I'll be giving a talk this Saturday at the Bethesda Regional Library. Here's the topic:
Conspiracy theories aren't just a feature of the fringe. They've been a potent force across the political spectrum, at the center as well as the extremes, from the colonial era to the present. In The United States of Paranoia, Jesse Walker explores this rich history, arguing that conspiracy stories should be read not just as claims to be believed or debunked but as folklore. When a tale takes hold, it reveals something true about the anxieties and experiences of those who embrace it, even if the story says nothing true about the objects of the theory itself. In his talk, Walker will lay out five conspiracy narratives that keep recurring in American politics and popular culture.
The event, which is sponsored by the National Capital Area Skeptics, begins at 1:30; admission is free. The library is located at 7400 Arlington Road, which means this will be the first time I talk about my conspiracy book at a place whose very address includes the title of a conspiracy movie. There will be about 45 minutes of me yammering, another 45 minutes of questions and answers, and then a more informal meet'n'greet where people can buy books, chat with one another, or pigeonhole me to discuss their favorite JFK theories. Join us!