The Obama administration’s primary mode of governance is literally to create crises where none actually exist. . . . “Big Lies” transform people and entire societies, and the most powerful form of “Big Lie,” at least when it comes to government, is the manufactured crisis. – David Kupelian
The Big Lie is but one of many conspiracies rampant in the world.
For all of us who work and play in politics — or its journalistic and/or entertainment divisions — there is always a real danger of burn-out; I burned out so bad once that I didn’t write a word of opinion, on politics or anything else, for almost the entire decade of the 1990′s. What pushed me to the edge of sanity, distorted my vision, and hamstrung my heart was a lack of balance and a total loss of perspective; everything was urgent, everything was life-threatening, every odd turn of fate or illogical outcome was a conspiracy, and nothing was lightweight, fun, or enjoyable anymore. – Erik Jay, American-Partisan.com, 2000
Above is an excerpt from my friend Erik Jay’s review of Politickles: Limericks Lampooning the Lunatic Left. When I first discovered Erik in the mid-1980s, he was the editor of an idiosyncratic humor magazine called Pedantic Monthly, which showcased his brilliant wit and mischievous literary skills. Sensing that we were sympatico, I sent him some satiric pieces of my own (e.g., “A Humble Suggestion” & “Lite Motif”) and soon had the pleasure of rereading them in the pages of PM. Early in 1989 I was promoted from managing editor to editor at The New American and asked Erik to fill the slot I’d vacated. We made a great team, rapidly improving the look and content of the magazine, reducing expenses by $250,000 in the first year, and having a lot of fun in the process (at least initially).
Erik and I were well-versed in conspiracy theory (the magazine’s focus), but we often joked that anyone who didn’t believe in conspiracies would soon change his mind after working for The New American — not because of the persuasive power of our articles, but because the office was full of them. A significant number of the staff members believed so strongly in conspiracy that they made a practice of it, constantly engaging in furtive efforts to advance themselves and bring others down — which they succeeded in doing to Erik (and several competent co-workers) less than a year after his arrival, and to me and another capable colleague a year later.
It’s true, as Erik observes above, that an obsession with conspiracy can drive a person mad; even more maddening, however, is to be the victim of one.
A careful review of history should convince any objective student that there has never been an age that was not dominated by conspiracies. But we need not be scholars to reach this same conclusion. We need only open our eyes to see conspiracies all about us. – “Right in Your Own Backyard,” F.R. Duplantier, 1989
If you look closely when Jerry Fletcher (Mel Gibson) first enters his heavily fortified apartment in the movie Conspiracy Theory, you’ll see the cover of a magazine called The New American with the words “Conspiracy Theory” on it. That’s the magazine I edited back in the late 1980s. The particular issue featured in the 1997 film offered an overview of conspiracy theory through the ages, but the focus of every issue was on conspiracy (esp., world socialism). The editorial approach of the magazine before and after my tenure was to preach to the choir, the few thousand longterm subscribers who were already steeped in the subject; but, for the five years that I was there, I tried to address the subject in such a way as to persuade people who were not already convinced — people ordinarily inclined to dismiss conspiracy theorists as kooks (which many, in fact, are). The commentary excerpted above was one such effort, dispensing with the historical approach (which has little persuasive power for historical illiterates) and encouraging people instead to simply look around them, recognize the everyday conspiracies that exist in their own lives, and extrapolate from there.
Conspiracy Theory the movie affirms the method in the madness of those who pick out patterns where others see none. At the outset, Jerry appears to be the archetypal conspiratorial nutcase, obsessed with chemtrails, fluoridation, weather machines, etc. In the end, it turns out that he was on to something: something evil, organized, and secret. A conspiracy.
Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.