Archive for February, 2010

Conspiracy theory #2,012

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Why are all UFO photos blurry? Can’t anyone produce a clear, detailed photo of a goddamned intergalactic spacecraft?

Oh … right. Then you could read the embossed trademark on the hand-tossed PIE TIN.

Seriously, UFO photos were so much more common and exciting before digital auto-focus cameras came along. You could get away with a good alien invasion conspiracy using just a fuzzy UFO still or a jerky, grainy video.

But let’s not pile on the UFO fakers; we could all still be blown away one day by some amazing and irrefutable footage or evidence. And I’ll be the first to celebrate us not being alone in the Universe.

And what about all the other conspiracy theories, and the people who lap them up?

I was one of them.

Who really killed John F. Kennedy? Been there, done that. I read the books, magazine articles, watched Oliver Stone movies,  and attended lectures by authors such as Mark Lane, who made a cottage industry out of spinning new theories and co-conspirators (besides the CIA, Mafia, pro-Castro-ites, anti-Castro-ites, and Vice President LBJ).

Behind it all was disbelief that the charismatic leader behind one bright shining moment of Camelot could ever be snuffed out by a lone doofus such has Lee Harvey Oswald.

It didn’t stop there for me. When Reagan was president, I attended lectures by Colonel “Bo” Gritz, a former Green Beret commander, who revealed how the bullet that nearly killed Reagan was not fired by Hinckley, but from the pistol of one his own bodyguards discharging a plastic fleshette bullet while stuffing him into the limousine. He also explained how we were preparing nukes to blow a new canal through Nicaragua once we turned the Panama Canal back over to its sovereign owners. And there were plenty of ‘insider leaks’ about how Reagan’s people secretly made a deal with the Ayatollah to hold release of the Americans held hostage in Iran until after Jimmy Carter was defeated in his re-election bid and Reagan was sworn in as the 40th president. Well, okay, I’ll concede that one was probably true.

I listened to audiotapes from K.C. Depasse explaining how all the gold in Fort Knox had been sold away during the Nixon administration back in 1973, and the entire American financial system was now backed by … nothing (except, eventually, oil petrodollars).

I watched “Capricorn One” reveal how NASA faked the moon landing, and how we later discovered an alien race on Mars that had erected a massive Easter Island-like statue of a face.

You name it, I bought it.

And now? Now I’m in the Twelve-Step Program for former conspiracy nuts whose heads finally cleared after they retired the bong. That’s Step ONE in the program (unless your brain chemistry NATURALLY leans toward paranoid).

Step TWO is accepting the painfully common reality that the simplest, most banal answer is more often the truth.

What’s changed?

Dis-information is still out there by the gigabyte. Conspiracies DO exist. Just not most of the grand ones people spend all their fear-addled synapses obsessing about. And usually none that involve any more than a handful of powerful people.

Why do I accept this now?

All these accumulated years of studying and observing basic human nature serve my revised database. My college anthropology minor finally kicked in. Every person living long enough and experiencing life first hand, instead of just through media or the Internet, eventually goes through this process of evolution to accept these conclusions (except, of course, for the chronically paranoid, or those receiving alien messages). The longer you live, the more you become aware of the common traits, foibles, weaknesses, narcissism, greed, personal agendas and the basic fallibility of your human kindred under pressure, fear or temptation.

It’s also simple math. The more people involved in a conspiracy, the more likelihood someone- anyone, would spill the beans … for attention, for money, for spite, for glory, or just for fuck’s sake. Why do teenage computer hackers choose to screw up your PC with a remote Bot or virus? Because they can. (But then it could be Apple …)

Never mind the Mythbusters rational, point-by-point disproof of every conceivable theory or photographic ‘evidence’ about how the Apollo lunar landings were faked … Do you really think the hundreds of people who would have had to be involved could hold their tongue for more than 40 years before wagging it on 60 Minutes, Larry King or Oprah?

That’s far more unbelievable than any conspiracy theory I could concoct. And it’s also why they seldom survive close examination. Real people are involved. Some hard as stone. Some soft as snot. Some cuckoo as a clock.

Maybe the Knights Templar, or the Druids, or the Masons of past centuries, or even our stoic parents’ generation could hold their mustard, or keep a secret about the bloodline of Jesus, the hidden powers of levitation, or the metaphysics of our nation’s founding fathers beyond ten minutes, but not in today’s ADD environment. Not in this every-attention-whore-for-themself-24-hour-Internet-cable-television-text-twitter information orgy.

Welcome to the Blabfest.

As much as this orgy of information constantly breeds new conspiracies (such as our government’s  ‘controlled demolition’ of the Twin Towers), the same conspiracies are simultaneously being reputed by other information spit out with whatever degree of credibility you can either accept or ignore, depending upon your disposition to be genetically paranoid or swamped with feelings of powerlessness.

Sure, you can argue that power is in the hands of the far too few, and manipulated for their ongoing interests, or to sustain them in power, but THAT’S NOT A CONSPIRACY. That’s just basic reality.

A conspiracy theory, at least by my interpretation, has to be somewhat shocking or sensational to one’s normal sensibility or the common knowledge of facts by the public. There’s nothing shocking about five to seven banks owning and running the world and essentially giving world leaders their marching orders (and bail-out demands).

What would really shock me is if the need or urge for a conspiracy behind every upsetting event suddenly went out of style, died on the vine, and people stopped unquestionably buying every one that comes along.

But as long as people smoke weed, feed off paranoia, or watch Fox News, that’s just not going to happen.

— A. Wayne Carter