Alex Jones unearthed texts render his redemption tour dead on arrival

Pictured are three figures, two of them book-ending Jones, both hosts of the controversial cultural criticism podcast Red Scare that nonetheless counts — or has counted — mainstream figures like Elizabeth Olsen and Charli XCX as fans.

Dasha Nekrasova, to Jones’ right, is a member of the cast of Succession, the zeitgeist-y HBO dramedy that is currently filming its fourth season. Jones flashes a toothy smile, his arm slung around the waists of the grinning women.

The image is from 2021, and it caused a major stir among the terminally online. Did Nekrasova and Anna Khachiyan actually like Alex Jones? Were the hosts merely being transgressive for clout? Does platforming Jones — giving him airtime on an ensuing episode of the podcast — embolden his fans? Is that even Red Scare’s responsibility?

What it did was prove that as repellent as he is to many, some people with reputations would put theirs on the line for him. It turns out that Jones was there with filmmaker Alex Lee Moyer, who was following Jones around for her second film, a documentary called Alex’s War.

Jones entered the fray again this summer when his trial began in Austin, based on his claims that the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax. For Jones, this line of thinking follows a lifetime of hair-brained conspiracy theories.

Shootings (Sandy Hook, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas) are hoaxes perpetrated by crisis actors. Every major piece of news — school shootings, COVID-19, the 2020 presidential election — is a false flag or an inside job or an international conspiracy perpetrated by the New World Order.

It can get tiring, and even after de-platforming on Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, and most media companies that he doesn’t own, the Alex Jones business is still booming.

Alex’s War

Just as the trial began, another image dropped, from the premiere of Alex’s War. I’m no expert on film production and release dates, but the concurrence of the film and the trial have me thinking like a conspiracy theorist. The Alex Jones Redemption Tour rolled along, at least until the testimony flowed.

The documentary, released on July 29, is from LA-based filmmaker Moyer, last known for 2020’s TFW No GF, an examination of incel culture. The two films share a vérité style of filmmaking in that they present their subjects to the viewer with the assumption that, if they’ve made it this far, they already get the deal. Moyer doesn’t deign to judge or criticize her subjects.

In showing Jones, unfettered and red-faced, spittle flying from his mouth as he spews asinine theories, bonkers asides, and a number of facts about the Third Reich, Moyer allows the man to hang himself with his own rope.

Whether or not that is Moyer’s intention — or if she simply flocks to complex, uncomfortable media subjects — isn’t quite clear. It may not be necessary, or even interesting, to know what Moyer thinks of Jones. Almost everyone knows who Alex Jones is and formed their stone-etched opinions of him before Donald Trump became president.

The film only benefits from the gonzo look at Jones, but after two-plus hours of Jones screaming about Hitler inventing the Olympic Rings (he didn’t) and peeing on the (recently bombed) Georgia Guidestones, the viewer doesn’t get a real look at Alex Jones, or even a new one. 

Mostly, it begs the question: Who is Alex’s War for? The most interesting sections of Alex’s War center around the depiction of his upbringing in a John Birch Society-adjacent household and his longing for a counter-cultural existence in a then-transgressive Austin that, according to Jones, was much more attuned to his line of conspiratorial thinking than it is today.

The latter jibes with his redemptive arc. Jones is just a kook asking questions; let’s see what he has to say. It’s no surprise that Moyer, the Red Scare hosts, and Glenn Greenwald, who interviewed Jones at a premiere event in Austin, have latched onto Jones. Their collective fascination is with transgression, regardless of the (sometimes hateful, mostly counterfactual) content of its source.

The real Alex Jones is much more interesting than any of this, but has the viewing public ever seen him? Even a vérité experiment like Alex’s War, in which Jones is seen flubbing lines while recording InfoWars hits, presumes that the subject understands that there are cameras trained on him.

His performance — which he has been practicing for three decades — follows. Take, for instance, his realization on Wednesday, August 3, that his attorneys accidentally sent the plaintiffs’ attorneys two years’ worth of text messages from Jones’ phone, contradicting prior testimony.

The End of the Tour

The Jones on trial — unscripted, truly flustered, having to reap what he has sown — is a wholly unfamiliar character, even in Alex’s War. The world has seen the other Alex Jones, the supposedly real Alex Jones, in hundreds of thousands of hours of tape, on Austin Public Access, on YouTube, in Richard Linklater films.

Aside from a few filmed sidewalk scuffles, like the few humorous ones in Alex’s War, we also never see the victims of Jones’ falsehoods react with proper context. That all changed with the trial, a bonus feature, if you will, for the documentary.

Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son, Jesse Lewis, was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, testified that Jones made his life “a living hell,” and that he still felt the reverberations of Jones’ conspiracy theory ravings.

“What was said about me and Sandy Hook itself resonates around the world,” Heslin said. “As time went on, I truly realized how dangerous it was. … My life has been threatened. I fear for my life, I fear for my safety.”

Even after Jones conceded that Sandy Hook was “100% real,” pundits like Greenwald, who hosted the premiere for Alex’s War — and let Jones get away with the same sort of slithering away from questions that he has railed against for more than a decade — stuck by his side. Sadly, it took the big reveal — hard proof that the man is lying — to get some folks to jump ship. Greenwald, who tweets like his life depends on it (it does, in a way), took a 16 hour break from the platform after the bombshell dropped.

“This is your Perry Mason moment,” Jones said as the text messages were shown on a screen in the courtroom, realizing that there’s no coming back from this one, that no photo-op with an HBO star or softball Q&A session with a formerly great journalist can save him. And just like that, the Alex Jones Redemption Tour came to an unceremonious end, flat tires on the tour bus, the engine smoking on the side of the highway.

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