By Michael Barkun
What do alien craft believers, Christian millennialists, and right-wing conspiracy theorists have in universal? based on Michael Barkun during this attention-grabbing but traumatic e-book, rather a lot. it's renowned that a few american citizens are keen about conspiracies. The Kennedy assassination, the Oklahoma urban bombing, and the 2001 terrorist assaults have all generated tricky tales of hidden plots. what's some distance much less identified is the level to which conspiracist worldviews have lately turn 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 diversifications of those more and more common principles, Barkun exhibits how this net of city legends has unfold between subcultures on the net and during mass media, how a brand new sort of conspiracy considering has lately arisen, and the way this phenomenon pertains to better adjustments in American tradition. This e-book, written via a number one specialist at the topic, is the main entire and authoritative exam of latest American conspiracism thus far.
Barkun discusses quite a number material--involving inner-earth caves, executive black helicopters, alien abductions, mystery New international Order cabals, and masses more--that few observe exists in our tradition. taking a look heavily on the manifestions of those principles in a variety of literature and resource fabric from spiritual and political literature, to New Age and alien craft guides, to pop culture phenomena corresponding to The X-Files, and to web pages, radio courses, and extra, Barkun reveals that the US is within the throes of an unequalled interval of millennarian job. His e-book underscores the significance of realizing why this phenomenon is now spreading into extra mainstream segments of yankee tradition.
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Additional resources for A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society)
The most sweeping claims of this kind have been made by Michael Mannion, whose “mindshift hypothesis” asserts that the “shadow government,” whose members know about aliens, has been systematically “re-educating” the American public. According to Mannion, this campaign has touched virtually every area of popular culture, from films and television programs to the lyrics of popular songs. 18 Such views have been met with skepticism by some conspiracists, either because the use of motion pictures in this way would mean that too many people would know the “real truth,” thus making secrecy harder to maintain; or on the grounds that films have as much potential to mislead as to enlighten or indoctrinate.
In 1990, hundreds of her followers took to the shelters, only to emerge eventually into the same world they had left. These idiosyncratic combinations highlight the improvisational G&S Typesetters PDF proof 02-C2713 6/13/03 12:46 PM Page 19 M I L L E N N I A L I S M A N D S T I G M AT I Z E D K N O W L E D G E 19 style’s characteristic bricolage. Such odd conceptual structures are apt to contain elements from more than one religious tradition, together with ideas from the New Age, occultism, science, and radical politics.
26 If Conspiracy Theory implied that militia claims about black helicopters (discussed further in chapter 4) were grounded in reality, conspiratorial preoccupations were presented in a far more detailed and literal fashion in The X-Files motion picture. The film, which grossed $150 million worldwide, joined T-shirts and a veritable library of books and magazines as part of the industry generated by the original television series. While the film contains the expected quota of references to black helicopters and alien abduction, its most striking characteristic is its demonization of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.