By Michael Barkun
What do unidentified flying object believers, Christian millennialists, and right-wing conspiracy theorists have in universal? in keeping with Michael Barkun during this interesting but nerve-racking ebook, quite a bit. it's popular that a few american citizens are passionate about conspiracies. The Kennedy assassination, the Oklahoma urban bombing, and the 2001 terrorist assaults have all generated problematic tales of hidden plots. what's a long way much less identified is the level to which conspiracist worldviews have lately develop into associated in unusual and unpredictable methods with different "fringe" notions similar to a trust in UFOs, Nostradamus, and the Illuminati. Unraveling the intense genealogies and variations of those more and more common rules, Barkun exhibits how this internet of city legends has unfold between subcultures on the net and during mass media, how a brand new kind of conspiracy considering has lately arisen, and the way this phenomenon pertains to higher alterations in American tradition. This ebook, written through a number one professional at the topic, is the main entire and authoritative exam of up to date American conspiracism to this point.
Barkun discusses more than a few material--involving inner-earth caves, govt black helicopters, alien abductions, mystery New global Order cabals, and masses more--that few detect exists in our tradition. having a look heavily on the manifestions of those rules in a variety of literature and resource fabric from non secular and political literature, to New Age and alien ship guides, to pop culture phenomena equivalent to The X-Files, and to web pages, radio courses, and extra, Barkun unearths that the USA is within the throes of an unmatched interval of millennarian job. His ebook underscores the significance of knowing why this phenomenon is now spreading into extra mainstream segments of yankee tradition.
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Additional info for A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society)
Are they Christian or Buddhist, Western or non-Western, scientific or antiscientific, religious or secular? The very questions and categories seem out of place when the belief systems themselves ignore such boundaries. In the act of ignoring boundaries, improvisational millenarians implicitly challenge orthodox conceptions of belief and knowledge. By picking and choosing among a variety of beliefs, improvisationalists convey the message that no single belief system, whether religious or secular, is authoritative.
The popularity of conspiracy films does not inevitably translate into a feeling of empowerment for conspiracy theorists. To the extent that their common currency is placed in everybody’s hands, it is devalued. It is also potentially trivialized, for there is no assurance that those watching a conspiracy film really believe it. It is, after all, only a story. So the popularization of conspiracism is tinged with ambivalence for conspiracists, combining a sense that they were right all along with a fear that the newly enlightened will not take the ideas seriously enough to act on them.
Shaver claimed to have been in psychic communication with a subterranean race and to have once physically visited their underground civilization. The “mystery” deals in part with the basis of Shaver’s bizarre claims, and in part with the question of authorship. Some have attributed much of the actual writing, and especially the use of the literary conventions of science fiction, to Shaver’s editor, Raymond A. Palmer. Palmer himself claimed to have written the first Shaver story, based on a ten-thousand-word letter Shaver had sent to Amazing Stories.
A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society) by Michael Barkun