Friday, April 6, 2007

An introduction

Does the world need another conspiracy theorist who is eager to infect the rest of the population with their twisted enlightenment and insight? Probably not but when has that stopped us before?

When I first dipped my toes in the murky waters of conspiracism in the late 80's, I had no idea the hidden rooms of conspiracy theory were so many or so cluttered. It all began for me with an anonymous pamphlet left under the windshield wiper of my truck while I was shopping in a grocery store in Pensacola, Florida. The year was 1987 and I was only a casual novice of the subject. I knew the general overview of the JFK assassination theory and that was it. But the pamphlet I held in my hands was strange, mysterious and alluring. It claimed in great detail that the Pope was a Nazi who had played a part in the Holocaust.

"What kind of nut believes this?" I thought while reading it in the kitchen of my apartment.

Then the seductive aspect of conspiracy theory appreciation hit me all at once. It's not the "truth", or lack thereof, behind the theory that matters. It's the back story and the passionate attachment we all have to maintain our grasp on reality, or what we want reality to be. How do you reconcile sanity and insanity in a sane and insane world? What do you do when you see connections that no one else seems to see? What do you do when your own beliefs run against the grain of what is accepted as being the truth? What do you do when the world seems out of control and there is no way to bring order? The answer was simple. You write about what you see and believe.

This slim pamphlet held a wealth of rants, obscure references and a volume of data that appeared to have been gathered as the result of a massive research project that tied loose ends together in seemingly unrelated and illogical ways. While I didn't agree with the writer's conclusions I could not escape the voyeuristic pleasure of seeing another person go far out on a limb, and bounce on the slim piece of green wood; daring it to break and daring us to try and stop him.

It's now 20 years on and I've seen the CT world transform before my eyes and I've struggled to make sense of the process. What started as vanity publishing and pamphlet printing many decades ago; conspiracy theory literature turned into kitchen publishing in the late 80's and early 90's. Kitchen publishing turned into static web pages in the late 90's. Static web pages have turned into dynamic forums.

Where are we going next? Has the quality of CT writings improved or been diluted by the web? Who are the Anonymous Cowards? And in this age of vague definitions, a jaded outlook and lowered expectations; is the meaning of the word "truth" in peril?

Time to dig.

1 comment:

The CT blogger said...

test of the comments section