This Month’s Featured Essay:
Debunking the Debunkers of Conspiracy Theories
I have a confession to make: I’m worth more dead than alive. Of that I’m certain. Oh, I don’t mean it in the metaphysical sense—you know the intrinsic value of one’s life is permanent and no matter what fate has in store, you’ll live on forever in the hearts and minds of those who love you.
I’m talking cold hard cash: When I die, it’s gonna be a great day for my heirs. They’ll have the ultimate “freedom” under our system of capitalism: money. And doled out by huge, multinational conglomerates that have to pay up whether they like it or not.
How great is that?
I mean let’s face it; we’re all doomed, so why not make it easier for your loved ones?
My “death benefit” began a few years ago after I kept getting letters from life insurance companies inviting me to “enroll today” for their special, multi-million dollar, triple indemnity, policies which covered such bizarre occurrences as accidentally falling into a wood chipper or getting caught in a self-locking walk-in meat locker. I couldn’t figure out why these were being sent to me. But each and every day when I came home from work, there they were. I’d throw the letters out, but they just keep coming. When I brought the subject up, my husband claimed he didn’t know what I was talking about and he’d give me the “wiggle eyes”. You know, the look that says, “You’re f***ing nuts. Now go lie down.” Then one night I thought I saw him standing over me as I was sleeping whispering, “Sign za papers.”
I relented. While executing the forms (which, mysteriously were somehow already partially completed in familiar handwriting and PRE-notarized), I sent in my applications. One for each offer received. It was so easy—no physicals, no complicated payment procedures—only pages and pages of fine print (which no normal person would ever read).
So I’m all set to go (literally!) No matter what happens to me, I’m covered. But, wait, there’s more. I’ve got a plan for my funeral that’s very exciting. You see, I come from people who are not free thinkers and who are (relatively) not open to discussion. They don’t want to hear or discuss anything about anything that they haven’t already made up their minds about. And that’s on a good day—that is, if they are up to any interaction at all.
I’d say they’re somewhat dogmatic in that regard.
Recently, I came upon an essay I think is the finest composition I’ve read in a very long time and, in my opinion, is one of the most forthright assessments of America. It is educationally demanding, emotionally enervating, and controversial in challenging our (well) trained historical perspective. It is downright horrid in its attention to factual details that dispute one’s commonly held beliefs. Its ability to open a dialogue, a conversation, a communication about this nation is undeniable. So you see, I’m excited about what I’ve discovered, yet, given my people, I’m impotent in the communication of this stimulation.
They’d run after me with a big giant net.
So I’ve decided that I want this essay read at my funeral. Because then—and only then—will my people have to sit and listen to these words—each and every one—about the importance of having an open mind receptive to new, alternative, and/or controversial ideas. They will be a captive audience, under my (post-mortem) control.
And I’ll go to my grave knowing we had this “conversation”.
The essay, from 2007, “The Necessary Embrace of Conspiracy” by Robert Shetterly blew me away:
America is steeped in conspiracy, and even more steeped in propaganda that discredits those who try to expose the conspiracies. Whether we’re talking about MLK, Jr., JFK, RFK, Iran-Contra, 9/11, or most importantly, the status quo, anyone who works to uncover the truth is branded a “conspiracy nut” and discredited before any evidence has a fair hearing. The government/corporation/media version is THE VERSION. Anything else is illusionary.
Indeed. When most Americans hear conspiracy, their knee jerk reaction is to immediately denounce whatever’s been addressed. Because our citizens have been well trained not to consider the merits—slash that—the probability—of information contrary to our lock step media’s version.
If I said, “I think 9/11 was an inside job,” the stampede would commence. But if I said, “I think 9/11 was an outside job,” they might think twice (that is when we did talk about 9/11).
Then again, how could 9/11 not be an outside job? Would an insider plan something so calamitous? I mean isn’t it obvious that the kind of people who would perpetrate such a horrific event—one that cuts across the moral fabric of decency and humanity—would most undoubtedly be outsiders…the black sheep of the family, that “funny” uncle, the one you always had an inkling about?
The 1999 Columbine school shootings, which claimed the lives of 13 people and injured 21 (in the middle of the day and during normal school hours), was perpetrated by two kids characterized as “outsiders” (Salon.com column 4/22/99 “Outsiders, even among the outsiders”). These kids, unpopular, picked on, and morbidly resentful of “insiders” wanted attention and immortality…and they were determined to get it at any cost.
What about the 32 killed at Virginia Tech on 4/16/07? According to a report by CNN, the gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, was considered by the University to be “A loner, and we’re having difficulty finding information about him.” He was someone “dripping with anger” with a huge grudge to bear.
After the Texas Fort Hood massacre (13 dead, scores injured), an 11/6/09 article in the Atlantic Free Press said:
There are striking similarities between the massacres at Virginia Tech in which 32 were gunned down, and many wounded, and today’s shooting rampage in Texas: both perpetrators…were outsiders. While Hassan [Fort Hood] was born in Virginia, according to family members, he felt like an outsider, so both shooters were outsiders who appear to have envisioned their crime as vindication for their sense of displacement.
So what nurtures one to become an outsider? Wouldn’t it be fair to say they could be the kind who drift aimlessly through life failing to fit in with one group or another, losing popularity contests, burdened with a tremendous inability to communicate, perhaps at contentious odds with members of their family, carrying around (perhaps in their pocket) a list of those upon which to seek revenge and, most importantly, the determination to make their agenda the agenda whatever the cost so they can live in infamy?
As long as we live and breathe, why do we allow events like 9/11 to be swept under the rug, conversation aborted and ignored in favor of say a two week, 24 hour obsession with a pop-star’s sudden demise? Both are about death, but one trumps the other in the media’s lens. Why has all effective communication and investigation into one of the most catastrophic days in our nation’s history been effectively silenced…dead in the water…unless you’re one of them there conspiracy nuts?
Did you know The 9/11 Commission Report does not even mention Building 7 which fell into its own footprint in less than 10 seconds at 5:20 p.m. that same day? Did you know there is a group of over 100 family members who lost loved ones on that day who object to the official storyline and, in fact, are tirelessly committed to bringing about a new investigation? They are called “Vote for Answers” www.nyccan.org. In 2009 they succeeded in bringing to the New York City Council a petition containing over 80,000 signatures (exceeding the requirement) requesting a ballot question for the November election calling for a (truly) independent investigation. Their 80,000 voices were silenced by “legal insufficiencies”. Members Gordon and Kathleen Haberman, who lost their daughter on 9/11, say, “It’s not too late for the truth.”
Which is more important in shaping our national agenda, seeking the truth, or denying its existence?
In his fine essay, “The Necessary Embrace of Conspiracy“, Mr. Shetterly writes:
The reason we can’t talk about conspiracy is because it is the modus operandi. It isn’t the elephant in the room; it is the room itself…
Con + spirare from the Latin: To breathe together.
Secret con + spirare is death. Open con + spirare is life.
Mr. Shetterly offers much to consider, and if anyone is searching for a topic for their eulogy, and hasn’t considered the subject of conspiracy theory, what are you waiting for? Imagine the people you’d reach.
Last week, I received a recall notice on my car. Apparently, on some 1998 models, the alternator has the possibility of catching fire, setting off a chain of events which result in the car’s explosion. Funny thing was, the first notice I read said it was Notice Number Seven. I don’t know. Should I be concerned that my husband sorts the mail?
Not to worry. I’ve personally read “The Necessary Embrace of Conspiracy” at least two dozen times; in fact Mr. Shetterly has graciously agreed to read his essay at my funeral. So whether I’m gunned down by a post traumatic stress disordered Blackwater (now Xe) operative on leave from Iraq or run over by a rabid paparazzi’s mad dash to cover the latest Kardashian crisis, this essay is my departure gift. It is the best life insurance—life assurance—policy one can obtain.
Until that time, I’ll have to wait to have that conversation with my people.
And I hope after they listen—in between trying to figure out what ring tone to download to their iPhones—they’ll read it again and again and again, digesting its contents, challenging its assertions, and possibly—just possibly—contemplating the feasibility of its ideas.
Then maybe, in an ironic twist of fate, they’ll say to themselves: Gee, too bad she’s dead; we could’ve had a great conversation about this…
-by Lynn M. Petrovich, MCGP Treasurer
- June/July 2010: Single payer system removes profit motive
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