Sometimes it disturbs me when I check out the search terms that lead readers to this blog, because they seem to reflect an intent that’s the polar opposite of what I’m trying to get across.
For example, I wrote a piece about the underlying misogyny in the movie “Revenge of the Nerds.” And some people apparently found that while doing a search involving the terms “cheerleaders” and “topless.”
Actually, that doesn’t bother me too much. I’m not one of these people who believes there’s something inherently misogynistic about porn. If there was, pretty much every guy on the planet could be termed a misogynist. And cynical as I can be about human nature, I’m not yet ready to jump off that precipice. (I imagine the people who stumbled across this blog in a search for topless cheerleaders were pretty annoyed, though. Sorry guys. I could be wrong, but I have an inkling that sort of thing is available elsewhere on the Web.)
I’m more concerned by the fact that one of my most enduringly popular blog posts, in terms of people reading it after finding it via Google searches on related terms, is this one dealing with secret FEMA codes on the back of traffic signs. As you can see, my purpose was to make fun of how batshit loopy that particular conspiracy theory is. I figured the guy who posted that video was the one guy who subscribes to it. Even by conspiracy theory standards, that one’s just too bugf**k insane to have a significant following, right?
But it’s had many hits in the months since I posted it from people apparently seeking more information on this plot to convey information about sinister hidden government bases via secret codes on the backs of road signs.
As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m not a big believer in conspiracy theories. I’m more of an Occam’s razor guy — absent compelling evidence to the contrary, go with the most basic and obvious explanation.
Yes, conspiracies happen. Yes, they can be widespread and insidious. The reason I generally don’t subscribe to them is because they tend to be based on a presumption of widespread organizational efficiency that’s rare under any circumstances, but especially for government operations. (I used to cover government as a newspaper reporter. Trust me on this one.)
And subscribers to these theories seem to prize them for their comic book theatricality to a point where they’ll pointedly overlook far more likely explanations because, hey, they’re kinda boring.
Prime example. I have a friend who’s very active in his Catholic church. He was convinced that he’d found evidence of a Satanic cult.
Apparently his church hosted a funeral Mass for a young woman who died of a heroin overdose. Her acquaintances — a heavily tattooed and multiply pierced crowd — had been in attendance. Afterward, a number of items such as candle holders had gone missing.
My friend was convinced that the young woman’s friends had stolen them for use in a Black Mass, where they would worship Satan.
My reaction? Yeah. That’s why junkies typically steal shit. To use them as props in Black Masses. Come on. If a bunch of junkies could summon up Satan, they’d probably steal his wallet and go score some smack.