“Only puny secrets need protection. Big secrets are protected by public incredulity.”

– Marshall McLuhan


When a good friend contacted me three or four years after 9/11 to tell me the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were an inside job, aided and abetted by elements within our own government, I was furious.

“I’ve never known Sharon to read a newspaper in her life,” I fumed to my wife when she asked why I was so angry. “And she expects me to believe her hare-brained story about 9/11?” Joy had never met Sharon but had heard enough of my L.A. stories to know who she is. Both of us are expats now, Sharon in Portland and me back in my hometown in the Midwest. We’d kept in touch fairly regularly, but this conviction of hers about 9/11 made me wonder how
well I knew her after all. “I’ll send you a video,” she said. “Just watch it with an open mind, okay?” It arrived a few days later: a documentary of poor production quality and implausible conjectures appropriately titled Loose Change. I did try to watch it with an open mind but heard myself muttering expletives and invoking the names of the Lord and his only begotten son as if I were overhearing someone else. Someone who sounded as if he was about to lose it at any moment. Thanks in part to my dismissive if not entirely negative critique, my wife had no interest in watching it.

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