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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: To JMS: Stop the Conspiracy St
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 5/9/1995 6:04:00 PM  

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Short answer: No.

Medium answer, from Rod Serling, when a device he created for a
fictional story (a bomb wired to a plane set to detonate when the plane
dropped below a given altitude) ended up being used in real life: "A
writer cannot be held accountable for the pathology of fools."

Long answer....

Fiction ain't the problem. To say that it is "immoral" for SF
writers to tell stories about government conspiracies is not only contrary
to the very nature of fiction and SF in particular, it also misses the
point by a thousand miles.

It isn't that folks in the backwoods have been watching TV shows or
reading novels about fictional government conspiracies...it's that some
folks have been making "documentaries" and writing tracts that are
supposed to be THE TRUTH about what's going on.

It isn't fiction that's the problem...it's G. Gordon Liddy telling
people that if they're going to shoot at ATF officers they ought to aim
at the head because they wear flak jackets...it's Jesse Helms who told
the press that if Clinton ever came to his state the Pres better bring a
bodyguard with him...it's Rush Limbaugh and his other ilk who for years
have been making the distinction between Liberals and Americans...it's
fanatical elements within the Religious Right who feel the need to create
vast government conspiracies that say the government is going to come and
stamp the Number of the Beast on their forehead any moment now....

A climate of fear and paranoia and disloyalty for the crime of
disagreement has been created and fostered by those who have most to
gain from it. And now they are trying to run from what they have done.
It ain't TV shows about stuff happening in the far future. I don't think
anyone out there watching B5 has any belief whatsoever that this stuff is
real, and present, and can be responded to. If there are one or two
lunatics who might possibly read something into it, they could do so to
ANY program, regardless of content. People have committed crimes and
murder and gone insane because of things in the Bible...should we therefore
ban the Bible? One recent movie-goer was killed because he got the last
bag of popcorn at a movie theater, and another patron was pissed off
about it. Should we ban popcorn? There's nothing you can do that someone
won't read something into. Should we destroy all storytelling out of the
fear that somewhere, someone MIGHT be provoked by it? You can't live in
fear.

Your concern obviously grows out of the Oklahoma situation, but this
has no bearing upon that whatsoever. The problem is poverty, and
ignorance, and political rhetoric, and manipulation in the real world,
not the fictional one.

A TV writer can turn an audience against a killer, a stalker, a
criminal.

It takes a politician to turn us against ourselves.

jms

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