Summary and Info
Barkun's book pulls together many different conspiracy theories, showing how they are now interacting and cross-fertilizing one another via the internet. The internet has provided a quick and effective way for a wide variety of conspiracy theorists to begin drawing from one another, thus giving the appearance of intellectual rigor by quoting one another and supporting one another. The whole thing begins looking rather incestuous after awhile as Christian millenarians start incorporating UFO or hollow earth elements into their work, for example. For those interested in the social construction of knowledge, an examination of conspiracy theories and their proliferation since the advent of the internet would prove fruitful. I do wish that Barkun had mentioned Umberto Eco's excellent novel, "Foucault's Pendulum," in his book. I know that it is probably outside of the scope of his examination of American culture, but Eco has done a masterful job of revealing the rampant anti-intellectualism of conspiracy theorists. Please read Barkun's book. It is entertaining, enlightening, and disconcerting. I found the when I tried to discuss it with friends and relatives, there were some who actually believed many of the things he was discussing. I think that worried me most of all.