The Cosby Theory and a Meta-Conspiracy Theory — including the Platonic Forms and Iranian intelligence — because noth

 Eris2Big LebowskiCall the Cave of Shadows the Cave already! As we find ourselves hip-deep in propaganda, it's hard to know where to turn. Such strange web conspiracy theories as the Chappelle Theory briefly amuse us, but these are just the zeitgeist products of an insane time. The Cosby Theory, a follow-on satire of Chappelle Theory, explains the terrible conspiracy of the Cosby Sweaters. (the guys who dreamed up the Chappelle Theory were advised by their lawyers to let everyone know it's totally fake).

Some guy mocked me in the comments, implying I believed that the Chappelle Theory was real. I said that "The site looks good, it tells an exciting tale. In other words it's another well-marketed conspiracy theory thing," and I picked out a quote of Oprah ranting about her infinite power like a Bond villain. I thought it was a well-crafted example of that sort of site, but at no point did I claim it was real, although it prompted me to reflect that Chappelle might have been threatened somewhere along the way, and some of the 'Dark Crusaders' may have negatively reacted to Chappelle. (It was indeed well-marketed. They are now selling Dark Crusaders t-shirts.)

The Illuminatus TrilogyThese days, there is a pretty thick distance between what we're presented with, and the Objective Truth that I still suspect exists somewhere. This site has been unafraid to link to raving lunatics, angry Iraqis, neoconservative screeds and gibbering Freemason spotters. I'm not looking over their shoulder, so how can I trust them any differently than, say, Scott McClellan or the Associated Press?

As we learned from such works as The Illuminatus! Trilogy, a conspiracy theory can offer a direct conjecture about a certain set of facts or circumstances, but it can also show an alternate style of linking events and people together.

A goofy conspiracy theory centered on pop culture is a kind of prism that reflects the basic weirdness of our times. When it's executed with style, I'll mention it because its logical form — apart from its literal content — can help induce a bit of a mindfuck, a unit of guerilla ontology to the everyday grind, imploding assumptions.

For example, when I mentioned to my family this crazy Chappelle Theory, they immediately leapt to Oprah's defense. How would Oprah ever threaten anyone?! She's a paragon of sassy afternoon virtue!!"

Aha!" said I, tanked on a bit of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. "Why do you leap to praise her automatically? She's just some billionaire! This silly theory reveals that you have all sorts of biased, programmed instincts to defend the wealthy & powerful, etc etc..."

The point is that we live in an Disinformation Age, and a wobbly conspiracy theory can help show you why Conventional Wisdom is just as shaky. As I have detailed here, we invaded Iraq partly because Iranian intelligence agents fed lurid stories about nuclear weapons through Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress into the Pentagon and the Vice President's office. That's part of the history of our times, and it's pretty damned conspiratorial. It sets the bar for intrigue, I think it's fair to say.

The sources of supposedly 'clean & authoritative information' in our information economy utterly failed to figure this out in time, and they still haven't come clean about it.

I long ago decided that only by monitoring the widest possible spectrum of rhetoric and information can a rough sense or useful 'heuristic' of any given political theater be reached. So I can't be afraid to reflect on what anyone from Charles Krauthammer to Wayne Madsen to DEBKAfile to Hezbollah's Al Manar is talking about. You can't achieve more intellectual accuracy by boycotting Mother Jones.

When yet another slickly executed Conspiracy Theory tale comes along, as they always do, I'll often toss it up here because it shows that the Dominant Narrative and Tacit Assumptions are often just as ridiculous. The battle for perceptions runs deep these days; the war is between your ears and behind your eyes.

 Images Philms LebowskiThe issue of Information Warfare is going to be a hot one next year, but we ought to take it all with a sense of good humor and a strong drug regimen to keep our minds limber, as the Dude put it.the dude

To some extent, all political rhetoric rests on gestures toward phantasmic workings, a secret esoteric logic — either hidden actors, or Principles such as Freedom arranged by that mysterious Other 'Calling from beyond the Stars' for Dear Leader. As Ariel Sharon put it recently, "You see things from here [as PM] that you don't see from there [an outsider]." This is the 'appeal to authority' argument, and the Authorities cash out the fallacy as far as they can.

Plato spelled out this basic political principle for us in the Allegory of the Caves, when he said that only the select can reach the World of True Forms, while the rest would just watch projections. He meant that a good leader better be able to dream up some fine-sounding esoteric Forms to tell the tribe at the campfire. An objectively false 'conspiracy' can still illustrate how these grand Authoritative and Legitimate Sources are just a couple notches up from the tribal shaman.

Botox is the new charmed skull on a stick, the Brookings Institution is nothing but the 21st century's beard-stroking witch doctor.

Of course, as an atheist I must consider all spiritual appeals as possibly having this basic political purpose at their core, even if part of the intention is self-deception, rather than purely manipulating the audience.

Again we must return to the words of Hasan i Sabah, the leader of the Assassins. "Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted." Surely, Karl Rove is his truest disciple, and I'll set the ideological filters for my site's content accordingly.

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