Sunday, September 16, 2018

Conspiracy theory with Captain Freedom

“Governor” Jesse Ventura is a TV show host with a remarkably colorful background, including Vietnam veteran, wrestler, movie actor and…yes…governor (of Minnesota, to be exact). As a pro wrestler, he was known as “The Body”. In “Running Man”, he was known as Captain Freedom and pitted against Arnold Schwarzenegger's character. It's great fun to note that two of the actors in this dystopian classic went on to become state governors.

“Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura” is a TV show featuring the former governor as host and lead investigator, peeking into various supposed conspiracies hatched by the U.S. government, the intelligence services or global cabals. Veteran conspiracy buff Alex Jones is featured in several episodes. Topics covered include 9/11, HAARP, 2012 Apocalypse, climate change denial and “The Culling”. Ventura confronts security guards, FBI agents and other supposed conspirators, while meeting with whistle blowers at deserted air strips or obscure taverns...

Most of the drama is obviously scripted, and it's not clear whether The Body really believes in the conspiracy theories he is promoting. The whole thing reeks entertainment, and probably should be taken with a grain of salt. As for the conspiracy theories themselves, a few are outlandish but most are vaguely plausible, which simply adds to the confusion surrounding the concept. After all, being plausible is not the same thing as being true!

In a sense, watching “Conspiracy Theory” could be seen as cultural studies. It may not uncover any dramatic new evidence for conspiracies, but at least it gives you a good overview of what kind of claims a large portion of the American public actually believes in. In that sense, I suppose you could say that Captain Freedom deserves three stars.

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