By Michael Barkun
What do alien ship believers, Christian millennialists, and right-wing conspiracy theorists have in universal? in accordance with Michael Barkun during this interesting but stressful booklet, quite a bit. it truly is renowned that a few americans are enthusiastic about conspiracies. The Kennedy assassination, the Oklahoma urban bombing, and the 2001 terrorist assaults have all generated problematic tales of hidden plots. what's some distance much less identified is the level to which conspiracist worldviews have lately develop into associated in unusual and unpredictable methods with different "fringe" notions reminiscent of a trust in UFOs, Nostradamus, and the Illuminati. Unraveling the intense genealogies and variations of those more and more common rules, Barkun indicates how this net of city legends has unfold between subcultures on the web and during mass media, how a brand new type of conspiracy pondering has lately arisen, and the way this phenomenon pertains to greater adjustments in American tradition. This booklet, written via a number one professional at the topic, is the main finished and authoritative exam of up to date American conspiracism to this point.
Barkun discusses a variety of material--involving inner-earth caves, executive black helicopters, alien abductions, mystery New global Order cabals, and masses more--that few observe exists in our tradition. having a look heavily on the manifestions of those rules in a variety of literature and resource fabric from spiritual and political literature, to New Age and unidentified flying object guides, to pop culture phenomena reminiscent of The X-Files, and to web content, radio courses, and extra, Barkun unearths that the United States is within the throes of an unequalled interval of millennarian job. His e-book underscores the significance of knowing why this phenomenon is now spreading into extra mainstream segments of yankee tradition.
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Extra resources for A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society)
Thus, without discarding Campbell’s valuable insights, we need to extend the cultic milieu to encompass a broader range of phenomena. This can be done through the concept I call stigmatized knowledge claims. stigm atized knowledge claims By stigmatized knowledge I mean claims to truth that the claimants regard as verified despite the marginalization of those claims by the institutions that conventionally distinguish between knowledge and error—universities, communities of scientific researchers, and the like.
Somewhat similar claims were made by conspiracy writer Milton William Cooper, who said that the films were “thinly disguised” descriptions of contacts that took place in the early 1950s between extraterrestrials and the government. 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.
He acknowledges Gibson’s wild, delusional ideas but concentrates on the awareness that while “[m]uch of what he says is nonsense . . ” 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.