In my decades as galley slave in Washington’s journalistic sludge fleets, I occasionally encountered conspiracy theories, such as the Second Shooter who got JFK, and that FDR intentionally let the Japs blow up Pearl Harbor, and of many sightings of alien space ships. Various psychic oddities dwelling in the crevices of the Potomac Rome worried... Read More
A few weeks back I wrote a column suggesting that Jews have become successful because they are smart. I confess that I did it in the spirit of a small boy poking a wasps’ nest and running like hell. I am a bad person, but it is more interesting than accountancy. The Devil makes me... Read More
In newspapering, in which your scribe slaved for many years, great weight was placed on factuality. The rule was verify, verify, verify. (“If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”) The reasons were several, such as integrity, avoiding embarrassment, and fear of libel suits, which can result in judgements of millions of dollars.... Read More
That wretched virus has spawned great gushing waves of confusion regarding what is really happening. This column, a reliable journalistic source of a high order, has therefore gathered from other reliable sources what we genuinely know about the epidemic. Henceforth you will need to read nothing more on the matter. It is all here. Every... Read More
OK, every self-respecting columnist is writing about that wretched virus, so I suppose I have to. (Actually any self-respecting columnist is probably delusional. but never mind.) Columnists do what they are programmed to do, like bugs. I think I’m supposed to say that the coronavirus is most perilous, and like the Black Death that is... Read More
In the mysteriously continuing hoorawhaw over whether the Twin Towers were brought down by an “inside job,”I have often ignited the fury of the extraordinarily sensitive Truthers, who believe in intentional demolition,. My sin was pointing out that demolition is a physical undertaking. It is not metaphorical. Physical explosives in specific quantities must be put... Read More
If you write long enough for publication, sooner or later you will make a fool of yourself, and then your choice is to admit it or prevaricate. For years I have regarded what I called “conspiracy theorists” as mildly delusional, as inhabitants of a remote societal fringe. I had never really examined their claims, dismissing... Read More
The appeal of conspiracy theories is strong. They seem to provide the believer a sense of esoteric understanding, of elevation above the limited grasp of moiling herd. They may make life less boring. Yet to many people, including me, they seem borderline delusional. How come? The curious thing is that CTs–Conspiracy Theorists–seldom seem to be... Read More
I am in hiding. Write me care of general delivery, Tierra del Fuego. Recently I wrote a column about the variegated conspiracy theories that surround accounts of Nine-Eleven. Friends warned me against it. They said that the resulting attack on me would make the Normandy Landing look like a church picnic. It did. I believe... Read More
Conspiracy theories hold charm for such as I, who regard them as we might a species of rare insectivorous marsupials who glow in the dark, and for the conspiracy theorists themselves, who seem to derive from their conditions a satisfying sense of esoteric penetration. Yet they become wearisome by constant repetition. Some have. In particular,... Read More
Fred, a keyboard mercenary with a disorganized past, has worked on staff for Army Times, The Washingtonian, Soldier of Fortune, Federal Computer Week, and The Washington Times.
He has been published in Playboy, Soldier of Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Harper's, National Review, Signal, Air&Space, and suchlike. He has worked as a police writer, technology editor, military specialist, and authority on mercenary soldiers.