As I write this, I am watching the most incredible piece of investigative TV journalism I have ever seen. Made for British TV network Channel 4, Jon Ronson’s Crazy Rulers of the World is quite literally beyond belief. The first episode, “The Men Who Stare At Goats,” is simply absurd. It outlines the story of the post-Vietnam idea of a “First World Battalion,” and the accompanying training program “Project Jedi,” employing paranormal techniques such as staring at goats to make their hearts explode. At first glance, I found the whole thing interesting and amusing, but certainly within the realm of belief. But that was until the investigation led to crazy hippie Lieutenant Colonel Jim Channon, and a ballet school where a retired special forces soldier uses mind control to kill his hamster, and the reporter himself being subjected to a demonstration of military mind control.
I’m now in the middle of the second of three programs, and the only thing I can think is, “This cannot possibly be true.” But it’s well-researched. The sources are credible. The cast of characters checks out. It’s no fake.
But still, this is one crazy acid trip of a story. Somehow we just shifted from Barney the Dinosaur to the Waco standoff and I barely even noticed. This is the sort of thing that even the most zonked-out of conspiracy theorists could not even dream of.
As a filmmaker, I think it’s a brilliant story, truth or fiction. As a citizen of the United States, I’m now ready to give the lizard people theorists a fair hearing.