This Week in Conspiracy…uh, I’ve lost count of the days. We’ll call it 25 Oct 2012

October 26, 2012

The hectic pace of a youngish professional on the way to… ever having permanent employment… remains, uh, hectic.

You just try to come up with an opening sentence so devastatingly painful, I dare you.

Anyway, I’ve been remiss in my duties as a crusader for truth (small t), justice, and critical thinking, and as we close in on the election, everyone is clearly getting dumber. I apologize for this and will try to set things right.

  • This week Donald Trump made yet more of a fool of himself. I didn’t think it was possible. He offered $5,000,000 to a charity if Obama released his college applications. This is part of the Birther conspiracy theory, that the President’s application materials will reveal something about the President’s citizenship. The theory is that they are “being kept secret,” when in reality FERPA keeps Columbia from releasing them. Some things you can’t buy, Donald, like respectability. For everything else, there’s gobs and gobs of inherited money.
  • Mark Dice is unfathomably unpleasant. Here’s his take on the upcoming (and delayed) Cleveland Show episode about the “Rap Illuminati,” and he seems to not understand that the show is basically mocking people like Mark and Vigilant Citizen who fail to perceive that marketing is driving the continued references to the Illuminati in rap and pop culture.
  • Occasionally, Mark Dice goes out and lies to people and then mocks them for believing him (because he is just that pleasant). He sent out this tweet: “Hope you are enjoying my retweets of the ZOMBIES who believe the SATIRE about Romney ‘banning tampons.’ #Idiots.” As long as he doesn’t ban douches, Mark, you’ll be just fine.
  • Veterans Today‘s Gordon Duff appeared on Coast to Coast AM talking about UFO disclosure.
  • In related news, this week I met George Noory:


Twit of the Week:

A new player is in town. Here are two tweets in order. I want to know what class this was and where it was at!

Molly Williams (@LookItsMolly) tweeted at 11:08 AM on Thu, Oct 25, 2012:
Professor: “The character says she called 911 instead of saying she called the police. We can assume that this is a reference to 9/11.”

Molly Williams (@LookItsMolly) tweeted at 11:08 AM on Thu, Oct 25, 2012:
… and then I realized that literary theorists and conspiracy theorists are uncomfortably similar.

Well played, Molly. Well played. I elaborated on a similar theme back in the day in my NeMLA presentation, “The Topography of Ignorance: Science and Literary Theory,” of which I am quite proud.

The least helpful, least insightful, most pathetic debate commentary came from Mark Dice:

Mark Dice @MarkDice
Both of these men think they are God. #Debates #Illuminati #SatanicScumbags

Just end it, man. You just aren’t cut out for…anything.

That’s all. Last week I was at the Paradigm Symposium on behalf of Skeptical Inquirer, and I will be writing that up over the next week or so. It was a hell of a time. Stay tuned!


This Week in Conspiracy (23 Sept 2012)

September 23, 2012

A very brief conspiracy theory roundup this week. Man, between grading and procrastinating about grading, I have no time left!

Twit of the Week:

The week’s best tweet came from Kyle Hill:

Is Big Pharma paying me to say that they don’t pay me? Don’t be a shill for Big Conspiracy @vigroco

Conspiracy Theory of the Week:

There you go. As promised. One round-up. Sorry I couldn’t go into more detail, but next week, I’m sure, will be a regular edition.


The Dark Ages Conspiracy

February 1, 2011

Medievalists tend to go a bit twitchy when we hear the term “the Dark Ages.” Frankly, “Middle Ages” isn’t great either–a whole time period defined for eternity as “the boring bit between those two nifty eras, the Classical Age and the Renaissance.” It’s as if it was just a centuries-long place holder between great flowerings of culture. The “Dark Ages” is worse still, suggesting that the whole period (whether the term is used to refer to the entire medieval period or only the early Middle Ages) was dreary, dreadful and intellectually and culturally bereft. Many medievalists avoid the term and prefer terms such as “the early Middle Ages” and “the High Middle Ages.” Fortunately, there is no middle Middle Ages.

As I have mentioned previously, I have been reading Holy Blood, Holy Grail. As a result, I have been almost entirely drained of the will to live. Occasionally, I will read a sentence which almost makes sense, but generally the authors snatch nonsense from the jaws of sense. A case in point: at the beginning of their discussion of the Merovingian dynasty, they note that this was “probably the most impenetrable period of what are now called the Dark Ages. But the Dark Ages, we discovered, had not been truly dark.” Aha! I thought, at least they have the sense to realize that characterizations of the early Middle Ages are unfair and inaccurate. “On the contrary,” they continue, “it quickly became apparent to us that somebody had deliberately obscured them” (234).

Wait, what? There was a conspiracy against the Dark Ages? I knew it! I’ll bet it was those filthy, stinking Renaissancers (and really, they were just as unwashed and smelly as medieval folk). Probably it was originally called the Bright, Shiny Happy Ages until those fops in ruffs showed up and “deliberately obscured them.” Oh, and by the way, the Black Death? Really just an outbreak of sniffles.