December 2010

Dancing Mania

From the 14th to the 17th century, mainland Europe periodically experienced outbreaks of a "dancing sickness."  This mania has never been seen before or since, and no solid explanation has ever been found.

When an outbreak occurred, people took to the streets to dance uncontrollably.  It was more than dancing; it was a full-out hysteria, with screaming, laughing, hallucinations, speaking in tongues, and singing. 

Unlike today's penchant for lip synch dancing flash mobs, the dancing mania outbreaks of the Renaissance Era often proved fatal, with people dancing until they collapsed from exhaustion and died.

The Bilderberg Group: Global Conspiracy, Or Boring Annual Meeting?

Every year, 120 of the world's most influential people meet in secret - invitation only - for a three-day conference.  Called "The Bilderberg Group" after the hotel where the conference first met, this meeting is shrouded in the highest security. 

Obviously THEY ARE PLANNING TO KILL US ALL.  So contend many conspiracy theorists, who - according to this episode of "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura" - really have taken this supposed global plot right over the edge of sanity. 

The Bilderberg Group is interesting from a conspiracy perspective in that the meetings are verifiable fact.  Unlike so many conspiracies, the Bilderberg Group is a real thing that actually happens.  They have a website and everything. 

(I am bemused to note that a committee of the most powerful people in the world can't manage to figure out the title tag, much less preloading images in order to make the color transitions for their menu items' rollover effects seamless.)

Big Brother: Stating the Obvious

The "Big Brother" episode of "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura" is the most dispiriting I've seen so far.  Because, well, it's all true.  Every claim the show makes is easily verified, by legitimate sources.  Most of it is stuff you have probably read about in the newspapers.  The rest is easy to look up with a quick bit of Googling.

Are grocery stores maintaining vast data mining troves of information based on your purchase, as recorded by your grocery store swipe card?  Yes.  Is there a new RFID-enhanced driver's license being offered for people traveling across the Canadian and Mexican borders, which can easily be scanned by anyone in range with the right equipment?  Yes.  Is the federal government providing funds for installing CCTV camera networks into cities and towns across America?  Yes.

The "Global Warming Conspiracy"?

So let me ask you something: do you believe that climate change is "The most serious threat to the planet, or a plot to cheat, extort, and control you and everyone else?"  That is the question posed by former governor Jesse Ventura in this episode of "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura."

This episode is actually juggling two issues, and it juggles them poorly:
Issue #1: is climate change real?
Issue #2: Are unscrupulous people profiting off climate change, and climate change fears?

I'm sure that you, being a perfectly sane and rational person, can see that these two issues are almost completely unrelated.  The same apparently cannot be said for Jesse Ventura and his team, because they switch back and forth between these two questions without any transition. 

Jesse Ventura on 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

The thing about 9/11 conspiracy theories is that either nothing could possibly convince you that there was a conspiracy, or nothing could possibly convince you that there wasn't conspiracy.  And never the twain shall meet. 

In this episode of "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura," the former governor is most decidedly one of the latter.  He sinks his bulldog teeth into the #1 conspiracy theory of the decade: that the World Trade Center buildings were dropped by explosives as an inside job, a "false flag" operation. 

(A false flag operation is if I punch myself in the face, then go to the police and claim that you hit me.)

Fact Or Faked: Syfy's Best New Show

The Syfy Channel has launched a new paranormal investigation show, and I'm alarmed that they have stuck it in what must be one of the worst possible time slots (10PM Thursday).  "Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files" deserve to be a headlining show.  Sadly, it has all the earmarks of a show which the Syfy Channel is planning to cancel at its earliest convenience.  (Presumably to make room for more WWE Wrestling.)

You might wonder whether the world needs another paranormal investigation show, in a world where every major Basic Cable channel has one.  (The nadir surely must be Animal Planet's "The Haunted," which focuses on stories where house pets tip off their owners to the presence of ghosts.)