Beginning with “Alex’s War,” a documentary about InfoWars’ infamous talk-news conspiracy guru Alex Jones has been described by various media outlets as “a performance artist,” “paranoia porn” and—in the words of John Oliver. – “The Walter Cronkite of screaming bat-shit guerrilla clowns.” All of them, of course, are correct. Although none of this fully captures the important figure Alex Jones has become, he is systematically deplatformed. (Of course, of course, it helped his cause. It tarnished his image and even created a legend as someone who speaks truth to power that you don’t want to hear from him.)
A few decades ago, when he was rising as a fearsome scourge of “globalism” and other evils, many of us dismissed Alex Jones as an outlier and a self-promoting blowhard, who was ultimately an insignificant voice crying out in the wilderness. His extreme faith. There’s no denying that he had the charisma of a right-wing fire-breather like Michael Savage. But Alex Jones’ defining quality was a willingness — more than that, a compulsion — to lend credibility to conspiratorial nonsense. The Oklahoma City bombing, he said, was an inside job, brought about with the help of the US government; So was 9/11. These beliefs, or so it seemed at the time, were on the fringes.
As it turned out, though, Alex Jones, with his hilarious fruitcake madness, was New Age incarnate. He has, in some frightening ways, remained consistent in his beliefs, always blaming the government – and by extension, the global cabal – for any calamity that befalls us. The claim that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was staged, which he has stuck to for years, another hologram of the government’s grand scheme to control us, may sound, on its face, like someone who has lost faith. Mental faculties. Yet how much of a leap is it from that level of distorted reality to the trope that Jones became head cheerleader two years ago: Joe Biden stole the election? And it’s a belief that has captured the Republican Party, not to mention a good chunk of the American electorate. While Alex Jones was, and is, a bat-shit guerrilla clown, the truth is that to a disturbing degree this is his world now, and we just live in it.
“Alex’s War” is a movie that helps us understand how that happened. Directed and edited by Alex Lee Moyer, this is a rather unique film, in that it is two hours and 11 minutes long, and for that entire time we are immersed in the world according to Alex Jones. It would be rare to call the film uncritical. It presents, without commentary, a documentary record of Jones’ career, from his early days on public-access TV to his status as a rabble rouser of rebellion as a talk-radio maven, a man who played a key role in stoking. Rage fueled the chaos and destruction of January 6. Moyer gained incredible access to Jones, but you could argue that in doing so he allowed his movie to fall into its role. “Alex’s War” never hires Jones. It never frames its celebrity as part of a larger social virus of dark fantasy and misinformation. It doesn’t show you anything about his personal life or his business of using politics to sell health supplements. “Alex’s War” is so free that an Alex Jones fan can watch it and think, “He kills!”
So how can this be a responsible film? in the following manner. “Alex’s War” is not a piece of pro-Jones propaganda. It’s closer to a piece of media-age vérité that lets us know what the facts are, and we don’t need to hold our hands as Jones advances his red-pill view of reality. Still, one might ask: doesn’t this neutral perspective create the danger of making Jones seem more practical and attractive than he is? I would argue that this is the strength of the film. Alex Jones is An attractive personality — to his millions of followers. He’s not just an Alt-Right talk host with whom you can disagree; He is a cult leader, like Donald Trump. In either case, if you don’t understand its original appeal, you’re just putting your head in the sand.
Jones now looks like a retired pro-football lineman or an aging biker, with a grappling build and a beard growing to offset his thinning locks. We see him leading protests in Washington, DC and Atlanta, where he helped root the “Stop Theft” movement. As he shouts down the street through a bullhorn, he has a commanding air of world-weary bruiser-of-the-people, freedom-fighter-martyr. At 48, he carries himself like a rock star from the Dispossessed. If they make a biopic about Jones (and they should), the actor who plays him will be Russell Crowe.
But “Alex’s War” also features a great deal of archival footage from Jones’ earlier days, and the material is fascinating, as you see how he’s evolved, and how far ahead of the new down-the-ribbon curve he is. The hole was America. Born in 1974, he grew up in Rockwall, an affluent small town on the outskirts of Dallas, where he was an athlete, street fighter and criminal. His family moved to Austin (to keep him away from the harsh environment of Dallas), and he has lived in a liberal stronghold ever since. As a teenager, Jones may have been a punk, but he was also a voracious reader, consuming comic books and science fiction and big fat tomes about history and fascism, as well as “Julius Caesar” and Gary Allen’s “None Dare Call It Conspiracy.” “, from which the film quotes: “In politics, nothing happens by chance. If it does, you can bet it was planned that way.” (It would be hard to think of a statement presented as a holy truth that is so wrong.)
During this period, Jones’ family friends included an American operative who talked about covert missions, as well as people involved in secret government research into psychedelics. You think: Fair enough. But then Jones says, “My father had friends with the John Birch Society, so they had background noise about one-world government, cashless society, plans to break up the family and all that.”
This is a surprising quote, because it contains Jones’s shibboleths. Jones is always talking about the “research” he does (that word is a tick for him, as if he’s Woodward and Bernstein uncovering the New World Order). But what that quote reveals is that he absorbed much of his ideology as a teenager from the John Birch Society, an anti-communist, anti-Semitic club that had been marginalized by the conservative movement in the late ’50s. William F. Buckley. You only need a few short lines to connect the dots from “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” to Birchers to Jones. That is his research.
In the ’90s, when he was still young (he turned 20 in 1994), Jones was pretty good-looking by Hollywood standards. With his blond hair and regal smile, he resembled a sunny-jock version of Bruce Davison with a touch of the lost bridge brother. He was a natural camera object, and he felt right at home talking on camera. He had the look of money: tight-lipped, thousand-yard, with unwavering eye contact. From the beginning, he was a dystopian fabulist, which became his form of showbiz. We see him at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing, sowing the seeds of a conspiracy—which, as he now realizes, is anything you can do. “Why has the media ignored two seismograph reports from the University of Oklahoma that show two eruption patterns?” he asks. “I’m not sitting here claiming to have the answers, but I do know this: They don’t want you to know anything. They’re keeping something from you.” Welcome to the New Truth!
It wasn’t all conspiracies though. Jones was like a preacher, and what he was preaching was a religion – “Stop Dehumanization.” And really, who doesn’t think that contemporary America is inhumane and getting worse? Who doesn’t sometimes feel, in this society, over-controlled – by technology, by institutions that regulate technology, by government working hand in hand with corporations, by one but two political parties – out of touch with the needs of the average person? Jones, like Trump, tapped into all of that. But what gave it meaning was that Jones, a political corny barker, used a conspiracy to reverse-engineer history. For him, every disaster, every predicament, everything about our world that you don’t like Planned and the reason. who? by they. Globalists. Pedophiles. Tech corporations who want to use vaccines to sterilize the population.
Jones had an interface with traditional media—and built his story—when BBC filmmaker Jon Ronson recruited him to infiltrate Bohemian Grove, an annual two-week gathering of the rich and powerful at a 2,700-acre campground in Monte Rio, California. He and his cameraman, Mike Hanson, went in pretending to be fat-cat members of the aristocracy, and once there they filmed a Bohemian grove ceremony, “The Cremation of Care,” in which members dress up and cremate effigies in coffins. Before the 40-foot owl. Jones’ explanation – that the men were doing it to atone for their sins – was pure speculation, but there’s no doubt that when the footage was shown as part of the BBC’s “Secret Rulers of the World”, it looked out of place. “Eyes completely closed.” This became the cornerstone of Jones’ “evidence” that the world is overrun by a cabal of globalist creeps.
Yet Jones, by his own admission, finds most of the evidence he seeks within himself. We see his broadcasts at Sandy Hook, where he says something like, “My gut tells me that the people who control the government were involved. And it’s not even the gut, it’s the heart. It’s in my heart: I know things, I feel Things.” Ah, research! The obscenity of the Sandy Hook rant, in which he claimed that the massacre was “a giant hoax,” was far from insane. Parents of Sandy Hook victims sued for defamation (they’re seeking $150 million in damages), and that As a result of the lawsuit it was just reported today that the parent company of InfoWars has now filed for bankruptcy. We see clips of Jones in a deposition, dissembling the worst kind – apologizing for what he said, but not really. Not denying reality. He’s fake. News has become the Olympic champion of doublethink. But its other champion is Donald Trump, who we see asking a crowd on January 6, “Does anyone believe Joe had 80 million votes?” He’s using Jones’s Sandy Hook argument. I feel it, so it must be true. Forget the globalists. This is the new world order.