This Week in Conspiracy (8 Aug 2011)

Another week, another shipment of conspiracy theory arrives. This week, conspiracy land was all abuzz over a few stories.

The biggest story in the wackosphere was by far the crash of the American helicopter with members of SEAL Team 6 aboard. Some conspiracy theorists said that they thought the military was covering its tracks regarding what they believe is a false bin Laden assassination story. Turns out, not that it will make any difference to the hardcore delusional, none of those killed seem to have been on the raid. I look forward to the apologies and corrections–ha! However, I think that a new chapter in the strange alternative history of 9/11 that the paranoid are writing has been outlined with this one. I tried to look up how big a unit SEAL Team 6 is to see what the odds would be that the same team would have perished, but that’s classified–you don’t tell the Samurai how many ninjas you have, I guess. My favorite take was from late 19th-century pugilist Finian Cunningham, pictured below:

"'Tis a cover-up, you rapscallion! Now come here so I may box you soundly about the ears!"

That’s it. I’m done for now. Stay tuned, I’m sure for the “double dip recession conspiracy theories” next week, I’m sure. The next few weeks are going to be bonkers for me. Classes starting up. I have 2 Dragon*Con panels to organize (conspiracy theories and skepticism and the humanities) and a good deal of IIG-Atlanta work to prepare before the Con. Yikes! Oh, and a book chapter to finish tomorrow. Don’t take any wooden nickels.


9 Responses to This Week in Conspiracy (8 Aug 2011)

  1. Ken says:

    The architectural conspiracies surrounding the Denver Airport are a hoot.

    That report’s pathetic; they left out the murderous horse statue.

    On the hollow earth stuff, are you thinking of Willy Ley? He wrote about some of the the German theosophical societies after he emigrated, but he was not himself a believer.

  2. Bob says:

    OhI I found it! It was a reference a student of mine found!

    I trust his source, Can You Speak Venusian? A classic skeptical tome.

  3. Pacal says:

    Camus on the list is singularily appropriate given the cult that surrounds him. Camus before his death believed that there was conspiracy involving Communists and Algerian rebels etc., to destroy France among other nonsense.

    Camus thought Nasser of Egypt was the font of a vast Communist, Arab conspiracy to destroy France and that the loss of Algeria would create a Communist base to undermine and destroy Frtance. Hence he supported the BtRitish / French invasion of Egypt.

    Camus is some times called “Camus the Just”, however his principled opposition to violence in all it forms did not prevent him from calling for violent resistence to the Nazis, for the Hungarians to violently resist the Soviet invasion or as said above approving of the invasion of Egypt. His principled opposition to violence was mainly opposition to a colonial rebellion against French colonial domination in Algeria. Given that Camus oppossed any negotiations with the actual rebel leadership and refused to even discuss Algerian independence from France his position was support for the Colonial power and by implication its violent supression of the rebellion.

    Camus said during his Nobel prize speech that he would support his mother above justice. Rather revealing. Camus’ people were the Pied Noir, French colonial settlers and their descendents in Algeria. The great majority Muslim population remained to him to a large extent the “other”. Camus thus embraced the French repression with “anguish”.

    The story that Camus was murdered by the Soviets actually goes back to shortly after Camus death. A lot of it having to do with Camus’ very vocal denunciation of the Soviet Gulag and other atrocities. All of which Camus denounced vigorously, unlike Satre who very foolishly embraced the Fellow Travelling French Communist party for c. 4 years in the 1950’s. The crushing of the Hungarian rebellion wised Satre up.

    Sadly Algeria, (Where Camus was born), unhinged Camus and he started spouting a lot of conspiracy crap and holding positions that were contradictory and morally questionable. Unfortunately the cult around Camus tends to glide over this stuff.

    It is more than a bit tiresome that 50 year old conspiracy crap is resurfacing.

  4. Bob says:

    Oh, wow. I had no idea. So this is old/new. Man these stories are durable. And every time someone comes up with it again, they think it’s the first time. That’s actually very interesting…these conspiracy theories are always new. I wonder if that has anything to do with the perpetual urgency that these things stories seem to convey…

    Any reason that you can see that is coming up now? You said there is a Camus cult?

    • Pacal says:

      By “cult” I meant a sort of literary, philosophical fellow travelling that goes with a particular personality or belief. For example tha “cult” that surrounds Ayn Rand, Or the “cult” that exists around the late Jean-Paul Satre. A sort of idealizing hero-worship combined with spouting the persons alleged philosophy.

      Camus has been a sort of “deity” figure to the anti-Communists in France for decades. Further in some of his later writings Camus warned about “Islamic” infilitration of Europe so it would have some relevance to Islamophobia in present day Europe. Of course those anti-left would have an interest in smearing the left by accusing the Soviet Union of murdering Camus. Note the assumption that some how the Soviet Union allegedly murdering Camus smears the entire left.

      I don’t like “cults of personality” at all, So the one around Camus is annoying, like all the rest. Camus wrote and did a lot of very admirable things, that in the last years of his life he said / did some stuff that is not at all admirable as no effect on my admiration for his writing.

      May I suggest you read the following by Camus if you have not already, La Peste (The Plague), an extraordinary novel of an outbreak of plague in an Algerian city during the Second World War. Also L’Homme Revolte, (The Rebel), and The Myth of Sisyphus.

    • Ken says:

      I wonder if that has anything to do with the perpetual urgency that these things stories seem to convey…

      That reminds me of some of Jan Harold Brunvand’s work on urban legends, as presented in his popularizations (The Mexican Pet, The Vanishing Hitchhiker, etc.). Many of them also serve as urgent warnings, albeit against dangerous or socially unacceptable behavior.

  5. IntrepidSol says:

    Stupid 9/11 Truthers!

  6. Bob says:

    Wow. Now I’m retarded.

  7. Chelvi says:

    Well, I am going to go out on a risky limb and repeat mlesyf, to some degree, and say: I think the degree to which people are so easily and seemingly comfortable with assuming the worst with little or no question reflects what was written of in Skeptic magazine a couple of years ago as, I think, cultural panic, i.e., over-reaction based upon the exaggerated politics of fear, stereotyping, and an overabundance of inaccurate assumptions..And furthermore, I’ll repeat that I think it would be a valid experiment, so to speak, to reverse the genders, and play with the changes in response and assumption that that would endow..Frankly, I am baffled by the kneejerk reactionary responses..Beard of Pants, I am not trying to convert Rebecca’s emotional response to the situation to a scientific experiment, I am simply trying to highlight the plain and obvious fact that too many assumptions are being made without any evidence. Many commentors who were not in the elevator, and who have absolutely no idea whatsoever as to what really went down are making angry, hostile, misanthropic judgement calls without sufficient evidence to base those calls on. And that is the basis of my argument..In a sense, foolish-rain, to some degree, makes my point for me, or at least part of it. Some posters are making a blanket assumption that because the person who asked Rebecca to join them for coffee was a male, the simple fact that it was a man, means it was a sexual advance, whereas if it had been a woman it would almost certainly not have been a sexual advance..Huh?.What kind of paranoid fear factor do you base that on? Are all men predators? Are all men doing nothing but making sexual advances on women? Are all men nothing more than penises on consumptive conquest hyperdrive? Gah! Give me a break. What kind of fear do you people live with? Where comes this plethora of assumptive stereotypes? When did become Pharyngula?Jeebles folks, chill a bit.

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