Faint gibbering heard from somewhere near the restricted stacks
Tag Archives: conspiracy theories
Even though so many past and present conspiracy theories are exercises in paranoia rather than history, there have been real conspiracies down through the years; it’s worth remembering that even the Bavarian Illuminati did actually exist at one point, and attempted (however clumsily) a program of political subversion in late eighteenth-century Germany. Distasteful as it may be to modern scholarship, the material is there, and needs to be dealt with.
Author Neiwert is an investigative reporter who has been working the beat of the rightward fringe of American politics for decades. This book published in 2020 saw all too clearly the “conspiracist” contribution to what eventuated in the Capitol violence of January 2021–not that there’s any reason to think that episode exhausted the impulse.
The subtitle is “How to Counteract the Conspiracy Theories That Are Killing Us,” but most of the book is in fact dedicated to establishing that “Conspiracy Theories … Are Killing Us.” Not only have conspiracist worldview of fabulist paranoia. He also draws a line between the “old conspiracism” (epitomized by obsessive JFK assassination and UFO investigators) and the “new conspiracist” Infowars and Q-anon crowds. And he offers a digestible cultural history of conspiracist thinking in the US that goes back to the eighteenth century.
Only in the final chapter does the book provide any “How to Counteract” ideas and material, and these are of the difficult no-silver-bullet variety. Thanks to pandemic-driven isolation, outrage-mongering social media, and the bizarre twists of surveillance capitalism, we are all epistemologists now. This book is a sober overview of the biggest hazards in the increasingly difficult work of orienting society towards genuine events and shared goals, rather than paranoid hallucinations and cultural fracture.
Sex Secrets of Ancient Atlantis is a meticulously-argued presentation of entirely nonexistent research demonstrating conclusively to anyone of careless mental habits that the Atlantean civilization was destroyed due to intoxicated concupiscence. The book concludes with a rousing call to action in the light of the impending Atlantean reconquest, as they are to return (soon!) from the hollow earth, bearing Reichian super-science and the wrath of Pan.
The crux of the text is a translation of an alleged primary document: the Scented Garden of Atlantean antiquity, the antediluvian Ananga Ranga known as “The Enigma Stones.” This work includes an assortment of canonical sexual techniques (or bandramis) that can be put to practical use by any imprudent reader. In my estimation, however, the best parts of the book are those dealing with the vicissitudes faced by the intrepid researchers who brought to light the Atlantean legacy, and who reasoned out its alarming and possibly lucrative consequences. As exciting as an ancient apocalypse might be, it pales beside drunken faculty holiday parties and oversexed Tibetan exploratory expeditions.
Popularizing author John Grant shows every sign of having read the varied and highly dubious works that he lists among his sources, so that he does real justice to them when presenting and parodying their ideas. Sadly, Sex Secrets of Ancient Atlantis is no longer as topical as it was in the mid-1980s. Specialists in the field of eroto-crypto-archaeology and its affiliated conspiracy theories are aware that the Internet has succeeded in its real (Atlantean) purpose, which was to pervert our civilization “towards something more akin to the Atlantean ideal” (195). As a result, the secret Atlantean invasion is a fait accompli — to the point where the USA elected its first Atlantean president in 2008. [via]