HOT BLAST: The birth of the modern conspiracy theory movement
Nov 19, 2013 | 1339 views |  0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This is the Dallas Police homicide report that was made for John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas. The report is part of an exhibit including rarely seen documents and artifacts relating to the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination of John F. Kennedy. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
This is the Dallas Police homicide report that was made for John Fitzgerald Kennedy in Dallas. The report is part of an exhibit including rarely seen documents and artifacts relating to the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination of John F. Kennedy. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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The conspiracy theory, writes Benjamin Wallace-Wells in The Truly Paranoid Style in American Politics

owes a great deal to the Kennedy assassination, which took place 50 years ago this month and which gave birth to the modern golden age of conspiracy. The history of paranoia in America is long and magnificently florid: the witches burned in Salem; the Massachusetts colonists who built a settlement for Christian Indians, only to march all its residents to prison when suspicions grew that the converts were Satanist plotters in disguise; the society of stonemasons supposedly bent on controlling the government; the Bavarian liberals called the Illuminati, whose cabal was thought to have arranged the French Revolution and to be plotting something similar in the United States; the assassination of William McKinley, perhaps by Mark Twain. But in the frenzied speculation about who, exactly, killed John F. Kennedy, the modern conspiracy theory became itself: It acquired its cool, its documentary logic, its familiar cast of villains.



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