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BigJoe

Anti-NWO Theory; Conditions for Attraction, Social and Political impact.

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I started to talk about this in the Invisible Empire thread, but it is probably more appropriate if I begin a new thread.

 

Cut and paste from the other thread;

I'm not sure if anyone is interested in discussing the broader implications of this conspiracy online culture? I am actually quite interested in it as a cultural movement, or perhaps even a kind of political ideology. I will be interested to see if it continues to grow in momentum, and what the possible outcomes could be? For the sake of discussion we could limit the parameters to New World Order (anti-NWO) theory, otherwise I feel it is easy to posit confirmed conspiracy theory (such as the MKULTRA trials) as proof of all conspiratorial claims.

I have read a few academic articles in the last week or so about conspiracy theory, and they generally seem to focus on a few distinct themes that are reoccurring within conspiracy theories;

- Binary, or simplistic understandings of issues. I.e Us and Them,or Good and Evil based arguments.

- A limited understanding of the issues out of which the conspiracy is derived.

- Closed, or circular, arguments. I.e. any counter evidence is proof of a cover up.

- A sense of emergency.

 

Regarding my previous comments on out of context quotes; I think it is interesting that the evidence cited for anti-NWO theory in films and on websites is very selectively picked and strung together like a montage revolving around particular misunderstood words. Without understanding the context from which these words are picked from the words themselves are virtually meaningless, lending themselves to anyone who wishes to project a sense of meaning by recontextualising them into another narrative. Using this method, it is possible to construct almost any argument with the words of another person. Orwell talked about the importance of using the most simple language whenever possible, perhaps anti-NWO theory is an example of the negative outcomes of a class based divide in language?

 

I am also interested in how anti-NWO very loosely parallels critical or postmodernist theory. Within anti-NWO media I have seen a lot of critical statements but rarely any positive assertions, apart from harking back to an almost mythological sense of liberalism, of how society should be better organised. Moreover, these allusions to concepts of liberty seem to contrast against an anti-NWO’s inference of a class based criticism of the elite. This supports the idea that anti-NWO theory is born of a lack of understanding of the political system and the resulting disempowerment this creates.

An issue that concerns me is the scepticism of educational institutions that I have seen in anti-NWO media. I have generally seen universities and formal education depicted as a corrupted and leading towards NWO indoctrination. This is concerning in that encouraging a rejection of education has similarities with fundamental religious organisations or even cults. This rejection further ads to the problems associated with circular arguments, by encouraging a shift away from the information that would discredit anti-NWO theory.

 

Speculating on what the anti-NWO movement could hope to achieve is quite interesting. Disturbingly, I can easily see the potential for terrorist acts. If, however, the anti-NWO movement becomes big enough to be broadly based, its anti-authoritarianist element could have an impact in local politics.

 

Previously Shai had stated that the 'elephant in the room' is a discussion about power in society. I agree with this entirely, however I do not believe anti-NWO has anything valuable to contribute to this kind of discussion. I am choosing to focus on the anti-NWO theory itself because I feel that there are many other well informed disciplines and movements that have developed strong methods of analysing power. If the protagonists of anti-NWO theory were truly focussing on societal power structures then it would be a rational decision to embrace the existing body of discourse available and therefore gain legitimacy amongst those who also share similar convictions. However, this is not what has happened. Instead anti-NWO theory has thoroughly rejected all other critical arguments, choosing to perpetuate a system of circular logic and dwelling on the outer fringe of political discussion. All the while cherry picking quotes to support its own agenda. For this reason I think it is not possible to include anti-NWO into a productive broader discussion on power.

 

Thoughts?

 

Just to be very clear, this is not a thread discussing if the anti-NWO theories are true, this is about discussing them as a (predominantly online) cultural and political phenomenon.

 

I will post a few academic articles to get the ball rolling.

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John Garter, 2009, 'Dark Minds' Psychology today, Issue 37 September-October.

 

Dark Minds

When does incredulity become paranoia? By John Gartner

ALEX JONESis trying to warn US about an evil syndicate of bankers who control most of the world's governments and stand poised to unite the plane t under their totalitarian reign, a "New World Order." While we might be tempted to dismiss Jones as a nut, the "king of conspiracy" is a popular radio show host. The part-time film-maker's latest movie, The Obama Deception, in which he argues that Obama is a puppet of the criminal bankers, has been viewed millions of times on YouTube. When we spoke, Jones ranted for two hours about FEMA concentration camps, Halliburton child kidnappers, government eugenics programs—and more. When I stopped him to ask for evidence the government is practising eugenics, he pointed to a national security memorandum. But I found the document to be a bland policy report. Jones "cherry picks not just facts but phrases, which, once interpreted his way, become facts in his mind," says Louis Black, editor of the Ausiin Chronicle, who knows Jones, a fellow Austin resident. When I confronted Jones with my reading of the report, he became pugnacious, launching into a diatribe against psychologists as agents of social control.

 

Conspiracy thinking is embraced by a surprisingly large proportion of the population. Sixty-nine percent of Americans believe President John F. Kennedy was killed hy a conspiracy, and 42 percent believe the government is covering up evidence of flying saucers, finds Ted Goertzel, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University at Camden. Thirty-six percent of respondents to a 2006 Scripps News/Ohio University poll at least suspected that the U.S. government played a role in 9/11. We're all conspiracy theorists to some degree

 

We're all hardwired to find patterns in our environment, particularly those that might represent a threat to us. And when things go wrong, we find ourselves searching for what, or who, is behind it. In his 1954 classic, The Paranoid Style Personality

in American Politics, historian Richard Hofstadter hypothesized that conspiracy thinking is fueled by underlying feelings of alienation and helplessness. Recent research supports his theory. New Mexico State University psychologist Marina Abalakina-Paap has found that people who endorse conspiracy theories are especially likely to feel angry .mistrustful, alienated from society, and helpless over larger forces controlling their lives.

 

Jones insists he had a "Leave It to .Beaver childhood." I couldn't confirm such an idyllic past. When I asked if I could interview his family or childhood friends, he insisted his family was very "private “and he had not kept in touch with a single friend. When I asked if I might look them up, he became irritated. He doubted he could "still spell their names" and besides, I'd already taken up enough of his time. "I turned down 50 or 60 requests for interviews this week," he wanted me to know. The number sounded wildly inflated. Conspiracy theorists have a grandiose view of themselves as heroes "manning the barricades of civilization" at an urgent "turning point" in history, Hofstadter held. Jones has a "messiah complex," Black contends. Grandiosity is often a defense against underlying feelings of powerlessness. Even well-grounded skeptics are proneto connect disparate dots when they feel disempowered.

 

In a series of studies, Jennifer Whitson of the University of Texas and Adam Galinsky of Northwestern demonstrated that people primed to feel out of control are particularly likely to see patterns in random stimuli. Might people be especially responsive to Jones' message in today's America, marked by economic uncertainty and concerns about terrorism and government scandals?"There is a war on for you rnind" Jones insists on his Web site, infowars.com. He calls his listeners "infowarriors." Information is the conspiracy theorists' weapon of choice because if there's one thing they all agree on, it's that all the rest of us have been brainwashed. The "facts" will plainly reveal the existence of the conspiracy, they believe. And while all of us tend to bend information to fit our preexisting cognitive schema, conspiracy theorists are more extreme. They are "immune to evidence," discounting contradictory information or seeing it as "proof of how clever the enemy is at covering things up," Goertzel says.

 

Conspiracy theories exist on a spectrum from mild suspicion to full-on paranoia, and brain chemistry may play a role. Dopamine rewards us for noting patterns and finding meaning in sometimes insignificant events. It's long been known that schizophrenics overproduce dopamine. "The earliest stages of delusion are characterized by an overabundance of meaningful coincidences," explain Paul D. Morrison and R.M. Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London. "Jumping to conclusions "is a common reasoning style among the paranoid, find Daniel Freeman and his colleagues, also at the Institute of Psychiatry. Indeed, there are no coincidences in Jones' world. In a scene from The Obama Deception, Jones dives "into the belly of the beast," the hotel where purported conspirators will be meeting. As he begins a telephone interview, the fire alarm goes off."The bastards have set us up," he says. Jones says that he has been visited by the FBI and the Secret Service but can't discuss the interviews. It maybe that federal agents, in fact, wanted to evaluate whether he is a threat to the president. There's no reason to believe he is—but the same can't be said of his listeners. In 2002,Richard McCasIin, carrying an arsenal of weapons, entered the Bohemian Grove, a camp ground in California that annually hosts a meeting of the political and business elite. He told authorities he had been planning his commando raid for a year, after (he says) hearing Jones claim that ritual infant sacrifice was taking place there. The "war" continues. In a video promoting the Obama Deception, Jones urges, "We know who they are. We know what they are. We know what has to be done."

JOHN GARTNER

 

 

Sorry if the editing is a bit sloppy, I had to go back through it since cutting and pasting left the text in column format.

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I've read a lot and have my own opinions about this, and I still don't know whether there's a concrete/unified plan out there, but...as I've said before my guess is that there's probably some collusion/agreement when you get closer to the top of the food chain. As far as the details go, it would be in the best interests of the people behind some greater scheme to keep everyone downstream out of the loop as far as the details...it stands to reason that misdirection would go a long way towards maintaining a state of confusion and argument to hinder any kind of organized resistance.

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Not academic, but still an interesting review of the book Voodoo Histories.

 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123127032

 

When a co-worker told him that he believed Neil Armstrong's 1969 moon walk actually took place on a Hollywood soundstage, journalist David Aaronovitch was appalled. Aaronovitch had seen the moon landing on TV when he was a kid, and he couldn't believe anyone would think it was a hoax.

 

"He told me about the photographs that don't make sense, and the stars that aren't there, and the flag flapping in the nonexistent breeze, and so on," Aaronovitch tells Guy Raz.

 

At the time, Aaronovitch wasn't prepared with evidence to counter his co-worker's claim, but today he is. Aaronovitch spent six years looking into the details behind top conspiracy theories such as the faked Apollo moon landing and has come out with a new book to forensically debunk each of them.

 

Aaronovitch's rebuttal is called Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History. In the book, Aaronovitch tackles the intriguing question of why well-educated, reasonable people sometimes believe "perfectly ridiculous things." (Read a list, from Aaronovitch's book, of a few of the common characteristics shared by many conspiracy theories.)

 

"The notion that a large number of people that believe in conspiracy theories are just wackos just simply doesn't fit," he says.

 

His personal favorite? Aaronovitch says he always liked the conspiracy that Hitler himself set fire to Berlin's Reichstag building in 1933 so that he would have an excuse to suspend civil liberties in Germany.

 

Aaronovitch says that while researching the book, he discovered "that the Reichstag was set on fire by the single man who said he did it, said all the way through the trial that he was the only person who did it, and went to his execution saying that he didn’t understand why everyone was trying to say it was the Nazis or the Communists."

 

Aaronovitch points out that this is a classic example of Occam's razor — the simplest explanation was actually true.

 

Aaronovitch says conspiracy theories are fashionable across the globe. And while the one your neighbor insists upon — that the fluoride in the drinking water is actually a mind-control experiment by the government — might be a harmless variation, some have serious consequences.

 

"If you are to travel in Pakistan, for instance, you will find that a significant proportion of the educated Pakistanis believe that George Bush brought down the twin towers," says Aaronovitch. "And that makes dealing with the [Pakistani] Taliban difficult because they actually don't believe the fundamental premise on which the war against terror was waged."

 

The conspiracy that Sept. 11 was an inside job is just one example of a theory that has molded our view of history. In his book, Aaronovitch explores almost a dozen other popular conspiracies, such as the secret Zionist world empire, the assassination of Princess Diana, and the Priory of Scion's mission to safeguard the bloodline of Jesus.

 

The Ties That Bind

 

What is evident from these examples is that true conspiracies are either elevated in their significance through exaggeration, or are in reality seemingly dogged by failure and discovery. That Richard Nixon, the leader of the most powerful nation on earth, could not even manage to get a few incriminating tapes wiped clean exemplifies most real conspiracies. Conspiracy theories, on the other hand, are often more successful at achieving their aims. As I researched the dozen major conspiracy theories that form the body of this book, I began to see that they shared certain characteristics that ensured their wide spread propagation.

 

1. HISTORICAL PRECEDENT

 

As has already been noted, conspiracists work hard to convince people that conspiracy is everywhere. An individual theory will seem less improbable if an entire history of similar cases can be cited. These can be as ancient as the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, and today may include references to Pearl Harbor, the Reichstag fire, and the 1965 Gulf of Tonkin incident. The plot to murder JFK is first base if you want to convince people that RFK and MLK were also murdered by arms of the American state.

 

When examining some of the biographies of those involved in the 9/11 Truth movement, I was struck by how this normalization works over time. One energetic woman in her forties, who had become an indefatigable activist in the Californian branch of the lobby, described how she had become convinced of the 9/11 conspiracy. In her youth, she told her sympathizers, she had sailed around the world, but her "political activism" had only begun in 1992, when she saw a film "which disturbed her" and as a consequence of which she began to do her own research on the government and media. The film was Oliver Stone's JFK.

 

2. SKEPTICS AND SHEEPLE

 

A conspiracy theory is likely to be politically populist, in that it usually claims to lay bare an action taken by a small power elite against the people. Or, as a Californian professor of theology could tell an audience at the Copenhagen central library with regard to 9/11: "Members of the elite of our society may not think that the truth should be revealed." By contrast, belief in the conspiracy makes you part of a genuinely heroic elite group who can see past the official version duplicated for the benefit of the lazy or inert mass of people by the powers that be. There will usually be an emphasis on the special quality of thought required to appreciate the existence of the conspiracy. The conspiracists have cracked the code, not least because of their possession of an unusual and perceptive way of looking at things. Those who cannot or will not see the truth are variously described as robots or, latterly, as sheeple — citizens who shuffle half awake through their conventional lives.

 

3. JUST ASKING QUESTIONS

 

Since 2001, a primary technique employed by more respectable conspiracists has been the advocation of the "It's not a theory" theory. The theorist is just asking certain disturbing questions because of a desire to seek out truth, and the reader is supposedly left to make up his or her mind. The questions asked, of course, only make sense if the questioner really believes that there is indeed a secret conspiracy.

 

4. EXPERT WITNESSES

 

The conspiracists draw upon the endorsement of celebrities and "experts" to validate their theories, and yet a constant feature of modern conspiracy theories is the exaggeration of the status of experts. The former UK environment minister Michael Meacher, a leading "disturbing question" figure on the edges of the 9/11 Truth movement, was never a member of the British Cabinet, but in a radio interview on the U.S. syndicated Alex Jones Show was referred to as the "former number three in the Blair government." The theologist academic David Ray Griffin, perhaps the most respected of all the 9/11 conspiracists, feels able to lay claim to a large and rapidly acquired capacity to evaluate arguments made in the areas of physics, aerodynamics, and engineering. How dubious this claim is may be gauged by imagining his reaction were, say, the editor of the science journal Popular Mechanics to claim competence to comment upon Griffin's own work of theological scholarship, A Critique of John K. Roth's Theodicy.

 

If necessary, theorists become interestingly opaque about the qualifications of their experts. One of the two films made about the London bombings of July 7, 2005, included evidence from a Nick Kollerstrom, who was billed as a "lecturer and researcher." But a lecturer on what, and a researcher in which fields? Kollerstrom, it turned out, lectured on the effect of planetary motions on alchemy, and was the author of a book on crop circles. Another aspect of this fudging is the tendency among conspiracists to quote each other so as to suggest a wide spread of expertise lending support to the argument. Thus, over the events of 9/11, the French conspiracy author Thierry Meyssan cites American conspiracy author Webster Tarpley; Tarpley cites David Ray Griffin; and David Ray Griffin cites Thierry Meyssan. It is a rather charming form of solidarity.

 

5 . ACADEMIC CREDIBILITY

 

The conspiracists work hard to give their written evidence the veneer of scholarship. The approach has been described as death by footnote. Accompanying the exposition of the theory is a dense mass of detailed and often undifferentiated information, but laid out as an academic text. Often the theory is also supported by quotations from non-conspiracist sources that almost invariably turn out to be misleading and selective. To give one characteristic example, David Ray Griffin's book about 9/11, The New Pearl Harbor, describes Thierry Meyssan as the head of an organization "which the Guardian in April 2002 described as 'a respected independent thinktank whose left-leaning research projects have until now been considered models of reasonableness and objectivity.'" This is a masterpiece in disingenuousness, given the full Guardian quote: "The French media has been quick to dismiss [Meyssan's] book's claims, despite the fact that Mr. Meyssan is president of the Voltaire Network, a respected independent thinktank whose left-leaning research projects have until now been considered models of reasonableness and objectivity. 'This theory suits everyone — there are no Islamic extremists and everyone is happy. It eliminates reality,' said Le Nouvel Observateur, while Liberation called the book 'The Frightening Confidence Trick . . . a tissue of wild and irresponsible allegations, entirely without foundation.' " Not the same thing at all.

 

Another example of this misuse of the mainstream media is the ascription of final, almost biblical authority to immediate and necessarily provisional news reports of an incident if they happen to demonstrate the inconsistencies that the conspiracists are seeking. Reporters in the West usually do the best they can in frightening and confused circumstances, but early explanations of major disasters will contain much that turns out to be mistaken or speculative. Similarly, the passing opinions of journalists are given the status of indisputable truth. In The New Pearl Harbor, Griffin questions the survival of evidence from the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, using an article in the Guardian as support: "As a story in the Guardian said, 'the idea that [this] passport had escaped from that inferno unsinged would [test] the credulity of the staunchest supporter of the FBI's crackdown on terrorism.' " In fact, this was not a report but the passing opinion of a columnist, Anne Karpf, who had no more knowledge about what might or might not have emerged from the Twin Towers than had any other columnist in north London.

 

A final polish is given to the conspiracists' illusion of authority by the use of what is imagined to be secret service or technical jargon, as though the authors had been in recent communication with spies or scientists. Interesting words and phrases include "psyops" (short for "psychological operations"), "false flag," and more recently "wet disposal," meaning assassination.

 

6. CONVENIENT INCONVENIENT TRUTHS

 

Conspiracists are always winners. Their arguments have a determined flexibility whereby any new and inconvenient truth can be accommodated within the theory itself. So, embarrassing and obvious problems in the theory may be ascribed to deliberate disinformation originating with the imagined plotters designed to throw activists off the scent. One believer in a conspiracy to assassinate the Princess of Wales claimed that it was the very proliferation of absurd theories concerning Diana that first convinced her that this was MI6 at work seeking to cover up its real role in the killing. Few, however, match the schoolboy ingenuity of Korey Rowe, the producer of Loose Change, a highly popular documentary about 9/11, who, when challenged about the glaring factual mistakes in his film, replied, "We know there are errors in the documentary, and we've actually left them in there so that people discredit us and do the research for themselves."

 

7. UNDER SURVEILLANCE

 

Conspiracists are inclined to suggest that those involved in spreading the theory are, even in the "safest" of countries, somehow endangered. During a February 2007 BBC program looking into the death of Dr. David Kelly, the Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who had been contesting the verdict of suicide on the former weapons inspector, referred to his suspicions that his e-mails were being intercepted by persons unknown. Some e-mails sent to him, he told his interviewer, had been only partly received by his computer, and he thought this most ominous. Similarly, one of the physicians who began the Kelly conspiracy story by writing a letter to the Guardian disputing the forensic evidence — retired West Country orthopedic surgeon David Halpin — worried that his e-mails were being interfered with. In March 2005, Mr. Halpin sent this letter to the Morning Star newspaper:

 

Dear Sir,

 

The firewall on my computer became inactive five weeks ago. Therefore I opened the email system for very brief periods only. However, in those few days every one of my 6000 plus email files was erased or removed. This will have been done by a state sponsored agency and not by an amateur acting singly.

 

Who might wish to cause me great difficulty? I speak and act firmly for justice in Palestine and against an occupation of indescribable brutality. I have asked, with other specialists, for the law to be upheld in the case of the late Dr. David Kelly; that there should be a full inquest and not the half one that has taken place. I have spoken, marched and written to stop the war crimes committed against Afghans and Iraqis by our government and its odious leader.

 

So which agency is the most likely culprit? Only one other associate has lost a mass of email files and that is the lay chairperson of our "Kelly Investigation Group" — last Autumn. I have made a formal complaint to my MP and also about delayed email transmission. My right to privacy, association and free speech are ostensibly inviolate in this country — pro tempore.

 

Yours faithfully David S. Halpin,

 

MB BS FRCS

 

From Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History by David Aaronovitch. Copyright 2010 by David Aaronovitch. Reprinted by arrangement with Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

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This article is long, but worth reading. It talks a lot about the pace that information is released through the Loose Change films, and the control that this pace allows the creator. This can probably be broadly applied to a lot of others also.

 

From Alerting the World to Stabilizing Its Own Community: The

Shifting Cultural Work of the <i>Loose Change</i> Films

Michael Butter

Canadian Review of American Studies, Volume 40, Number 1, 2010, pp. 25-44

(Article)

Published by University of Toronto Press

DOI: 10.1353/crv.0.0053

For additional information about this article

http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/crv/summary/v040/40.1.butter.html

From Alerting the World to Stabilizing Its Own Community: The Shifting Cultural Work of the Loose Change Films

Michael Butter and Lisa Retterath

Abstract: Drawing on theoretical concepts developed by Mark Fenster in

his analysis of contemporary conspiracy theories, this essay engages the

online film Loose Change, which constitutes the most prominent conspiracy

theory formed in the wake of the attacks of 11 September 2001. The different

versions of the documentary, released between April 2005 and November

2007, perform markedly different kinds of cultural work. While the

earlier versions try to construct a community of conspiracy theorists by

alerting the world to alleged holes in the official account of what happened

that day, the final cut attempts to stabilize the online community that the

earlier versions managed to bring about. By way of conclusion we therefore

propose that a focus on the kinds of communities that conspiracy

theories have helped form and stabilize throughout American history

might prove a fruitful area of investigation.

Keywords: twenty-first century American culture, 9/11, conspiracy theory,

Loose Change, online communities, capitalism, paranoia

 

Ours, it seems, is the age of conspiracy theory. While such theories have played a crucial role both in the buildup to the American Revolution and the Civil War, as historians Bernhard Bailyn and David Brion Davis demonstrated several decades ago, the advent of postmodernity appears to have taken conspiratorial thinking to a new level. Events like the assassination of John F. Kennedy or, more recently, the attacks of 11 September 2001, with which we are concerned here, have given rise to a plethora of conspiracy theories that circulate globally in novels and fiction films and as allegedly factual accounts of what ‘‘really’’ happened. For some critics, such as Samuel Coale, such ‘‘factual’’ conspiracy theories are a paranoid reaction to the so-called postmodern condition—a desperate effort to structure and render meaningful a world that appears otherwise entirely fragmented and contingent (4). Other scholars, however, have suggested that a conspiratorial mindset constitutes an effective response to the cultural, political, and economic conditions of globalization. Fredric Jameson, for example, regards conspiracy theories as a form of the cognitive mapping he champions and thus calls them ‘‘the beginning of wisdom’’ (3). The middle ground in this debate is occupied by a scholar like Mark Fenster, who, on the one hand, stresses that conspiracy theories are usually ‘‘simplistic and wrong,’’ but who, on the other hand, also emphasizes that, driven ‘‘by a utopian desire to understand . . . the contradictions and conflicts of contemporary capitalism,’’ they constitute ‘‘one of the few socially symbolic attempts in contemporary

culture to confront and represent totality’’ (116). Sharing Fenster’s position, we engage a supposedly real conspiracy theory in this essay—the extremely successful online documentary Loose Change, which challenges the official narrative of the events of 11 September 2001 and suggests that forces other than al-Qaida were at work that day. After briefly addressing the general characteristics of conspiracy narratives and the Loose Change phenomenon in two shorter sections, we discuss the earlier versions of Loose Change and then the final cut, which, we argue, performs a markedly different cultural function. While the earlier versions seek ‘‘to interpellate [the] audience as conspiracy theorists’’ (Fenster 17), the final cut attempts to stabilize the conspiracy community the other versions have helped to form. By way of conclusion, we then suggest that a focus on the kinds of communities that conspiracy theories have helped to form throughout the modern age might prove a fruitful area of investigation—one that would allow scholars to finally overcome the still predominant notion that conspiracy theorizing has always been a pathological practice engaged in only by isolated and paranoid individuals from the fringes of society.1 The Characteristics of the Conspiracy Narrative Treating conspiracy theories as attempts to interpret and narrativize reality, Mark Fenster has provided the most elaborate account so far of what one might call the poetics of postmodern conspiracy theory. According to Fenster, the typical conspiracy narrative, no matter if fictional or allegedly factual, must be understood as an attempt ‘‘to unify seemingly disparate, globally significant elements and events within a singular plot’’ (108). Hence, the narrative is characterized not only by its global scale—forging and naturalizing obscure connections between disparate people and events—but also by the breathtaking speed witwhich it moves from event to event and adds ‘‘fact’’ after ‘‘fact.’’ Fenster employs the term velocity to refer to ‘‘the geographic, geopolitical, and cognitive aspects of the conspiracy narrative’s speed’’ that passes on the experience of those who have ‘‘detected’’ the conspiracy to the recipients of their account of the discovery (122). Conspiracy narratives, he argues, tend to accelerate even more at particular key moments—he calls them ‘‘narrative pivots’’ (111)— in the unveiling of the conspiracy at which, by establishing connections between what had been isolated and hence puzzling occurrences, the investigators as well as those reading or watching the story of their investigation make a decisive step forward in putting the puzzle together. In fictional conspiracy narratives, at some point, enough evidence is accumulated to foil the conspiracy and to restore order; in ‘‘putatively real conspiracy narratives’’ this achievement marks the moment to go public (122). In both cases, though, the conspiracy narrative tends to resist any definite closure. In fiction, the conspirators are often not entirely defeated and frequently shown to be on the rise again at the end of the novel or film. For ‘‘real’’ conspiracies, obviously, closure can be achieved only once the villains exposed by the narrative are removed from power. The resistance to closure is a consequence of the conspiracy theory’s demand for ‘‘continual interpretation’’: ‘‘[W]ithin a system that respects no limits in its assumption about the secret treachery of true political power,’’ there is always new evidence available, ‘‘always something more to know’’ (77; Fenster’s emphasis). In other words, when every object, act, or occurrence is regarded as meaningful, the narrative must incorporate each new detail. The overall direction and design of the narrative, however, remain completely unchanged by the new information, as ‘‘the information of that evidence is already formed. Interpretation may be endless, but it is contained within the explication of the conspiracy’’ (78). Therefore, because the conspiracy narrative aims to present a watertight argument by integrating each new piece of information, it also displays a strong tendency to ‘‘excess and incoherence’’—a fact that is grist to the mill of its critics (107).

 

The Loose Change Films In this article we draw on Fenster’s observations in order to analyze what may be the most prominent conspiracy theory formed in the wake of 11 September 2001: the online film Loose Change, a feature length documentary that tries to cast doubt on the official account of the events and implies that at least parts of the administration played a major role in orchestrating the attacks. Combining news footage with amateur videos and animated sequences with interviews, Loose Change, released in April 2005, quickly turned into the ‘‘first Internet blockbuster,’’ as Vanity Fair put it (Sales). Several million people worldwide have watched the film online on YouTube.com or downloaded the file either from Google Video or the website specifically set up for this purpose. The fact that, in 2006, the film was parodied on the South Park episode ‘‘Mystery of the Urinal Deuce’’ indicates how swiftly Loose Change came to synecdochically represent the mistrust of a considerable group of people concerning the official account of the events of 9/11. Almost immediately following its release, the film received considerable attention from both domestic and international media, and experts were called on to discuss (and refute) its claims that a cruise missile and not a plane hit the Pentagon, or that the twin towers could not have been brought down by the hijacked planes alone and only collapsed because explosives had been installed inside the buildings. Moreover, the controversy about the film also took place online on the forum and the blog belonging to the film’s own website where a group of followers and a group of critics emerged immediately. A little later, the blog Screw Loose Change was set up to dispel not only the movie’s arguments but all conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11. Reacting to continued criticism as well as support, the conspiracy theorists behind Loose Change, twenty-three-year-old director and editor Dylan Avery, twenty-four-year-old producer Korey Rowe, and twenty-seven-year-old producer and designer Jason Bermas, released the revised and technically improved Loose Change: 2nd Edition in December 2005 and Loose Change: 2nd Edition Recut in June 2006. Replacing claims from previous editions that had been found insupportable even by those who generally believed the film’s argument, the filmmakers thus turned Loose Change into what Pat Reagan has aptly called a ‘‘living documentary’’ (1). While the addition or substitution of evidence, unsurprisingly, did not affect Loose Change’s main argument, the filmmakers thus nevertheless fashioned themselves as the very opposite of narrow-minded conspiracy theorists: they projected themselves as open to criticism and eager to collaborate with their audience, which they invited to help spinning the conspiracy theory. In November 2007, then, Avery and his team released the substantially altered Loose Change Final Cut. What we will focus on in this article are the differences between this final cut and the earlier versions. We contend that while the differences among the earlier versions are negligible, the final cut, as a result of a completely new narrative structure, rhetoric, and publication policy, performs a markedly different kind of cultural work. The earlier versions, we argue in the next section, deploy a variety of strategies to alert viewers to ‘‘the truth’’ about 9/11; the final cut, which we examine in the final section, makes use of a different set of strategies to consolidate the community of skeptics that the earlier versions have helped to form. While the earlier versions thus try to construct a community of conspiracy theorists, the last one, then, attempts to stabilize this community. Moreover, with the release of the ‘‘final cut’’ Loose Change ceases to be a living documentary, as this version’s account of what happened on 9/11 claims to be the definite one.

 

Alerting the World

As Fenster, who dedicates a few pages to the film in the revised edition of his book, remarks, ‘‘Loose Change deploys all the interpretive and narrative practices [my] book identifies’’ (17). As a consequence, watching the earlier versions of Loose Change for the first time is an experience apt to overwhelm the viewer. The film moves back and forth in time at breath-taking speed, forges connections between forgotten as well as heavily mediated events, and bombards the spectator with information. Some sections of the film condense long periods of real time to a few seconds of film, while others stretch out a relatively short period of real time over a filmic segment of several minutes, creating a very specific rhythm. Whenever the narrative approaches one of its many pivots—the Pentagon was not hit by a passenger plane, the WTC was brought down by explosives installed inside the buildings, Flight 93 landed safely in Cleveland—it invariably accelerates so that, without a moment to reflect on what is presented, the viewer is forced to forge and accept allegedly compelling links between, for instance, aircraft wingspans, mathematical equations, and the destructive power of cruise missiles. Since it represents the most powerful narrative pivot in the film, we will focus on the Pentagon sequence here in order to describe the rhetorical and narrative strategies the earlier versions employ as well as the cultural work they perform. In order to avoid the confusion that might arise from discussing various versions simultaneously, we take Loose Change: 2nd Edition Recut to represent the earlier versions in this section. At twenty minutes, the Pentagon sequence is one of the longest sections in the movie, but it is barely long enough to contain all the alleged ‘‘evidence’’ accumulated to refute the official version of events. The sequence can be divided into eight sub-sequences, each of them dedicated to a particular piece of ‘‘evidence’’ and performing the circular interpretation that Fenster has identified as characteristic of the conspiracy discourse: each interpretive step only affirms what has been known all along, as the conclusion that a conspiratorial force was at work has been predetermined at the outset.

 

Compiling, among other things, a broad range of video footage, eyewitness reports, and computer simulations, the sequence as a whole suggests that ‘‘facts’’ such as the rather small impact hole in the outer wall of the Pentagon, the small scratches on the lawn, and the negligible amount of debris on the Pentagon’s property severely undermine the claim that a jet was steered into the complex. Moreover, the government’s refusal to release confiscated videotapes from locations in close proximity to the Pentagon, the film claims, corroborates the notion that the US government is hiding the ‘‘truth’’ about the events. In fact, distrust in the US government is (re)created by the very first shot of the sequence: a rather insignificant quote by former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld is rendered suspicious by the way it is presented. Reproduced in white script on black ground, Rumsfeld’s remark occupies the screen for several seconds and is left uncommented on by Dylan Avery, whose voice-over narration provides the audience with interpretive clues throughout the film. In this case, however, it is Avery’s pointed silence that immediately suggests to the viewer that something must be wrong with this statement—and thus sets the tone for what is to come. Although the disparate events in the sequence are hardly ever logically connected with one another, the smart deployment of editing devices suggests bridges and logical connections that are not really there. By juxtaposing, for instance, the crash sites of various airplanes, alleged inconsistencies in the official account are stressed. That each aircraft naturally leaves a distinct crash site and that comparing different aircrafts and their crash sites is thus of no real value is, it seems, purposely disregarded. In analogous fashion, images of buildings hit by cruise missiles are put next to images of the damaged Pentagon in order to imply that it is much more likely that a US-controlled rocket hit the building than a jet hijacked by terrorists.2 To make sure that its audience cannot harbour second thoughts about, let alone challenge, these and many similarly dubious conclusions, the Pentagon sequence moves at incredible speed. Accentuated by hip hop beats, the film floods its viewers with information in the form of newspaper articles, computer simulations, as well as still and moving images from the crash site at the Pentagon.

 

This orgy of facts and figures climaxes in the fifth segment, which addresses the reputed inconsistencies between the damage done to the Pentagon and the kind of destruction that, according to the filmmakers, a Boeing 757, crashing frontally into a building, should wage. Here, for a few minutes, the film does without music, leavingAvery’s voice-over to occupy the audio track. Then, just as the computer- simulated crash of the aircraft into the Pentagon takes place,the intradiegetic sound of the engines blends into yet another extradiegetic hip hop beat whose persistence until the end of the segment makes it appear as if what follows is a coherent argument.From this moment onwards, the movie accelerates yet another time, one detail follows the previous one even more rapidly than before, and Avery deploys his pseudoscientific vocabulary in such staccato fashion that the viewers have less opportunity than ever to escape or question his conclusions. However, in order to contain the danger of completely overwhelming the audience with the dazzling amount of information, and to suggest that the viewers are still on top of the argument, bird’s-eye shots provided by Google Earth are now repeatedly inserted into the narrative. These aerial shots give the viewer the impression of being both literally and figuratively provided with an overview of the information offered and thus put in control of it. Such control, of course, remains an illusion on the part of the viewer. Rather, it is once again the filmmakers who are in charge. Not only do they decide what pieces of information are passed on to the audience; by controlling the editing and its rhythm they also decide in which order their evidence is received, how much time the viewers are given to digest each bit—and when they are ‘‘allowed’’ a few seconds to let it all sink in. Through such devices, the Pentagon sequence is certainly the most persuasive section in the film. And yet, there are inconsistencies that even the most artful editing technique cannot disguise. Thus, for example, some parts of the sequence suggest that a military plane hit the Pentagon and present alleged evidence for this theory, while others imply that it was a cruise missile. These and other apparent contradictions, though, are contained on a higher level: neither the sequence as such nor the documentary as a whole tries to provide a definite answer to what happened; they are content to cast doubt on the official account.

 

Significantly, in leaving open what exactly hit the Pentagon, the sequence performs on the micro-level what the documentary conducts on the macro-level: it undermines the accepted version of 9/11 accounts, raises doubts, and fuels suspicion without offering a definite counter-narrative, let alone naming those it holds responsible. The film ‘‘merely’’ suggests that 9/11 was not orchestrated by Osama bin Laden and that members of al-Qaida were not—or at least not alone—involved in carrying out the attacks. Paradoxically, it is exactly this vagueness that furnishes the filmmakers’ claim of a conspiracy surrounding the events of 9/11 with credibility and makes Loose Change such a prototypical conspiracy narrative. The conspiracy in and by itself is so elusive that even those who have uncovered it—Dylan Avery and his crew—cannot really pin down the conspirators. They can only name the forces behind the conspiracy in the most general and populist terms: the US government and capitalism. More than anything else, this absence of a positive account of who did what on 11 September 2001 has enabled the filmmakers to assume a stance of apparent openness and alleged neutrality vis-a`-vis their audience—and turned the earlier versions of Loose Change into a living documentary. Highlighting the fact that the conspiracy theory is not yet complete and that the filmmakers are thus dependent upon their audience’s input, the whole film, then, does implicitly what Dylan Avery’s final address to the viewer does explicitly.

 

Against the backdrop of an American flag—the symbolic equivalent to the shot of the Statue of Liberty with which the film opens—Avery’s voice-over reaches its greatest intensity, as he delivers what Fenster has called ‘‘the narrator’s final call to arms’’ (278): America has been hijacked. Not by Al Qaeda. Not by Osama bin Laden. But by a group of tyrants, ready and willing to do whatever it takes to keep their stranglehold on this country. So what are we going to do about it? Anything. Share this information with friends, family, total strangers. Hold screenings, conferences, whatever you have to do to get the word out. It’s up to you. Ask questions! Demand answers! Avery’s appeal exudes a strange mixture of openness and explicit directions. On the one hand, his call leaves it to the audience how they will spread the message and how they will contribute to the advancement of ‘‘truth’’; on the other, all possible action revolves around Loose Change itself, as it is the message of the film that the viewers are to pass on. The film, in other words, seeks to turn its viewers into conspiracy theorists and projects itself as the founding text of a conspiracy community that will at some point in the future be able to offer a definitive account of what happened on 11 September 2001.

 

Affirming the Community: The Final Cut Released fifteen months later, Loose Change Final Cut, by contrast, suggests from the outset that Avery’s urgent demand to unite and act, in which the earlier versions culminate, has been answered by ‘‘the people,’’ implying that a powerful community has indeed been founded around the movie. This new perspective is already introduced by the animated company logo that precedes the actual film. Obviously modelled upon the army line-ups and battle scenes in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies, the camera pans around and then tracks back from a digitally created human figure that wears a shirt saying ‘‘Investigate 911’’ and raises its right fist into the sky. As the camera moves away from this figure in an ever-quicker fashion and thus widens the viewer’s perspective, this figure is revealed to be only one among literally many thousands of exactly identical ones that finally dissolve into the company name ‘‘Louder Than Words.’’ Unaffected by the digital rain that is pouring down on them, they all, the sequence suggests, have joined ranks and are determined to ‘‘ask questions and demand answers.’’ This suggestion is then made explicit by the first scene of the film itself. Whereas the earlier versions began with what the film implied was the pre-history of 9/11, going back as far as the 1960s, the final cut opens with a moment of 9/11 remembrance, the fifth anniversary of the attacks. While the camera pans along a line of real people clad in ‘‘Investigate 911’’ T-shirts, Dylan Avery’s narrative voice declares, ‘‘On September 11, 2006, thousands from all over the world gathered in New York City, New York. They wore black shirts reading ‘Investigate 911’ and held banners that read ‘Ask questions. Demand answers.’ ’’ The demonstrators, as a closeup of the street sign highlights, walked down Liberty Street. While, in reality, this was probably merely motivated by the fact that this is where the World Trade Center site is located, the location gains a larger symbolic significance in the film, as this allows Loose Change to cast the movement it claims to have inaugurated as a major step towards restoring one of the basic American values: liberty.

 

As a consequence, the scene not only takes up the ending but also returns to and re-interprets the beginning of the earlier versions, which opened with an aerial shot of the Statue of Liberty against the background of a Manhattan skyline, of which the World TradeCenter was still a part. If the function of this opening was to stress ‘‘what was destroyed on that day’’ (Fenster 270), the different beginning, we wish to suggest, already hints at the changed agenda of the final cut. Instead of looking only backwards to what was lost in September 2001—innocent lives as well as liberty—the film now also looks forward to restoring the damage done. This new perspective is also signified visually: the close-up of the street name highlights that it is a one-way street, implying that the community’s activism will inevitably lead them towards success. Accordingly, the final cut is no longer exclusively concerned with turning a broad audience into a conspiracy community by exploring the past. It also attempts to stabilize the community that such earlier explorations have apparently managed to bring about. What is impossible to pin down, however, is how big the community that the films have constructed actually is. Obviously not all of those who would consider themselves members of the community, be it because they have given money or participated in discussions on the film’s online forum, could attend the demonstration. At the same time, it is equally unclear how many of those shown in the film were actually present at the gathering because of Loose Change and how many were there for other reasons and are claimed by the film for its own community. After all, the ‘‘Investigate 911’’ T-shirts are sold not only on Loose Change’s but on dozens of other websites as well; they are worn by many members of the 911 Truth Movement who doubt the film’s theory as much as the official account of what happened on 11 September 2001. Moreover, the camera never offers a vantage point from which to judge how many people actually gathered on the fifth anniversary of the attacks. The narrator speaks of ‘‘thousands,’’ but the actual footage suggests that the numbers were more likely in the low hundreds—an estimation backed up by the fact that the media, which had reported widely on 9/11 conspiracy theories during the build-up to the anniversary, do not mention a gathering of doubters in articles dedicated to the day of commemoration.

 

The film, then, has definitely constructed a community, albeit one whose size remains unknown to the critic and, as a result of the precarious status of all online communities, also to the filmmakers themselves. However, it is highly likely that allegiance to the community peaked around the time the demonstration took place. Contributors to the online forum were most active at that time, the website was redesigned in a more professional fashion, new features that we discuss below were added, Loose Change: 2nd Edition Recut was downloaded a few million times, and, generally, ‘‘interest in 9/11 conspiracies and the truth movement appeared to peak’’ during these months (Fenster 356n123). It is therefore reasonable to assume that at this historical moment the filmmakers around Avery believed that the existing versions of Loose Change had performed their function of alerting those who could be alerted. As a result, we believe, they radically altered the final cut and assigned to it primarily the task of holding together ‘‘their’’ community. There is a community that can be joined, the final cut is to suggest to the yet-uninformed viewer. And those who have already been initiated are confirmed in their convictions and in their group allegiance.

 

Such speculations about the intentions of the filmmakers are ultimately as moot as they are futile. What can be stated with certainty, however, is that the final cut, intentionally or not, performs a markedly different cultural function, one that is produced by and simultaneously produces a vastly changed rhetoric and narrative structure. The final cut no longer tells a ‘‘gripping, dramatic story’’ (Fenster 119) that moves at breathtaking speed and desperately seeks to convince its viewers that the official story is a web of lies. Instead, it presupposes that the biggest part of its audience believes this already. Consequently, while the film, of course, continues to cast doubt on the official narrative of events, the urgency that characterizes the earlier versions has disappeared almost completely. The editing is less rapid, only rarely does the narrative jump back and forth in time, and non-diegetic music is used much more sparingly to suggest links between apparently unconnected events. The narrative simply assumes that such connections exist, although it occasionally calls on experts from within the conspiracy community to confirm its version of the events. If the earlier versions drew the spectator into a race from narrative pivot to pivot (from the Pentagon to the WTC and then to Flight 93), adding revelation to revelation, the final cut severely undermines any ‘‘reading for the [conspiratorial] plot,’’ to borrow Peter Brooks’ expression (4), by breaking with the narrative structure of the earlier versions and drawing attention to its new structure by self-consciously employing captions and title cards. Opening with

the ‘‘Prologue’’ discussed above, the argument is now divided into three acts, two of which are further subdivided into up to four chapters. Of these acts, only ‘‘Act 2’’ explores the actual attacks, moving from ‘‘Pentagon’’ via ‘‘WTC’’ and ‘‘Flight 93’’ to the newly added ‘‘WTC 7,’’ whose collapse the filmmakers present as the cultimate proof that the destruction of all WTC buildings was an inside job for which the plane attacks served as a cover. ‘‘Act 1’’ introduces the ‘‘Hijackers,’’ offering evidence for why they could not have done the job, and then, in the chapter ‘‘Wargames,’’ claims that even if the hijackers had attempted the attacks, they could have been stopped easily by US forces, implying once again that ‘‘the government’’ let it happen or even caused it to happen. ‘‘Act 3’’ contains only the chapter ‘‘Aftermath,’’ which once more debunks the findings of the 9/11 commission and strengthens the conspiracy community by underlining the justification of its claims. However, it is not only the overall structure of the film that has been considerably altered, but individual sequences as well. The new Pentagon sequence, for example, no longer offers argument after argument for doubting that a jet hit the Pentagon, but assumes a more distanced, almost neutral stance. Over footage from news reports from the crash site, Avery says (in a fashion that might remind the literarily knowledgeable viewer of the ‘‘some say’’ sentences in the penultimate chapter of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter), Opinions differ at this point. People that believe a 757 hit the Pentagon and people that don’t. Those who believe a 757 did hit are fuelled by the damage path, wreckage outside the building, and eyewitness testimony. Those that think a 757 did not hit are fuelled by the damage to the building and lack of large structural debris outside. Particularly the lack of damage from the wings and vertical stabilizers and the fact that those objects as well as the engines were never fully recovered.

 

What is remarkable at first is that the film devotes as much time to those arguments that confirm the official version as to those that challenge it. This approach initially threatens to undermine the conspiracy theory the film promotes. After eyewitnesses have been given time to state once again that they clearly saw a passenger plane either passing them at low altitude or actually hitting the Pentagon, the counter-evidence looks extremely unconvincing, although Avery brings up some more ‘‘facts’’ that are supposed to strengthen the film’s argument. The final cut is a world away from the urgency, speed, and one-sidedness with which earlier versions sought to overwhelm and convince the viewer. The reason is, first of all, that the final cut speaks primarily to those who already are conspiracy theorists and not to the unconvinced, thereby acknowledging that there will always remain those who cannot be converted. But there is another reason: after the film has presented evidence for both positions, Avery suddenly introduces a new argument: ‘‘What hit the building,’’ he declares, ‘‘may be important. However, our focus should be on why it was hit in the first place.’’ Other than claiming that ‘‘important budget information was in the damaged area,’’ though, the film itself does not provide an answer in this sequence, and the most obvious non-conspiratorial explanation (the building was hit because it is a symbol of American power, just as the WTC was a symbol of the power of capitalism) is not mentioned at all.

 

The answer eventually arrives in the ‘‘Epilogue’’ with which the film closes. Here Afghanistan, the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, and the largest deficit in history are projected as the results of 9/11. ‘‘Ask yourself,’’ Avery finally commands, ‘‘would we be here today without 9/11?’’ Thus, in a schoolbook example of what Umberto Eco has called a ‘‘post hoc, ergo ante hoc’’ argument (51), the consequences of the attacks—the infringement of civil liberties, a strengthened executive branch, and a disastrous war—are turned into its cause—and into the penultimate proof that the Bush administration caused 9/11 or at least let it happen. The most pressing reason, though, to doubt the official narrative of 9/11 is, according to the final cut, that assuming the government’s complicity makes for the most coherent narrative. Thus, the conspiracy narrative itself, though never spelt out as compellingly in the final version as in the earlier ones, becomes the ultimate piece of evidence; it carries the real explanatory power. The differences to the earlier versions, then, could hardly be more pronounced. The final cut appropriates structural devices (acts and chapters) from classical epic and drama, because its storyline is already known to the audience—just as the plots of ancient plays and epics were well known to the audience beforehand. But if these literary forms usually presented a story that focused not so much on ‘‘what’’ as on ‘‘how,’’ the final cut relates a story that revolves not around the question of ‘‘how’’ but of ‘‘why.’’ In this story, 9/11 figures as a tragedy, as an event of the past whose tremendous repercussions in the present need to be tackled now that it has been understood and integrated into a narrative framework.

 

The focus is therefore no longer on learning about the past, but on containing its impact on both the present and the future. The message passed on to the community is that the group should now take appropriate actions in that direction. It should no longer demand answers but policy changes. The shift of focus from ‘‘how’’ to ‘‘why’’ also means that Loose Change ceases to be a ‘‘living documentary,’’ a step already heralded by the notion of a ‘‘final’’ cut. Accordingly, the film must be understood as an attempt to achieve closure with regard to 9/11. It is no longer interesting, the movie argues, to investigate this event, because the small details that might emerge would not affect the larger picture. This does not mean, however, that there is no more investigative work to be done for the conspiracy community. Launching their new blog in March 2008, the filmmakers announced yet another shift of focus: ‘‘Almost three years after the release of the original Loose Change, we have decided to expand on commentary regarding a host of issues, not just 9/11 truth’’ (Loose Change 911). Since then, the blog has regularly reported on all kinds of alleged conspiracies ranging from the CIA aiding Nazi war criminals to right-wing attempts to manipulate the recent presidential elections. This broadening of the picture confirms Fenster’s observation that ‘‘[n]o conspiracy theory exists in isolation from others’’ and that they tend to merge and combine over time (158).While the Loose Change movies’ take on 9/11 appears to be ‘‘final’’ now indeed, the perspective of the Loose Change community on the attacks will further evolve when ‘‘knowledge’’ gathered on new conspiracies might be connected to 9/11.

 

The common enemy, which all conspiracy theories still in the making thus are bound to target more or less explicitly, it appears, is capitalism. ‘‘We are under CORPORATE CONTROL,’’ the filmmakers write in their first entry on the new blog, and in fact, throughout all versions of Loose Change, ‘‘capitalism’’ alongside the ‘government’’ already figures as the driving force behind the conspiracy. 9/11 was conducted or allowed to happen, the films suggest time and again, because some people made a lot of money out of it (through put options, insurance money, or Iraqi oil), and because it enabled the Bush government to restrict civil liberties and invade Iraq and Afghanistan.3 The filmmakers’ relationship with capitalism, however, is more complex. Loose Change began as a ‘‘no budget’’ production (Fenster 269) whose first version could be printed on DVD only after online viewers had donated money. By the time the final cut was released, though, the film, as a result of its success, had proven a veritable money-making machine. By then, an online store had already been set up for visitors to purchase not only DVDs but also other items such as rubber stamps, bumper stickers, and T-shirts demanding ‘‘Investigate 911.’’ And, most significantly, the final cut, unlike the previous versions, is not available for free but available only on DVD.

 

The most obvious explanation for this changed distribution policy is that the final cut was far more expensive than the previous versions, since it includes a variety of specifically manufactured special effect sequences and interviews conducted for the purpose of including them in the film. While this was almost certainly a factor, we also suggest that the restricted access to the final cut can also be understood as connected to this version’s cultural function as a piece of intra-community communication. By costing money, the final cut excludes all those unwilling to make—in the literal sense—a serious investment to the cause. At the same time, however, Loose Change’s transformation into a money-making device indicates that the filmmakers have themselves, at least to a certain degree, fallen prey to capitalism. This, in turn, might then be read as the ultimate proof of the validity of their argument. The conspiracy is ‘‘all-encompassing,’’ ‘‘always already (almost) everywhere’’ (Fenster 134), and finally swallows even those set out to fight it.

 

Conclusion

For Mark Fenster, ‘‘[t]he idea of a ‘conspiracy community’ appears paradoxical’’ (14). He acknowledges, though, that such communities come into existence at ‘‘particular conjunctures’’ and then, albeit ‘‘often in contentious and stumbling ways,’’ can bring about social and political action (15). Overall, however, Fenster regards ‘‘conspiracy’’ and ‘‘community’’ as diametrically opposed terms because, ‘‘ceptical of each other, fearful of infiltration and surveillance by government groups, the conspiracy community is under continual threat of splitting or falling apart’’ and therefore never persists over a longer period of time (162).

 

At first sight, the fate of the Loose Change community seems to prove him right, as the final cut’s attempt to stabilize this conspiracy community appears to have failed. The same could be said of the filmmakers’ strategy of widening the focus of their blog to address and combine virtually all conspiracy theories in circulation. The vibrant discussions concerning the argument of the earlier versions of Loose Change are a thing of the past. Judging from the numbers of comments on individual articles that visitors to the website have left, interest in what one might call the Loose Change project has considerably declined over the past three years. Thus, when we drafted this article in the fall of 2008, we were convinced that the community would soon completely collapse. By now, however, we think that the situation is more complex.

 

As of May 2009, the community is still active. In fact, for the past few months, the blog has been rather lively again. Fuelled by the economic crisis, whose ‘‘conspiratorial causes’’ are frequently explored, new entries are now regularly commented on by fifteen or more visitors within a day or two. Consequently, the transition to exploring and combining all existing conspiracy theories seems to have been successful after all. While no doubt the Loose Change community is now much smaller than when interest in 9/11 conspiracy theories peaked, it is much more persistent than one might have expected. Accordingly, the concepts of ‘‘conspiracy’’ and ‘‘community’’ might be less antagonistic than Fenster argues. Even if, as he holds, ‘‘[t]he conspiracy researcher is by definition a loner who exists in continual fear of contamination by the conspiratorial other’’ (162)—in the case of Loose Change, Dylan Avery, who claims to have stumbled over the conspiracy while shooting a fiction film—the findings of this investigator can apparently form the basis of a community, albeit an unstable, provisional, and evershifting one, that helps him spread the word and finds collective purpose in supporting his argument.

 

It would be a fascinating endeavour to compare the Loose Change community to other conspiracy communities throughout history to bring to the fore the particularities of an online conspiracy community at the beginning of the twenty first century. At the moment, however, this is impossible, as virtually no research that such a comparative analysis could build on exists. The many hundred essays and books about real-life as well as fictional conspiracy theories listed by the MLA Bibliography concentrate almost exclusively on the post–Second World War era and centre on the individual. This combination is of course no coincidence. As the authors of these studies habitually stress, conspiracy theories seem to have steadily proliferated over the past decades. Moreover, postmodern conspiracy theories, no matter if fictional or factual, invite such a focus on the individual, as this brief list put together by Mark Fenster shows:

 

Robert Ludlum’s characters work alone, as did Joseph Turner, Robert Redford’s character in Three Days of the Condor (1975); JFK assassination conspiracy researchers are known for their vituperative condemnation of one another’s work; and investigative journalist Danny Casolaro . . . died the archetypal conspiracy researcher’s death—alone in a West Virginia hotel room, under suspicious circumstances, while tracking down sources. (162–63) Many contemporary conspiracy theorists, it appears, are loners for

a variety of reasons: they quickly learn that they cannot trust anybody, as the protagonists in Ludlum or the Redford movie do; they are envious of each other, as the JFK researchers are; or they are suffering from paranoia, as Danny Casolaro seems to have done toward the end of his life (Fenster 187).

 

What such a focus on the individual and its isolation and (potential) paranoia neglects, however, is that, as Robert Levine has put it, historically, ‘‘[c]onspiracy theories were expressed not only by ‘paranoiacs’ on the fringe but also by America’s most influential religious and political leaders’’ (5). Levine even suggests that conspiracy theories frequently functioned as ‘‘attempts to re-create community by calling attention to threats against it’’ (6). Published two decades ago, his study therefore explores, but by no means treats exhaustively, the social and cultural work performed by nativist, anti-Catholic, anti-Masonic, and other nineteenth-century conspiracy theories. His take, though, opens up two areas of research that should prove fruitful to literary and cultural studies scholars. Focusing on the community-building powers of conspiracy theories throughout the ages, future research could explore conspiracy theories prior to postmodernity and reconsider those conspiracy theories of the postmodern age that have so far been analyzed only under the headings of the isolation and/or paranoia of the individual. Treading either path, scholars would thus answer to the ‘‘real need to historicize conspiracy thought’’ (White 2).Notes

 

1. In October 2009, long after this essay had been submitted and accepted for publication, the filmmakers released yet another version of their movie entitled Loose Change: An American Coup. While we could not incorporate this film into our article, we stress that its release and rhetoric confirm the overall argument that we make here. Like Final Cut, An American Coup attempts to stabilize and affirm the conspiracy community that earlier versions have constructed. Moreover, produced with a $3.5 million budget and sold from a freshly designed American and a newly set up European online store, this version constitutes a further step in the commercialization of the Loose Change conspiracy theory.

 

2. Suggesting logical connections by juxtaposition is a technique the filmmakers employ throughout the film. The timeline Loose Change opens with, for example, introduces the viewer to the supposedly conspiratorial activities of the US government over a span of the last four decades. Although Dylan Avery as the voice-over narrator never explains the implications of these events, let alone connects them explicitly to 9/11, the film—by assigning them such a prominent position and arranging them as a countdown towards the attacks—leaves the viewers little choice but to establish such a connection. Later the same strategy is at work, such as in the juxtaposition of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and Delta Airlines Flight 1989, which landed safely in Cleveland, Ohio, that same day. The artful arrangement, in one single frame, of computer simulations of both flights links these flights, even though there is no proof of an actual connection, and thus paves the way for the film’s argument that Flight 93 did not crash but that it too landed safely in Cleveland.

 

3. While Fenster regards Loose Change’s refusal to blame a particular individual for the attacks as a departure from ‘‘the traditional populist style of story-telling’’ (277), we suggest that the film’s blaming of ‘‘government’’ and ‘‘capitalism’’ constitutes rather the epitome of the populist drive that informs almost all contemporary conspiracy theories, as it constructs a dichotomy between an (allegedly) concrete group—the people—and elusive, secretive forces—government and/or capitalism—that can never be pinned down.

 

 

Works Cited

Bailyn, Bernhard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Cambridge:

Belknap, 1967.

Brooks, Peter. Reading for the Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative. Oxford:

Clarendon, 1984.

Coale, Samuel C. Paradigms of Paranoia: The Culture of Conspiracy in Contemporary

American Fiction. Tuscaloosa, AL: U Alabama P, 2005.

Davis, David Brion. The Slave Power Conspiracy and the Paranoid Style. Baton

Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1969.

Eco, Umberto. ‘‘Overinterpreting Texts.’’ Interpretation and Overinterpretation.

Ed. Stefan Collini. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992. 45–66.

Fenster, Mark. Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture.

Rev. and updated ed. Minneapolis: U Minnesota P, 2008.

43

Revue canadienne d’e´tudes ame´ricaines 40 (2010)

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. 1850. Volume 1, Centenary Edition

of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Ed. William Charvat, Roy Harvey

Pearce, and Claude M. Simpson. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1962.

Jameson, Fredric. The Geopolitical Aesthetic: Cinema and Space in the World

System. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1992.

Levine, Robert S. Conspiracy and Romance: Studies in Brockden Brown, Cooper,

Hawthorne, and Melville. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989.

Loose Change. Dir. Dylan Avery. April 2005. http://www.youtube.com/

watch?v=7E3oIbO0AWE.

Loose Change 911 [blog and homepage]. http://www.loosechange911.

com/blog/.

Loose Change Final Cut. Dir. Dylan Avery. Louder Than Words, November

2007. DVD.

Loose Change: 2nd Edition Recut. Dir. Dylan Avery. June 2006.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7866929448192753501&q=

loose+change+recut.

‘‘Mystery of the Urinal Deuce.’’ Episode 148 of South Park. USA: Comedy

Central, 11 October 2006.

Reagan, Pat. ‘‘Loose Change and the Emergence of the Living Documentary.’’

Trinity U. December 2006. http://www.trinity.edu/adelwich/

documentary/p.regan.2006.loose.change.pdf.

Sales, Nancy Jo. ‘‘Click Here for Conspiracy.’’ Vanity Fair. August 2006.

http://www.vanityfair.com/ontheweb/features/2006/08/

loosechange200608.

White, Ed. ‘‘The Value of Conspiracy Theory.’’ American Literary History

14.1 (2002): 2–31.

44

Canadian Review of American Studies 40 (2010)

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i didnt read all that, but i think this whole online conspiracy movement is a huge deal. theres now a mass amount of people who hold a firm standpoint on what they believe about 9/11, and this nwo. its only going to grow bigger as people become more aware of whats possible. for me this is just the difference between whats true and whats not. the thing about 9/11 being a conspiracy is that i find people just dont want to talk openly about the possibility that there were insiders involved in 9/11 and that it wasnt what we were told. and when we really look into it and put pieces together i think we find that these theories make much more sense than the stories they are telling us.

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man, i think this all has to do with the rebirth of culture into a more complex form. thats all fancy words on a weak foundation of ideas to me.

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i think this whole online conspiracy movement is a huge deal. theres now a mass amount of people who hold a firm standpoint on what they believe about 9/11, and this nwo. its only going to grow bigger as people become more aware of whats possible.[/color] for me this is just the difference between whats true and whats not. the thing about 9/11 being a conspiracy is that i find people just dont want to talk openly about the possibility that there were insiders involved in 9/11 and that it wasnt what we were told. and when we really look into it and put pieces together i think we find that these theories make much more sense than the stories they are telling us.

 

Yeah ok, see this is definitely something I am interested in. Ignoring if these theories are true or not, it is possible to engage in a discussion about their possible consequences. The articles I have been reading seem to say that belief in these theories is very common place, and it seems as if the sense of emergency projected through anti-NWO media will result in some fairly radical behaviour. With that in mind, I have some questions;

 

-If you are interested in these theories, what actions if any, will you take due to this belief?

 

-Would you speak to other members of your family about these beliefs? If so what do they say?

 

-Do you have ideas about a better way to organise society with regards to restrictions on the powers of the elite?

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-If you are interested in these theories, what actions if any, will you take due to this belief?

 

Educate myself with the resources available to me.

 

-Would you speak to other members of your family about these beliefs? If so what do they say?

 

As I only have one surviving relative that I don't speak to on a regular basis (my father), I can only hope that he's doing the same for his own benefit...even though we're on the outs most of the time, he's a smart guy and I'd like to think he knows the score.

 

-Do you have ideas about a better way to organise society with regards to restrictions on the powers of the elite?

 

Refer to points A and B.

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Educate myself with the resources available to me.

 

 

 

As I only have one surviving relative that I don't speak to on a regular basis (my father), I can only hope that he's doing the same for his own benefit...even though we're on the outs most of the time, he's a smart guy and I'd like to think he knows the score.

 

 

 

Refer to points A and B.

 

 

Come on Shai, I know you can do better than that!

 

There are a lot of discussions about the role of elites in politics. One theory would argue that in any group elites will gravitate towards leadership. Further, elites have capacity and skills which place them in a better position to organise resources, human or otherwise. If you think about who you would appoint to be a leader of any given group, the most logical answer would be the most competent person right? The flip-side to this argument would be a class based critique suggesting that people will always tend towards working for their own benefit. Those elites in the more powerful positions of society will naturally be advantaged since their influence will be felt further than those with relatively less power. The difficulty here is that if you take this theory as a given, how do you prevent this from happening? There have been some disastrous attempts at this, the Khemer Rouge’s efforts being one of them.

 

I am of the impression that an underlying current of anti-NWO is classed based and about anti-elitism. It also seems to me that a there is a large rift between the understanding of the average guy on the street and position and terminology used by those in positions of power. This is what is causing a lot of confusion. Of the anti-NWO media I have read/watched, a lot of the messages seem to be insinuating that elite and influential men are speaking in code about some large and overarching plan they have to rule the world. Although this may even be true in some extreme cases, the majority of the snippets used are political actors trying to sell their particular agenda or ideology speaking with the contemporary political discourse. These agendas which are often in conflict with a large section of other political actors who are also trying to do the same thing. People who are more politically engaged seem to be more aware that the perpetual conflict in politics generally prevents any one group from consolidating power for very long. Yet, it is perfectly understandable that those who are not armed with the contemporary political discourse find this process confusing and even threatening.

 

Of the political actors who are quoted as perpetuating an anti-NWO message, I feel that often they are playing up to this kind of popularism, aware that a majority of the citizenry are relatively uninformed and understanding that by being alarming they will achieve a higher degree of participation and engagement with their own particular agenda.

 

I do however think something is happening here, the internet has allowed the average person to communicate with each other to a degree never before available. Where the flow of information was previously predominantly top down, ie media, major publishing companies, governmental information. Now the flow of information is experiencing a huge groundswell. Never before have we been so aware of what the average person thinks, and in light of this people are becoming more aware of political discontent. For those who were not previously politically aware, this groundswell of anti-state and anti-elite information is overwhelming, particularly when there is no understanding of contemporary politics to balance the debate. Though what the result of this movement is, I have no idea?

 

I'm sorry to hear about your family mate!

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Come on Shai, I know you can do better than that!

 

You're probably right...I used to be a lot more outraged/active about politics on a large scale when I was in my late teens through my mid-20s, but as I got older (I'm 36 now) I decided to lower my blood pressure and do what I could locally to make a difference...it's for the best that I don't get too worked up about the bigger picture.

 

I still do some writing in zines and on other websites to educate people who are unaware of certain issues that may or may not affect them, but most of that (90% or so) relates to what goes on locally in the community.

 

I'm sorry to hear about your family mate!

 

Thanks, but at this point I've made up my mind to be okay with it. My dad is the only person I'm related to that I keep in touch with (long story) and we don't talk very often....there's no bad blood between us or anything, we just seem to get on each others nerves. Fortunately, I have a lot of friends that I consider family so it's not all that bad.

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im gonna say something here about language first. i think that language needs to be treated like mathematics in a sense. when youve got an equation in mathematics you always need to break it down to its simplest terms. so when youve got an idea, i think it always must be broken down to its simplest linguistic terms.

 

-If you are interested in these theories, what actions if any, will you take due to this belief?

my whole mindset, the way i think about the world is infuenced by these theories

 

-Would you speak to other members of your family about these beliefs? If so what do they say?

i think the thing about this is that my parents generation are really uneducated when it comes to these issues. if i started spouting out all this stuff to them theyd think there was something wrong with me

 

-Do you have ideas about a better way to organise society with regards to restrictions on the powers of the elite?

i feel like we might go into a period of anarchy or something

 

I do however think something is happening here, the internet has allowed the average person to communicate with each other to a degree never before available. Where the flow of information was previously predominantly top down, ie media, major publishing companies, governmental information. Now the flow of information is experiencing a huge groundswell. Never before have we been so aware of what the average person thinks, and in light of this people are becoming more aware of political discontent. For those who were not previously politically aware, this groundswell of anti-state and anti-elite information is overwhelming, particularly when there is no understanding of contemporary politics to balance the debate. Though what the result of this movement is, I have no idea?

 

what you said here is important. i see this groundswell of intelligence happening too, but i feel like this anti-nwo thing is only one of the factors involved. ideas in science like the unified field theory are becoming more and more real. i think what has a closer relationship to the bottom of all this is psychedelic drug use, people losing their materialist values and instead trying to expand knowledge and consciousness.

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I'll make a better post at a better time. 3 Am on a Sat night.

 

Anyway, I think a big line of confusion here is the fact that when you talk about the elite, you think every single person that could be considered elite based off of income, resources or power, sometimes all three. Is some how involved.

 

That isn't the case, at all.

 

As I've said earlier, a good book that explains this is Superclass by David Rothkopf. Now I'm not saying I agree with everything dudes says in the book, because he tends to be more on FF's line of thought. It's a revolving door, changing constantly. People's level of influence isn't constant. Of course every person in a position to enact change isn't going to. Negative or positive, for him, or for society in general.

 

It's basically the same thing as when someone says "9/11 was an inside job", or "the government did it". When that is said, it isn't implied that the entire executive branch of government was involved in this.

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Great thread Frankie lets hope it doesn't degenerate into the clueless ramblings of the nwo conspiracy mob.

 

The resilience of conspiracy theories lies in the lack of education of the people that propagate them. Anyone with an understanding of critical thinking can debunk 90% of the claims that get made in relation to the popular conspiracy theory of the day without needing more than a perfunctory glance over the argument. Most people don;t know what a circular argument is so when they come in contact with one they are easily duped, one of the articles you posted mentions Occam's razor, I would be surprised if one in 50 people on this website knew what this meant. Critical thinking should be a compulsory component of high school education. A few hours of theory and a handful of practical exercises teaching how to identify the different types of fallacious reasoning and this would be a fringe problem. People need to be equipped with the proper tools to dissect arguments and analyze their validity, otherwise they are just going to be prey to whatever lie they hear repeated most often and loudest.

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As was mentioned in one of the posted articles, the simplicity of the conspiracy theories is what makes them so attractive to people. Those of weaker intellectual constitution are intimidated by the thought that the world works on levels that they cannot understand, or when events occur that are beyond their control. It is near impossible to describe the intricate detail in which governments, societies, cultures, and economies of the world work and how they are delicately intertwined. To the simple man who dares not admit that he does not grasp how these things work it is much less damaging to the ego to make the blanket statement that a group of sinister Jewish Bankers control all of these spheres and orchestrate global events to their own draconian ends. It is scary to think that a world changing event like 9/11 can have been caused by a relatively small, poorly organised group of unimportant Arabs, so instead the great consequences have to be attributed to a great antagonist, like a cabal of powerful world leaders and government agencies leading up to the President of the United States.

 

The illogical and untrue version of events is invented because the truth is too complex for most people to properly comprehend. And because of the simplistic nature of the invented explanation it is easier and faster to propagate than the complex truth.

 

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over”

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I disagree yum, I think many of the conspiracy theorists are intelligent and creative but lack critical thought and intellectual rigor. Conspiracy theories are simply more interesting than the truth, usually.

 

In a way, the truth is simpler than the fantasy, especially in regards to 9/11. The truth has been open and shut for a long time, but the fantasy changes with the whims and whimsy of the conspiracy theorists.

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I've heard this argument before, that it's scarier to think a small, poorly organized group of unimportant Arabs could carry out an operation like 9/11, rather then a cabal of powerful world leaders and government agencies. I don't know, I mean... let's weigh the two together and I would say that the second would be a lot scarier to me. So, can't really say that I can see where you're coming from on that one.

 

Yea, and I wouldn't say that people who do hold an interest in this sort of information are unintelligent. As a matter of fact, I would say that their ability to think critically is actually exhibited by their possibility to think outside of the box as to what is normal in society to believe about powerful institutions and establishments.

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Great thread Frankie lets hope it doesn't degenerate into the clueless ramblings of the nwo conspiracy mob.

 

The resilience of conspiracy theories lies in the lack of education of the people that propagate them. Anyone with an understanding of critical thinking can debunk 90% of the claims that get made in relation to the popular conspiracy theory of the day without needing more than a perfunctory glance over the argument. Most people don;t know what a circular argument is so when they come in contact with one they are easily duped, one of the articles you posted mentions Occam's razor, I would be surprised if one in 50 people on this website knew what this meant. Critical thinking should be a compulsory component of high school education. A few hours of theory and a handful of practical exercises teaching how to identify the different types of fallacious reasoning and this would be a fringe problem. People need to be equipped with the proper tools to dissect arguments and analyze their validity, otherwise they are just going to be prey to whatever lie they hear repeated most often and loudest.

 

See this MIGHT make sense, if the only people that believed these things we're uneducated.

 

The problem is, that isn't the case. There are lawyers, engineers, professors with various degree's that have signed up. There have been various other people that have worked in government and had to give up their position for even holding an interest in these topics.

 

So...sorry. Got to say this is not true at all.

 

I'm sure I could get a list of credited people, but that would get "ignored".

 

Or these people would just be brushed off as people who can't critically think.

 

BTW: Don't get things twisted, I know there are a lot of people who don't know any better that latch onto these "conspiracy theories". I go to events occasionally and I talk to these people. I find them funny. But, the thing is, there are just as many of the same kind of people who latch onto what you think is the truth. Do I sit here and say, wow man, this retard I met the other day, thinks almost word for word what you do. YOU MUST BE UNEDUCATED, BECAUSE HE WAS!

 

That's pretty stupid.

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See this MIGHT make sense, if the only people that believed these things we're uneducated.

 

The problem is, that isn't the case. Their are lawyers, engineer's, professor's with various degree's that have signed up. There have been various other people that have worked in government and had to give up their position for even holding an interest in these topics.

 

So...sorry. Got to say this is not true at all.

 

I'm sure I could get a list of credited people, but that would get "ignored".

 

Or these people would just be brushed off as people who can't critically think.

 

BTW: Don't get things twisted, I know there are a lot of people who don't know any better that latch onto these "conspiracy theories". I go to events occasionally and I talk to these people. I find them funny. But, the thing is, there are just as many of the same king of people who latch onto what you think is the truth. Do I sit here and say, wow man, this retard I met the other day, thinks almost word for word what you do. YOU MUST BE UNEDUCATED, BECAUSE HE WAS!

 

That's pretty stupid.

 

i'm pretty sure yum fundamentally disagrees with anything regarding "conspiracy theories", so...

 

but that also puts into question what yum regards as a "conspiracy theory". simply using the term, insinuates that the information is irrelevant and should be disregarded because it isn't credible. there is tons of information from credible sources that supports these "theories", yet is ignored because it is labeled "conspiracy".

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I'll make a better post at a better time. 3 Am on a Sat night.

 

Anyway, I think a big line of confusion here is the fact that when you talk about the elite, you think every single person that could be considered elite based off of income, resources or power, sometimes all three. Is some how involved.

 

That isn't the case, at all.

 

As I've said earlier, a good book that explains this is Superclass by David Rothkopf. Now I'm not saying I agree with everything dudes says in the book, because he tends to be more on FF's line of thought. It's a revolving door, changing constantly. People's level of influence isn't constant. Of course every person in a position to enact change isn't going to. Negative or positive, for him, or for society in general.

 

It's basically the same thing as when someone says "9/11 was an inside job", or "the government did it". When that is said, it isn't implied that the entire executive branch of government was involved in this.

 

This is definitely not what I think. What I do think however, is that contemporary society requires such diverse specialisation that a disconnect between those who understand what is going on in the political arena and those who do not has emerged. What I have gathered from anti-NWO media is that anyone who reaches a position of power is assumed to be part of the NWO conspiracy. Whatever explanation is offered is for this phenomenon seems irrelevant when the claim of ‘NWO agent’ is so broadly applied. The people in the upper echelons of society are generally there due to competence. There are some obvious exceptions, perhaps GW Bush was one. However, for the most part the people who are in positions of power in politics have come from the same place as everyone else , with one discernable difference which I believe is social class.

 

Without looking up studies into social mobility in the United States (I don’t have time right now, I could later if people are interested), I think it is safe to say that more often than not, the people that enter into politics are born from the middle to upper classes, although this is definitely not always the case. Sheer competence and motivation can also win you a seat at the table of political power. In preparation to become part of the political machine a new discourse is adopted, this is the discourse of political power, language is different in the political arena in the same way that language is different in a mechanics shop or a science lab. Political actors use words that are specialised to communicate with each other with precision. However this kind of communication can become problematic when these same words appear ambiguous and confusing to the general public.

 

Through competence, language, and in many cases a being lucky enough to be born into the middle to upper class, elites are produced. Not through some kind of divine lineage as some anti-NWO media suggests. As I stated in my previous post, elites will emerge within any group. In this case, among such a large pool of people and within such a complex socio-political system, the elites in politics will be different than the elites that have emerged in a game of football or another smaller organisational system.

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See this MIGHT make sense, if the only people that believed these things we're uneducated.

 

The problem is, that isn't the case. There are lawyers, engineers, professors with various degree's that have signed up. There have been various other people that have worked in government and had to give up their position for even holding an interest in these topics.

 

So...sorry. Got to say this is not true at all.

 

I'm sure I could get a list of credited people, but that would get "ignored".

 

Or these people would just be brushed off as people who can't critically think.

 

BTW: Don't get things twisted, I know there are a lot of people who don't know any better that latch onto these "conspiracy theories". I go to events occasionally and I talk to these people. I find them funny. But, the thing is, there are just as many of the same kind of people who latch onto what you think is the truth. Do I sit here and say, wow man, this retard I met the other day, thinks almost word for word what you do. YOU MUST BE UNEDUCATED, BECAUSE HE WAS!

 

That's pretty stupid.

I didn't say they were uneducated I said they were uneducated in critical thinking, you can be vocationally educated and have no idea of how the world works.

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