Sunday, October 27, 2013

#770: Ted Holden

Ted Holden is a legendary internet crank, well known for trolling and crackpottery since the birth of the medium (appearing on usenet in 1983 and featured in Tim Skirvin’s ancient history of internet loons. His views seem to be not that far removed from those of Gene Ray, though Holden’s sentences are generally more grammatical. His views of how the world hangs together are sufficiently, shall we say, unconventional for Holden to be criticized even by most other internet trolls and kooks, however. He has engaged in sufficiently violent sockpuppetry to have had numerous user accounts blocked at the already not quite reality-friendly website Free Republic. famously used to go through seasonal Holden cycles, and maintains a Holden archive with highlights and debunkings here.

So what are the ideas? Well, apart from the usual paranoid conspiracy theories (the fact that many people reject his ideas is taken as proof of conspiracy) and catastrophism, Holden advocates a version of Velikovskian bullshit, including believing that Venus and Mars were populated in the past and accessible by teleportation; that Saturn used to be located over the North Pole, reducing the effect of gravity and thus allowing dinosaurs to grow big; that people used to communicate by telepathy, developing language only when this ability was lost; and that evolution is bunk, as proved (it is a little unclear how) by the existence of feral chickens and bats.

You can take the “Are you Ted Holden?” quiz here (scroll down).

Recently, baseball player Jose Canseco seems to have taken up the thread from Holden.

Diagnosis: Though hardly particularly influential, Holden has achieved something of a legendary status as one of the ur-trolls of the Internet: thus, he definitely merits inclusion in a comprehensive Encyclopedia of loons.

1 comment:

  1. Ted was also the source of the habitu├ęs' nickname of "howlers":