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Yes, pity the conspiracy theorist: bombarded on all sides from all media with nothing but propaganda, everything meant to hide something, all the truth obfuscated and obscured, that truth something only you and your brethren can see and comprehend, leaving you and your brethren lost to a Cassandra-doom of screaming at the world that is oppressing you with A Veil Over The Truth that doesn't acknowledge, that may never acknowledge, your truth. Which is the only truth. And which must be shouted, shouted, shouted, on that off-chance, that percent of a percent of a chance, that what you see running the world will be revealed to that world, with that world throwing off these conspiratorial shackles and putting the right people against the wall when the revolution comes, when finally all such ranting against The Way The World Really Is will have led to the glory of a non-shadowy world. Must be frickin' exhausting.

This post has been brought to you by channel-surfing past a little too much public-access cable.

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As you've probably guessed, I don't like conspiracy theory. That's separate from conspiracy theories, the individual beliefs that people find to try and explain what they find inexplicable. I mean the attitude behind conspiracy theory, the belief that shadowy forces are far more in control than anyone can prove because the shadowy forces are so well-hidden and protected. I've said it before: conspiracy theory is the application of story-sense to reality. And to quote Peter David, "Fiction is just like reality, only more elegant. It also makes more sense, unless it's written badly, in which case it's bad fiction." Conspiracy theory is just like reality, only wanting to be more elegant...and, instead, being more sinister and malevolent. And spouted by people who want to have more power than they actually have.

I find some schaudenfreude in a conspiracy theory being forever disproven. I once heard a theory years ago that not only did the Watergate informant Deep Throat not exist, but that Deep Throat was invented by a screenwriter. I likely heard this via G. Gordon Liddy's radio show in the early Nineties, years before Mark Felt was finally revealed as the informant. The Watergate break-in happened in 1972; the investigation took months and months, finally building to a damning level of evidence; Nixon resigned in 1974; Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's book All the President's Men also came out that year; and the film adaptation came out in 1976. William Goldman was hired to adapt the book into the film script when the book was still in messy first draft form. According to the theory, that first draft of the book had no mention of anyone nicknamed Deep Throat, but Goldman told Woodward and Bernstein that the information gathering needed a central character for dramatic purposes. So according to that theory, there were no shadowy meetings in parking garages and no cryptic signals in public places, because that sort of thing only happens in the movies or espionage novels. Such a theory works for people who believe that Deep Throat was too convenient, that he had to be an invention of Evil Liberal Hollywood to make Nixon look more evil. It also counterbalanced the worrying idea that one person could have such power (eventually) to bring down a President. But years later, it was confirmed that yep, it had all happened, and Deep Throat had been Mark Felt. He hadn't looked like Hal Holbrook (though Dustin Hoffman did look reasonably like Carl Bernstein, by the way), but he'd had his role. And one conspiracy theory could never be seriously spouted again.

(If this post leads to that theory actually being seriously spouted again, I'll say right now that NO I DON'T BELIEVE IT.)

Whoa. Words like this don't normally come out of me this early on a Saturday.