Oh, lord, I would have been in the room too if I'd known the 9/11 "truthers" were doing a conference here in Madison.
This conference was organized by the Scholars for 9/11 Truth, or at least one version of them. The Madison event at the Radisson hotel was orchestrated by James Fetzer, a former Marine Corps officer with a Ph.D. in the philosophy of science.Barrett was the voice of reason. Conspiracy conviviality -- that's what's needed.
Six months ago, Fetzer parted ways with Steven Jones, the man Fetzer asked to co-chair the organization, who accused Fetzer of allowing the group to wander into the realm of science fiction. Jones now maintains his own group, which vehemently denies any association with Fetzer's methods.
"I consider myself to be in the mold of Sherlock Holmes," Fetzer told the crowd. "When you've eliminated the impossible, whatever is left, no matter now improbable, is the truth."
One of the participants trying to keep things calm was Kevin Barrett, whose inclusion of 9/11 in his curriculum on Islam in a course he taught at UW-Madison caused quite a controversy.
Barrett, who no longer teaches the course, took the stage to try and express his concerns about the public image of the movement.
"I think we need to focus on conviviality in this movement," he declared. "We 're not the miserable paranoids people think."
Saturday's lunch included a free sandwich bar...There's no such thing as a free sandwich.
Saturday focused on many of the more popular theories, beginning with inconsistencies at the site of the Pentagon crash and moving on to a controlled demolition of the towers. By Sunday the conference had covered weather control, weapons from space, and the idea that the planes that struck the towers never existed at all.Yes, yes, now go get your sandwich. Eat, drink, and be merry. Merry and paranoid.
Fetzer, in his closing remarks before lunch, declared the conference a sterling example of open scientific discourse. "I feel as though we 're right back at JFK," said Fetzer. "We're down the rabbit hole again."