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Warning. Contains spoiler of Homeland’s season end. Sort of. Also, be warned that this contains an utterly facetious writer attempting to deal with some fairly weighty issues – No offence intended.

Another Sunday night brought closure to another television series at the weekend. Except that it didn’t, because the producers of Homeland decided to bottle having a decent ending in order to whore the programme out for a 2nd (And 3rd, and 4th, etc ad nauseum) series.

It seems to be a bit of plague of modern entertainment, that no show or film seems capable of sticking to its allotted time period and instead leaves you on a perpetual knife-edge, fluttering its eyelashes at you and beckoning you seductively into a sequel. But enough of that, I’ve already had my whinge at the small screen. My problem with the inconclusive mess that Homeland has left behind is the tedious theories that people have about it.

The human mind is inquisitive, it is always probing, and nothing frustrates it more than a loose end. When confronted with something inconclusive we like to believe that absolutely anything is possible and our mind wanders all over the place in search of reason. If you don’t believe me, look how many hypotheses for the (fairly straight-forward) ending to the film Inception there are online, for example. All over the world, strange people with terrifying personality disorders are committing their warped theories to online print. Theories born of an idle mind coupled with a chronic surplus of spare time.

This is all fairly harmless, the subject matter is trivial. But what if you expand this to genuine, real life situations? Is it any wonder that there are some absolute lunatics out there?

David Icke seems as good a starting point as any. For readers of a certain age, I’m sure this name will raise a smile, for the rest of you I’ll fill you in a little.

Mr Icke was a former professional footballer and presenter for the BBC who in the early 90’s suddenly started making bold assertions that he was the “Son of a godhead” and later went on to claim that the world was being run by underground-dwelling, shape-shifting reptiles who got off on genocide and paedophilia. All good sane theories, basically.

Worryingly, and especially so as this happened in the infancy stages of the internet, the message was not universally derided. Sure, Icke felt that the media weren’t taking him entirely seriously, but it didn’t matter. Some people were. Both Louis Theroux and Jon Ronson have gone deep into the heart of America and found groups for whom Icke is revered as some sort of prophet.

Of equal concern to the rational populace are those who question the credibility of events such as 9/11 and the 7/7 London bombings. To these ends, a man who appeared to follow the David Icke blueprint was ex-MI5 whistleblower David Shayler.

Despite my total lack of belief in them, I can sort of see why a surprisingly high proportion of the world (as much as 30% some reports have suggested) believe that 9/11 was not carried out by Al Qaeda. The idea that it was an inside job or a cynical excuse to invade the Middle East appeals to a certain type of person with a low enough opinion of Western politics. After all, it’s just a short step from embezzling taxes for duck houses to murdering 3,000 innocent people.

Shayler took these theories one step further by suggesting that there were in fact no planes at all. He claimed that the “planes” were in fact missiles using holograms to disguise themselves as planes. 

Not a plane, allegedly

A few years later, Shayler managed to outdo himself completely by denying that the 7/7 London bombings actually happened at all. A woman called Rachel North, who had survived the bomb that ripped through her carriage on the Piccadilly Line, confronted Shayler about his claims. His response was simple, and has been echoed by his frighteningly large number of followers: Rachel North, who he had met face-to-face, didn’t exist. If you don’t believe me, Google her name. The internet is literally awash with people who are happy to accept this as fact.

David Shayler is now a transvestite who operates under the name of Delores Kane. He also supports Middlesbrough FC. I will leave it at that.

Anyhow, to go back to my issues with Homeland, an unsatisfactory and vague conclusion has led to some people’s brains running away with them. Did Brody do this? Why didn’t he do that? Is he really a paedophilic shape-shifting lizard? Yes, it’s good to be made to think about things, but when the conclusions we jump to are so absurd, is it safe? Can we really be entrusted with creating our own theories?

With people so happy to accept lunacy, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing indeed.

by Harry Harland