February 28, 2010

One for the Conspiracy Theory Hall of Fame?

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 5:01 pm

[Note: Conspiracy theories, like astrological forecasts, should be read only for their entertainment value. They belong in the file labeled: “fictionalized speculation.”]

When the Ayatollah Khomeini shot to the top of the current events chart for his shenanigans in Iran, it seemed to this columnist, like we had seen him before. One day while plowing through our massive collection of totally irrelevant cultural events file, we stumbled upon a photo of
Howard Hughes.

Voila! It wasn’t just one of those identical twins separated at birth things; it was a “same guy, different photos at different ages” type deal (IMHO). Just compare a photo of the Ayatollah and one of Hughes. Note the similarity of the folds in the ears, the nostrils, and the eyes. Eliminatory, my dear Watson, it’s obviously the same guy in different stages in his life.

We asked around. No one had ever seen Howie (we used to live in Marina del Rey, which has Hughes Aircraft as an adjacent neighbor) and the Ayatollah in the same room at the same time.

“Lois, have you ever noticed how Clark Kent always misses being able to write an eyewitness account of Superman’s greatest feats?” Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink. If you know what we mean.

We tried our best to pedal our theory to the mavens of contemporary American culture but alas we garnered as much attention as a voice crying in the wilderness would.

If a conspiracy theory (CT) is to flourish, it has to be theoretically possible. You can’t go for stories about the captain of the Titanic being found 60 years later with his pipe still lit. You have to cook up something that just might squeak by on a level of marginal feasibility.

We went back to the drawing board.

James Dean and Elvis were rumored to be still alive long after their deaths had been reported in the news media. So we asked our self: How much documentation was there for the death of Che Guevara?

What if he had promised to turn states evidence and rat out his amigos in the Cuban Revolution in return for amnesty? Could he have been taken in to the “Witness Protection Program” and given some phony ID and a few bucks to start life over after allegedly being “shot down in an attempt to flee”?

We came up with a mental image of Che being on a city council in a small University somewhere in California and fighting with the college kids. (Gosh now that we live in such a city, maybe one of these Tueday nights, we should skip Qi Gong class and attend a city council meeting?)

We ran this bit of unsubstantiated speculation past a high school buddy, several years ago, and he did his best to refute our theory. He reassured us that he personally had seen a photo on the desk of the guy who worked next to his that showed Che dead on the ground. Our good buddy mumbled some esoteric exotica about JM/Wave, Ted Shackley, Phat City, and the like as his evidence to substantiate his claim that Che was buried in Bolivia.

We countered that this guy, whom he called Felix Rodriguez, was most likely in on the ruse and had agreed to pose with Che’s prone figure for the photographic proof that the revolutionary had been mortally wounded while attempting to flee. (Didja know that in the days of B&W movies Hershey’s chocolate syrup was often used to simulate blood?) In return, we asserted, Che spilled the beans about such things as the kidnapping of Juan Manuel Fangio and other historic Cuban events which preceded Fidel’s putsch.

Now that photoshopping changes are readily available to any photographer with the bucks to buy the program and a lap top where he can run it, photographs are (to the best of our knowledge) no longer accepted as evidence in any court proceedings.

We used to work with an ad sales rep who, we adamantly asserted, used an assumed identity that had been provided by the witness protection program folks. They had assisted her in the efforts to erase all traces of her life as “Eva Braun.” She did a Dr. Strangelove-like denial of the idea.

Our efforts to dabble in a one man plot to concoct something that would be described as a cutting edge conspiracy theory that belongs in the Conspiracy Theory Hall of Fame pale in comparison to what we have recently found on online. We were Googling around with things like “Blond Ghost” and “Dealey Plaza” when we stumbled on the most outrageous conspiracy theory we’ve ever encountered in a lifelong fascination with conspiracy theories for fun and profit.

If we couch the views in the form of a question that means that this columnist doesn’t personally substantiate their wild assertions. We just want to bring some new theories to the attention of the people who are connoisseurs of concocted conjecture.

Cub reporters are always urged, for legal reasons, to pepper their stories with words like “allegedly,” “reportedly,” “assert,” and to inundate the readers with phrases like “according to a police spokesman,” and “unsubstantiated conjecture.”

So we were sure that we found the next candidate for the Conspiracy Theory Hall of Fame when we found folks asking: “Was George W. Bush’s real father JFK?” They follow that up by asking “Did George H. W. Bush, play the role of jealous husband, and hire killers to rub him out in Dallas?”

Their wild assertions do seem to tie up loose ends and nagging question concerning JFK’s assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963, in an Occam’s razor sort of way.
Folks (not just the good ole boys in Texas) can readily comprehend the “jealous husband” rational for using a gun.

According to this new way of explaining the Dallas Assassination, the common connecting thread is the CIA. Here are some links for readers who want to do their own play-along-at-home sleuthing and fact checking about this wild bit of speculation. (Embedded links seem so Tyler Durdin-ish.)

If a columnist writes about a new dance craze sweeping the discos, that doesn’t mean he has to be the fellow who “invented” the dance. It doesn’t mean that he has to be able to do the dance. It just means that, as a reporter and critic of the contemporary culture, he wants to point out what the latest development in that sphere of culture is. For those who are fascinated by conspiracy theories, this columnist just wants to bring their wild, intriguing question to the attention conspiracy theory fans. When it comes to drawing conclusions; you are on your own.

Herb Caen, who has his own room in the (imaginary) Columnists’ Hall of Fame, defended his columnistic style thus (From “Don’t Call it Frisco” Doubleday hardback pages 25 – 26): “That brings us to the third type – the “scattershot” column, crammed with short items on a variety of subjects. This kind of column is, obviously, a lot more work, but it attracts a wider audience, at least theoretically. As that great practitioner of the art, Walter Winchell, once expressed it: ‘People don’t get bored if you change the subject often enough.’”

Now, our disk jockey will play: Jimmy Dean’s song “Big, Bad John,” Dion’s song “Abraham, Martin, and John,” and Tom Clay’s overdubbed version of “What the World Needs Now.” (It is on Youtube and guaranteed to make surviving hippies weep.) Now, we gotta skedaddle. Have a “you’re not gonna believe this . . .” type of week.

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