Aliens have Elvis! Bigfoot ate my Schnauzer! Batboy dating Jennifer Aniston!
These are the types of non-sense, clearly fictitious headlines that get plastered on new rags at your local super market. Well, perhaps not so much as when I was growing up. Current fascinations seem to center around mind rotting, reality programming, but you get the point. These stories are pure sensationalism.
Now, a group of people banding together in a dark, smoke filled room, pulling on beards, twisting long mustaches, bent over a table top map of the world and belting out the occasional , Dr. Evil style “bwa ha, bwa ha ha…. bwa ha ha ha” as they plan the ultimate destruction of, well… everything. Surely not. These are stories that people in tin-foil hats tell each other, right? Don’t be a nut job! Oh, you’re one of “THEM”! “Conspiracies”!!! Poppycock!, Stuff and non-sense, old man! Good god, you’re depressing, why do you think about stuff like this!?!? You know none of this is real, right?
So, you don’t believe in Conspiracies? Okay, I guess you don’t believe in Football either. What does football have to do with conspiracies? It’s how the game is played. A group gets together, in a huddle (the word itself has the same origin as the word “hide”) to discuss a secret plan that will move their agenda forward at the cost of their opponent. Yep, that’s it. That’s all a “Conspiracy” is. It is how business is handled in most cases. It’s no more vaporous, spooky or scoff-able than that. So, get over it.
Why is it that the concept of a group of people making a plan in secret to move their agenda forward at the cost of others is such a point of contention, mockery and downright anger to some people? Well, a lot of people cannot accept that the world they’ve been sold isn’t exactly what’s really happening. However, there are other issues to consider, such as cointelpro, misleading smokes screens or disinformation.
Not all that long ago, the mention of somethings as “insane” as, say, area 51, would have labeled you a laughing stock. “Oh, right, and we didn’t go to the moon, and Lee Harvey didn’t shoot Kennedy…” You see how instantly anything outside of the accepted norm is immediately lumped into an all encompassing pool of immediate dismissal. That is, until technology advanced to the point that you could no longer hide a secret testing facility in the desert. Then it was “well, there’s no such thing as area 51… I mean, unless you talk to some people that work there. They sometimes call it that, but that’s not what it is, it’s… it’s… oh, you have pictures… oh, well then… yes. But of course EVERYONE knew that!”. It is denied until the last possible moment, then when all the lies collapse, the know-it-alls will flip 180 degrees and say they knew it all along and chide you for making such a big deal out of a “known issue”.
What typically happens when people are trying to hide something in plain sight or obfuscate the truth is;
A) Denial of accusation and dismisall of accuser (“Honey, I was not at the bar and you’re a nut job for saying it”). B) Pleading guilty to a lesser charge (“I only stopped by to say hi to a friend and I left right away”). C) Distraction and diversion (“what do you mean I was at the bar?.. good god, Godzilla is outside the window!!) and D) Inflating the accusation to an absurd level (“Oh right Honey, I got smashed at the bar, married a hedge hog and killed a hooker. What’s wrong with you?”). Or, person A: “I believe there is a secret base in the desert”. Person B: “Oh, right, and it’s FULL of aliens that secretly run the world”.
Next is the issue of how our language is used. Terms like “Conspiracy nut”, “birther” or “tea bagger” are all intended to diminish and mock the point of view of a person before you even hear it. Notice how each of the terms has a built in condemnation or invalidation in the way they’re presented. A great description of what a Conspiracy “Theory” (because that’s how they’re always mentioned, as if precluding that they already couldn’t possible be true) is found in the opening of In Plane Sight (below). Now, before anyone gets their pants in a twist, has their blood pressure sky rocket or rolls their eyes; we NOT going to talk about 9/11 here. If you don’t want to watch the first few minutes, I’ll paraphrase here:
If I buy a lottery ticket, in “theory” I could win the lottery. This will remain only a theory, until I actually buy a ticket. At this point, it is no longer a theory, but a possibility. The more I buy, the better my chances are. If someone says something is possible “in theory”, it means just that. But the minute there is any piece of evidence that their idea MIGHT be true, it is no longer theory, it is now a possibility. And the more evidence you find to support your idea, the more possible, and then the more plausible, this theory becomes.
There, that’s it. No scary monsters, no space babies, no maniacal laughter. No reason to mock, admonish or ridicule. Just an explanation of what a Conspiracy Theory is; the idea that a group of people have a plan. Preposterous, I know….