BoingBoing has an interesting article up called The Conspiracy Boom. It was originally written for Salon, but never published. It’s mainly about the rash of conspiracy theories in the world today.
The Conspiracy Boom
Why is nothing what it appears to be anymore?
Say what you will about conspiracy theories, they are unlikely to go away as long as real life, courtesy of the daily news, keeps tossing us events that seem like, well, conspiracies.
Take the Litvinenko assassination. Russian ex-spy turned journalist, who is a vocal critic of the Putin regime, flees to London, where he swallows a radioactive appetizer over lunch and dies shortly thereafter.
British cuisine may have an unsavory reputation, but no one in their right mind assumes that polonium-210 has become a staple at London restaurants. Someone, it would appear, was out to get Litvinenko…
I have to say, it seems like there are a lot of conspiracy theories going around right now. Some people in my building believe that 9/11 was an inside job. The movie ‘Freedom to Fascism‘ has also been passed around my building with a few people taken in by its message (the essential message of the movie is that: according to US laws, the government does not have the power to ask civilians to pay income taxes; the US government has been controlled by the privately owned Federal Reserve since the 1930s, etc) As you might expect, the clips of the movie that I saw had plenty of obvious distortions, uses quote mines, etc – but if you aren’t on your toes, you might get sucked in.
Just the other day, I heard an interesting episode of This American Life about a woman’s experience with the 7/7 bombings in London and the conspiracy nuts who think the 7/7 bombings were an inside job by the British Government. The conspiracy guys accuse this woman (who was inside the train car where the bomb exploded) of being a government plant designed to affirm the British government’s official story. Unsurprisingly, she is frustrated by the conspiracy theorists’ unwillingness to accept anything except their preconceived beliefs – no matter what she says.