July 19, 2011

Princess Diana

Princess Diana

For them—as with creationists and the thorny issue of fossil remains—contrary and weightier evidence is forever dismissed either as a strategic red herring or as part of the intricate plot against them. By their calculation, one plus one will always make five, six, or seven, when it should lead them to the square root of fuck all. That grassy knoll in Dallas has a great deal to answer for.

Much of modern conspiracy theory has its heritage in the Cold War, in the Three Days of the Condor angst and distrust of government engendered by both Vietnam and Watergate. Perceiving the enemy as an evil and omnipresent empire suited Senator McCarthy and the CIA as they jostled to over-egg the threat and justify their budgets. Technology has now made surveillance easier. It has correspondingly made the conspiracy freaks ever more fearful.

Evangelical religion has also played its part, for if belief involves a leap of faith there are always going to be those—unquestioning, flaky, small-brained, and easily led—who leap a little bit too far. There is pedigree here. Jonestown and Waco and Solar Temple suicides share a common denominator in their apocalyptic leanings and adherents who believe they are living in the End Times. Trace their lineage back through the Seventh Day Adventists and Pilgrim Fathers and you reach Europe’s 15th-century Taborites and 13th-century Albigensians. They, too, sat on mountains expecting final judgment and were mostly wiped out by government forces.

Outsiders and anyone with a grudge will ever ascribe greater omniscience and monolithic power to the ruling class than it actually deserves. Me, I’m a cock-up theorist. I am old enough to have seen many friends and contemporaries gain the levers of power, yet I’m experienced enough to have a healthy disrespect for their abilities and competence. The idea they are part of some secret and all-knowing cabal to which every event is connected is utterly ludicrous. These are people I saw in their younger days being covered in shaving foam and spanked by hookers at assorted bachelor parties and stag weekends, for God’s sake. Trust me, search elsewhere if you are following the conspiracy trail. But then, as a secret Templar knight and high priest of the ancient sun god Ra, I would say something like that.

Sure, you could not make out the tail-fin details on the United jets striking the Twin Towers. Spooky, maybe, that the first tower to fall was in fact the great keep of the Templars that collapsed in the final moments of the Siege of Acre in 1291 as the Crusaders were finally vanquished—and almost three thousand people were killed. You can join the dots on anything to produce a pentangle or a smiley face.

But for all the trillions of dollars America expended on its defense capabilities and strategic-communications networks, on the day of 9/11, George W. Bush was reduced to borrowing a cell phone in order to contact Washington, DC. God (or at least a gargantuan wicker owl) help us when things really turn bad.



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