Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Alex Jones vs. the chickens

Every so often, there is justice in the world.

This time, the fabled chickens coming home to roost are casting their beady eyes on none other than Alex Jones, that purveyor of wacko fringe conspiracy theories about everything from the New World Order to "Pizzagate."  His wife, Kelly Jones, filed for divorce in 2015, and they are now in a custody battle over their three children.  Understandably, the fact that Alex Jones gives every evidence of being a raving maniac came up more than once.

"He’s not a stable person," Kelly Jones said in court.  "He says he wants to break Alec Baldwin’s neck.  He wants J Lo to get raped...  He broadcasts from home.  The children are there, watching him broadcast."

Which would certainly be enough for me, were I in her shoes.

Alex Jones's lawyer, Randall Wilhite, responded with an approach that strikes me as risky; he claims that Jones doesn't actually believe what he's saying.  "He's playing a character," Wilhite said. "He's a performance artist...  Using his on-air Infowars persona to evaluate him as a father would be like judging Jack Nicholson in a custody dispute based on his performance as the Joker in Batman."

Yes, well, no one is claiming that what the Joker says has any connection to reality, whereas there are lots of people who believe everything Alex Jones says, not least the President of the United States.  In fact, Donald Trump appeared on Infowars last year, and told Jones, "Your reputation is amazing.  I will not let you down."

That connection has only grown stronger since Trump won the election.  Two weeks ago, Jones said on air that Trump had invited him to Mar-a-Lago, but Jones had to respectfully decline "due to family obligations."

"I'm still in regular telephone contact with the president," Jones said.  "But I must apologize, because I can't always answer the phone when he calls."

Trump's not the only one who takes Jones seriously.  Just last week, Lucy Richards of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was arrested after she missed her court date stemming from charges of making death threats to Leonard Pozner, whose six-year-old son Noah died in the Sandy Hook massacre.  Guess why Richards threatened Pozner?

She believed that the Sandy Hook killings were a government-staged "false flag," that no children were killed, and that the grieving parents were "crisis actors" who had been hired to play the parts of bereaved family members of the supposed murdered children.  She wanted Pozner to confess that he was a government plant, and 'fess up that he didn't actually have a son named Noah.

All of which she found out by listening to Infowars and other alt-right conspiracy sites.

Pozner himself said he'd like to be at Jones's trial.  "I wish I could be there in the courtroom to stare him down to remind him of how he’s throwing salt on a wound," Pozner said, "and so he can remember how he handed out salt for other people to throw on mine."

As for Jones, you'd think the threat of losing custody of his children would be sufficient to get him to reconsider his loony on-air persona, whether or not he actually believes what he's saying.  But no: just last Friday, Jones had as a guest alt-right spokesperson Mike Cernovich (himself the focus of some scrutiny because of some horrific statements he made to the effect that most cases of rape are false accusations).  On this show, Jones and Cernovich discussed why the Obamas were in French Polynesia, and came to the conclusion that it's not because it's a nice place for a vacation, it's because French Polynesia doesn't have an extradition treaty with the United States.  "Notice he’s staying out of the U.S. right as they move to try to overthrow Trump," Jones said.  About the Obamas' daughters, Sasha and Malia, Jones said, "The word is those are not even his kids."

"The word is."  Meaning "a goofy idea that Alex Jones just pulled out of his ass."

So apparently Jones doesn't think he's got anything to worry about regarding the upcoming custody case, even though if he wins it, he'll be effectively saying under oath "Your Honor, I am a big fat liar."  It's to be hoped that the judge won't buy this, and will slap him down hard, as he's richly deserved for some time now.  But the sad truth is that even if he does win -- in fact, even if he stood in the middle of Times Square and yelled, "Nothing I have ever said on air is the truth!  I lie every time I open my mouth!", it wouldn't diminish his popularity or trust amongst his listeners one bit.  Look at Trump's supporters; the man seems genetically incapable of uttering a true statement or living up to any of his campaign promises, but the diehards still consider him the next best thing to the Second Coming of Christ.  

Hell, they said Bill Clinton was slick.  I recall one comedian saying that Clinton could stand right in front of you and say, "I am not here," and everyone would look shocked and say, "Where'd he go?"  But Clinton was bush league with compared to either Trump or Jones.  The fact that Trump has a significant fraction of American voters convinced he's the Anointed One of God, despite the fact of being the only person I've ever seen who embodies all Seven Deadly Sins at the same time, is evidence of how fact-proof people have become.

And as for Jones, I am certain that however the custody trial comes out, he won't lose a single listener, and he'll be right there to launch the next round of horrible rumors and conspiracy theories.  Even if the chickens come home to roost, Jones probably won't have any difficulty converting most of them to fricassée.


  1. scary esp fornthose kids. But even for the rest of us too.

  2. It doesn't sound like he really wants to have anything to do with the President. You know you're doing badly when Alex Jones thinks associating with you will lower his reputation.