From the Daily Mirror in 1980. Click for a larger view.Last summer, an encampment of protesters appeared outside a meeting of the Bilderberg Group, an annual private gathering rumored in various conspiracist quarters to be the secret government of the world. Michael Tracey's report on Occupy Bilderberg (as the protest was dubbed) appeared a few days ago in The Awl, and while the year's delay means the piece isn't exactly ripped from the headlines, it also means Tracey was able to do some interesting follow-ups on the stories he found there.

Tracey notes at the beginning that there is "plenty one might mock about last year's anti-Bilderberg crowd," starting with the "endless far-flung confabulations" on display. (The article opens with a woman declaring that Bilderberg circles are rife with Satanism and pedophilia.) But while he isn't afraid to let the weirdness on display shine through, Tracey skips the easy mockery to take a well-rounded, fair-minded look at the protesters and their place on the political spectrum. And he doesn't neglect the subject of the Bilderberg meeting itself, which isn't a conclave of child-molesting devil-worshippers but does include many of the the world's most powerful and influential people, falling somewhere on the spectrum separating a Davos forum from a G8 summit. Except it's secret, and power + secrecy = suspicions outside the walls.

Bonus links: The prime mover behind Occupy Bilderberg—the conspiracy-hunting broadcaster Alex Jones—recently interviewed Mike Judge of Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill, Office Space, and Idiocracy fame. It was a pretty interesting conversation. (Yes, they bring up Dale Gribble.) And I ought to stick in a plug for my upcoming book The United States of Paranoia, which includes a few Bilderberg cameos.