An Essay-Review of Where Did the Towers Go? by Judy Wood, Ph.D. Part One
Sunday, June 19, 2011
This is a magnificent book, and a magnificent gift to the 9/11 Truth Movement and to humanity. Speaking as someone who has tried for several years to stay abreast of developments pertaining to 9/11, I must say that the amount of work that went into it is not just amazing it is shocking. It is a beautifully produced book of five hundred glossy pages, printed in “China,” filled with labeled, annotated and diagrammed photographs, maps and charts, completely referenced. How it can be offered at such a low price I don’t know.
Years of piecemeal perusal of such material give no inkling of what happened, compared with the clarity now provided by Dr. Wood. I found many, many photographs I had never seen before. Everyone should insist that their public library have at least one copy. You should buy your own at Dr. Wood’s websites, www.WhereDidtheTowersGo.com, or www.drjudywood.com.
Many readers, especially those who see themselves as Dr. Wood’s adversaries, will be tempted to treat the book as a work of reference, looking only at the sections they have a particular interest in. Such treatment would be profoundly unfair. The book’s case is, among other things, cumulative, and it should be read starting at the beginning, proceeding through the middle, and continuing to the end. She is a writer deserving of this, too.
Such a magnificent gift should be celebrated widely. Things being what they are, however, this will not happen immediately.
The Truth Movement is unlike other movements commonly identified as political in nature, in that it is concerned not with values but with facts; not with good or bad, better or worse, but with true or false. Feelings, theoretically, play no part. Since this is so, it should be much easier, it would seem, to come to agreement.
But there is a further matter. If something is true, what is the best way to communicate it to another? To large numbers of others? These questions are much more like matters of better and worse. If there is a fact of the matter, it is certainly unknown to anyone. It is much more like the question, “What is the best thing for me to do now?” Each one is likely to have their own opinion, and comparison and testing of such things is only beginning. We are in the alchemical stage. Chemistry does not yet exist.
The less fact is available, the more strongly opinions are held opinions about what should be said to what audience, in what circumstances, when. Fellow alchemists, we are dealing, let us recognize, with explosives.
I attended Dr. Wood’s lecture “9/11 – The New Hiroshima” in Madison, on 7 August 2007. By the time I read her book I had forgotten that I had. I was well into the video of that lecture, before it came back to me. In 2007, it made little impression on me because I was viewing all 9/11 evidence through the prism of how easily it would be likely to be accepted by Joe Six-Pack. He was the one who counted, in my mind. Dr. Wood concentrated on things like the fuming of the debris pile, holes in buildings and streets, toasted cars, and the vanishing spire. I knew how easily Joe would shrug those things off.
I recently met an engineer who is a long-time employee of a defense contractor. He had somewhat heard of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, but drew a big distinction between that group and other “Truthers,” on the ground that the Architects were the only ones concerned with facts. Although no Bushnik, the others were, to him, just Bush bashers. It still seems to me that the process of informing him should not start with the (very real) difference between smoke and the fuming of the debris; and perhaps Dr. Wood would agree. But often Truthers talk among themselves, as we should, and there is no reason for us to silence ourselves when doing this, pursuing our own areas of special interest, and expressing our own differing views.
Unfortunately, most of what is called the Truth Movement has not even gotten as far as considering the question of the best way of getting the truth to be believed privately, much less the distinct question of getting it publicly accepted, of overcoming pluralistic ignorance. Mere repetition is called discussion. Someone whose idea of the best way to proceed differs from one’s own is not unlikely to be perceived as harming, not helping: a “disinformation agent.” Such partings of the ways may discourage for a while, but they are inevitable as the Truth Movement grows to encompass more and more divergent sectors of humanity, and they are of decreasing importance as the Movement grows larger and ceases to be a mere “movement.”
One mistake the Truth Movement in its early stages has made is to judge the effectiveness of messages as if they were all directed to the same sort of audience; and that audience has typically been taken to consist of the media’s Yahoo Chorus and the Morlocks who pay attention to them. For reasons you may discover in the books of Bob Altemeyer, they are not typical of the population as a whole, and they are not the ones we should address ourselves to.
A common tactic of the enemies of Truth is to speak as if anyone who disbelieves the Official Conspiracy Theory, or as I prefer to call it, the Patsy Cline (“I Fall to Pieces”) Theory, must have a fairly detailed alternative to put in its place. Such an alternative, if provided, is then taken to be a statement of the Official 9/11 Truth Movement position, when no such position exists.
Another common tactic is guilt by association. Because the Chorus is sure to use this weapon, the Movement has decided to adopt, or has not thought to disown, the idea it presupposes: that anyone appearing on the same stage or the same page as someone else, anyone guilty of talking with another, anyone belonging to the same organization or who believes some of the same things, must be as disreputable as that discredited other.
There are indeed people whose idea of evidence is pretty hard to discover, and who are ready to believe and recommend anything that has the emotional tone they find congenial. Some of them have little learning, and little interest in getting more. Some of them must be frauds. Of course some of these people may be Truthers, just as they may be lefthanders or former Republicans. And some may be spies.
The perception of a problem posed by this fact is illusory. Of course the media will say we are all like this. Let them. Be what you are, say what you think, and people will eventually recognize you. You need not wage war on heresy, because the Truth Movement is not a religion. It is more like what Dennett and Dawkins recommend.
But note that saying what you think doesn’t have to mean, always and everywhere, “Say EVERYTHING you think, all the time.” When so many New Yorkers have never even heard of Building 7, much less younger people who could not be expected to be aware of what was happening then, and have yet to discover the world beyond the corporate media, does this make sense? I recognize that my ideas of what is true and what it is appropriate to say will not always match others,’ but I do not see in that a reason not to further a project I approve of simply because another activist is involved; much less to shun them for life.
The bare minimum of what unites the Movement is simply the position that the Official Conspiracy Theory is false. What most of the Truth Movement has been advocating since its inception has been precisely a public, (as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States was not) unbiased investigation, with subpoena power, to determine what did happen. It is a close corollary of that minimal position that the OCT, or Patsy Cline Theory, cannot have been put forward honestly, and that, therefore, what is also called for is a National (or International) Commission on the Cover-Up of the Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
One of the things I much admire about Where Did the Towers Go? is its control of language. 9/11 showed the world things it had never seen before, things for which it had no words. Forced to talk about them, the world used the nearest words it could find, the most prominent one being ‘collapse’, (‘fall’ is a close second) which was instantly suggested and supplied by the media. Dr. Wood refuses to be coerced in this way, and creates her own, more truthful, vocabulary. I hope the growing Truth Movement at large will follow her lead and burst the linguistic straitjacket it was born wearing.
We were shown an airplane crashing into an extremely tall building, shortly after another plane had crashed into another building. However horrific, those events were comprehensible. Then, an hour and more later, we were shown something no one had ever seen before: entire buildings disappearing by dissolving into dust from the top down. Wood says that they “went poof,” and they did. Her title’s question is quickly answered. According to Chemical and Engineering News, a million tons of building were turned into aerosol in a matter of seconds. (pubs.acs.org/cen/NCW/8142aerosols.html). This was accomplished, according to the Patsy Cline Theory, with no deposition of energy, but strictly by the force of gravity. Then they were literally blown away by the wind.
One piece of terminology which I think is indisputable is ‘disappeared’. I think there can be no disputing that at one time an immense building was there, and a few seconds later it was not there. There was nothing left standing. “Gone, man.” If the Truth Movement had from the start adopted the use of this and similar and more effective terminology (‘vanished’, etc., and also ‘gravity’) the last ten years would have been quite different. How does steel and concrete “collapse” to dust? In seconds? By using their words, as Lakoff says, we allowed them to frame the issue to our disadvantage. Initially, everyone was too frightened to insist on an apparently pedantic accuracy. Both the crashes and the disappearances were terrible to think about; therefore, the first must have caused the second. Obviously, the first had something to do with the second. If it didn’t cause it, what was its reason for happening, for taking up so much space in our minds? Only much later did it become apparent that the planes had crashed to make us think that they had “collapsed” the Towers. No one could have dreamed of such a thing at the time. The point, the payoff, of The Big Wedding was then in the future.
Oliver Wendell Holmes’ one-hoss shay broke everywhere, all at once, into dust, but he was only amusing his audience; he did not pretend, in real life, to be reporting on something he actually saw (or videotaped). The Towers, and the people in them, took about ten seconds to turn into dust, and when people were told that gravity did that to the Towers, just as gravity did it to the one-hoss shay, many accepted the story as complacently as his poem. But it is not amusing.
Dr. Wood writes for two classes of her readers: A, the Patsy Cline Theorists, those who think steel and concrete disappeared because of gravity, and B, those who either,
1.) don’t believe directed energy devices were involved because they don’t exist, or,
2.) don’t think they should be mentioned in public even if they do, because they are too unheard-of, and will make people discount everything else that is said about the absurdity of the Patsy Cline Theory.
But the Patsy Cline Theory is so absurd that nothing can support it rationally. That Theory is a profound insult to the intelligence of the world, offered on the basis of a shrewd estimate of its courage. Its only hope lies in the ignorance of those who don’t know what it says, and the fear of speaking of those who do. (And the loud support of those who favor everything that the sacrifice of 9/11 was designed to bring about, and are sorry that it didn’t accomplish everything it was supposed to. There’s always next time, though.)
The Patsy Cline Theorists constitute group A, and the Truth Movement constitutes group B. Such is the state of things that Dr. Wood puts quotes around the Truth Movement, and does not consider herself part of it. But we need a name for group B, and ‘Truth Movement’ and ‘Truther’ are pretty well entrenched. (And the opposite of ‘Truther’ is ‘Liar’.) I prefer to use the term simply as the complement of A, and as including Dr. Wood just as much as myself. Her alienation is due to the antipathy of those Truthers in subclass 2., who are so firmly persuaded that mentioning such things is the Kiss of Death for the Truth Movement.
Why should it be? The hypothesis explains things nothing else does, and the Chorus will exercise its scurrility regardless of what we say. Instead of being coerced into answering questions about how secret weaponry works, (if we knew, would it be secret?) let us simply retort a question about what causes cars to catch fire spontaneously before peoples’ eyes; how they are moved into impossible positions with no apparent damage to them or their surroundings, how steel beams are suddenly bent into pretzels, and flat three-story sections of cladding are rolled up like carpets. By gravity?
Cindy Sheehan was originally of the Patsy Cline school of thought, and was eventually converted to 9/11 Truth, but she draws the line at ideas she calls “bat-shit crazy.” That line will eventually recede, as she learns.
Both Dr. Wood and subclass 2. are correct, or at least plausible, in what they advance positively, and ineffective in their attacks on what the other side says. Dr. Wood describes the ecumenical attitude of that last sentence as “The Kitchen Sink.” (p. 126.) Both she and her detractors have both right and wrong in what they say. Sorting out what, in my opinion, is which, is a large task, which I shall address in Part Two.