Abuse your illusions
by Noel Rooney
[ bookreviews ]
Abuse your illusions is the third in Disinformation's series of publications, following You are being lied to and Everything you know is wrong, a 'guide to media mirages and establishment lies'. If you don't know the Disinformation website (shame on you) these books are a more than adequate introduction to their way of thinking.
The format of the books suggests a technical manual, and this may not be accidental; together, the books are a manual, a primer for the disaffected, covering bases well-known and obscure, from political myths and conspiracies, through medical farragoes and academic mendacity, to religious scandals and sceptical revisions of widely accepted (should that be 'swallowed'?) histories.
Many of the contributors began as cogs in the machinery they now scrutinise, expose and critique. Most are ignored and vilified by their erstwhile colleagues and the mainstream media; but these days being marginalized is hardly a minority pursuit (and not exactly a stigma), and being booted out of the establishment club means access to a huge and growing constituency of passionately pissed-off people.
What impresses me most about this series is the sheer breadth of skulduggery it surveys: paedophile priests in Marian shrines rub shoulders with venal scientists lying for corporations; murderously callous politicians share shelf-space with racist police departments and drug-dealing spooks. Mainstream history is prised open, so the unspeakable crimes of the victors are forced to blink at the light after decades of comforting darkness.
The list of contributors is a roll-call of dissidence's doyens, marvellously malicious mavens picking bones with the hackneyed purveyors of what passes for truth in what passes for the mainstream. I'm beginning to treat my manuals as handy references, dipping into them like I do a dictionary or an encyclopaedia, to remind myself of things that look a damn sight more like facts than the stuff that falls out of the idiot box.
These books should be on the shelves of every school and college library, serialised in broadsheets every Sunday, extracts recited after the news (for a touch of balanced reportage). Sadly, they are, at least for now, confined to those of us arrogant enough to think we are really in the know.
I only hope that, when the American empire collapses and the dust of 'democracy' settles, some of these books - and their assiduous, intrepid, wonderfully bloody-minded contributors - are still around to say we told you so. Come that glorious day, I'll even forgive them a little smugness.