UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracies You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Believe (英語) ハードカバー – 1999/5/18
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"I'm not asking you to believe every conspiracy theory you'll find in this book. . . . I didn't write this book to give you all the answers. The Warren Commission did that, and the answers were all wrong. I wrote this book to inspire you to do what the powers that be wish you wouldn't: to question authority . . . and to keep an eye out for Elvis."
--Richard Belzer [p. 4]
Is it just a coincidence that Richard Belzer plays a detective on the hit NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street? Maybe. But the fact is, when he's not busting criminals on TV, the acid-tongued, legendary search-and-destroy comic known affectionately as "The Belz" is doing real-life detective work: searching out evidence, sifting through long-buried facts, and destroying popular misconceptions involving everything from the JFK assassination ("There's only one living member of the Warren Commission, and that's Gerald Ford. He's also the dumbest member of the Warren Commission. Coincidence?") and the existence of UFOs to secret germ warfare and those ominous visits (long before the movie) from men in black.
In UFOs, JFK, and Elvis, the distinguished statesman of stand-up comedy tackles some of the biggest conspiracies and cover-ups this side of Roswell. Just what is it that they don't want you to know about the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and John Lennon? Alien abductions and the "face" on Mars? The downing of TWA Flight 800? The ancient order of the Freemasons and evidence of extraterrestrial experimentation?
Finally, one lone "nut" exposes the conspiracy to keep conspiracies a dirty little secret, standing up to the shadowy forces that would have us believe that Oswald acted alone, those lights in the sky are weather balloons, and fluoridated water is good for you (yeah, right). "Some of the smartest people I know . . . find it easier--and certainly more comforting--to believe that America is the only country on earth with no conspiracies at all." Just remember: do not ask on whom The Belz has told--he's told on them.
"Richard's deep thinking just makes the rest of us look like we're sleeping face down in the sand box."
--Lynn Russell, CNN
"Richard Belzer is one of the funniest black men in America!"
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Within the first few pages I was reading details about claims of heinous atrocities and government conspiracies. This was not the lighthearted work that I expected. From the very beginning, Belzer makes his goal clear. He urges the reader to "seek out suppressed evidence ... interpret independently everything you hear, read, and even what you see ... question authority."
Even if you are not a conspiracy theory enthusiast, it is hard not to get caught up in the unexpected depth of Belzer's research and his insights on the JFK assassination and alien visitors. I wasn't exactly "transformed from a cheerful trusting soul with unflagging faith in the powers that be into a suspicious, angry skeptic and cynic that can't sit through a 30-second news teaser," as Belzer promised, but reading the book has made me think and look at the situations in question in a new light.
For those who are not big on conspiracy, the information is presented in a way that would make even Lee Harvey Oswald chuckle. The book is both informative and entertaining, with sections with names such as "The Fluke of Earl" and "Just a Simple Nightclub Owner with a Dream". This book had me laughing one moment and somewhat scared the next. If you are not familiar with Belzer's comedy routine or acting, you might not appreciate this book as much as if you were. It makes it easier to tell when Belzer is joking around and when he is serious.
Can a book be, at the very same time, a serious discourse on conspiracies AND be hysterically funny? This book of Richard Belzer's can.
What a talent! I hope you don't think I'm being facetious. Believe me, I'm not. At the same time Belzer got me really thinking about his conspiracy thinking (and I am a conspiracy theory novice, so this is all new to me), he also had me literally laughing out loud. I call this remarkable.
99.9% of the books I purchase, I buy at Amazon. But I found this one in the "HUMOR" section of our local independent bookseller. I'd been reading such heavy-duty literature and non-fiction for so long, I thought I could use some humor...and I was NOT disappointed in that regard in Belzer's book.
But what blew me away (I seem to be, in this review, totally talking in the hippie vernacular, so please, bear with me) is that along with laughing out loud, I found myself immersed in a beautifully and accessibly written treatise on conspiracies. I learned so much! I went running, upon being done to the book, to my computer to look things he'd recommended up.
What a book! WHAT A CONCEPT! This guy is brilliant! I recommend it for humor, I recommend it for an introduction to conspiracy theory, and I recommend it for some truly excellent writing.
Get this book, please! You'll thank me for it.
That said, I wish I'd read the paper or Kindle version of this. Belzer may be a decent actor, but he read this audiobook as if he'd rather be somewhere else than in a studio. My rewind button got quite a workout listening to this, as he's so inconsistent in his delivery. He zips through sections and mumbles through some others. Maybe the director is to blame for letting him get away with it.
But worse than any of that, the most annoying thing in this audiobook was the idiotic and unnecessary use of sound effects throughout. Gunshots (which would have been acceptable in moderation, only at appropriate points, and at a much lower level), klaxon horns, metal clanks and crashes punctuate sentences seemingly randomly all through this thing. It's especially annoying when you have to crank up the level to hear Richard mumbling through a passage only to have your eardrums blown out by a loud metal crash a second later and for no apparent reason.
If you're contemplating buying or borrowing the audio version of this book...don't. Do yourself a favor and get the NON-audio version and enjoy it for what it is.
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