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Among the Truthers - A Journey Through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground


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I don't think I have seen this mentioned before on here. Anyone reading it ? I guess it looks like it could be described as being on the sceptical side :-)

From 9/11 conspiracy theorists and UFO obsessives to the cult of Ayn Rand and Birther crusaders, America is suffering from an explosion in post-rationalist ideological movements. In Among the Truthers, journalist Jonathan Kay offers a thoughtful and sobering look at how social networking and Web-based video sharing have engendered a flourishing of new conspiracism. Kay details the sociological profiles of ten brands of modern conspiracists—the Failed Historian, the Mid-Life Crack-Up, the Damaged Survivor, the Campus Revolutionary, the Stoner, the Clinical Case, the Puzzle Solver, the Christian Doomsayer, the Cosmic Voyager, and the Egomaniac—in a compelling exploration of America’s departure from reason and what it means for the very future of rational discourse as the nation steps further into the 21st century.

Book Description

From left-wing 9/11 conspiracy theorists to right-wing Obama-hating "birthers"—a sobering, eyewitness look at how America's marketplace of ideas is fracturing into a multitude of tiny, radicalized boutiques—each peddling its own brand of paranoia

Throughout most of our nation's history, the United States has been bound together by a shared worldview. But the 9/11 terrorist attacks opened a rift in the collective national psyche: Increasingly, Americans are abandoning reality and retreating to Internet-based fantasy worlds conjured into existence out of our own fears and prejudices.

The most disturbing symptom of this trend is the 9/11 Truth movement, whose members believe that Bush administration officials engineered the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a pretext to launch wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But these "Truthers" are merely one segment of a vast conspiracist subculture that includes many other groups: anti-Obama extremists who believe their president is actually a foreign-born Manchurian Candidate seeking to destroy the United States from within; radical alternative-medicine advocates who claim that vaccine makers and mainstream doctors are conspiring to kill large swathes of humanity; financial neo-populists who have adapted the angry message of their nineteenth-century forebears to the age of Twitter; Holocaust deniers; fluoride phobics; obsessive Islamophobes; and more.

For two years journalist Jonathan Kay immersed himself in this dark subculture, attending conventions of conspiracy theorists, surfing their discussion boards, reading their websites, joining their Facebook groups, and interviewing them in their homes and offices. He discovered that while many of their theories may seem harmlessly bizarre, their proliferation has done real damage to the sense of shared reality that we rely on as a society. Kay also offers concrete steps that intelligent, culturally engaged Americans can take to reject conspiracism and help regain control of the intellectual landscape.

http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Among-Truthers-Jonathan-Kay/?isbn=9780062004819

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I don't think I have seen this mentioned before on here. Anyone reading it ? I guess it looks like it could be described as being on the sceptical side :-)

From 9/11 conspiracy theorists and UFO obsessives to the cult of Ayn Rand and Birther crusaders, America is suffering from an explosion in post-rationalist ideological movements. In Among the Truthers, journalist Jonathan Kay offers a thoughtful and sobering look at how social networking and Web-based video sharing have engendered a flourishing of new conspiracism. Kay details the sociological profiles of ten brands of modern conspiracists—the Failed Historian, the Mid-Life Crack-Up, the Damaged Survivor, the Campus Revolutionary, the Stoner, the Clinical Case, the Puzzle Solver, the Christian Doomsayer, the Cosmic Voyager, and the Egomaniac—in a compelling exploration of America's departure from reason and what it means for the very future of rational discourse as the nation steps further into the 21st century.

Book Description

From left-wing 9/11 conspiracy theorists to right-wing Obama-hating "birthers"—a sobering, eyewitness look at how America's marketplace of ideas is fracturing into a multitude of tiny, radicalized boutiques—each peddling its own brand of paranoia

Throughout most of our nation's history, the United States has been bound together by a shared worldview. But the 9/11 terrorist attacks opened a rift in the collective national psyche: Increasingly, Americans are abandoning reality and retreating to Internet-based fantasy worlds conjured into existence out of our own fears and prejudices.

The most disturbing symptom of this trend is the 9/11 Truth movement, whose members believe that Bush administration officials engineered the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a pretext to launch wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But these "Truthers" are merely one segment of a vast conspiracist subculture that includes many other groups: anti-Obama extremists who believe their president is actually a foreign-born Manchurian Candidate seeking to destroy the United States from within; radical alternative-medicine advocates who claim that vaccine makers and mainstream doctors are conspiring to kill large swathes of humanity; financial neo-populists who have adapted the angry message of their nineteenth-century forebears to the age of Twitter; Holocaust deniers; fluoride phobics; obsessive Islamophobes; and more.

For two years journalist Jonathan Kay immersed himself in this dark subculture, attending conventions of conspiracy theorists, surfing their discussion boards, reading their websites, joining their Facebook groups, and interviewing them in their homes and offices. He discovered that while many of their theories may seem harmlessly bizarre, their proliferation has done real damage to the sense of shared reality that we rely on as a society. Kay also offers concrete steps that intelligent, culturally engaged Americans can take to reject conspiracism and help regain control of the intellectual landscape.

http://www.harpercol...n=9780062004819

Thanks for that David,

I'd like to know when the term "conspiracy theorists" first appeared in print - probably in the early 60s, but it would be interesting to know when such a class of people began to exist in the first place.

I also think that, rather than the 80% who believe a conspiracy killed JFK, it would be much more worthwhile doing a psychological study of those 20% who still maintain the fantasy that a deranged lone nut killed the president, and are in historical denial, as that study would certainly tell us more about how people think and make up their minds about such things.

And while there is a growing industry of mainstream media cults who make a living off of "studying" and writing about "conspiracy theorists," and I believe there is a psychosis worth studying there, I find the other subculture - the real dizinformation agents and their sponsors much more interesting, and will have Part 2 of my study on Journalists & JFK - The Real Dizinfo Agents at Dealey Plaza done soon. You will be able to read it at CTKA soon.

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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I don't think I have seen this mentioned before on here. Anyone reading it ? I guess it looks like it could be described as being on the sceptical side :-)

From 9/11 conspiracy theorists and UFO obsessives to the cult of Ayn Rand and Birther crusaders, America is suffering from an explosion in post-rationalist ideological movements. In Among the Truthers, journalist Jonathan Kay offers a thoughtful and sobering look at how social networking and Web-based video sharing have engendered a flourishing of new conspiracism. Kay details the sociological profiles of ten brands of modern conspiracists—the Failed Historian, the Mid-Life Crack-Up, the Damaged Survivor, the Campus Revolutionary, the Stoner, the Clinical Case, the Puzzle Solver, the Christian Doomsayer, the Cosmic Voyager, and the Egomaniac—in a compelling exploration of America's departure from reason and what it means for the very future of rational discourse as the nation steps further into the 21st century.

Book Description

From left-wing 9/11 conspiracy theorists to right-wing Obama-hating "birthers"—a sobering, eyewitness look at how America's marketplace of ideas is fracturing into a multitude of tiny, radicalized boutiques—each peddling its own brand of paranoia

Throughout most of our nation's history, the United States has been bound together by a shared worldview. But the 9/11 terrorist attacks opened a rift in the collective national psyche: Increasingly, Americans are abandoning reality and retreating to Internet-based fantasy worlds conjured into existence out of our own fears and prejudices.

The most disturbing symptom of this trend is the 9/11 Truth movement, whose members believe that Bush administration officials engineered the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a pretext to launch wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But these "Truthers" are merely one segment of a vast conspiracist subculture that includes many other groups: anti-Obama extremists who believe their president is actually a foreign-born Manchurian Candidate seeking to destroy the United States from within; radical alternative-medicine advocates who claim that vaccine makers and mainstream doctors are conspiring to kill large swathes of humanity; financial neo-populists who have adapted the angry message of their nineteenth-century forebears to the age of Twitter; Holocaust deniers; fluoride phobics; obsessive Islamophobes; and more.

For two years journalist Jonathan Kay immersed himself in this dark subculture, attending conventions of conspiracy theorists, surfing their discussion boards, reading their websites, joining their Facebook groups, and interviewing them in their homes and offices. He discovered that while many of their theories may seem harmlessly bizarre, their proliferation has done real damage to the sense of shared reality that we rely on as a society. Kay also offers concrete steps that intelligent, culturally engaged Americans can take to reject conspiracism and help regain control of the intellectual landscape.

http://www.harpercol...n=9780062004819

Thanks for that David,

I'd like to know when the term "conspiracy theorists" first appeared in print - probably in the early 60s, but it would be interesting to know when such a class of people began to exist in the first place.

I also think that, rather than the 80% who believe a conspiracy killed JFK, it would be much more worthwhile doing a psychological study of those 20% who still maintain the fantasy that a deranged lone nut killed the president, and are in historical denial, as that study would certainly tell us more about how people think and make up their minds about such things.

And while there is a growing industry of mainstream media cults who make a living off of "studying" and writing about "conspiracy theorists," and I believe there is a psychosis worth studying there, I find the other subculture - the real dizinformation agents and their sponsors much more interesting, and will have Part 2 of my study on Journalists & JFK - The Real Dizinfo Agents at Dealey Plaza done soon. You will be able to read it at CTKA soon.

BK

Thanks Bill....

Look forward to reading your piece on CTKA..Hope you aren't worried that posting on a site like that might get you flagged as one of the subjects of the book I posted about though ! :-)

I'm sure there are many games within games going on and it's interesting that several such books are appearing and also various news items about trying to control the internet..I posted a while ago about a speech by Bill Clinton about controlling the internet through a government "Ministry of Truth" but no one commented on that one...

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AFAIK the book doesn't discuss the JFK assassination.

Kay has a blog about the book

http://amongthetruthers.com/

Rolling Stone has an excerpt

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/book-excerpt-among-the-truthers-20110518

I think this review is helpful

http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/search?q=among+the+Truthers+kay

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In a recent interview Kay said this about the Kennedy Assassination:

REHM: Here's an email from Jimmy who says, "I'm not, as a rule, a conspiracy theorist, but the one event I resent being labeled as such is the Kennedy assassination. As far as I'm concerned, there is no doubt it was a conspiracy and I am in good company considering that President Lyndon Johnson is captured on film telling Walter Cronkite that he believed there was more to it than a lone gunman."

KAY: Yes. You know, the JFK assassination is obviously a special topic. In that case, it is impossible to disprove the thesis that there was a conspiracy because, by definition, if there was someone we don't know about who was acting with Oswald, by definition the lone gunman theory is wrong. So you cannot disprove it. That's why it's so tantalizing because we'll never know. There really could have been someone else. And that's why, as you said before, there have been over 2,000 books written about the JFK assassination and every single one of them has a slightly different conspiracy theory that's involved.

But, as I said, you can't put JFK into the same category as 9/11 or the birther movement because there really could have been someone else. We just -- we'll never know.

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2011-05-12/jonathan-kay-among-truthers/transcript

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In a recent interview Kay said this about the Kennedy Assassination:...

you can't put JFK into the same category as 9/11 or the birther movement because there really could have been someone else. We just -- we'll never know.

IOW he doesn't know much about the JFK assassination. It is obvious there was "someone else."

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