Dear Allan’s Trash Bin

Dear Allan’s Trash Bin

While travelling with the family on my sabbatical to Mexico I met  a guy on La Saladita beach. It’s a really lovely beach. A forgiving, rolling left coming off the point that lets you surf all the way to the local bar. The wave is so long in fact, that you’ve developed the appropriate thirst for that compliment of nature to be handy.

I discovered that the guy, Allan Weisbecker, is an author of many books, great story teller, an ex-drug smuggler, surfing legend,  subject of a movie, writer for miami vice and 2 of his books had been optioned by Sean Penn and John Cusack too. Seemed like a pretty interesting chap.

I heard from the beach chat,  that he was writing a screen play by the beach (in the bungalow that Lea an I stayed in years ago when we stayed here) and I started to chat with him interested in how he worked in such a beautiful place. I learnt he was in the middle of making a film (a sort of auto-bio-surf-pic) and agreed to help him with it editorially / from a director’s point of view / as a new viewer . We also took some photos and had a good time. I quickly became embroiled  in the subject matter of his movie though.

He is an interesting dude, making a movie about how surfing brings a peace to his turmoil brought on by a his theories on 9-11 and Kennedy. It also asks the question: Am I crazy? If not, then what are you going to do about the world? You can see 7 minutes of the movie online so you can check it out for yourself. People love it. I really like bits of it too. I had some notes he liked, but talk about the movie quickly expanded into theories about everything (not everything, he has clear divisions between shit that is clearly not true and shit that is true). However, because of  a potential direct-interest I had, our conversation orbited the link between vaccinations and autism and how aspartame causes cancer. He brought up the vaccinations because he saw that I have children and I brought aspartame up because I drink a heap of it and I thought he’d have an opinion. Sort of as a test.

The test proved positive. But I plunged in regardless because something in my brain like this type of thing.

After 2 nights of terrible (in the sense of poor quality, one sided, un-enjoyable, inelegant) conversation with him in which he’d show me footage of a WTC building coming down and demand i explain how that could happen if not by a government conspiracy to destroy documents, start a war etc etc. Of course I could not. I learnt too slowly that a hastily composed theoretical answer would be crushed by a weight of data and research and facts (many of them interlinking).

2 nights in a row I was unable to sleep after our conversations, lying awake in bed coming up with better answers, alternative positions, a different take, something to make both of us not sound crazy or stupid. . I tried to understand where he was coming from, tried to empathise with how one would think like that, imagine so much Machiavellian brilliance at such cost. But I couldn’t buy it. Something about how his logic worked reminded me of looping, crazy thoughts that I’ve learnt to avoid.

I told him this and said i was done with it, but would be happy to chat about other stuff. He rolled his eyes and reminded me that all the information was out there if I would just bother to look for it.

But after a surf on the 3rd day, after resolving that morning not to have the conversation with him again, I realised what i needed to do. For both his and my sake. In order for his film to work, we needed to see more of his passion, hopefully capture some of the smooth connectedness of  the world that came through in his conversation. Some of what made him such a great raconteur. Some of the stuff that made me want to talk with him in the first place. Also, for people who weren’t going to be swayed by the information in his movie, I thought he could do with some more pathos, some more understanding of his character, his turmoil – so when you watched the film, you could get a better glimpse into his mind.

Some of his editing of people jumping out of the twin towers was extremely dispassionate to the victims and made me sick. I mentioned this to him too. I thought, if you could understand where he was coming from though, you might excuse it, might be prepared to give him a bit more time.

So I told him that I’d changed my mind, but I’d be doing the interviewing (explaining the above) and keep the cameras on him. I explained that I didn’t want to be the 41st person in his movie who couldn’t explain why Building 7 came down like his video showed (since being able to look around on the web, there’s a few good answers he must have known about and could have at least mentioned)… but I’d love to help him so he could implement some of the notes we’d talked about in making his film work better.

The interview went fine, as more of a provocateur now, rather than a defence witness, I found it easier to talk with him and didn’t need to exchange volleys (which is impossible when only one person has any information).He’s a fantastic thinker, very critical and tuned in.  Even skeptical and as a debater, very logical and informed. I asked him about my idea that a dogmatic person, someone who’s 100% sure of his position is raises some red flags for me. That dogma, in any direction is pretty surprising/unnatural/suspicious  and asked how he felt about that. I wish now I could remember what he said but if you see his movie you might see the response if it works in the edit. I asked him some questions about why he was trying to get the 9-11 (Was An Inside Job) message across. Interestingly, he said that his father was in WWII and served to promote the truth, rightness over a terrible evil. He thought he was doing the same, working tirelessly to serve the truth. He hated the idea that people were ignorant and would put himself  through the wringer to help them.

Finally, I asked him how it was all working out for him. I explained: If that’s your goal; to convert people to this point of view. In the 40 something interviews you’ve done, how many people have you got around to your side, or at least to a position where they could go and find out more about it?

Zero.

I thought that was a great place to end the conversation and went home feeling like I’d closed a nice chapter in my brain.

————————-

Cut to a few weeks later. He thoughtfully sends my some links to a movie about how hazardous Artificial Sweetener is (that’s his link), how it’s tied into Donald Rumsfield and more and a couple of links to Vaccination and Autism.

I do a quick online search on the matter. Based off his primer link, I look into Autism and a chemical called Thimerosal (a preservative they put in vaccines that’s a basically Mercury (ye gads)). There’s masses of unwashed links and loud opinion so I focus on meta-talk. Searching  New Scientist abstracts and Metafilter conversations. There’s lots to look at, including links to lots studies that back up the idea that explain why the scare has happened and I empathise with the people with autistic children being so afraid and angry if any of this stuff is true.

I quickly see that there’s a lot of controversy and people basically discrediting each other all over the place,  but basically everyone who I’ve trusted before regarding science I don’t pretend to understand, talk about the pro-autism camp being discredited crooks with fucked up agendas (this, by the way, is what everyone calls everyone else in these conversations). This whole controversy wouldn’t normally matter, but the “debate” really only serves to scare parents into not vaccinating their children which causes fear, confusion and disease.

I send Allan a brief summary of what I’ve found, try to explain where I’m coming from and he simply replied:

“..why would they discontinue thimerasol unless it was harmful?”

So, I’ve already done a bit of research and I know there are heaps of potential reasons, mainly the obvious which is “to be on the safe side” and the assumed which is that a vocal body of freaked out people can get shit done boy! Plus there’s a whole “The Thimerosal Convtreversy” on Wikipedia which answers this question better than I could. Seeing as he must be being half rhetorical, I can’t imagine he thinks I can explain it.So instead of getting into that I say

“maybe they ran out.”

——————–

Cut to a few weeks later, he sends me a couple of more links. Just on their own.

Mark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8-2boOIVdc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvJLIXjcccI
AW

2 news reports about Thimerosal (sort of news reports, not really.. something to get me interested i Suppose).. I respond:

thanks allan. looks like Thimerosal is a pretty dangerous substance indeed! mainly from the wiki page, they describe a whole lot of scary stuff!. But even that seems to give a reasonably relaxed overview of how some studies have freaked people out who then ignore other studies which might relax them. which means nothing of course, but it something. They’ve got a nice over view of the contreversy too.
The first video seems totally hysterical in tone but a quick google to the counter relieves me.

looks like geier has been suspended for being a bit unreliable and is causing hysteria, he’s a passionate spokesman.. which makes me not love him as a scientist. The whole clip (and that voice over) is fear-laden.
my normal reference for science related review (new scientist) has ongoing discussions on it, most of them pretty relaxing, but they do cover the new research in both directions, which i like.
really though, there’s so much stuff out there which comes off less hysterical, more study reviewand says these guys are wrong that i feel o.k. abut risking it.
mostly though, i can see why people would love the answer to autism to be this simple and why people would get on board this train.
thanks for thinking of us
p.s. we are thinking montauk this week! are you in?
(and here’s my source of links to both side

http://www.metafilter.com/42800/A-stunning-vaccine-coverup#958312)
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/114/3/793.abstract

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:GMKxoDBU1NAJ:www.newscientist.com/article/dn7076-autism-rises-despite-mmr-ban-in-japan.html+autism+thimerosal+new+scientist&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au&source=www.google.com.au

I’m not claiming these links are definititve, just that there’s another side that’s worth weighing up in the conversation.

He gets back to me re my enquiry about Montauk, which is nice. But I want to know how he responds to the information  which made me feel better about his information (by which I really mean “discredited” I suppose, but I say in the email “I’m relaxed about” rather than “I don’t trust your sources, they’re psycho”).

And this is the difficulty with this type of conversation: if you’re trying to convince someone of something, and they don’t like your sources then the conversation is over. It works in both directions. That’s why i tried to go to reviews and meta-studies.

So I ask him about the links I sent

He responds…

i ask you why THEY SAY they’ve quit putting thimerosal in vaccines and you answer with ‘maybe they ran out'; you don’t watch a movie that points out that you are poisoning yourself — and you ask me if i have been paying attention to you?
an old one:

a drunk bangs on the firehouse door, wakes up the firemen. they open up. drunk points at the house across the street, which is on fire. firemen go back to sleep.

Next day they’re asked why they didn’t put out the fire across the street.

‘Guy who told us about it was a drunk.’

We’re degenerating a bit here with email quoting, but this gets so amazing, just hang in there.

So I’m like:

both got selective bias i suppose….
You hate it when i joke, but seems like  you’re not willing to take part in a conversation about what i’ve seen either, so you know, we both see what we want to… fire coloured glasses perhaps.

But that said, i don’t think either of us have enough time to pick apart everyones sources and the facts in them. Which is why meta-studies are handy:

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/114/3/793.abstract

already linked to my new scientist stuff.. that’s the best i can do
didn’t see any autism movie links you’ve sent. only one to sweet misery. there was a fox news story about a celebrity who’d written a book about autism. Again, looking at my links  suggests that study review sources are cool with autism and i’m cool with it. Kennedy seems to be pretty shady and “Salon magazine subsequently amended Kennedy’s article five times due to factual errors and later retracted it completely on January 16th, 2011, stating that the works of critics of the article and evidence of the flaws in the science connecting autism and vaccines undermined the value of the article to the editors”
but re the question why THEY SAY they removed the stuff.. passionate minorities driven by incorrect data can be motivated to get stuff done, even if that thing is’n’t right. Or maybe they dd it just in case, better safe than sorry… there’s a few studies that show autism continuuing to rise after they removed the stuff in
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiomersal_controversy

http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/library/Danish%20Thimerosal-Autism%20Study%20in%20Pediatrics.pdf
but seriously if you click through nothing else (think of it like a bunch of good answers which you could choose to consider or ignore)

http://www.metafilter.com/42800/A-stunning-vaccine-coverup

that’s enough link stuff. i think i feel a bit like you. If you’re not willing to look at what i send you, then that’s cool too.

So at last, Allan goes to the next level. It surprised be and made me feel a bit sick.

mark,
http://www.whale.to/vaccine/yazbak201.html

http://www.bloomingtonalternative.com/node/10560

i already showed you that big pharma controls govt and semi-NGOs like the ones who publish those bogus studies, plus JAMA, CDC, etc. this is well known to anyone who cares to look into the matter.

no, wait. i have done all i can and will do to help you and your children. i am done. done done.
(ed: if only)

i’ll put it this way:

statistically, a certain percentage of vaccinated children will in the future suffer from autism and other awful, debilitating disorders.
in many cases this will because of ignorance on the part of the parents. a lack of information.
this is not the case with you. you have been informed.
therefore, were in my power to select children who of statistical necessity will suffer from autism and other awful, debilitating disorders due to vaccines, i would choose your children, both of them. this way, two other children, whose fathers are merely ignorant and not in terminal denial, will not suffer for life.
my Mexican friend Pato is correct. you do not love your children (with your ‘i’ll take the risk’, you sum up the proof). you love feeling ‘relaxed’, and not ‘hysterical’. this is a sin i cannot forgive, nor should i.
regarding aspertame, which you have failed to mention at all: ditto, re my magic wand. ditto in spades. i refer to you and brain cancer and the other awful disorders aspertame clearly causes.
to put it another way so it’s absolutely clear: if i could wave a magic wand in the above way, i would ruin your life (while saving two other children): it is what you represent, and it is YOU personally, who is responsible for the overall misery of our species.
i am, however, glad i met you, for the sake of my film, even if only one other parent sees you for what you are and shakes his/her denial.
i don’t know your wife, but considering her apparent lack of parental due diligence, i have no sympathy for her either.
i feel deeply for all children, including yours. i am glad i do not have a magic wand.
aw
your flippant enjoyment of our correspondence inflames my stomach. do not try to contact me again. your email now goes straight into trash.

Wow.

—–

This is really the worst thing anyone anyone has ever written to me. It’s set my head off into that old space, thinking of responses randomly at night, while talking about something else, on the toilet, whenever. It‘s in my head again dammit.

So, seeing as he’s cut me off, sending me ‘straight into trash’. So even if I wanted to do this more, I couldn’t.

It’s so outrageous though, I’m thinking the healthiest thing to do is to start a conversation with his trash bin. Sort of a nice, zero response repository for ideas of responses to someone like this.

Here’s a coupe of emails i assume he’ll never read. In a segment, I like to call

“Dear Allan’s Trash Bin”

Dear Allan’s Trash Bin
Subject:  Mission to change the world.
How’s that going for you?


 

Dear Allan’s Trash Bin

Subject:  Why did we even start talking about this?

My kids are already vaccinated.


 

Dear Allan’s Trash Bin

Subject:  Anomalies
You say

therefore, were (it) in my power to select children who of statistical necessity will suffer from autism and other awful, debilitating disorders due to vaccines, i would choose your children, both of them. this way, two other children, whose fathers are merely ignorant and not in terminal denial, will not suffer for life.

You know it doesn’t work like this (thankfully). But I get your point: you’re really angry, but wow. Was that meant to bring me around to your point of view?


Dear Allan’s Trash Bin

Subject:  p.s. That’s cold.

That is so cold.

MS


Dear Allan’s Trash Bin

Subject:  At least you were listening

You say

your flippant enjoyment of our correspondence inflames my stomach. do not try to contact me again. your email now goes straight into trash.

I hope you’ve got a filter to make it automated.

MS


Dear Allan’s Trash Bin

Subject: My Fault

You say

and it is YOU personally, who is responsible for the overall misery of our species.
Wow, like that is flattering and confusing (and angry).

Thought: Isn’t it you’re inability to teach me properly that is truly to blame?

MS


Dear Allan’s Trash Bin

Subject:  Sorry we fought

Hey Allan, I’m sorry we fought.

MS


Dear Allan’s Trash Bin

Subject: Vaccinations in Mexico

Assuming vaccinations work, but carry a risk. How many children would die of not getting vaccinated vs. the possibility of Autism based on this science you’re 100% sure of (need inverted commas somewhere, please help)? Don’t let Pato let children die because of controversial science and fear mongering.


Dear Allan’s Trash Bin

Subject: How’s that going for you?

If there’s any credible science in this autism field, you’ve done well to discredit it by association.  Is it possible you’re doing the same to the other issues we discussed? I would propose another tack.


Dear Allan’s Trash Bin

Subject: What?

So no visit to Mantauk?


I think that’s it! That’s the last of the late night thoughts that need to be purged. Thanks Allan’s Trash Bin. You’re the best. Tell Allan I enjoyed our time together in some odd S&M type way and I wish him the best. Peace out.

 

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