Friday, October 13, 2006

Loose Change on the Upper East Side: Part I - Introduction

Two days ago, Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and a flight instructor named Tyler Stanger crashed a small, single engine plane into an apartment building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. Both perished in the accident, although miraculously no other lives were lost. The investigation into the tragedy continues, although initial indications are that the accident may have been the result of a botched u-turn attempt over the East River.

Watching the events unfold on television, I was struck by how confused many of the eye witness accounts were in the initial chaotic moments. Hmm, I thought, this might make an interesting blog post. While I was thinking about it, I stumbled across this posting at Screw Loose Change, which then led me to this message board at the Loose Change website. For those who are unfamiliar, the guys behind Loose Change are among the more prominent of the 9/11 conspiracy theorists.

My oh my, did I ever hit the mother lode of material for mocking. My plan then was to put together a posting on some of the wackier things people were saying about this accident. A funny thing happened on my way through the loony bin, though: I had way too much material. Cutting and pasting from what I thought were the best quotes and points, I quickly had six full pages of excerpts, way too much material for a typical blog post of reasonable length. So, I am going to try a little experiment, and put together a miniseries, if you will, on a single topic. There will be six posts to come after this one:

• Part II – Chaos and Its Consequences
• Part III – Suspicious Timing
• Part IV – Burning Passports and Other Questions of Physics
• Part V – Statistics, Numerology, and Other Things to Do with Numbers
• Part VI – Names, Names, and More Names
• Part VII – Conclusion: Why This Matters

All the postings will come over the next few days. If this experiment works out well, I might use it on occasion for other topics that are best dealt with in longer form. We’ll see how it goes.

Right off the bat, though, let me fess up to an unusual coincidence, and let the conspiracy mongers among us get their research tools out. I live about 50 blocks south of the plane crash this week, and on September 11th, 2001 I lived about 30 blocks north of the World Trade Center (different apartment, obviously). I know there are forces in the conspiracy movement that will undoubtedly determine I’m some how in on it. In my defense, however, I will point out that in the intervening time I lived in Philadelphia a few years for grad school, and to the best of my knowledge there were no serious aeronautical events down there during my presence. Of course, I probably just moved down there for a bit to knock everyone off the scent . . .

So sit back and enjoy. Part II will follow later today. In the meantime, if you missed it, check out the South Park from this past week on the 9/11 conspiracy theorists (part 1, part 2, part 3). As Cartman sings in the episode:

“Is it wrong for me to ask questions?
Is it wrong to seek the truth?
I can’t just blindly accept their version.
I can’t base my logic on proof.”
Hopefully we’ll be doing a bit better than that. More to come.

UPDATE: Over the past few days, the Loose Change website has had a revamp. The old forum appears down, and they now have a new forum (registration required) that doesn't seem to contain the old threads. I've left the link to the old message board up, although it isn't working now. If I find a new link to the old threads, I will post it.

1 comment:

The Girl in Grey said...

Oh, you're now marked as a genuine member of the evil conspiracy.
Welcome to the club, chum.