eight solid years with no end in sight. At some point, you'd think the people in this movement would have to look in the mirror and admit to themselves how ineffectual their efforts have been. But, hey -- free popcorn!

After Griffin leaves the stage to a standing ovation, a representative of the Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance hits up the audience for money. I shrink in my seat as volunteers fan out into the aisles waving boxes with dollar signs on them.

The biggest celebrity of the night is Loose Change filmmaker Dylan Avery. He seems like a nice enough kid, but when I tried to watch his movie on YouTube, I just couldn't sit through it for more than five minutes.

The title is self-incriminating; the movie is a hodgepodge of loosely connected "facts." The newest version, which Avery presented tonight, starts with Hitler and the Reichstag fire, and quickly moves on to Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor (also a conspiracy theory), apparently to convey the message, "governments love doing inside jobs."

At this point, I simply had to catch a train home. Or at least that's what I told myself as I exited the theater.

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