Believe It or Not

Even the most far-fetched conspiracy theories are starting to sound slightly plausible these days, what with the Fast and Furious gun-running scheme, the Internal Revenue Service’s harassment of the president’s political opponents, the National Security Agency’s extensive snooping around America’s phone records, and all the other hard-to-believe revelations of the past five years. Still, given our experience of mankind we retain our longstanding belief that well-intentioned stupidity is always a more likely explanation than diabolical genius for the sorry state of the world.
More fevered imaginations continue to concoct the most meticulously plotted tales of intrigue, and the fine folks at Popular Mechanics have helpfully rounded up an intriguing list of “Nine Utterly Ridiculous Conspiracy Theories.” The venerable geek-porn publication did a great service by using its technological expertise to debunk the bizarre conspiracy theories concerning the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., which have largely gone away since the hateful George W. Bush left office and the loveable Barack Obama became an accomplice by his role in the continuing cover-up, but in this case they’ve offered up some ideas that seem every bit as unlikely.
One comes from the Middle East, which exports even more conspiracy theories than it does oil, and concerns some killer sharks that the Israelis allegedly trained to attack Egyptian swimmers. Jews are recurring characters in popular conspiracies, as are the Masons, and we’re therefore awaiting an expose of how Jackie Mason is the true puppet-master of the world. Another comes from Atlanta, usually more a sensible part of the world, where the two inches of snow that shut down the city was thought to be a chemical product that somehow defies melting even by blowtorch. One can well understand how a bit of snow could cause a traffic jam in such a typically temperate climate, but we wouldn’t have expected it to result in such a pile-up of logic.
A third theory posits that Adam and Eve were members of an extra-terrestrial race who came to earth aboard Noah’s Ark, which was actually a space ship, while a fourth insists that the world is secretly run by a race of extra-terrestrial lizard people. We’ll stick with the account in the book of Genesis, which holds that Noah’s Ark was built of gopher wood some time after the appearance of Adam and Eve, but we have to admit that the lizard people story would explain a lot. A fifth theory holds that a popular Iphone application will cause the gates of hell to open on July 27 of this year, and even though we’ve seen too many people mesmerized by cell phones to doubt their demonic powers we’ll still make plans for July 28.
A sixth theory holds that the years between 614 and 911 A.D. didn’t happen. The theorists don’t adequately explain what happened to them, but we must admit we can’t recall anything of that era. For those who have grown bored with the decades-old theory that the moon landings were faked there is a seventh theory claiming that the moon itself is faked. That silvery round thing you see in the night sky is actually a hologram, according to this theory, so apparently hologram technology is old enough to have fooled all those ancient poets. An eighth theory is that the Denver International Airport is the base for a Federal Emergency Management Agency death camp, which in turn is part of a Satanic conspiracy. Having spent an hour-long lay-over there this past November we can attest that this is not outside the realm of possibility, although it didn’t strike us any more Satanic than any other big city airport. The final conspiracy theory is that the Large Hadron Collider project is actually build a star gate to revive Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the dead, for unexplained reasons. The first time we heard of the project it was misspelled as the Large Hardon Collider, which seemed a damned silly waste of scientific resources, and we must admit that reviving Osiris would be a better use of the project’s massive funding.
Several of the comments noted with astonishment that none of these conspiracy theories involve the Koch brothers, and these days that is hard to account for. We love a good Koch conspiracy theory, as it heartens us to think that the world is being clandestinely manipulated from here in Wichita, but it seems we’ll have to rely on MSNBC and the latest Democratic fund-raising letters for our daily dose of those. Some conspiracy theories are so utterly ridiculous they can be found only there.

— Bud Norman