Kirby Ferguson, creator of Everything Is a Remix, has launched the first installment of his serial documentary project about "the forces that that shape us." In this first entertaining episode, Ferguson explains why people fall for conspiracy theories.
He says: "To see future episodes you will need to subscribe. Launch price is $12; the price will rise to $15 later. This project has been my labor of love for the past couple years and I hope you will you enjoy it."
You are Not So Smart is hosted by David McRaney, a journalist and self-described psychology nerd. In each episode, David explores cognitive biases and delusions, and is often joined by a guest expert. David concludes each episode by eating a delicious cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener.
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Who is pulling the strings? Who is behind the coverup? Who holds the real power, and what do they want? How deep does the conspiracy to control your mind go?
In this episode we discuss the history, social impact, neuroscience, and psychology behind conspiracy theories and paranoid thinking.
Our guests are Steven Novella and Jesse Walker. Listen as they explain why we love conspiracy theories, how they flourish, how they harm, and what they say about a culture.
Steven Novella is a leader in the skeptic community, host of The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, and an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine. He blogs at Neurologica, Skepticblog, and Science-Based Medicine.
Jesse Walker is the book editor for Reason Magazine and author of the new book, The United States of Paranoia, a Conspiracy Theory. Walker's articles can be seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and many others. He blogs at The Perpetual Three Dot Column.
[Video Link] Here's a trailer for the upcoming book, White House Call Girl: The Real Watergate Story, by Phil Stanford. It's published by our friends at Feral House.
Heidi Rikan was a stripper, working for the mob in Washington D.C. White House Call Girl tells how a call girl operation she was running at the time led to the Watergate break-in, which brought down Tricky Dick Nixon himself.
Needless to say, this is not part of the Watergate story that has come down to us over the decades. It is also only fair to point out that this version of the story might be dismissed out of hand as being dangerous “revisionist” history. If you’re not careful, you might end up being called a “conspiracy theorist.”
You can also be called crazy – which is what happened to a young lawyer named Phillip Bailley, one of the principal witnesses to this ignored bit of American history. When he was foolish enough to blow the whistle on Heidi and her call girl ring, he was locked up at St. Elizabeth’s, the District of Columbia’s mental hospital, in the ward for the criminally insane.
For forty years we’ve only heard the Woodward and Bernstein perspective on Watergate. Now we’ve got the photos. What’s more, we’ve got Heidi’s little black book.
This gentleman has an opinion. And he can see you, you little rats.
EDIT: Just wanted to clarify that this is Alex Jones. The same gentleman from the "deport Piers Morgan" interview with Piers Morgan. This particular clip comes from 2011, but with Jones in the news, it seemed funny and relevant.
"Yes, there really are Newtown truthers," writes Alex Seitz-Wald in Salon. And they can tell by the pixels.
One of them, OperationTerror, produced the video above explaining the latest prevailing conspiracy theory, which involves a Photoshop disaster.
Maybe you’ve already heard some of the others, like the one about fantasy ties between the gunman’s family and the LIBOR banking scandal and a related theory about the Aurora shooting and the “Dark Knight Rises.” Most of the theories are really pieces of a larger meta-theory: that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax, perhaps by the Obama administration, designed to stir demand for gun control. In the latest angle, theorists think they have found “absolute proof” of a conspiracy to defraud the American people. “You reported in December that this little girl had been killed,” a reader emailed Salon in response to a story. “She has been found, and photographed with President Obama.”
(Thanks, Miles O'Brien)