This week our reading is chapter 2 in the Barkun text. We will discuss this material on Monday and Wednesday, and then on Friday you make your short thesis statements from your Conspiracy Paper due on Friday at 8:00 a.m.
Barkun outlines five categories of “stigmatized knowledge” (knowledge marginalized or denied by the establishment). When you look at that list you’ll recognize quickly where your research topics and favorite conspiracy theories lie. (We do love our classifications!) My favorite category is “rejected knowledge”, which includes Bigfoot (sorry Dr. Meldrum!) and alien abductions (which we don’t hear much about these days).
“Fact-fiction reversals” is a surprising feature of modern conspiracy thinking. This is the concept that popular movies (think Independence Day, zombie films and the Star Wars franchise) are actually designed to prepare us for something shocking (like an alien invasion) or slowly indoctrinate us to accept the coming New World Order. You might want to explore this theme with your favorite fiction and see who believes it is real or carries hidden messages. (Harry Potter is just the start!)
Note that we’re now well into the topic of millennial thinking, which we defined and assessed last week. Barkun believes that the United States, at least, is in the midst of its most significant interval of millennial thinking in history, for some very distinct reasons. One in particular is the rise of the “improvisational millenarian style” that borrows concepts from a variety of traditions. Breaking free of particular ideological or religious constraints has acted as a multiplier of conspiracy theories and utopia cults.
Here is a link to the Newheiser et al. (2011) article I’d like you to read for form and style by Wednesday’s class. We’ll have a further assignment later.
Nonsense in the News —
Alex Jones is again in the news. This time he ranted about the Pope, claiming: “He’s calling for one-world religion. Oh my gosh. If he gets his way, a billion people will starve to death in the next 10 years. I mean, it’s just a death sentence to the third world. But everyone says we must bask in his glow. I’m gonna vomit.” It doesn’t have to make sense to sell.
It is claimed to be the “best UFO footage ever recorded“. You be the judge. A silvery disk over Vancouver promoting the concept that UFOs are nuts-and-bolts spacecraft.
A conspiracy theorist explains why he’s still single!
A dinosaur skull on Mars? News to me. This comes from the “anomaly hunters” at the “Mars Moon Space Photo Zoom Club“. This reminds me of the very earthly Hallettestoneion Seazoria Dragons. Don’t mix them up with dinosaurs!