by J.D. Rhoades
The Twin Towers were brought down on 9/11, not by by terrorists
flying hijacked airliners, but by controlled demolition engineered and
paid for by the Bush Administration.
Man never landed on the moon; the whole thing was faked on a California sound stage.
JFK was killed, not by one man acting alone, But by the CIA. Or the Mafia. Or the CIA and the Mafia. Or something.
We do love our conspiracy theories. On dozens of crackpot
websites, in hundreds of endless drunken barroom conversations, in thousands of conversations at dinner tables, people
love to talk about the secret forces that are behind the havoc and
misery we see. The truth is out there, they just know it.
The government is keeping an alien spaceship and the bodies of its crew at Area 51 in the Nevada desert.
Marilyn Monroe was murdered to keep her from spilling the beans about her affair with JFK.
Someone once developed a car that can run on water, but the oil companies have been covering it up to protect their profits.
Pop culture reflects our love of conspiracy theories. Look at some of the biggest bestsellers in
recent memory. THE DA VINCI CODE spawned a horde of imitators and an
entire subgenre of nonfiction books purporting to "debunk" its
fictional premise that there’s a secret society made up of some of history’s greatest luminaries, all keeping the real story of Jesus a secret. Robert Ludlum was one of dozens of writers who made
entire careers out of telling us scary stories about multinational conspiracies and the brave spies who thwart them. And what, after all,
was the Harry Potter series but one huge fictional pulling back of the
veil between our own mundane Muggle world and the secret world of magic
that exists just out of our view?
And movies and TV shows are full of conspiracies: "The X-files", "24", "Lost, " etc. there was even a middling good Mel Gibson movie called "Conspiracy Theory" in which Mel played a crackpot who thought secret cabals ran everything. As it turned out, not much of a stretch for old Mel, acting wise.
Advertisers are putting subliminal mind-control messages in their ads and in TV shows to force you to buy products.
is actually run behind the scenes by the Jews/the Bavarian
Illuminati/the Freemasons/The Trilateral Commission/shape-shifting
Elvis, Tupac Shakur, and Andy Kaufman are actually alive. Paul McCartney, however, is dead.
did a panel (ably moderated by Barry Eisler) at the last Thrillerfest
on the subject of conspiracy theories. One of the questions was–and
I’m paraphrasing here– "do you believe in conspiracies
in real life?" Some members of the audience looked a bit
startled, and some were visibly disappointed when I piped up and said
"no, I believe in stupidity, randomness and chaos. That’s what causes most of the misery in the world."
I think they were
unhappy because people want to believe in order. They want to believe
there’s a reason for some of the awful stuff that happens, even if that
reason is based in evil. They want to believe someone’s in control,
even if that person (or persons, or shape shifting alien reptile) is malevolent. We
want a culprit. At least that gives them something to fight against.
There’s no fighting stupidity and chaos. You can send Luke Skywalker
after Darth Vader; sending him after Larry, Moe and Curly would be
And thus, THE DA VINCI CODE. THE X-FILES. And so on.
And the truth is, even though I believe stupidity and chaos are more to blame for the bad stuff in the world, I like good conspiracy fiction (even some bad, cheesy conspiracy fiction) as much as the next guy.
So what do you believe in? Big Evil or Big Stupid? What’s your favorite conspiracy theory? Do you believe it, and why? What’s your favorite fictional conspiracy?