This Week in 19th-Century Conspiracy

Right now I’m writing my presentation for CSICon, and if you follow my twitter feed, you are well aware of this. CSICon has taken precedent over most other things at this point, and I’m gunning to have the entire presentation done well before I go to New Orleans, so I can just plug and play. Well, play mostly.

The program says I’m writing about religious conspiracy theories, which is mostly true. It’s actually going to be about a lot more than just straight religion. As I was writing, I realized that there was a good chance my audience would start thinking, “So the hell what?” as I was writing about a number of anti-Jesuit and anti-Catholic movements in 19th-century. This audience is on the cutting edge of bullshit–they are up on their game and mostly committed to fighting woo, bunk, nonsense and enfeebling thoughts in the here and now. So, I have reengineered my presentation to bring make clear that there is a close continuity between the conspiracy theories of yesteryear and the conspiracy theories of todayyear. In particular, I am going to be looking at the features of these old stories and the features of the more recent stories. And instruct my audience to embrace the FEMA death camps and obey the New World Order. (I know that some of you Truthers are reading this! w00t!)

Basically, I’m going to answer the question, “What does a pillow fight having gone horribly wrong have to do with UFOs?” I’ve taken an especially strange statement given to me by a modern conspiracist and am looking at all the history that led up to someone making such an extreme claim. In doing so, I hope to show that, as much as it appears and no matter how truly gobsmacking this comment was, it was not pulled right out of his probed orifice, but is the end product of immense conspiracist energies spanning decades. I hope that it will fit in nicely with the meme-based explanations that I anticipate from the other panelists, since I will be looking at some of the longest-lived (most enduringly reproductively successful) memes.

I don’t want to spoil it all here right now–not that the people who I will be presenting to are currently readers. (I do hope, though, that some of them will become readers by the end of the conference.)

RJB

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2 Responses to This Week in 19th-Century Conspiracy

  1. John D says:

    I wish I could be at CSICon. It sounds like it will be terrific. Best of luck!

  2. Pacal says:

    If your interested in a bit of history of people who thought the earth did not rotate arouind the sun see Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, by [The late] Martin Gardner, Dover Books, 1952, revised 1957. There you will also find people who think the world is flat, and those who believe that we all live inside a hollow earth. For an update on the flat earth idea see Flat Earth by Christine Garwood, St. Martin’s Press, 2007. Oh and book has a very amusing chapter on Leo Ferrari and the Canadian Flat Earth Society.

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