Monday, February 26, 2018

Anyone Still Think Conspiracy Theorists Are Heroes?

So this was certain to happen within hours, if not minutes of a tragedy like the Parkland, Florida mass shooting. The conspiracy theorists peddling their "false flag" scenarios are flooding the internet with claims about the shooting being a hoax and the victims and survivors being crisis actors. Some kind of a sinister "They" are behind the shooting to enact gun-control laws and take away our freedoms and advance the agenda of the Illuminati and the "globalists" and the "international bankers" and so on and so forth.

I'm fascinated by just who exactly "they" are supposed to be right at this moment. In the aftermath of the Colorado theater shooting and the Sandy Hook massacre, "they" were the liberal minions of Barack Obama, with Obama supposedly masterminding and pulling the strings behind the killings to advance his gun control agenda. But how about now? With Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans holding the legislative power at the moment, can this conservative power in Washington also be a part of this shadowy, malevolent "them?"

Oh, wait a minute, "they" control everyone, right? Conservative, liberal, libertarian, everyone. They pull the strings from the Bohemian Grove and Denver International Airport and Area 51 and the meetings of the Bilderberg Group. OK, got that. Sure! Conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones have exposed all of that. Gotcha!

Actually, making sense of these sorts of demented fantasies is similar to sitting down and trying to discuss logic with the inmates of a lunatic asylum. But at least the ever more critical coverage of the conspiracy subculture by the media is becoming somewhat heartening, like in this piece on CNN. No longer do these people seem to be ignored as goofy, colorful, and ultimately harmless group of cranks who exist on the fringes and harm no one. Their maliciousness and utterly shameless sleaze is finally being called out for what it is.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The appeal and the dark side of conspiracy theories

A few weeks ago I was quoted in this article on the truth behind conspiracy theories. Like the most deranged of belief systems, there is just a tiny enough reality, a bit of plausibility at the core of conspiracism to explain why half of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory. While I had long held that conspiracy theorists, even the most demented of them, still served some small positive purpose in our world - their most irrational and unproven claims at least functioning as a symbolic inspiration to stay skeptical of authority - today I am wary of anyone who uses the term "conspiracy." In light of the theories claiming that mass shootings are "false flag" attacks and climate change is the creation of a vast global hoax perpetrated by scientists, most of conspiracism today is the home of charlatans and opportunists out to make a quick buck off the gullible.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The People Vs. O.J. Simpson

I was recently interviewed for this Smashd article about the ongoing fascination with the O.J. Simpson case and the new FX miniseries it inspired. I think that the miniseries is one of the best things on television today, with Fox's limited-run revival of The X-Files right behind it and followed by the network's Lucifer series. But check out the article here about how the Simpson case retains its relevance in the racially charged world of the Ferguson riots and Black Lives Matter movement.

Smiley Face Killer in New Jersey?

No, a nation-wide network of serial killers has not struck in New Jersey. Check out this article I was recently interviewed for about the "Smiley Face Killer" theory and how the recent drowning death of a Hoboken man in the Hudson River was immediately attributed by some to a conspiracy of serial killers being protected by the police. Of course, I'm not much surprised by how the conspiratorially inclined will want to believe in this. Any major - or even minor - event these days almost immediately inspires accusations of conspiracy. Although this particular conspiracy sounds so much like the debunked Satanic underground conspiracies of the 80s and early 90s that I'm dismayed that more than a tiny handful of the pathologically gullible will want to believe it. Just like the Satanic conspiracies, the Smiley Face Killer theory alleges that there's a nation-wide network of serial killers working together and that a vast conspiracy within law enforcement is keeping it all covered up. Sounds like something that would make for a really cool movie - sounds a bit like the 80s Sly Stallone flick Cobra - but not particularly believable in the real world.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Walking Dead Returns

Fan behavior, and especially fan anger, should be of ongoing concern to media producers of all types, especially TV showrunners. I was interviewed for this Detroit News article about The Walking Dead and the fan outrage over Glenn's fake death. Check it out here.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

What Not to Say to Romance Readers

I was interviewed for a Woman's Day article about the broad, unfair, and sexist stereotyping of romance literature. It's an issue that can be applied to all forms of genre entertainment and fan communities. Before the critics of genre lit or movies or TV shows paint fans with broad strokes, they should actually take the time to understand the entertainment they are talking about and the pleasures they bring to their fans. Check out this very good article right here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Talking Oscars and Golden Globes on Fresh Outlook

With February just around the corner, I'm getting Oscar fever! And so is the Fresh Outlook TV show on the Ebru network. Check out my guest appearance on Fresh Outlook and discussion of some of the films up for awards, and the Internet's impact on television as evidenced by some of the Golden Globe nominations and wins right here.