Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Black Helicopters: When I was an undergraduate, I took a class on the functions of Congress, taught by a nice grad student from Johns Hopkins named Doug Munro. (If you're out there Doug, I caught you on NPR that time. The picked you for the accent, right?) Anyhow, Doug asked us to write a medium-length study of one function of Congress, our choice. I chose the appointment of investigative committees. Soon I had narrowed it down to the Warren Commission -- the members, the makeup of the committee, the recommendations, the procedural stuff. I kept getting sucked into the meat of the matter, though. In the end, my essay had a lot more to do with the controversial theories of the Kennedy assassination than the dreck of investigative committee work, and Munro rightly nailed me on it. (He gave me a B, as I recall, praised the writing a bit, and mentioned, quite politely, that I had totally ignored the point of the assignment.) So I knew quite a bit about the Cubans and the Grassy Knoll and such when, a couple years later, Oliver Stone's JFK came out. I even wrote a letter to the editor about the film. And what I know now makes good cocktail party talk. (There's even a theory out there that has George Bush Senior in the conspiracy up to his eyeballs.) Where would knowing any of the real stuff get me? Proofreader at Policy Review? Doubtful.

Anyhow, all this is in the way of saying that, since then, and despite my inherently skeptical nature, I love a good conspiracy theory. Like the one about the moon landing being faked. The one that tied together Clinton, Arkansas, the Chinese, cocaine trafficking, Vince Foster, Whitewater, and several other loose ends from the 90s was fascinating, too. The Clinton conspiracies seemed to grow in proportion to the right's hatred of him and desire to discredit him, which makes me think that some good ones will come out of Dubya's administration, too. I can't wait.

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