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Know Is Wrong
In search of the truth
By Steven Martinovich
It takes a lot of chutzpah to entitle a book Everything You Know Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Secrets and Lies, a successor of sorts to last year's You Are Being Lied To: The Disinformation Guide To Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes & Cultural Myths. Like its predecessor, Everything You Know Is Wrong is a mixed effort composed of some stellar efforts which sit next to screeds more appropriate from a shrill high school student. And despite the fact that the book often fails to live up to its promise of uncovering secrets and lies, it is still nonetheless an enjoyable romp through the stories and events we think we know.
Everything You Know Is Wrong opens with what could quite possibly be the worst essay in the book -- a noteworthy statement given that both Naomi Klein and Howard Zinn also appear -- an attack on Thomas Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree and globalization in general by Greg Palast and Oliver Shykles. From there, however, the collection begins to gain some traction with only occasional missteps.
Impressive in the range of topics covered, Everything You Know Is Wrong touches on everything from the reputed murders of Henry Lee Lucas to the increasing prescription of psychiatric drugs for children. Cletus Nelson weighs in with a penetrating essay on the anti-racism industry and how it perpetuates itself with shoddy work and deliberate distortions while Philip W. Cook writes a provocative piece about what he believes are the true facts of domestic violence, ones that the media and activists won't divulge.
Where the book truly shines is where it dispenses with hazy conjecture and utilizes facts to challenge the orthodox version of history. Editor Russ Kick's essays on Columbine and the warnings ahead of the September 11 terrorist attacks are two such examples. Making use of eyewitness accounts, Kick makes a persuasive case that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were not the only two involved in the assault on their schoolmates. It's a conclusion that only fits given the illogic of accepting the belief that two students could lay out dozens of pipe bombs, plant a large propane bomb and do this in a busy school while heavily armed without raising attention until the shooting started. Similarly, Kick draws on established sources to show that al-Qaida had made it quite clear that a terrorist attack would be aimed at the United States with the World Trade Centre mentioned as a possible target.
Perhaps to remedy the glaring lack of conservative and right of center authors in You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong thankfully includes some authors that the right can enjoy. Libertaran Wendy McElroy, education activist John Taylor Gatto and Dominik T. Armentano, among others, make their presence felt with compelling argued essays. Other essays should interest anyone regardless of their political affiliation, such as disquieting ones on mad cow disease in the United States or who the real inspirations for Silence of the Lambs serial killer Hannibal Lector are. You'll be happy to know that they aren't in jail.
While Everything You Know Is Wrong rarely exposes true secrets - its story on the Waco assault, as an example, doesn't tell you anything that several documentaries and books haven't argued in greater depth already - it nonetheless boasts an interesting collection of essays that should challenge some of your deeply engrained beliefs and illuminate subjects you may not have given much thought about. Despite the fact that several of the essays will likely strain the patience of those not inclined to give the authors much credibility, Everything You Know Is Wrong is still a fun and compelling read.
Steven Martinovich is a freelance writer in Sudbury, Ontario and the
editor of Enter Stage Right.
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