Thursday, December 17, 2009

conspiracy theory

A few months ago (weeks? I forget) I went to a Raw Food Potluck with my friend Sara while she was visiting Killeen. We drove down to a doctor's home in Austin where we met several Raw Food aficionados. (Unrelated, the first thing I noticed when I walked into the office was the most awkward painting of Jesus I'd ever seen. It was like GQ Jesus. He looked as he normally does in Western Iconography, but was painted in a way that looked like the cover of a romance novel. His torso was larger, his features MORE chiseled than usual and he was cradling a lone sheep in his arms like a male-model would were someone to hand a male-model a lamb and then say, "now give me it, work it...").

After meeting the people there, there was some small talk (What do YOU do? etc.) and then we ate food. Midway through the conversation and lots of food which was made of mashed nuts of various types, the conspiracy theories began. The people began to explain in hushed tones that, were the government not run by the various Republicans, corporations, conglomerates etc. etc., they could cure cancer by simply letting these people in the room do...something. They never quite said what it was (the closest I could pin anyone down was allowing them to sell non-pasteurized juices), but they were deadly serious that cancer, or the lack of a cure, was a conspiracy between the government and the drug companies.

Flash forward to my weekend in Pennsylvania. My friend David and I haven't seen one another in years and the last time I was in Duncannon was five years ago or so. While on a drive to the grocery store, I saw a building which I thought I remembered and asked if it was the pizza place we had eaten at. No, I was told, it used to be a car dealership. Then, his mom paused and explained, in a very familiar hushed tone, that the Democrats had closed it in punishment for the town voting Republican. David asked her if it was possible it closed because, between it and the other towns, theirs was the smallest and thus least profitable. Then later that weekend we went to pick up Davey's deployment gun, which he bought as a commemoration of his tour in Iraq. While there, his dad explained to me that there's a lack of ammo since Obama came to office. Why, you ask? Guess...yep conspiracy, Liberal conspiracy. Again, David questioned his parents, "Maybe it's not a conspiracy and, because when he came into office everyone bought everything they could, so now there's a and demand and all that?" Nope....

It's not only on the right or the left, these conspiracy theoriests (although there is no Glenn Beck of the left, unless you count Michael Moore...but he's not nightly, which is good). What is scary, however, is how far removed from reality these people are and how quickly they're willing to blame "the other" for the woes of the world. The Raw Foodies and David's family aren't bad people, they're just blinded by their own beliefs. Those of us who hope to change things for the better, we've got to constantly remind ourselves to see past our own biases...otherwise, we'll just keep blaming the "other."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How was the food?


11:54 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Okay, but the ammunition thing is real. The nutters have been buying it up ever since Obama got elected, and now there's a shortage. When we went to get ours for hunting season there was a 6 box per customer limit so that they wouldn't sell out.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Maybe it was a 2 box per customer limit, I don't remember. But definitely a limit.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

I don't doubt there's a shortage...I saw that. It was the cause of the shortage we disagreed over. "They" blame it on the liberals whereas "we" (Davey and I...and he is NOT a liberal) blame it on people buying more than the supply can support. IE. they see it as a liberal plot to stymie supply, whereas we see it as conservative paranoia fueling demand.

12:09 AM  

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