Free Minds & Free Markets

Wormwood Peddles a Truly Bad Acid Trip: New at Reason

The CIA’s actual secret LSD dosing of Frank Olson was bad enough. Additional conspiracy theories do not help.

'Wormwood''Wormwood,' NetflixTelevision critic Glenn Garvin sat down with Netflix documentary Wormwood, which suggests that there was yet another conspiracy to blame for the death of CIA employee Frank Olson, who had been secretly dosed with LSD:

There's no denying that much of the country was pretty stunned to learn, in 1975, that a CIA employee named Frank Olson jumped out a 10th-floor hotel window after being secretly dosed with LSD by his own boss as part of a U.S. government mind-control experiment. Toppling governments in Guatemala or Iran at least had some sense of purpose, however foul; Olson's death sounded more like a tawdry, callous frat prank, a profound and pointless repudiation of the very concept of morality.

Five decades later, investigative filmmaker Errol Morris' Wormwood is trying to convince us that it was something even worse, the ruthless murder of a political dissident with his six-part documentary Wormwood, a razzle-dazzle exercise in multimedia virtuosity that substitutes sinister showmanship for facts and silly sophistry for deductive logic. American innocence may have been lost a long time ago, but the casual acceptance of Wormwood's empty claims certainly suggests that the tides of American citizens' cynicism about their government are teaching new high points.

Photo Credit: 'Wormwood,' Netflix


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