empathy deficit gender policing homophobia none dare call it conspiracy transphobia

Infowars: David Bowie’s “death is the capstone on the pyramid of necrotic Anglo-American mass culture”

David Bowie has left us with some big pants to fill
David Bowie has left us with some big pants to fill

Like a lot of people out there, I’m going to miss the magnificent weirdo that was David Bowie. While the rest of us listen to our favorite Bowie songs on repeat, the not-so-good folks at Infowars — conspiracy theory central — are actually celebrating the musician and cultural icon’s death.

In a post titled DAVID BOWIE: A NON-APPRECIATION, Darrell Y. Hamamoto suggests that Bowie, who died of cancer, was himself a symptom of “civilizational cancer.”

After several paragraphs of mostly incoherent throat-clearing, which sort of suggest (among other things) that Bowie was responsible not only for Gary Glitter’s fashion sense but also his sexual abuse and exploitation of children, Hamamoto presents us with his thesis, declaring that Bowie’s

death is the capstone on the pyramid of necrotic Anglo-American mass culture spanning a half-century of civilizational cancer away so fantastic and unreal that leads one to suspect that “Bowie” (Born David Robert Jones) sprang from the twisted, fervid minds of social psychologists residing at the Tavistock Institute.

That was all one sentence.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the Tavistock Institute is a nearly 70-year-old British think-tank that does work in psychology and the social sciences; it’s a favorite bugbear of assorted conspiracy theorists, who blame it for, among other things, the brainwashing of American prisoners of war in Korea, the CIA’s MK Ultra program, and The Beatles.

Anyway, Hamamoto is pretty stoked by the news of Bowie’s passing, declaring that

the Death of David Bowie might presage a new era of spiritual regeneration that is the precondition of civilizational health and advancement.

Skimming through the more than one thousand comments left on Hamamoto’s post so far, it appears that there are not a lot of Bowie fans in the house.

Someone called daf declares that

Bowie was an agent of the NWO, forging acceptance for gender identity politics re: transvestites, transgender, gays… Not to mention furtherance of the ET/ Alien meme that the NWO sought to advance. Listen to the music: is it really that good? Nah.

“The Hebrew Institute,” meanwhile, argues that

David Bowie can kiss my ass… he was a fuckin satanistic edomite who is rotting in the pit for his homosexual acts and overtones to accept that behavior not of God and he is now paying for it….may he keep rotting in the pit of hell to which he deserves AMEN.

Blahblahblah is clearly not a big fan of Bowie’s unique style:

He was a Luciferian puppet, spreading NWO agenda through music like so many others. Look at the lightning bolt on his face.

But not everyone in the comments is quite so enamored of Hamamoto’s analysis. Indeed, one longtime Infowars listener was so appalled by the post, and the responses to it, that they decided to become a former listener:

After years of being a dedicated listener, observer and supporter of this program I just cut ties with you all together. … I’ve stuck up for your articles and it’s caused me a lot of social consternation … your OPINIONS and ASSUMPTIONS in this matter are so far off base it makes me want to vomit on my computer screen. Then reading the hateful comments on this page about homosexuals and FREAKS makes me want to jump this boat and join the illuminated manipulators … The fact of the matter is that this was a talented human being with much love and talent to offer the world and the author ties this in to some “homosexual illuminati occult agenda” … [T]hat I have supported such a bigoted support base here is something I am ashamed of after all these years. 

Good for you.

In case you’re not familiar with Infowars, here’s Alex Jones, the dude who runs the place. And yes, the tantrum in the video is a real one. He’s got some anger issues.

And here are a couple of videos of Bowie performing in 1972.

Yesterday, I put together a little playlist of some of my favorite Bowie songs on Spotify.

Sorry, Alex Jones; you will be remembered, if at all, as an embarrassment to humanity. Bowie will be remembered as a musical and cultural legend, albeit a far from perfect human being.

EDIT: I reworded the ending to take into account Bowie’s reported rape of underage “groupie” Laurie Maddox, which I didn’t know about when I originally wrote the piece. (I say “reported,” because I wasn’t there and he wasn’t charged much less convicted for it, but Maddox’s account is all-too-plausible; I believe her.)


138 replies on “Infowars: David Bowie’s “death is the capstone on the pyramid of necrotic Anglo-American mass culture””

@ Orion

You raise some very interesting points. I’ll try not to derail the thread by going into a legal treatise so I’ll just briefly mention a few points.

Your comment on the irrationality of judging someone by consequences rather than intentions is something reflected on English law. In fact the example you give about killing someone through drink driving is a facet of that.

As English law adopted the ‘intent not outcome’ basis for culpability it used to be the case that the only way you could prosecute someone in that situation was to argue that their actions were so risky they met the test for manslaughter. But juries would rarely convict in such cases. Don’t forget, this was In a time when drink driving was seen as morally acceptable and something ‘everyone did’. So juries adopted a there but for the grace of god goes I attitude and acquitted .

A special offence of causing death by dangerous driving was created for cases where the driving was so bad the outcome should have been predicted, just so juries might convict.

With careless driving though it was accpeted that everyone drove carelessly from time to time. Normally there were no consequences and it was just pure bad luck if something bad did happen because someone stepped out in front of you or whatever.

In fact, in a careless driving case that resulted in death, prosecutors were prohibited from mentioned the death in case it prejudiced the bench!

It’s only recently that a new offence of causing death by careless driving has been introduced here to cover such situations. It’s controversial because it can be seen as punishing bad luck rather than conduct, but there had been a clamour from families affected In such cases and some press campaigns that created a ‘something must be done’ atmosphere in the legislature.

“(I also think Chilly Down is underappreciated. Yes, it’s pretty random, but that whole movie is pretty random, and it’s thematically relevant.)”

Huh. Yeah, I see what you mean.

It’s saddening to learn this about David Bowie.

I was even more depressed to learn recently that John Peel — a legendary tastemaker who championed a number of bands/musicians I love — was apparently obsessed with underage groupies.

And yes it was the 70s, but people knew then it was wrong, even if they were more likely to joke about it or dismiss it than people are today.

A lot of us have speculated about how Bowie might have felt about this, years and decades down the line. I’m wondering if we ought to consider the way the girl in question came to feel about it, as well. According to the article everyone’s linking, she says she has no regrets and looks back on him fondly.

This is a super tricky issue. On the one hand, clearly she should be the most important voice in a discussion about something that happened to her, and it does feel silencing on some level to say her opinion doesn’t matter because it was wrong in any case, especially if his opinion is being considered.

On the other hand, considering the fact that she doesn’t regret it to be a mitigating factor is really uncomfortably close to “she wanted it.”

Can I just say that threads like this one are why WHTM is my favourite feminist site?

It’s interesting that these traits are so often seen in the most hard-line members of the left, because they are deeply conservative traits; the desire to see members of your tribe morally superior to the “Other,” the desire for a leader figure to tell you how to think, to take on the work of making the world better so you are relieved of that burden.

I don’t think that’s a conservative trait, or a liberal trait, or that such traits even really exist. We’re all human and prone to the same vices and weaknesses regardless of our politics. Certain weaknesses may lend themselves more towards one way of thinking or another, but we can’t ever let ourselves believe that our politics make us less susceptible to groupthink and hero worship than the other guys’. Thinking they’re above all that is one of the reasons the Republican party has gone so far off the rails.


You know, they said the say thing about Mozart when he died*.

(* may not be true. I haven’t done the research, because I’ve been too busy planning my vacation to see the Great Pyramid of necrotic Anglo-American mass culture in Egypt, Texas.)

Were you here a couple months ago when Pro Patria Truth Teller kept dropping by (using a nym) and posting rants about how Random Famous Person was Totally Going Old-School Roman Catholic but those dirty Vatican II Liberals always killed them before they could endorse his specific talking points?

I honestly don’t miss that poster. I love trolls and gimmick accounts, as well as full-blown idiots, but that guy was just boring.

Certain people on the left do tend to be more susceptible to hero worship, tribalism, and groupthink. But they’re usually to the left of the mainstream left in the sense that they think there needs to be some sort of violent confrontation before anything can get better. They’re mostly Maoists, Trotskyists, the more violent anarchists and left communists, left wing groups with their own paramilitary organizations, etc. In other words, they’re uber sectarians who can barely work with each other. Many radfems and TERFs come out of really rigid and sectarian groups.

The “left of the left” has pretty much zero influence on US politics and culture now aside from a few tiny student groups on college campuses. Most non-violent socialists support the left wing of the Democratic Party. Even the Communist Party (you know, the Communist Party) is basically a faction of the left in the Democratic Party and trade unions and downplays revolution and the Soviet way of doing things.

Sorry, but there’s no authoritarian leftist conspiracy to destroy America aside from a few old dudes who drink coffee and hang out at Barnes and Noble on the weekend.

Also I had no idea Bowie was a predator. Gross. That Jess Says person has it right. You have to condemn that shit, even if you like his work.

I’m sort of happy he’s dead now. I like Bowie as a character and as an idea. I suppose I hate him as a person. Anyone who abuses children is scum in my eyes. The least he could have done would be to own up to it and try to make things right somehow. Work toward preventing further abuse in the future. That’s the only way I could respect him.

lol I’ve literally never met an ancom terf. Maoist, sure, but ancom? No.

the sectarians you’re talking about are internet-dwelling teens. actual anarchists who do things in real life don’t behave like the snotty, pedantic assholes that you see on sites like Revleft. well, aside from the infighting. there’s always infighting, but it’s usually between us and Maoists/Stalinists/etc. They kind of have a history of attacking communism wherever it actually exists so yeah. We’re generally more focused on aiding vulnerable communities (often our own) through things like community gardens, outreach, workshops, etc., and bringing attention to fucked up shit through protest and other nonviolent action. We can’t do much in a country this backward and fucked up.

The real left (the left left you’re talking about, not the center-right that comprises the Democratic Party) is the only sane politics out there. Everything else is way, waaaay more violent than even edgelord insurrectionists.

You’re right about the Communist Party in the states though. Communist parties in bourgeois states have always been vaguely reactionary and pro-middle-class, ironically. had to do with trade deals/alliances/etc. with Warsaw Pact countries


The real left (the left left you’re talking about, not the center-right that comprises the Democratic Party) is the only sane politics out there. Everything else is way, waaaay more violent than even edgelord insurrectionists.

Let’s not go implying people’s political views are insane. Disagree with them all you like, but try to avoid the ableism.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Jackie; currently using they/their, he/his, she/her pronouns)says:

Yeah, maybe ‘tired’ is not the word I’d use. ‘Overwhelmed’ or even ‘triggered’ may be closer to my meaning. Essentially, I’d have to cut off entirely from the rest of the world to not see someone gushing over how amazing and perfect Bowie was and shut up if you don’t agree. Could be that I have more Bowie-dedicated friends than the average person, though.

Yeah, that’s more understandable. It’s one reason I haven’t spoken a lot about Bowie to certain friends of mine, if I even spoken about him to them at all.

(I also think Chilly Down is underappreciated. Yes, it’s pretty random, but that whole movie is pretty random, and it’s thematically relevant.)

This is true.

It gives me hope to see people who loved Bowie respond appropriately to what he did by condemning it.

But what is really known about what happened? What is certain and what speculation? I think some people appear to be a bit too quick condemning a man that has just died and that many people are mourning. And that “happy that he is dead” comment? Gross.

Long time reader, first time poster.

I specifically said “more violent anarchists” because obviously not all anarcho-communists are like that.

Yeah, it’s funny how plausibly the CP transitioned from waiting from orders from Moscow to echoing the left of the Democratic Party.

Because the CP leaders felt they needed to copy someone else’s practical line, not because the Democrats are like the Cold War CPSU.

The whole Bowie revelation was a punch in the gut. I felt the same way I did when the Joan Jett / Jackie Fuchs story broke. It’s hard to lump them in with Woody Allen or Bill Cosby but sometimes we have to just take the hit and admit our heroes were scumballs.

It’s times like those when I want to wail and scream and insist there must be some way that these people can be redeemed, because … because… because something. I loved Bowie, dammit. :*( Ugh.

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Bowie fans want to know if he was a “good person”. No one wants to admire a bad person.

I get it. And I want that too. My username…well if you know who Lester Bangs is you know that I’m probably crazy about Bowie and that whole magnificent wreckage that was the early glam/prog/art rock scene.

Well I don’t know if Bowie was a good person. But a good person can do something bad. A good person can even do a lot of bad things.

20 years ago I was a much younger and dopier young guy and was dating a wonderful girl who was reticent about having sex. Interested, but reticent. I pouted and pouted, though, and finally got my way. It was a creepy thing to do. And I’m embarassed I acted that way. Am I a bad man?

The girl in question doesn’t think so, as we got married and have raised two wonderful children and built a happy and successful and supportive relationship. We love each other madly and I know that for us, at least, it will be to death do us part.

But 20 years ago I acted in a shitty fashion. I grew up, and got smart, and it looks like no harm no foul.

Was Bowie a good man? His acquaintances seem to think so. He’s done lots of good art, and some good activism, and inspires great love even in Lori Mattix/Maddox.

But he exercised shitty judgement, broke a law (if Lori’s story is true) and (may have) committed an immoral act that could have wreaked much damage in someone’s life if things had gone otherwise. He did something bad.

But all in all, I am comfortable believing that the person that died this week died a good man. Because we are all more than our worst moments.

The universal popularity of certain rock stars in the 70s, combined with post sexual liberation times. It must have given them unprecedented access to young female fans with seemingly nobody and nothing in the way.

So much so that they could happily have their photos taken with underage girls, in situations where those girls shouldn’t have been in the first place let alone with older men (drinking in bars/restaurants as per the linked article).

It’s impossible to know for sure, but I’d like to think Bowie, as an articulate and intelligent older man would have looked back on it and seen it for the clear abuse of power it was.

I don’t know what to think of Bowie yet, but I really like this comment section and what everyone has said so far. I have a lot of things to consider and reconsider before diving into David Bowie’s body of work.

Dear Lester, that is not something that only men do — 20 years or so ago, I dated a guy who was also reticent about having sex and pretty much talked him into it (and yes, I likely did some pouting as well) — we were both in our 40s. It was a shitty thing to do, but even though the romantic relationship didn’t work out, to this day we are still good friends. Though I was aware that asexuality was a real thing then, it took awhile to understand that’s his orientation. He has no regrets about our relationship, so I regard it as one of those life lessons and took it to heart. Enthusiastic yes, or it’s a no-go.


Oh, yeah. Women pressuring men into sex is hugely culturally condoned and normalized as an extension of the idea that men should never lose an opportunity to prove their manhood through fucking.

As women, we get dangerous and damaging mixed messages about when and whether we should want sex, but men pretty much get, “Do it or you’re not a man.”

Gotta love it when our social contract is a setup for misery.

For what it’s worth, many psychologists in the 70s thought adults having sex with minors was rare and it was at worst minimally harmful. But that was before people were aware of grooming and long term trauma caused by abuse.

Consider the Tea Cosy (one of the FtB blogs) is having this convo as well, and I liked one commenter’s description–violating AoC laws is kind of like shooting a gun without really knowing what’s in front of you. Sure, you might get lucky and not do any harm (as seems to be the case with Bowie), but you might just seriously harm someone, and that’s why we make it against the law to do that thing.

And I noticed that one of the key difficulties in the discussion, even beyond the baseline issue that there is a range of reasonable opinions that still passionately disagree (those who want to just have a little time to mourn Bowie and let his misdeeds be buried with him, focusing on the good he did in life, versus those who want to ensure those who believe that we should never just ignore those sorts of misdeeds even in death, because it reinforces the trend to do so in life as well), is that there’s a number of bad actors who are hopping into the discussion to push completely unrelated and abhorrent positions.

On the side of the forgive and forget crowd, of course, are those individuals who just want to be able to fuck thirteen year old girls without consequence. So they’ll hop around talking about the arbitrary nature of age of consent laws and bring up completely unrelated hypotheticals involving a two-year spread and often lie about the age of the girl at the time Bowie raped her. (I’m taking one hard line–I refuse to say, “Had sex with,” at least with regard to Bowie. She may have had sex with him; he raped her, and seems to have regretted it and reformed later in life, to the extent this can be gleaned from indirect analysis.)

Meanwhile, slipping in with the folks criticizing Bowie are anti-feminists and sexual puritans who are looking for a ‘gotcha’, accusing ‘the left’ of hypocrisy for not condemning him with the ire we have, say, Cosby (and never mind the vast, vast differences in how the cases have been presented or events that took place).

These bad actors are clouding the waters immeasurably; I’ve been grateful that this blog has had very little of that sort of thing in the discussion.

“This is the best thing that’s been said all day. Thank you, LG.”

Thank you.

It gets better: there’s actually a music video for “As The World Falls Down.” It’s…pretty lackluster as a music video, to be honest, but interesting to this discussion. It depicts a teenage girl watching Labyrinth and fantasizing about Bowie while obsessively printing out picture after picture of him until her printer runs dry. Bowie appears as a black-and-white 1950s-style crooner in her fantasy and the video ends on a close-up of the spent printer flashing the red circle “NO” sign.

Doesn’t exactly seem subtle to me.

I absolutely agree that while we should not treat the man who has just died as a pariah will not help anyone, and would not have helped the man himself, while noting that, like a lot of you have too, we must never excuse what he did.

It really, really annoys me that some anti-feminists and the like will try and use this to prove some imaginary double standard, never mind that the stated facts and evidence point to an utterly different event and person than, say, Cosby.

I like that we’re able here to both mourn David Bowie, and share stories of how great he was, while also being able to (with only a few exceptions) politely and thoughtfully evaluate the inexcusable actions that he did.

I’m confident that I can both hail David Bowie as a decent person, worth of respect and an inspiration while also being appalled at his actions towards Maddox, but never by declaring him to be something worse than he likely was, and that comfort comes down to people here.

L.G’s point resonated with me in particular, and I think sums up better what I was just trying to get across:

“It always seems to me that it’s men and especially, anti-feminist men, who take this hard line of believing that a rapist (of any variety, including statutory)=inhuman monster worthy of hellish punishment and death. Not hard to see why: this has the effect of doing lip service to the idea that rape is bad while silencing victims anytime a perpetrator is clearly NOT an inhuman monster. Which is, you know, most of the time.

Meanwhile, of course, any man who rapes and then regrets it can’t actually *say* so without facing this same dehumanizing hatred. Even murderers don’t face such stigma. Can you imagine what a blow it would be against rape culture if someone like David Bowie could actually say, “I did this in my youth. It was wrong,” in a place where young men could hear him?”

Well done all for a thoughtful and respectful discussion. While there is, I believe, nothing wrong with my view that really it should have been a bit more than just two days after his death to begin talking about this kind of stuff (wait for people to grieve first, then ask questions is my sort of attitude to it) the discussions here have still put me more at ease with it. Thankyou!

Dear Infowars,

If I want to read conspiracy theories involving David Bowie and pyramids, I’ll read Vigilant Citizen. Those, at least, will be better written and researched, even if the sources are themselves suspect.

While he did make clear later that he regretted it (although never, AFAIK, apologised for it), I find Bowie’s endorsement of fascism in an interview with Playboy in September 1976 (mentioned just in one comment here) just as problematic as his abuse of an underage girl, Lori Maddox*. This was at a time when fascists were beating up black people and Jews in the streets of Britain, and the fascist “National Front” was the UK’s fourth largest political party. Bowie’s pro-fascist statements, together with a revolting racist diatribe from Eric Clapton (who was still an unrepentant racist at least in 2007), were significant factors in the formation of “Rock Against Racism”. Bowie later blamed his pro-fascist phase on cocaine. I’m not in the least censorious about drug use – but you’re just as responsible for what you do under the influence as sober, provided you took the drugs voluntarily.

*Who was 15 at the time, not 13 or 14 as some have said here. That doesn’t excuse Bowie, but accuracy matters.

So I’ve been thinking more about Lori Maddox, and I still think her opinion is relevant, but I think I made a mistake calling it a “mitigating factor.” That sounds like a defense / endorsement of the choices Bowie made at the time, which isn’t my intent.

The question I’m most interested in is not whether what Bowie did was wrong, but whether it’s forgivable. We all, I hope, agree that he did something very bad. As fans and admirers the question is how much that has to change our overall impression of him; how much it taints his legacy; whether our disgust with that statutory rape should outweigh everything else we admire about him.

That’s where I think Lori Maddox’ vote is really important. The way I see it, if someone’s victims forgive them, it’s okay for us to forgive them also. We’re not required to. It happens all the time that a victim forgives or claims to forgive someone who we find unforgivable, and we’re not required to acquiesce to their judgment. But, in this particular case, because Lori, who interacted with him many times since that night, remembers him as a good man, I’m a lot more comfortable celebrating his life overall than I would be otherwise.

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