Diamond Crump Figure World: Conspiracy Theories Summary


Comment [KW1]: Break it up (block and indent) Comment [KW2]: Add a section for key terms (assume no one knows what you are talking about)

The figure world I will be observing is the conspiracy section of a discussion forum I frequent. It's important to note that the overall forum covers a wide array of topics from science, to sports, to the most popular section; entertainment. The discussion board is primarily made up of and geared towards black women but, it also consists a great deal of black male posters with a few people from other races as well. Most of the conspiracy threads that are posted on the site are related to government and entertainment based issues (among others). On the forum in general there are posters who are referred to as “stans”. A “stan” is basically a person who’s an avid fan of someone that’s famous. So if you say something that a “stan” deems as distasteful about the celebrity in question you should then expect to get into an extended debate about why you’re wrong, almost as if the “stan” knows the famous person personally. Stans are an important factor when it comes to discussing entertainment related conspiracies because they will come into a thread throwing the original subject matter off track to “stan (derived from Eminem’s song Stan)” for a celebrity. I’ve come to find that the best way to discuss showbiz related conspiracies is in general terms in respect to specific famous people while going into more detail about the consistent themes and symbolism in their creative material. If you spend too much time focusing on who’s doing what as opposed to why and how they’re doing it the original discussion turns into a witch-hunt rather than informative, which automatically makes the topic lose credibility to most posters (myself included). A definite no-no and gag word in the conspiracy section is “illuminati” You will lose all credibility with most posters using this term because the word “illuminati” and the idea behind it is largely viewed as groupthink and a sort of modern day red scare on the forum. This conspiracy part of the overall discussion board is basically for people who like participating in alternative thinking and discussion on just about any subject (people can find a conspiracy in anything). So really, nothing’s off limits as long as you can back up what you say in the end, ignore doubters who add nothing credible opposing the topics intent, and stay on subject.

Comment [KW3]: unclear tell what the song is about and give an example.

Comment [KW4]: Explain what this word means and why it is a no-no

Observation Number One: Thread title: People who are still sleeping Location: Conspiracy Forum Actors:  Lolalola: thread/topic starter

Comment [KW5]: A little more space between observations

Comment [KW6]: Add more actors that are in the discussion

Artifacts:   Confusion: Many poster are confused as to why so many people are still “sleeping” Some posters are confused as to what’s going on and being said in the thread. Sleep: Many posters in the thread feel that the public is not up on what’s going on in the world and can’t see past things that give them instant gratification.

Diamond Crump  


Awake: Being in touch with the spiritual realm of the world and catching on to the occult related themes of the media and world in general. They: People in power (control the money flow)
Comment [KW7]: List different conspiracy theories

Discourse Communities:

The Observation: Page One- Lola Lola (original poster) starts the thread out by expressing her frustration with people who can’t think or talk about anything outside of the Material world and reality television. She wonders if it will take some people two whole lifetimes to “wake up”. Most posters following that make comments similar to how ignorance is bliss and how you can’t help people who cannot see what’s staring them in the face. PurpleCharm adds onto the original post by saying how the masses are essentially “asleep” by being so wrapped up in material possessions, celebrity gossip, sex, drugs, etc. And that this is exactly how “they” want the public to be. He claims that it’s all by design and that it’s the only way the system will work. BitchyFont points out how some people can go overboard with talking about religious, spiritual, conscious and conspiracy related topics simply by doing it all the time. Another poster adds onto Bitchy’s argument stating how people who continuously discuss conspiracy related topics never want to hear anyone else’s point of view. Page Two- More talk about how some people will wake when it’s there time to wake and some people will just continue to stay asleep. One poster mentions the 11:11 phenomenon and how even people consistently seeing those numbers isn’t doing the trick. Anais Karim mentions how it isn’t enough to be conscious of what’s happening in the world. Action is what matters. Page Three- A point is made by I drink a lot about what others believe or don’t believe should not affect you and that a lot of times people try to get others to believe in what they believe for validation. She says if someone’s genuinely interested in what you have to say tell them otherwise why bother? Bstar33 expresses her confusion as to what posters mean by phrases like “awake” and “sleep” She doesn’t feel like anybody is saying too much of anything in the thread. She then admits that maybe it’s because she’s unfamiliar with th e conspiracy part of the discussion board. Someone responds to Bstar33 by telling her that if she truly cared about the things that were being said in the thread and was truly interested in finding out what everybody means that she would take upon herself to educate herself and that for her not doing so she doesn’t care. This angers cmc1974.She doesn’t think it is right how people who are into conspiracies label people who are not as “sheep” or being “asleep” just because they don’t follow a particular line of thinking. She feels the same way that Bstarr33 does about this thread in that it lacks substance. cmc1974’s post closes the thread (for now). Observation Number Two: Thread title: Who really killed Kennedy and why? Location: Conspiracy Forum Actors: Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy
Comment [KW9]: The actors could also be the people talking in the forum Comment [KW8]: Add time and date

Diamond Crump Artifacts:  


Texas: The killing took place here. The Federal Reserve: Many people think his death have to do with the banks more than anything else.

Discourse communities: The Observation: Page One- Pecanpie starts the thread by mentioning how there are so many conspiracies surrounding the death of John Kennedy and posts a site hyperlink titled the Ten Best JFK assassination theories. She then posts an “act up” emoticon which is basically another way of firing a gun in the air to signal to the horses that it’s time to go. The CIA and President Lyndon B. Johnson are thrown out there as possible suspects. The possibility of it being an inside job comes into play. Most posters think it was the U.S. government and more specifically the CIA but someone does make mention of Hoover possibly knowing who did it or at least having some involvement. Most posters feel that he was done away with because he was in the process of overhauling the government and revealing a lot of secrets. Someone suggests that the same people who killed him probably could be linked to the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Mellofello makes a point of how his death could have been retaliation for his advocating for the end of the war in Vietnam. War makes certain people rich and those certain people were unhappy that their money flow was going to stop so they offed Kennedy. A lot of posters mentioning and agreeing with the fact the Kennedy family has a lot of enemies in a lot of high places they had the ability to make things happen. Bonsinsie mentions at how the same place in Texas that Kennedy was killed is the where Lyndon B. Johnson grew up. There’s a general consensus on the first page that the U.S. government did it. Page Two: Kenyata1961 states that a lot of people had a hand in the death of John F. Kennedy. She makes mention of how the Kennedy family allegedly had a curse put out on them the 1920’s. Lee Harvey Oswald added as a possible suspect. Sanitamuse posts how Robert F. Kennedy allegedly approached Lyndon B. Johnson asking him why he had his brother killed. She also said that Jackie Kennedy cut ties with the family “splitting” taking her kids with her to France because “they” were killing off Kennedys. Anais Karim states how JFK Jr. was in the process of potentially printing out an article about it all in his magazine George when his private plane crashed. Someone points to the driver possibly being the gunman which would then explain why Jacqueline jumped out of the back of the car. A poster suggests the Rothchilds. John F. Kennedy was on the outs with the Federal Reserve and wanted to change the U.S. currency. Page Three- A lot of posters think the banks had something to with Kennedy’s death because he was about to expose United States currency as fraudulent. People are really into the idea of the American government wanting to enslave Americans with loans and debts with interest and that Kennedy wanted to start a banking system of interest free money so the Federal Reserve had him killed. Someone posts that Lee Harvey Oswald was a double agent for both Russia and the United States and that the Communist scare was nothing but hype. Page Four- Someone again makes mention at how the driver was the one who sealed the deal as far as shooting and killing Kennedy goes and the video evidence was then doctored. Someone

Diamond Crump


mentions hoe Lyndon B. Johnson received a wink from some guy in a corner less than two hour after John F. Kennedy was killed. Someone then add how a wink is a symbolic from something in the occult Page Five- A poster mentions how it could have been the mob because allegedly Kennedy’s father paid the mob off to make sure he became president. Only for Kennedy to them become president and rally against organized crime. There’s a lot of mention of a speech that Kennedy gave his final speech that supposedly reveals a lot about The United States and how it will be brought to its knees. Talk about the photos and video surrounding the actual event in Texas being doctored. Page Six- There is more videos and photos posted to determine whether or not things were edited out and if the driver shot Kennedy. Someone also mentions at how no one will ever really know what happened that day and why. Page Seven- More youtube videos posted and a comment about Bush Sr. possibly being involved. Last page of thread. Observation Number Three: Thread title: Princess Diana Conspiracy Location: Conspiracy Forum Actors: The Queen, Princess Diana, Prince Charles Artifacts:  The Scene of the accident: A lot of confusion surrounded around what happened here.
Comment [KW11]: A group that agrees on the specific topic/group that does not agree Comment [KW10]: To go above and beyond: add the video?

Discourse Communities: The Observation: Page One- Bellis Sima starts the thread by stating that the conspiracy theories surrounding her death have not been put to rest. She says was it the royal families who killed her or did she really just get into an accident? A lot of talk about Princess Diana was possibly pregnant by a Muslim black man. One poster mention how Princess Diana and Fergie were the worst things to happen to the Monarchy because they could not be controlled and the Royal Family is all about control. A poster makes mention of how Diana’s death made way for Charles to be able to marry Camilla. Kenyata1961 suggests because Princess Diana’s image was outgrowing that of the royal family, and that she was finding her voice and place in society speaking out against things that maybe some people didn’t like. Page Two- More talks of Prince Charles having an affair with Camilla behind Princess Diana’s back. Some posters insinuating that Diana was used to produce heirs and to be something like a trophy wife. Someone suggests how she was sacrificed to the people in power and how her leaving Prince Charles taking all the Royal Families secrets with her could not be looked past. The Royal Family had not anticipated for her to become as popular as she did so when she left Charles if she spoke out the public would surely listen so she was seen as a threat. On the first

Diamond Crump


page someone stated that it was an unfortunate accident on this page a poster responded by asking why it took so long for the ambulance to get her to a hospital and how she was alive at the accident scene. Someone mentions how the Queen didn’t like Diana too much. Someone mentioned how they heard in a documentary about the incident how it took the ambulance 30 minutes to leave the crash site. Page Three: The Clintons and more specifically Bill possibly knew about what was going to go down ahead of time. Page Four: A poster mentions how there could have been more women that just Camilla. Nothing happens after this but petty arguing. Interview: 1. Are there any conspiracy theories that you find to be credible? If so tell me about them and if not explain why. No. Conspiracy Theorists consistently fail to form a comprehensive hypothesis for their views. Instead of combining together all of the many factors that may be involved in a particular issue and using that to reach a conclusion they point out single anomalies they don't understand, then challenge others to prove them wrong (reverse burden of proof).
Comment [KW12]: GREAT INTERVIEW! Very detailed!

2. What is it about most of the conspiracies/conspiracy theories that make them lose credibility to you? They lose credibility because they lack the ability to present a comprehensive, evidence-based hypothesis.

3. Do you think that conspiracy theories are synonymous with alternative thinking? Why or why not. No, although proponents will disagree. Inability to think rationally is more accurate (see first email). First email and response to set of questions:

For years I didn't get conspiracy theorists (CT's). They would get all shouty and loud with their lists of cherry-picked anomalies culled from Youtube video's which they cite as if they were scientific journals. Then they challenge skeptics such as myself to prove them wrong, which I would do with detailed, rational, evidence-based rebuttals. My hard work and concern for detail would then be rewarded either with name calling, goal-post moving, sudden changes of subject, or (more often) complete silence as they ran away to hide. This is not normal behavior.

Diamond Crump


Some of my colleagues would take the easy way out and dismiss them as mad tin-foil hat wearing nutters, crackpots and/or zealots but I never found this very satisfying or particularly useful. Then I had a revelation. I have a theory, just my personal opinion valued at precisely $0.02. The problem is not that byand-large conspiracy theorists are crazy, obsessed tinfoil hat wearing buffoons (no doubt a few of them are). The problem is a deficiency of thinking skill called "divergent thinking". People fall broadly into two groups - those who can assemble and process reasoned arguments convergent thinkers - and those who generally cannot reason for themselves, nor understand reasoning when presented by others - divergent thinkers. Put with brutal bluntness divergent thinkers cannot think rationally whilst convergent thinking is, by definition, rational. People become CT's because they cannot think rationally.

4. What do you think about people who are heavily invested in the idea that there’s a New World Order taking/getting ready to take place? 5. Why do you think so many people take conspiracy theories in as truth?

He directed me to a link that contained this statement for questions numbers four and five.

There are many things that motivate conspiracy theorists. Some are indeed nuts. Some are just anti-social. Others are excessively anti-authority enough to deny anything and everything society or authority holds as true. Others are blinded by their personal social and/or political biases and simply are willing to swallow whatever fits into their ideology. Then there are some who are simply trolls who will respond to anything rational with CT talk just to get under peoples skin and create a reaction for the sake of creating a reaction.

Further I'd guess that some can't emotionally cope with the idea that the world can be so random and chaotic. They find it more emotionally appealing to believe there are "bad guys" in control than to accept that the world is wild and weird. The idea that NOBODY is in control is just too terrifying. This is much like a religious person.

There was a Vanity Fair article called "Welcome to the Conspiracy" and Rich Cohen said that CTism was an "oddly self-comforting worldview" because "nothing is accidental, everything can be explained, and someone is always in control." There is some perverse measure of comfort in having a designated enemy. Conspiracism, as I see it, is predicated largely on identifying some Powers That Be as the root of all evil. There is a parallel in some religions that identify a Devil.

Diamond Crump


I think the majority though come from a place where they want to feel special. By being aware of the conspiracy theory they put themselves in a unique category of the enlightened or awakened. Their lives are probably unsatisfactory on some level and going online to "research" conspiracies gives them some fulfillment. The allure of "being in the know", IE the feeling of "knowing the big secret" no one else can see is very powerful. It gives the believer a false sense of superiority. Most of them just want to be in the know and get a pat on the back every time they throw out a new theory. Sometimes I don't think they even care if their theories are correct, they just want to be a part of it. In general it's an ego thing; most CT believers are insignificant nobodies who use their supposed "special knowledge" to bolster their self-image. Again much like a religious person.

It's notable that both religion and conspiracy theories postulate a powerful entity that is invisible and can't be controlled, doing unexplainable things in inexplicable ways, which can only be understood by those "in the know". The same people who flock to conspiracy theories seem also to flock to badly-practiced religions (hard core fundamentalism).

There is however one characteristic that all CT's share - the inability to reason through complex arguments or comprehend well-reasoned complex points presented to them. The more technical distinction is between "convergent thinkers" - those who can think through reasoning - and "divergent thinkers" who generally cannot reason for themselves. Nor understand reasoning when presented by others. What keeps people in the CT mind trap is an inability to properly apply rational thought. They lack the ability to rationalize multiple points of information into a coherent hypothesis so they resort to conspiracy theories where all they have to consider are a few anomalies they don't even have to explain since they reverse the burden of proof and challenge others to "prove them wrong."