Thursday, June 01, 2006

Therapy for Conspiracy Theorists

Okay, I know I put a moratorium on DVC on this blog, but
this piece
from the author of A Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living was just too good (besides reinforcing my viewpoint.) Anyway, I couldn't resist quoting the following excerpt on dealing with conspiracy theorists. (Which, technically speaking, keeps me on the right side of the ban, as it's general-purpose and not specific to DVC.) An excellent strategy, I think, for addressing all denominations of the tinfoil-hat set!


A thought-provoking lunch. It convinced me that admirable efforts such as Amy Welborn’s to refute the assertions woven throughout the turgidly typed pages of The DaVinci Code might just be beside the point. It’s probably not worth protesting this silly, mercenary book—or the boring movie made of it by hack director Richie Cunningham … I mean, Ron Howard. If you know someone gullible enough to take a pulp airport novel as “evidence” that Jesus Christ was not divine—but rather a horn-dog rabbi eager to “hook-up” with a former hooker, in order to father a race of bumbling French kings…do you really think the answer is to argue with him? Using, you know, reason? You might just as well pick up the book, smack him on the nose and say “No! Bad! No! Very bad!” That’s likely to be more effective, and a heck of a lot more fun.

Or here’s another idea, which is even more entertaining. It’s a strategy I once used with a friend who was intelligent but emotionally unstable. At a dark time in his life, he got himself sucked into poisonous theories which questioned the Holocaust. Rather than spend time reading the sludge churned out by nostalgic Nazis which he was taking as gospel, I decided to try what I called “ridicule therapy.” When he suggested that the Holocaust had been exaggerated or faked, I said, “You’re so naïve. Do you really think there was a so-called ‘Second World War?’ Another lie foisted on us by you-know-who….”

“But that’s ridiculous,” he insisted.

“Really?” I said, “Or is that just what THEY want you to think?”

As time went on, I had to go further. So I suggested darkly that the Freemasons had been “faking the weather” for the past 30 years. I started referring to the “so-called weatherman” and putting little air-quotes around the word “weather.”

At last, I bought my friend the books of David Ickes, a former British soccer star who “discovered” the fact that the world has been dominated, for the past 10,000 years, by a race of alien lizard men (think Opus Dei, with long darting tongues) who can take on human form. These books are in deadly earnest, and utterly hilarious, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.


Now mind you, I didn't cite this to encourage playing head games with the mentally ill. The tabloid holds enough sway in our society that there is no shortage of reasonably sane people who might benefit from a bit of "therapy." The plus side of this method is, since you're out-tinfoiling them, you don't leave them much room to call you a "true believer."

Hat tip: The Shrine of the Holy Whapping/a>

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