The conspiracy theories of the 1960’s were, for the most part, risible. Save for J. Edgar Hoover who seemed capable of just about anything, most conspiracies were aggravated rumor and forgettable. But conspiracy theories have not died. They have life on the internet as I learned in listening to a story on the radio last night about how vaccinations were being railed at on the internet by people believing all sorts of strange conspiracies. The off balance odor of the half truths almost made me smile in remembrance until I realized the stupidity that was being purveyed. The 1960’s have not died, they continue to simmer.
There is an internet site offering a Chippendale table that has carved and gilded legs, except for the fact that the legs are not carved. The ornament on the legs is composition, a material made from glue, whiting and linseed oil. This material came into vogue after Chippendale’s era and you will not find it on any documented Chippendale furniture. In a way, this dealer’s assertions reminds me of both the anti-vaccine crowd and the 1960’s. The more outrageous something is, the better chance it has of being believed.
You can go onto the internet or read newspapers and magazines that will adjure that the world is flat. The essence of truth today seems to lie in the repetition of something that is said, not in whether it has any basis in fact. The computer has become a form of Miracle-Gro for half truths that would wilt under serious examination. Of course, brain washing is what the witch doctor did and mass delusion is what the magician does. Undermining the truth is the essence of all conspiracy theory. I am sorry about this. I rather like the unvarnished truth.