I’ve been thinking quite a bit this week about conspiracy theories.
But I guess you already knew that, huh?
Come on, tell the truth here. You, I’m talking to you!
Maybe you’ve been trawling through my emails, hmm, yeah? Find anything juicy?
Or perhaps you keep an automatic log of all my Google entries. So every time I type ‘conspiracy’ or ‘evil empire’ or ‘oppressive surveillance culture’, a little light goes on in a computer somewhere and my name is flagged up as a potential trouble-maker.
Sorry, that sounded rude, I didn’t mean you! Not you guys, the loyal readers of the Orbit blogs who have a passion for science fiction and fantasy and don’t, in fact, spend your time engaged in espionage activities. I wasn’t attacking you. It’s those other guys I was addressing – the ones who work at GCHQ and the Pentagon, who spend their time spying on us. They do! They really do!
Remember the sequence in Se7en in which the cops discover that Kevin Spacey is the killer by analysing the records of who has been borrowing books on serial murder and the Seven Deadly Sins from the public library system? They tracked him down by knowing which books he’d read!
That plot device seemed like a reach at the time; but these days, Amazon keep tabs on all of us. They know our reading habits, our preferences, we sometimes even tell them what we think of the books we’ve read. They know everything! And what, I sometimes wonder, do they actually think about me? I buy books on warfare, torture, miltary interrogation, magic, witchcraft, and I even buy the graphic novels of Warren Ellis.
Does that not add up to the portrait of a serial killing drug abusing suspect-torturing warlock with a bad attitude to authority?
If we assume that the Pentagon can hack into the Amazon database – and of course they can, I’ve seen movies where spotty teenagers can do that stuff! – then I am clearly a marked man.
I once worked with a writer called Mike Cullen – a lovely Scottish screenwriter – who told me about ‘cookies’. It took me a while to fathom these weren’t cookies of the yummy edible variety; but once I understood how my computer can be used to spy on me via invisible bits of code, I’ve never felt safe.
Then more recently, I attended a talk given by Charles Stross who explained how my computer can be turned into a ‘slave’ by drug cartels and global pornographers to forward their messages, assignations, and obscene material.
So now I’m the hub of a global empire of crime! And I don’t even get to see the profits, or wear the bling.
Also, I’m watching re-runs of The X-Files at the moment; that’s making me
even more conspiratorially jittery.
And what about Gnosticism! I mean, isn’t that the most paranoid theory ever? The Gnostics believed that all reality is an illusion. It’s not real! We just think it is. That’s a haunting concept that has been used as the basis for many fine movies, including The Matrix, The Truman Show, and Dark City.
But when you think about it – isn’t that odd? Why are there so many movies steeped in Gnosticism? I mean, it’s an ancient and arcane belief system; why is it so popular? It’s not as if we’re being deluged with movies about Zorastrianism!
So maybe, I sometimes wonder
they’re not out to get you!
if there is in fact a global conspiracy of Gnostics, based in Hollywood, trying to convince us that our world is an illusion and we are all just simulacra playing our pre-ordained roles.
The fact there is no evidence for such a conspiracy just proves there is a conspiracy; and they’re covering it up!
Maybe aliens have landed, and have taken over the world. That would explain Tony Blair.
Or maybe –
Hey, why am I telling you this stuff? You already know it. By “You”, I mean you, the GCHQ/Pentagon guys! I know you can hack my computer, and listen to my mobile phone calls, and analyse my loyalty card to study my shopping habits. You probably even know which TV shows I watch. You may even read my blogs!
And perhaps – is it possible? – you can hear my thoughts?
If so, suckers, listen to this: