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Saturday, February 7, 2015

February 7-8, 2015: Crowd-sourced Conspiracies

[Americans sure can believe some cray cray things. That’s right, I said cray cray. In this week’s series, I’ve AmericanStudied five such conspiracy theories, past and present. This crowd-sourced post is drawn from the suspicious contributions of fellow AmericanStudies—add your craziness in comments, please!]
Following up on the series overall, Sam Southworth writes, “Near and dear to my heart. I always attempt to eschew conspiracy thinking and discourage it among students because it just seems like an awfully busy way to encourage sloppy thinking habits. But I certainly agree that a great deal can be gleaned by paying attention to the theories and what they say about the people who adopt them, often without much due diligence. Ufology (as it is termed) and JFK-ery would be just the right place to start, and I have labored in both vineyards. The UFO field is just so fragmented and peculiar! Evidence? Slight. Fervor of true believers? Verging on unhinged. And there are some very strange tales out there, for sure. My preference is for caves, tunnels and underground bases, such as (supposedly) Dulce, NM, and Montauk on eastern Long Island.”
Angela Allan adds, “Area 51? JFK? Moon landing? Birthers? Truthers? Antivaxxers? So many scary options.”
Andrea Grenadier notes, Just yesterday, I met a very interesting guy over at GW in computer science, who is tracing rumors, their beginnings, and why they never seem to die. The prime example: Obama is a secret Muslim. Other conspiracy theories: that Elvis really isn't dead, and that the Holocaust was a hoax so we could get a cool, new country called Israel.”
Heather Urbanski connects such theories to current pop culture, joking that “all the hours watching Marvel CU and Ancient Aliens has sated my conspiracy needs.”
Rob Gosselin highlights a brand-new conspiracy theory, about last Sunday’s Super Bowl. Rob also follows up Wednesday’s moon landing post, saliently joking, “I heard they are keeping the props and all the other evidence of the staged moon landing in a hanger at area 51. That's also where the tunnel is that leads to the center of the hollow earth.”
Osvaldo Oyola responds to that post as well, highlighting “the brilliant film Room 237, which is in part about the belief that Kubrick helped fake the moon landing.”
Finally, Andre Carrington’s response highlights both the radioactive and undeniable nature of the week’s topic: “I don’t want to touch this with a 10-foot pole, except to say that conspiracy theories are terribly widespread.”
Next series starts Monday,
Ben

PS. What do you think? Other conspiracy theories you’d highlight?

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