You need to login in order to like this post: click here
Conventional wisdom puts the beginning of modern conspiracy-theory culture at the JFK assassination. But it probably makes more sense to think of it evolving in its aftermath, in the years following the shooting, once the shock wore off. In the late 1960s, that is, which just so happen to be the years when the country radically polarized along the political lines we now know so oppressively well. The assassination wasn’t just a chaotic, spectacular, improbable event that Americans desperately wanted explained, even if the explanations were terrifying (conspiracy-theory culture being essentially willed into being by those for whom nothing was more terrifying than randomness and meaninglessness). It was also the locus of an ideological battlefield over who were the heroes and who the real villains in American life: pro-Castro and anti-Castro leftists; Russian operatives; the CIA; LBJ; the Mafia; the Camelot Kennedys — the list goes on. We floated conspiracy theories, in other words, as a way of projecting politics.