Sunday, February 27, 2005

Bob Edwards

Bob Edwards wonders why people aren't more outraged. This is a good question. I have an answer: Conspiracy Theorists. For years, conspiracy theorists have sat on my TV presenting me with seemingly plausible "explanations" for shit that really has no good explanation other than individual idiocy. Who killed the Kennedys? Dr. King? Who keeps alien craft out at a top secret facility in New Mexico? Who faked the moon landing? For forty years, we've been telling ourselves a story about how our government doesn't play by its own rules. And sitting out there at the very edge of that are, I think, these assassinations and fairy tales. We don't all believe that the government would go that far, but it's all out there in the distance like a beacon, showing us the contours of how bad it might be. And anything that happens--torturing prisoners, keeping people detained without constitutional rights, lying about weapons of mass destruction, paying reporters, etc.--just fills in an area that conspiracy theorists have already outlined for us. Why was the X-Files so popular? Enemy of the State? 24? Alias? Because we already believe that there are parts of the government so secret and so powerful that they operate beyond the law and we can't stop them. There is no outrage because we were already living in a country where this kind of behavior seemed possible. We all thought the day had already come--long before this--in which our country was secretly unrecognizable to us.


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