Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson (2001)

, 2 May 2016

Fascinating, entertaining, funny and intriguing, "Them" is a companion to the doco series The Secret Rulers of the World, which revolves around the the Bilderberg Group's nature, aims, members, activities and secret meetings. "Them" is also a portrait of extremists of all sorts and conspiracy-theory believers done by getting to know these people directly and personally via Ronson. "Them" is, above all, an exposé of how nonsensical beliefs morph and adjust in the mind of people and groups whose values and belief systems are, a priori, totally contrary, and on how delusion can create a sort of matrix that feels very real to those people who plug into it. Finally, this book is, at a more personal level, an exploration of the meaning of being a Jew, of who the Jews, the Jewish and the Zionists are according to people who are not Jews done by Ronson, a lapse Jew.

"Them" surprises, like many other Ronson's books, because presents the extremists from a very human point of view, with detachment and compassion at the same time. They are normal people after all, with families, beliefs, and a heart, people who live very normal lives, even though part of their normality is also extremism. They believe that we all, the others, are the real extremists and not them, and they are not happy to be called or considered extremists. As Ronson states, "I thought that perhaps an interesting way to look at our world would be to move into theirs and stand alongside them while they glared back at us."

Who are these persons? They are neo-nazis, anti-Jews, anti-Catholics, anti-blacks, anti-Christians. All these people share the conviction that power elites, the Bielderberg Group, orchestrated the 11/9 attacks, those in the World Trade Centre were part of the New World Order, "an internationalist Western conspiracy conducted by a tiny, secretive elite, whose ultimate aim is to destroy all opposition, implement a planetary takeover, and establish themselves as a World Government."

The people profiled in the book are:
1/ Omar Bakri Mohammed, the so-called Osama Bin Laden's man in the UK, a Muslim extremist who lived in UK from welfare, profited from free speech to preach Holy War on Britain, and was part of an active movement to support Islamic Extremism and Sharia Law anywhere, the UK included.

2/ Rachel Weaver's parents (Randy and Vicky), left the world and retired to an isolated cabin in a mountain area in Montana, because they believed that the world was being secretly ruled by a group of Zionist international bankers, "global elitists who wanted to establish a genocidal New World Order and implant microchips bearing the mark of Satan into everyone’s forehead."

3/ Jack McLamb lives and the small Christian community called Doves of the Valley. He is an ex-policeman, drummed out of the force after he created an organization called Police Against The New World Order.

4/ Big Jim Tucker works for an underground paper called the Spotlight, which supports neo-nazi  views and is obsessed with the activities of the Bilderberg group.

5/ David Icke, an ex-footballer turned sports commentator turned spiritual guru, who believes that the World Rulers are in fact body snatches of the Annunaki Lizards from the lower fourth dimension, whose aim is to dominate the world.

6/ Thom Robb, the Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, lives with his family and an informal army of white supremacists in the Ozark Mountains, wants to create an independent state oblivious to the moral decadence of the USA. He believes that Hollywood is a crucial part of a global Zionist conspiracy and moral decadence.

7/ The movie director Tony Kaye halfway through the  editing of his début film, American History X. 

8/ Jeff Berry, the Imperial Wizard of the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, one of Thom Robb’s chief rivals, a man famed for saying ‘nigger’ freely on television.

9/ The Ku Klux Klan historian Richard Bondira, who sells Klan merchandise on the Internet and advertises himself as the keeper of a Klan museum.

10/ The Aryan Nations group in Idaho.

11/ Dr Ian Paisley, the Northern Irish Protestant nationalist and independent evangelical pastor, obsessed anti-Catholic and anti-Papist. 

12/ Mary Moore, a local anti-Bohemian Grove activist.


Ronson does a great job at creating a profile of what the Bilderberg Group is according to the extremists, to then go directly to the very members of the group, one of the founders included, and provide their version of the group's reality.

So, who are the Bilderberg group according to the extremists?
> They rule the world from a secret room.
> Every year, in May or June, this global elite go to a secret summer camp north of San Francisco called Bohemian Grove, where they get together and do all types of debauchery, sexual perversion and the same people who belong to the Bilderberg Group belong to it. They’re witches and warlocks.
> They start the wars, and cause famines and chaos.
> They control the governments, the presidents, the candidates of the major parties and are setting up the one world order.
> We haven't heard of them because they own and control the Media.
> They have been ruling the world in secret since 1954, when Joseph Retinger, a Polish immigrant, created the BG, which was called this way because their first meeting took place in the Bilderberg Hotel in Holland.
> They are Zionist Jews or just Jews.
> They are Machiavellian Papists according to others.
> They meet annually in Bohemian Grove, in the logging town of Occidental, where they perform  ceremony called the owl-burning ceremony or cremation of care, with depraved satanic pagan  ceremonies.

Who are the BG according to the BG Members?
Ronson contacted dozens of Bilderberg members, who ignored him between 1999 ad 2000 when Denis Healey one of the founder members of the BG contacted Ronson. Thanks to this conversations we know how the BG operates, as described at length in chapter 12 How Things are Done. It is important to remark that 
> they rotundly deny that they  secretly rule the world, but Ronson's interviewees admit that International politics and affairs had been influenced by these sessions now and then.
> They are against Islamic Fundamentalism and other extremisms because they go against democracy.
> They don't consider themselves a secret group but a private group as they speak freely of anything and don't want journalists middling in and attacking something they don't know anything about.

I have never seen the documentaries, but the book stands alone well. "Them" is well-written, very well structured and "staged", and most of it has just a great cinematic feeling that makes the reading truly enjoyable. No wonder that the rights of the book were purchased to turn it into a movie. It feels like a movie but, sadly, all of what is mentioned in the book is real. Ronson does a great job at presenting the subject  in a very entertaining way, with very humorous real-life episodes, mixed with serious reflection and research (even adventure) journalism.

Like in other of his books, Ronson has the great virtue of keeping his English Phlegm burning even when people are talking badly about the Jews, and at keeping his Jewish origin as hidden as possible, or perhaps not openly displayed, and at getting the trust of people who, then, he exposes without any regret. Ronson wants to present to us who the extremists are and what they stand for. That is great. What I find somewhat unethical is his apparently willingness to make those same people believe that he is a sort of unbiased analyst, even a friend, when he is basically a journo writing a story.

I think the book can be easily used to study the concept of Alterity.

I found the chapter on Romania's Ceauceuscu very entertaining but way off subject despite the fact that Ronson says that "I had come to Romania because I imagined that an auction of Ceauescu’s belongings was a fitting microcosm of what I believed went on inside Bilderberg meetings." As a reader, I don't agree.

The story of Randy's Weaver is very sad and depressing, and I found great that Ronson delved into the deep trying to bring up to the public the version of the killing of the family in the family cabin.

The chapters Clearing of the Forest and The Secret Rulers of the World are utterly funny, in a weird sense, hilarious at times. Ronson describes himself, perhaps just for narrative purposes, as the naive Jon who gets into weird things by accident.Yet, he is able to make and answer important questions and to provide his honest personal view on different matters. I found that he is perhaps more honest with the reader than with the people he follows and interviews in this book, but this is just my impression.

> Shorter or Modified versions of some of the chapters appeared published elsewhere before publication in their final form in this book.
> The profiling and research on some of the extremists mentioned in the book began in 1995 and the book was first published in 2001,  and the first electronic edition in 2010. In that regard, many of the events mentioned in the book are no longer current and many of them have have had U-turns that aren't mentioned in the book. However, the book reads well and is still valid as an exploration of extremism and extremists. It would have been great adding an addenda mentioning some of those events, an update of what has happened to those characters since the book was written, something really easy to do in an electronic edition.

+ location 520 ‘Oh, give it tome!’
+ loc 2395 wasa mistake.
+ loc 2546 ‘who might want tomarry me?’
+  loc. 3486 to see a filmwhich may
+ All references to Ceauescu have the s replaced with the proper Romanian symbol, but they appear oversized and somewhat distorted in my phablet and a bit odd in my Kindle for PC.

Ronson's book cover for the kindle edition is utterly cool, like most of his other Kindle editions. Great design and colouring and very humorous with Ronson's glasses and silhouette always un view. So 'catchy'! Kudos to the designer.

A great reading overall.

0 Response to "Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson (2001)"

Post a Comment

Comments are Moderated

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.