Saturday, April 17, 2010

Conspiracy Demand Exceeds Supply

Breaking News: New Attack on Baha'i Faith by Canadian Alternate News Publisher
Conspiracy theorists are becoming desperate, and publishers, too. Consider Illuminati Plan Third Temple in Jerusalem, April 16, 2010, by Max Bryant, who begins with the following text juxtaposed next to large pictures of the Wilmette, Illinois, Baha'i Temple and the Shrine of the Bab in Haifa, Israel:

The world view of the Third Temple will be that of Unitarian-coordinating Interfaith and of the Baha'i temples, such as those in Chicago and Haifa. One can picture nights when Chicago socialists Rahm Emanuel and Obama walked passed the Wilmington Baha'i temple, contemplating the dark success of the future Temple in Israel...
Bryant seems unconcerned if this makes no sense, if the so-called illuminati have nothing in common with the Baha'i Faith, if the Temple is not in Chicago or Wilmington, if the Shrine in Haifa is really the resting place of the sacred remains of The Bab and not a temple per se, if it is questionable that Emanuel and Obama are socialists or ever visited the Wilmette Baha'i Temple together, if nobody has a clue about any presently contemplated Baha'i Temple in Israel, what "dark success" might mean (although it does sound spooky) or if there is any connection of substance among any of these things.

Baha'is might take note that Mr. Bryant and Dr. Makow have gone on record that the Baha'i Faith is a good target for dart throwing. The Bryant article misrepresents well-known fundamentals of the Baha'i Faith including its aims and relation to other groups, in incoherent ramblings about supposed construction of an underground temple in Jerusalem (no kidding?) that will be raised hydraulically to the surface (how else?). One might well wonder if Mr. Bryant has all his marbles properly lined up inside his skull.

As for Henry Makow, his web page features alternate news and miscellaneous topics outside the main-stream, which sometimes might be interesting or even somewhat in agreement with Baha'i thought.

What we have is a desperate effort to bang out conspiracy theories. It appears that Mr. Bryant was in such a hurry that not a single minute was wasted researching background facts. Or even a moments thought to lend any plausibility, leaving the apparent attempt at a conspiracy theory as not much more than a parade of randomly selected parts without even a hint of evidence, even if only circumstantial, for much of anything.

The images of the Baha'i structures were fairly good, however. But I find that troublesome. I think that images of these two Baha'i structures have become de facto logos for the Baha'i Faith, so the presentation of false or misleading information illustrated by one or both of these images is not happy news.

The demand for conspiracies and theories about them is booming. Movie producers are bidding up the price for conspiracy genre scripts; web sites like that of Henry Makow appear to be scraping the bottom of the barrel to find new material. After such web sites have milked themes like vaccine makers are really out to kill everybody to the point of boredom, the future for conspiracies might seem to be in big trouble.
Indeed, the inventory of unpublished conspiracies at the LCE (London Conspiracy Exchange) has hit record lows, causing several "limit up" price moves in the conspiracy futures market. The LCE has been forced to increase margin requirements. Some traders "short" this futures market have been wiped out by sequential daily limit up moves which prevent traders from closing positions by buying because sellers are waiting for even higher prices. [Note: In 1925, the LCE was established in London, which is both a financial center and acknowledged leader in intelligence gathering from their British Empire experience, leading to quality spy books and movies over many decades by the Brits. One more point. I made this up -- there is no LCE.]
As conspiracy demand surges, supply has plummeted.
B. Leav Itornott, member of the prestigious ACW (Association of Conspiracy Writers), said, "It is getting harder to find novel groups to be portrayed as bad guys. My latest screenplay goes after the Baha'is." But aren't the Baha'is just a harmless group that likes to get together and say prayers? "I've researched that very thing;" Itornott said in his thick eastern European accent, "when they pass the prayer book around the room, secret messages are transmitted." One more point. B. Leav Itornott (alias Believe It Or Not) and the ACW do not exist either.
What might increase conspiracy theory supply?. We might distinguish two levels of need: (1) more actual conspiracy activity and (2) more theories about such activity.

1. Conspiracy Activity. What to do? Most dictionaries agree that a conspiracy consists of an agreement between two or more people to do something. One might try good, constructive, honest things that might be of service to others. Not to worry, the conspiracy theorists will be more than able to invent some angle to find something wrong or sinister about it. If you plan a surprise party for a lonely person, it has to be secret beforehand, right? Who knows, you might get lucky and be accused of planning to tunnel into Fort Knox to reveal that the gold is missing.

We had best leave to others a great many conspiracies that add the caveat that the the agreed activity must be illegal, subversive, wrongful, unlawful -- all those terms the lawyers love.

2. Conspiracy Theories. The nice thing about the theory level is that one doesn't need any real conspiracy at all. So this might help alleviate the shortage. All that is needed is some plausibility. If your conspiracy is totally unbelievable, if flops. You won't reach the classic "suspension of disbelief" threshold.

But all the better if there really is a conspiracy. If we can throw in lots of secrets, and something sinister (darkly lit rooms, shadowy faces with awesome scars, players who appear to be this, but are really that -- whatever you can come up with), better yet.

You also have the flexibility to make the conspirators the good guys or the bad guys. If you choose the bad guys, then by all means, throw in plenty of illegal stuff and maybe a little blood, but please not to the point of being repulsive to your audience, rather only to seal the deal, so to speak, to make your story believable.

From bottom to top in the wonderful world of hoaxes

We started at the bottom with a failed example, the Bryant piece, which, alas, may be a sign of things to come: media persons (not Baha'is) in the West like Dr. Makow targeting the Baha'i Faith.

Let's end at the top with an outstanding work: "Debunking the Myths: Conspiracy Theories on the Genesis and Mission of the Baha'í Faith," a book by Adib Masumian, which appears to be an expanded version of a Wiki article. This book is a high quality resource for conspiracy studies. And the plot is thick and well-developed.

First, Masumian outlines how Baha'is have been accused of perpetrating all sorts of conspiracies and ladies and gentlemen, this is the "sexed up version" (to use words of Dr. David Kelly, deceased Baha'i and yes, British intelligence operative and weapons expert, concerning a controversial WMD report). Masumian seems to cover every allegation category against the Baha'is that Iranian authorities and others have ever imagined. Conspiracy theorists have their work cut out for them -- what else could the Baha'i community be guilty of? It might be rough sledding to add to Masumian's coverage.

Second, by the time that one might think there just could not be any more, that one might name anything and the Baha'is are "guilty as hell", Masumian twists the plot revealing that the accused conspirators (the Baha'is) are themselves demonstrably the victims of multiple conspiracies to discredit them and worst, which he debunks one by one. It is that classic scene where our lone hero, Masumian, enters a creepy warehouse filled with bad guys armed to the teeth, and miraculously takes them out one by one.

Masumian's book is a conspiracy enthusiast's dream come true. Conspiracies about conspiracies. Masumain walks us through a Disney World of conspiracies and hoaxes. Conspiracies to fabricate conspiracies. This is like a movie you have to watch more than once to get who is really doing what. Well, the way I describe it might be more like a movie version. Masumian presents it in a scholarly format. Buy the book (especially if the link above is a pirated copy; ping Masumain) or read the shorter Wiki version to learn all the sordid details and prepare for the Henry Makow's that might cross your path.

So Baha'is can now stand up proud and don't have to take any flack from anybody on the conspiracy and hoax front. Reportedly, they have their very own real-deal spies, like Dr. Kelly above. Again reportedly, there is Baha'i-member Mai Pederson, with CIA experience. At least this sets the atmosphere, in which Baha'is can fly first-class when it comes to spy members. "Oh, a spy is a member of your church/synagogue/mosque?," a grandmotherly type might say softly while pouring a cup of tea for a guest, "Well, you will feel right at home, dear, we have spy members, too. Which do you prefer? Plain-vanilla or double-agents?" This can really break the ice when making new friends in a discussion group.

Persistence and hard work are needed to reach the top in the world of conspiracies and hoaxes where one finds top talent like Masumian. For inspiration, remember the classic words of the comic, under-cover subversive character played by Jack Black in the School of Rock movie: "It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock 'n' roll". Maybe you, too, are a star and have the right stuff to create or expose conspiracies.

Enjoy your favorite conspiracies. The safest way is to watch movies, keeping clear of the real thing in the real world.
© 2010 James J Keene