I don’t know if this phrase …

… originally from Adam Savage or if he’s quoting someone. I think it might be his.

Today, I was in an internet argument with someone (can you believe how many people on the internet are WRONG???) and I used a phrase like that. Then I instantly lost the argument. Here’s how it went:

We were arguing about whether or not JFK was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald shooting from the sixth floor of the Book Repository. This guy was claiming that the evidence was pretty clear that something else was going on, and I was challenging him with facts.

He told me that my facts were wrong simply because they were facts that I was merely claiming to be true (from written documents, mainly), as opposed to his facts, which were facts he had heard somewhere. Amused and bemused, I said “…You are not free to construct your own reality…”

To which he responded, ” am indeed free to construct my own reality if I wish. In fact, all realities are constructs and subjective and we all have them, so that pont is irrelevant. ”

I’m not sure that a French bridge has to do with the Grassy Knoll, but I”m sure he has some reason to make the connection.

When I was a kid, I remember people coming up with JFK conspiracy theories. One kid I knew in school went off to Dallas, supposedly, to break into the seventh floor of the hospital and liberate Kennedy’s body, on life support. I paid little attention to most of this, but then one day, when I was about 19 or so, I decided to read two or three books on the topic and find out what all the noise was about. So I got myself a couple of conspiracy theory books, read them, and learned what conspiracy theories were all about.

At the time of Stone’s JFK, I was pretty much able to cite an recite the details of most of the JFK assassination conspiracy theories. As I read about the originally, thought about them later, and then, saw Stone’s move, I became increasingly convinced that they were all wrong, in part because the evidence was pretty messed up and contradictory, then eventually, I realized that the creation of a conspiracy theory is in fact its own cultural construct, a kind of cultural mental illness, actually, that had its own life and its own reason for existing. But, even so, I never during all that time articulated a proper counter theory, or more to the point, a proper refutation of the theories.

I did have three conversations that shaped some of my thinking on this. One was from an experienced military sniper who said something like “Yeah, sure, that kind of shit happens all the time” in reference to the “magic bullet.” One was with a guy who had worked with a neurosurgeon who, in turn, worked on Kennedy. This was in relation to the “missing brain” tissue which forms part of the conspiracy theories … brain tissue that held evidence which was destroyed. The autopsy weight for the brain was something like 300 grams, and it should have been closer to 1800 grams or so. I’m told the surgeon noted that “We just put down a number … there wasn’t any brain to speak of. The guy was shot in the head.” The third conversation was with my friend Nancy DeVore, and this pertains to the seeming ned among conspiracy theorists to find people or organizations or groups of people (Hoover, Castro, the Mafia, the Cubans, LBJ, the Soviets, etc. etc.) to have wanted to shoot Kennedy. Nancy, who grew up near Dallas but has moved by the time of the assassination to Cambridge, Mass, simply said, “He was a Yankee Liberal from the North. Everybody in Texas wanted to shoot him.”

Much later on in time,I came across a book that discussed the assassination from a differnt perspective, criticizing the conspiracy theories, and independently examining the evidence. This was Case Closed by Gerald Posner. Posner does an excellent job of describing the facts and explaining the circumstances. From this book I find the following things to be most interesting:

1) Oswald attempted to assassinate another person earlier in time, and the bullet from that attempt matched the rifle he used to kill Kennedy.

2) Oswald apparently only found out that Kennedy woudl be in Dallas at the last minute, and happened to have only three bullets to his name at the time.

3) Oswald was on the list of people the FBI would have normally rounded up for the visit of the President, but they thought he was in New Orleans.

Think about these facts in relation to all of the conspiracy theories, and you will eventually come to understand that Oswald shot Kennedy, and acted alone.

Jack Ruby … now, that’s an entirely other question ….

Comments

  1. #1 Fred Nurke
    April 30, 2012

    Greg, a new-to-me theory I heard lately was that Oswald was actually gunning for Connolly, having had a beef with him earlier. Did you find anything of substance relating to that?

  2. #2 Navin
    April 30, 2012

    @1 You can google “The Great Expectations of John Connally” a book that made that argument. Oswald and Connally crossed paths during Oswald’s discharge and defection to the USSR. The theory got wide coverage in 1988 from a Time Magazine cover story. It’s specious to say the least.

  3. #3 Sleazeweazel
    April 30, 2012

    Greg: Why would you even have such a conversation? We all agree that the world is full christians, conspiracy theorists, and other such kooks, all of whom construct their own reality. Spare us the animations and inanity and instead tell us more about the pigmys, how much dope they smoke, the music that results, the size of their genetalia and how they manage to mate with well endowed bantus, and especially how often they get eaten by pythons. In other words, get your butt back in the boonies where you belong and send us some reports from the field!

  4. #4 Calli Arcale
    April 30, 2012

    Ah, but Dwarfers know who really did it.

    JFK was shot by an alternate future version of himself, brought back in time by the Red Dwarf crew, who had accidentally prevented Oswald from killing Kennedy, and then bungled two further attempts to fix the problem, resulting in America losing the space race and JFK eventually being sent to jail after a massive scandal involving organized crime. And all *that* was from a misguided attempt to get a curry for Lister.

    :-D

  5. #5 Jack Sprocket
    April 30, 2012

    Everyone knows that Kennedy was shot by Buck Suppository and Gracie Knowle.

  6. #6 TTT
    May 1, 2012

    Stone’s “JFK” is the most fiendishly successful and convincing piece of conspiracy fantasy I’ve ever seen. Even as I know it’s a complete fraud, I still find it convincing when viewed solely in and of itself.

  7. #7 Johnny Vector
    May 1, 2012

    The only theory that makes sense to me is John Weidman’s “Assassins” theory. Oswald was actually everyman, just one of us, until the book depository scene. And even then he was only goaded into shooting JFK by the urgings of Guiteau, Czolgosz, Zangara, Byck, Hinckley, Fromme, Moore, and Booth.

    I mean, if you’re gonna invent your own history, it might as well have music and lyrics by Sondheim, right?

  8. #8 Left_Wing_Fox
    May 1, 2012

    Looks like Adam was Quoting The Doctor.

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_first_said_I_reject_your_reality_and_substitute_my_own

    What’s this obsession with the Grassy Gnoll? Do people seriously think that a hyena in a Ghillie suit shot the president?

  9. #9 feralboy12
    May 1, 2012

    The line is from a low budget 1984 movie called The Dungeonmaster. I forget exactly what the set-up line was, but my immediate response was “I reject your reality and substitute my own.” I was a bit surprised to hear the character onscreen voice my exact thought.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    May 1, 2012

    Using Yooz Guyz’s information I’ve posted a QUIZ on my facebook page asking for the origin of the term and directing readers here.

  11. #11 DeFKnoL
    May 3, 2012

    JFK wasn’t shot! He’s alive and well doing gigs with Elvis in the Chinese outback. Anyone should know that! LOL

  12. #12 orin
    May 7, 2012

    The autopsy as well as the Zapruder film indicates that the back of JFK’s head was blown off. That could only be an exit wound. Also, the initial motion of JFK was for the head to snap BACK. This was explained as an involuntary muscle response. But I question whether the initial motion would be forward as physics demands (part of the bullet’s momentum has to be converted to head motion), and any involuntary response would lag the initial motion by many milliseconds.
    That is not an alternative set of reality facts.
    As for Jack Ruby…well…!

  13. #13 Thomas
    May 7, 2012

    Robert Kennedy´s assassination on the other hand, it has conspiracy potential although for some reason few bother with it.

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