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Signals

One of the things conspiracy theorists do is to see signals in the statements of those who are inside the conspiracy, signals that disclose the existence of the conspiracy. Regular folks respond with the obvious question: why would people trying to keep something secret give public signals of it? The problem with conspiracy theorists is that they don’t ask correcting questions like that; they explain the signals typically to arrogance, or guilt.

The classic signal is the phrase “New World Order” used by former President George H. W. Bush in a 1991 speech to Congress.

Bush speeches and conspiracy interpretation

 

Right-wing conspiracy theorists see this as a signal that the New World Order will begin in earnest by faking a terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center on the 10th anniversary of the speech and that the secret UN troops are stationed all over the United States ferried around by black helicopters ready to take over.

Birthers make even more bizarre contextual violations to find signals, and the most notorious is the Onaka “smiley face” on President Obama’s birth certificate. Birthers believe that State Registrar Alvin Onaka of Hawaii stamped Obama’s form with his official rubber stamp and then somehow (and this is never explained) altered it so that a smiley face appears in the loop of the letter “A” of his name, and the word “THE” is changed to “TXE.” The obvious question is why would Onaka make such alterations that ONLY appear to exist when the resolution of the document is reduced and  how could any rational person think that such putative alterations would signal that the document was false, instead of, say, that Onaka was happy to finally get the birth certificate published so he wouldn’t have birthers bugging him about it?

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9 Responses to Signals

  1. avatar
    Sean October 3, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    I don’t know if this is a coincidence, but take a look at this scene from “The Big Lebowski”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyRcYZ3k_O8

    Look at the date on the check when the video gets to 03:16, then listen to who’s speaking.

    Were the Coen Brothers saying something here?

  2. avatar
    Keith October 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Sean: Look at the date on the check when the video gets to 03:16, then listen to who’s speaking.

    Kinda ties the whole thing together, doesn’t it?

  3. avatar
    Sean October 3, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    Keith: Kinda ties the whole thing together, doesn’t it?

    I think there’s a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous.

  4. avatar
    Keith October 3, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    Sean: I think there’s a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous.

    That’s a lot of in-ing and out-ing. Just wondering here. Does the word ‘vagina’ make you uncomfortable?

  5. avatar
    Sean October 3, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    Keith: That’s a lot of in-ing and out-ing. Just wondering here. Does the word ‘vagina’ make you uncomfortable?

    Vagina?

  6. avatar
    Majority Will October 3, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    Sean: I think there’s a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous.

    But if you’re pressed for time, sometimes you’re there just to read the meter.

  7. avatar
    obsolete October 4, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    Now you did it, Doc C!
    You showed the high-quality scan of the “Smiley Face”, which proves it is only a smudge. Birther John (the Spanker) has so much emotionally invested in seeing the smiley face in the low-res scan- how will he handle this?

    I just wish Birther John (the Spanker) could explain how smiley face=forgery.

  8. avatar
    Keith October 4, 2011 at 7:14 am #

    Sean: Vagina?

    Nah, forget it. Lets just go bowling.

  9. avatar
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