Election 2016

Jesse Walker to Speak in Baltimore About Conspiracy Theories and the Election

Coming Saturday: "Fear, Conspiracy, and Presidential Campaigns"



This Saturday afternoon I'll be giving a talk, at Baltimore's Kol Halev synagogue, called "Fear, Conspiracy, and Presidential Campaigns: Is This Election Different From All Others?" (Since the event is being hosted by a synagogue, we're going with a Passover-flavored title.) Here is Kol Halev's description of the discussion:

Come on Saturday, October 22 at 1:30 p.m. to KHL to hear Jesse Walker, author of the well-received book The United States of Paranoia.

You may believe you're living through a uniquely fraught presidential campaign. But Jesse Walker has done a fascinating job of describing American political paranoia from our inception as colonies to our post-9/11 world.

The talk will be a mix of current events and historical context, and the topics to be covered include Trump's conspiracy theories, the anti-Trumpsters' conspiracy theories, and the clown scare. (No, really. I swear it's relevant.) If you'd like to see this, come to 6200 North Charles Street at 1:30. Don't be confused by the sign outside that says "Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church"; the synagogue meets at a church. (I'm hoping some of the Presbyterians will stop in too.) Admission is free.

NEXT: A.M. Links: Trump Won't Promise to Abide by Election Results, Filipino President Vows to Cut Ties With U.S., Battle for Mosul

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  1. For all the talk about Trump claiming a conspiracy to fix the election, Hillary sounded just as bad last night screaming about how all the nasty revelations about her are the work of Russian hackers. Reminded me of her “vast, right-wing conspriacy” rhetoric from back in the ’90s.

    It’s interesting, too, that when Trump could go after easy conspiracy theories to fix the election, like Comey fixing the election by granting Hillary’s toadies immunity and destroying their laptops for them, he chooses to go for a stuffing the ballot box narrative instead.

    Maybe for a conspiracy to be compelling, it needs to be unresolved? Maybe the reason few people care about the Comey conspiracy (or Hillary’s Clinton Foundation taking money from foreign governments) is because everybody already knows about it. Maybe it isn’t conspiracies that are compelling so much as secret conspiracies.

    Roll a ball across the floor and a cat may well ignore it. Roll it under the couch, and the same cat has got to see where it went.

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    2. So, Jesse doesn’t know that Trump’s ‘conspiracy theories’ were confirmed by Democrat operatives?

      Too bad someone at Reason hasn’t done a piece on those Project Veritas videos.

      Maybe they got an Ecuador memo?

      1. So, Jesse doesn’t know that Trump’s ‘conspiracy theories’ were confirmed by Democrat operatives?

        Really? Every single conspiracy theory Trump has spouted over the course of this campaign has been confirmed by the Veritas videos? That’s news to me, and to everyone else who isn’t insane.

        Too bad someone at Reason hasn’t done a piece on those Project Veritas videos.

        Ron Bailey’s weekly column (out tomorrow) is pegged to the vote-fraud video.

  2. Holy shit! The Jews are hiding their Jewish Jewery by disguising themselves as Presbyterians? I knew it!!! IT’S ALL PART OF THE CONSPIRACY!!! WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!!!

  3. Jesse’s book was a delight to read, but there is one conspiracy theory technology can deflate. During Reconstruction Lysander Spooner complained of “secret” ballots being unverifiable. But with websites and QR codes anyone could opt for a verification code to check online whether their ballot was counted as cast or not. I would gladly pay a dollar toward the added expense, just as I am happy to be able to keep the bank honest by checking deposits at an ATM. Without such an option there is no objective evidence that a system dominated by two looter parties can possibly be anything but rigged or dishonest. The Jim Crow section of the GOP platform makes it clear THEY fear election fraud as deeply as Dems fear the 2nd Amendment. But simple, voluntary verifiability could at least lay to rest this most singularly pressing and relevant of all conspiracy theories. Verifiability would at least prove to voters that their own cowardice is all there is to blame for the fix we’re in.

    1. Jesse’s book was a delight to read

      I agree with Hank.

      The alt text wins.

    2. I found it a little slow at the start, but I never saw the surprise twist coming at the end.

  4. Maybe he should talk about how 72% of people are concerned about purple flying unicorns and who is responsible for those concerns, and who they are directed at.


    Poll: Voters Have Concerns Over Election Security

  5. You know, I have a hope that people will one day realize that all elections really are rigged. Rigged to ensure maximum assfucking regardless of who wins.

    1. The great philosopher Roseanne Barry was right: If voting mattered they wouldn’t let you do it.

      I believe the polls and the election are rigged, though I don’t know to what extent. I know the polls are skewed toward Dem participants, and I know people are voting more than once and I know dead people are voting. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the machines spit out predetermined results no matter who you vote for.

      So do I waste my time voting for Johnson in jersey? I guess I’ll see how I feel that morning

  6. “Don’t be confused by the sign outside that says “Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church”; the synagogue meets at a church. (I’m hoping some of the Presbyterians will stop in too.)”

    John Calvin would not be amused:

    “6. Calvin believed that Jewish people were impious, dishonest, lacked common sense, were greedy, and should die without pity.

    “Calvin wrote, “I have had much conversation with many Jews: I have never seen either a drop of piety or a grain of truth or ingenuousness ? nay, I have never found common sense in any Jew.”

    “Calvin is also quoted as calling Jews “profane dogs” who “under the pretext of prophecy, stupidly devour all the riches of the earth with their unrestrained cupidity.”

    “He also stated that “their rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.””

    1. (I know of an Orthodox Christian church which rented a house to a rabbi)

  7. Vigilance is to be commended, especially where public institutions are concerned. Conspiracy theories as a term now connote the negative. People use it as a way of marginalizing and denigrating those who do not blindly swallow official narratives. This is very effective and was engineered by someone, of course, and some day we’ll discover who.

    1. (a) Some alleged conspiracies don’t actually exist

      (b) therefore there is no such thing as conspiracy and nobody should be talking about it.

  8. I’m beginning to think Jesse Walker was sent here to make us believe the election isn’t rigged. Think about it.

  9. I like to play word-find on Jesse’s cover by circling letters up and down and diagonally.
    So far, I’ve found ‘shitstain’.
    ‘Slavic whore.’
    And ‘Lee Harvey Shocker.’

    Fun game!

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