Bringing the Text to Life
Americans love conspiracy theories.
Think of rumors about a CIA conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. Concerns about fluoride in our drinking water. Claims of Jewish involvement in 9/11. The popularity of the television show The X-Files and Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code. All revolve around the belief that powerful people or organizations are secretly manipulating historical events.
Most of this is crazy-talk, but still we find ourselves drawn to it. There is something within us that tries to make sense of tragic or shocking events, and very often we try to pin blame on a mysterious group of people conspiring to do us harm.
We’re Americans, so we think of ourselves as common men and women — you know, “We the people of the Unites States” — distrustful and even disdainful of powerful elites. When something goes wrong, we look for a conspiracy theory to reveal the secrets of the powerful to everyday folks. Shankar Vedantam of The Washington Post (June ...