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Conspiring Against Conspiracies
by Mad Dog


The big problem with conspiracy theories is that they assume a huge number of people can work together and keep their mouths shut, neither of which is usually the case. 
We all love a good conspiracy theory. It doesnít matter whether itís Lyndon Johnson, the Mafia, and the CIA conspiring to assassinate Kennedy ó or was that Martin Luther King they knocked off? ó or virtually everyone who works for the government refusing to let on that there are aliens stashed in a walk-in refrigerator in the Senate kitchen right next to a huge vat of bean soup, itís easy to find someone who believes so intensely that you know they consider The X-Files to be a reality TV show. And watch reruns over and over hoping the ending will change and the conspiracy will become known for the true fact it is.

   These are certainly prime times for conspiracies. The CIA plotted the 9/11 World Trade Center attack in order to boost the Presidentís popularity rating and give him an excuse to avenge ďthe guy who tried to kill my dad.Ē Bill Clinton still insists that a vast right-wing conspiracy was behind the attack on his west wing. And according to my friend Peter, the World Bank is behind both of those. And more. Much more.

   The big problem with conspiracy theories is that they assume a huge number of people can work together and keep their mouths shut, neither of which is usually the case. Tell someone a secret ó anyone ó and see how long it takes before you hear it from someone else. Your best friend can be sworn to secrecy, yet not be able to resist telling every person they run into that some nights you stay at home, put on a wig, and stand in front of the mirror imitating Cher while wearing only your underwear, but somehow you still manage to believe that the thousands of people it took to make it appear that we actually landed on the moon have been able to keep their collective mouths shut for the past 30 years. Hah!


The second problem is that the truth behind conspiracies are known by only a few chosen people, which isnít to be confused with the Chosen People, who everyone knows own all the banks. Or at least thatís the theory. 
   This doesnít mean conspiracies arenít happening, it just means there canít be many people behind them. Thatís right, theyíre all being perpetrated by the same small group of people. Thus we have the Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory, which is much like the theory of a similar name that physicists keep trying to cobble together, a feat that isnít being made any easier by Stephen Hawking changing his mind on key issues such as whether black holes come in different colors so you can wear them after Easter and before Labor Day without the neighbors laughing at you.

   There are definite commonalities to conspiracies. First and foremost, theyíre theories. I canít remember ever hearing about a conspiracy law other than the ones passed by Congress, and you know theyíre a conspiracy since getting Congress to agree on anything other than it being time to recess requires a conspiracy. Or an act of Congress. Iím sure every conspiracy nut ó I mean, expert óout there will correct me, but I canít think of a single instance of a conspiracy theory turning into a conspiracy fact. You know, one we can call verified because it was featured in the New York Times, has its own entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica, or has been dropped from the approved-to-talk-about list on Art Bellís radio show. Conspiracy theories are fiction based on a true story hoping to one day be moved to the nonfiction shelf.

   The second problem is that the truth behind conspiracies are known by only a few chosen people, which isnít to be confused with the Chosen People, who everyone knows own all the banks. Or at least thatís the theory. Conspiracies arenít common knowledge, if they are theyíre more likely to be found filed under urban legend. Conspiracies are flexible, able to mutate with every rebuttal, and improvable, hence the theory part once again.


 I want to know whoís behind the conspiracy to make the Scott Peterson trial a world-class snoozefest. Itís got all the makings of an exciting trial ó murder, marital infidelity, Lady Clairol ó but itís more boring than watching a parking meter expire. 
   Conspiracies can be good business. Oliver Stone has done pretty well with them. So has Michael Moore. There are a slew of Web sites about them, my favorite being conspiracy-net.com, which has information on over 1,500 conspiracy theories, a big alien and UFO section, photographs and movies, and even a Conspiracy of the Week. According to their Web site ďIt appears that Yahoo have, with no warning or explanation, and after several years of service, terminated our Yahoo Groups mailing list. We have no idea why.Ē Uh, could it be...a conspiracy?

   Their Top-10 list of conspiracy articles includes an analysis of the Zapruder JFK assassination film (yawn), a discussion about whether Kurt Cobain was murdered (double yawn), and an article about supermarket ďclubĒ cards (zzzzzzzzzz). Iím not sure where the conspiracy is with the last one unless itís a conspiracy to help us save money. Mulder help us.

   We really need to come up with some newer, more interesting conspiracies. For example, I want to know whoís behind the conspiracy to make the Scott Peterson trial a world-class snoozefest. Itís got all the makings of an exciting trial ó murder, marital infidelity, Lady Clairol ó but itís more boring than watching a parking meter expire. Iíd like to find out whoís behind the conspiracy to deny me press credentials for the Democratic or Republican conventions. Sure I was late getting my applications in, but so what? I also want to know whoís conspiring not to create anything interesting to watch on TV. Iím tired of flipping through hundreds of channels and ending up watching the Prevue Guide because itís more entertaining than anything else on. And most of all, I want to know whoís behind not giving me these answers. Itís a conspiracy, I tell you.

©2004 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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