I just acknowledged I am old. Seth Myers does a great bit "Back in my day" where he reminisces about things that happened when he was young-er or about a five years ago. But the bit is amusing about how the old like to tell the young'uns how it used to be. I think this explains MAGA.
And yes we had conspiracy theories the biggest was the "Commie Scare" of the McCarthy era. People ended up accused, testimony's taken, lives destroyed and yes people killed due to the paranoid ranting of Joseph McCarthy and his crazy paranoid assistant, Roy Cohn. Add to this the paranoid psychosis of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI I think you may have a better understanding of Trump and his insanity about the "deep state" as it now called. Funny he would have been sitting at the foot of Cohn and pointing fingers and calling out those he perceives as enemies in the same way he Tweets. Nothing changes the messenger just the way the message is sent today. Back in my day it was harder and took longer to destroy a life and it took a Government subpoena. Oh wait in today it does, too. See some things never change!
The idea of conspiracy theories have always existed but they were often to marginalized groups on the fringe who rarely got a mention in the conventional media other than to denigrate as crazy. John Bircher's were one group and then varying cult groups that came into fame, such as the Manson Family or the Love Israel crowd or my personal favorite which is the subject of a new Documentary on Netflix on the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh sect.
Growing up in the Northwest in the 60's and 70's we were ground zero for a lot of crazy. But it never made us paranoid, angry or fearful of them. In fact in Seattle one of my Barista's at my coffee spot was a child of a Love Israel member and he was angry about his life and how that isolation affected him and that makes sense but he never directed it outward he was open about his life and his history and now his present. Rose McGowan the Actress who was the first to come forward with accusations about Harvey Weinstein was a child of a cult as well and that may explain some of her vulnerability and predisposition to see things in a very black and white light. I am no cult member and never have been, even under the guise of organized religion, and I am pretty direct in the same fashion and you pay a price as a woman being that way regardless. I also think it opens the door for you to be more easily hurt and ostracized from what we define as "typical" hence the word "stereotype."
And then I read about this D.C. Council persons bizarre accusation about climate change blaming the Rothschild family. And my first thought: "Wow that is old school" as that family has not been in the limelight for decades. And of course that actually comes from back in the day the anti-Semitic believes of Farrakhan which is back in the limelight as some of the #MeToo activists have links to him and in turn his philosophy that advocates ultimately discrimination and paranoid conspiracy theories. Well again that cult connection cannot be lost as is not Hollywood a cult? Manson was obsessed with it and it led to his murderous conclusions. The message versus the messenger.
I usually can say well in this case let's avoid any conversation about Jews, Israel or anything about Zionism and we are good to go. Just like white people saying blacks are dumb and genetically incapable of achievement. Whoops too late as this Professor of Penn Law found out when her comments went viral. But what was fascinating was that the colleague who was with her was Black and he did not challenge her remarks and no one actually went to verify or challenge her thoughts with actual facts just quotes. So are her perceptions and observations wrong or was it the the way they were said? Again the message is the problem or the messenger?
We cannot all say the right thing in the right way and be the right person to everyone all the time. My mother used to say, "The perfect person is dead" and "He who accuses, excuses" and she was right. I have the right to have my opinions and my beliefs even if they are nuts it is just what I choose to do with them that is when it becomes an issue, say in the case of running for President as an example. The message and the messenger can do damage however when they have the power and position in which to do so.
But the idea of conspiracy's, the notion of deep state, the dark web and the like have led to a resurgence of alternative groups and movements that are fueled by the rise of social media. And this recent story on Cambridge Analytica only confirms the worst of what we have come to realize about Facebook, Twitter and other mediums that enable those to find the like they like and those who exploit it. Shocking, I know!
And I want to point out that the decline in Education, the push of increased segregation in said schools, the focus on testing and STEM takes away the flexibility of liberal arts, critical thinking and the ability to meet those who are different, just like you. This memory of Anna Deavere Smith and the card "I love you" says it all.
People need people, to see them face to face, to read nuances, to understand how one communicates and see them in their element. I found myself in this situation when I landed in Nashville and came into the schools and felt as if I was watching a performance art of bizarre, then it changed to watching animals in a habitat who have gone wild and finally I just realized it is a tragic mess of such major proportions I just shut down and no longer care. My lack of engagement has been duly noted on occasion and I don't acknowledge the truth of that but the reason they feel they need to comment. Seriously the need to fill air with endless talking is something I have been very aware of and I am a talker but this has changed me to see myself and my relationships with others differently and yes that includes, age, race and gender all factors that enable me to avoid encounters that will end like the one I had recently that once again rocked my world.
I was in the school of the arts here and they have two schools that are supposedly focus on that subject but no they are not FAME. What they are are again half assed attempts to have said schools in a city that is Music City and in turn are of course well segregated by scope and scale. Pearl Cohn is almost exclusively black and has a focus on "entertainment" but it is truly a troubled school that I am sure has some kids who are engaged and involved and the other is the Arts school down the street and it is largely an eclectic school where a Country music star came and donated money and instruments and in turn the diversity of the school is marked by color, gender and sexual identity in a way that is the most open I have found in Nashville a town that has issues with this and laws that are directed to this cohort and have repeatedly try to add more. Religion and repression are Siamese twins that Ben Carson could not succeed in separating.
During my day I met a support aid and she was 28 years old, single mother and has two children, one in Kindergarten the other eight, and lifetime Nashville resident. She graduated from Pearl Cohn and went to TSU until her mother got ill and dropped out. That is also when clearly she got Pregnant with her first child. This is a archetype or stereotype, you decide. Then it veered into the crazy. She was sure that schools were in collusion with drug makers to diagnose kids as ill and prescribe drugs, that the lead in the water (a major problem here) was intentional as an experiment to see what it does and other issues that were all directed to somehow ultimately bring harm to largely the poor and black community. She then informed me that the kids at Pearl were ultimately more talented than the Arts school and that this school has a lot of kids and Teachers who are into their own gender and made a veiled accusation that this "type" has sex with kids. Funny no sex scandal has ever emerged from this school whereas Pearl Cohn has as well as many episodes of gun violence so her loyalty to her Alma mater is very misplaced. But truth is the South is a weapon like a bullet and does as much damage.
During the exchange my internal referee was throwing down flag after flag to the point I was not sure how nuts she was until she said this: "I pack and have it loaded in my car right outside the door." I then went to finish attendance and the class thankfully was over. Later she was leaving as the student she was there to assist was absent and she gave me her extra green tea and some water and left. I was glad to see her go and the idea that a gun was loaded outside my door and that this nut who believes in these conspiracies and was a raging Homophobe I wondered if it was a white person spouting this shit would I have been as alarmed? Yes. But what is telling is that again that Nashville morons Black or White have more in common than one thinks. Trash likes trash. And Cambridge Analytica does not have to do much to exploit that idiocy and bias as we cannot shut the fuck up for a hot minute and let all of our bias, confusion out in the comfort of what we think is our friends. Great message and great messenger for misinformation and miscommunication. The tools of the exploiters take advantage and manipulate the easily exploited.
Back in my day we had Bigfoot, the Kennedy Assassination and the Moon Walk. At that point we quit with too many conspiracy theories as it exhausts you. Cocktail chatter is that and then when a drunk Uncle spouts it at the dinner table its time for dessert. But today that continues in an endless time loop and the theory black holes that the late Stephen Hawking once believed took in energy to never return it only later to rescind it over time and study may have been right the first time when it comes to this bullshit that our President wallows in and his acolytes who have InfoWars, Reddit, and crazy town in which to reinforce, build and suck all the energy from the room until it explodes. So Mr. Hawking was right just the wrong application. That is the point of the messenger to make sure the message is heard.