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Diamond Crump

Figure World: Conspiracy Theories Terminology section one: Conspiracy theory is a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event. Illuminati - people claiming to possess special enlightenment or knowledge of something. Most commonly viewed as a covert organization responsible for most of the evils in the world according to conspiracy theorists. Stan is an obsessive maniacal fan for any celebrity or athlete. 11:11 phenomena is an important number in the numerological world. When you consistently see 11:11 its supposedly a spiritual wakeup call that lets you that lets you know youre on the right track and that the angels are with you. Link to Eminems Stan video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSLZFdqwh7E Summary of Figure World A figure world is a place or social setting. The figure world I will be observing is the conspiracy section of a discussion forum I frequent. It's important to note that the overall forum covers a wide array of topics from science, to sports, to the most popular section; entertainment. The discussion board is primarily made up of and geared towards black women but, it also consists a great deal of black male posters with a few people from other races as well. Most of the conspiracy threads that are posted on the site are related to government and entertainment based issues (among others). On the forum in general there are posters who are referred to as stans. A stan is basically a person whos an avid fan of someone thats famous. So if you say something that a stan deems as distasteful about the celebrity in question you should then expect to get into an extended debate about why youre wrong, almost as if the stan knows the famous person personally. Stans are an important factor when it comes to discussing entertainment related conspiracies because they will come into a thread throwing the original subject matter off track to stan (derived from Eminems song Stan) for a celebrity. Ive come to find that the best way to discuss showbiz related conspiracies is in general terms in respect to specific famous people while going into more detail about the consistent themes and symbolism in their creative material. If you spend too much time focusing on whos doing what as opposed to why and how theyre doing it the original discussion turns into a witch-hunt rather than informative, which automatically makes the topic lose credibility to most posters (myself included). A definite no-no and gag word in the conspiracy section is illuminati You will lose all credibility with most posters using this term because the word illuminati and the idea behind it is largely viewed as groupthink and a sort of modern day red scare on the forum. This conspiracy part of the overall discussion board is basically for people who like participating in alternative thinking and discussion on just about any subject (people can find a conspiracy in anything). So really, nothings off limits as long as you can back up

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what you say in the end, ignore doubters who add nothing credible opposing the topics intent, and stay on subject. Disclaimer: Actual times will be substituted by page numbers since time is irrelevant on message boards being that threads have the potential to be constantly on going. First observation Terminology section two: Thread - discussion with several posts Posters - the people who post adding to the conversation within and thread. Font - another word for a poster ( a person who posts in the thread)

Thread title: Who really killed Kennedy and why? Location: Conspiracy forum Actors are the people who interact and participate in different roles within the figure world. Actors: Lyndon B. Johnson Was Kennedys Vice President who after his death (Kennedys) became the 36th president of the United States. J. Edgar Hoover- was the first director of the FBI. Served from 1935-1972 Jacqueline Kennedy John Kennedys wife. Right beside him at his time of death. Posters in thread people in the thread discussing the topic of who killed Kennedy and why.

Artifacts can be material, conceptual or ideal and hold extreme importance in the figured world as far as its development goes. Artifacts: The government killed Kennedy

Discourse Communities are the group of actors who share similar ways of interacting or ideas within a figured world. Discourse Communities: Posters who think the banks did it Posters who think Lyndon B. Johnson was involved
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People who think the CIA was involved People who question J. Edgar Hoovers involvement

A literacy practice is the overarching buildup of knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and values taking place in the particular Figured World.

Literacy Practices: Questioning the events prior to before and during Kennedys death. Questioning the people who Kennedy was surrounded by on a daily basis and their possible motives for having him offed.

Observation: Page One: Pecanpie starts the thread by mentioning how there are so many conspiracies surrounding the death of John Kennedy and posts a site hyperlink titled the Ten Best JFK assassination theories. She then posts an act up emoticon which is basically another way of firing a gun in the air to signal to the horses that its time to go. The CIA and President Lyndon B. Johnson are thrown out there as possible suspects. The possibility of it being an inside job comes into play. Most posters think it was the U.S. government and more specifically the CIA but someone does make mention of Hoover possibly knowing who did it or at least having some involvement. Most posters feel that he was done away with because he was in the process of overhauling the government and revealing a lot of secrets. Someone suggests that the same people who killed him probably could be linked to the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Mellofello makes a point of how his death could have been retaliation for his advocating for the end of the war in Vietnam. War makes certain people rich and those certain people were unhappy that their money flow was going to stop so they offed Kennedy. A lot of posters mentioning and agreeing with the fact the Kennedy family has a lot of enemies in a lot of high places they had the ability to make things happen. Bonsinsie mentions at how the same place in Texas that Kennedy was killed is the where Lyndon B. Johnson grew up. Theres a general consensus on the first page that the U.S. government did it. Page Two: Kenyata1961 states that a lot of people had a hand in the death of John F. Kennedy. She makes mention of how the Kennedy family allegedly had a curse put out on them the 1920s. Lee Harvey Oswald added as a possible suspect. Sanitamuse posts how Robert F. Kennedy allegedly approached Lyndon B. Johnson asking him why he had his brother killed. She also said that Jackie Kennedy cut ties with the family splitting taking her kids with her to France because they were killing off Kennedys. Anais Karim states how JFK Jr. was in the process of potentially printing out an article about it all in his magazine George when his private plane crashed. Someone points to the driver possibly being the gunman which would then explain why Jacqueline jumped out of the back of the car. A poster suggests the Rothchilds. John F. Kennedy was on the outs with the Federal Reserve and wanted to change the U.S. currency.
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Page Three: A lot of posters think the banks had something to with Kennedys death because he was about to expose United States currency as fraudulent. People are really into the idea of the American government wanting to enslave Americans with loans and debts with interest and that Kennedy wanted to start a banking system of interest free money so the Federal Reserve had him killed. Someone posts that Lee Harvey Oswald was a double agent for both Russia and the United States and that the Communist scare was nothing but hype. Page Four: Someone again makes mention at how the driver was the one who sealed the deal as far as shooting and killing Kennedy goes and the video evidence was then doctored. Someone mentions hoe Lyndon B. Johnson received a wink from some guy in a corner less than two hour after John F. Kennedy was killed. Someone then add how a wink is a symbolic from something in the occult Page Five: A poster mentions how it could have been the mob because allegedly Kennedys father paid the mob off to make sure he became president. Only for Kennedy to them become president and rally against organized crime. Theres a lot of mention of a speech that Kennedy gave his final speech that supposedly reveals a lot about The United States and how it will be brought to its knees. Talk about the photos and video surrounding the actual event in Texas being doctored. Page Six There is more videos and photos posted to determine whether or not things were edited out and if the driver shot Kennedy. Someone also mentions at how no one will ever really know what happened that day and why. Page Seven: More youtube videos posted and a comment about Bush Sr. possibly being involved. This was the last page of the thread. Second Observation Thread title: The feminization of boys and why men dont get married Location: Conspiracy Forum Actors: Buster an infamous font on the forum who in nearly every thread he creates gets called out for being gay. I dont know the reasoning behind this though so this must be based off his previous activity on the board. Hes also has very radical viewpoints and is known for his strong unbending delivery of his topics. Other posters in the thread

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Artifacts: The feeling that men are indeed being feminized by chemicals in plastics and food

Discourse communities: People asking Buster questions about his sexuality People who agree that the food is poisonous or harmful

Literacy Practices: Posting research materials and video links to build up or add onto personal knowledge

Observation: Page one: Buster starts the thread out with somewhat of a disclaimer, posting his thread in the conspiracy section but claiming that his topic is not a conspiracy in red, bolded, all capped font. THIS IS NOT A CONSPIRACY THEORY!!!! he states and follows that up by telling people to please educate themselves. He then states how women are not the blame for the feminization of men following that up by posting links to videos that contain information of why plastics, waters and hidden chemicals are the reason why men are becoming emasculated and feminized. Under all of that he runs down some facts from the research he conducted. Ill bullet them. Testosterone levels have severely declined in the past thirty years Sperm counts have dropped by fifty percent and millions of men are sterile Thirty million men have impotence and forty percent of men have premature ejaculation The average man only lasts two to five minutes during intercourse

Men today deal with: Low testosterone Low libido Prostate cancer Enlarged prostate Male breast cancer Gynecomastia or man boobs Testicular cancer

All the things listed are what Buster and his sources claim to be a result of the hundreds of estrogenic, anti-testosterone chemicals that are found in the bodies of all men according to the CDC. Buster closes up his original post by posting two videos and a book link that expounds upon his subject. Links:

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNmw7nKca3c http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9IWUx83B3A Directly following his original post, Buster warns people to save their sons and daughters. He suggests that the other posters go to a man named Chris Duncans blog where he discusses the explosion of lesbianism. He then reiterates how hes not faulting the victims but pointing out how the food industry is poisoning the populace. One poster posts a yawning emoticon. Another poster follows that up but agreeing with Buster citing young girls early development and men looking more feminine as a result of eating too much estrogen pumped chickens. Chicken breasts are as big as my breasts she states. Another poster gets personal saying how she thought Buster was gay based off his previous postings on the site and also asks if any of his sources suggest any solutions to the problem. HeKate follows that by saying she believes it rhetorically asking have you seen most young men? Yuck NNorthsMama gets personal again asking Buster if hes gay or not and posting a death emoticon (means she dying from laughter). Chamberice thinks it may be a generational thing stating that old people kill him with their expectations of what this generation of kids should be like. Kano1987 thinks it may be the chicken wings. Boris Johnson can also see where Buster is coming from citing how puberty starts a lot earlier these days as result of the air we breathe and what we eat and drink. Sunnie D then gets personal again stating how Buster isnt looking out for anybody and is actually attracted to masculine males. Someone states how they already heard about how chemicals in plastic cause homosexuality. Hernanday doesnt think this subject is the reason men arent getting married. He cites women dressing poorly and acting loud and arrogant as why. He says that you can get married and your girl can still cheat on you so ultimately you lose more than you gain by getting married. Marriage just makes it easier for a woman to rip a man off he thinks. Siren states how Busters delivery of the subject is too much but that he is onto something. She says how chemicals are connected to problems with puberty and GMO products are connected to issues of infertility. Siren also says that men not getting married has nothing to do with this topic and is more of a social issue. Page two: Buster ignores all the posters in the thread that questioned his sexuality. Instead he posts more research to back up his claims. This post mainly focuses on bispehnol A. Bispehnol A is an ingredient in polycarbonate plastics used in refillable water containers, baby bottles and the lining inside of food cans. Billions of pounds of bispenol A are consumed annually. Researchers have been studying the effects of bisphenol A for more than a decade now. According to Vom Saals research exposure to low doses of bisphenol A activates genetic mechanisms that promote fat-cell activity. After this thread Buster closes the thread by saying there is no hope for people who refuse to read in response to Nadine Burke and Prince Eros graffiti postings. Here they are:

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Third Observation Thread title: Princess Diana Conspiracy Location: Conspiracy Forum Actors: Prince Charles Prince of Wales. Dianas ex-husband. Son of Queen Elizabeth II Princess Diana Former wife of Prince Charles who died in a car accident Posters in the thread

Artifacts: The Queen was not fond of Diana Prince Charles had numerous affairs outside of Camilla while with Princess Diana Dianas growing popularity The Queen was not fond of Diana How long Dianas medical response took

Discourse Communities: People who dont believe it was an accident People who do believe it was an accident People discussing Prince Charles affairs

Literacy Practices: People asking questions about the people who surrounded Princess Diana on a daily basis and their possible motives for having her offed.

Observation: Page One: Bellis Sima starts the thread by stating that the conspiracy theories surrounding her death have not been put to rest. She says was it the royal families who killed her or did she really just get into an accident? A lot of talk about Princess Diana was possibly pregnant by a Muslim black man. One poster mention how Princess Diana and Fergie were the worst things to happen to the Monarchy because they could not be controlled and the Royal Family is all about control. A poster makes mention of how Dianas death made way for Charles to be able to marry Camilla. Kenyata1961 suggests because Princess Dianas image was outgrowing that of the royal family, and that she was finding her voice and place in society speaking out against things that maybe some people didnt like. Page Two: More talks of Prince Charles having an affair with Camilla behind Princess Dianas back. Some posters insinuating that Diana was used to produce heirs and to be something like a trophy wife. Someone suggests how she was sacrificed to the people in power and how her leaving Prince
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Charles taking all the Royal Families secrets with her could not be looked past. The Royal Family had not anticipated for her to become as popular as she did so when she left Charles if she spoke out the public would surely listen so she was seen as a threat. On the first page someone stated that it was an unfortunate accident on this page a poster responded by asking why it took so long for the ambulance to get her to a hospital and how she was alive at the accident scene. Someone mentions how the Queen didnt like Diana too much. Someone mentioned how they heard in a documentary about the incident how it took the ambulance 30 minutes to leave the crash site. Page Three: The Clintons and more specifically Bill possibly knew about what was going to go down ahead of time. Page Four: A poster mentions how there could have been more women that just Camilla. Nothing happens after this but petty arguing.

The Interview: Dr. FunkenTroll Question: Are there any conspiracy theories that you find to be credible? If so tell me about them and if not explain why. Answer: No. Conspiracy Theorists consistently fail to form a comprehensive hypothesis for their views. Instead of combining together all of the many factors that may be involved in a particular issue and using that to reach a conclusion they point out single anomalies they don't understand, then challenge others to prove them wrong (reverse burden of proof). Question: What is it about most of the conspiracies/conspiracy theories that make them lose credibility to you? Answer: They lose credibility because they lack the ability to present a comprehensive, evidence-based hypothesis. Question: Do you think that conspiracy theories are synonymous with alternative thinking? Why or why not. Answer: No, although proponents will disagree. Inability to think rationally is more accurate (see first email). First email and response to the set of questions: For years I didn't get conspiracy theorists (CT's). They would get all shouty and loud with their lists of cherry-picked anomalies culled from Youtube video's which they cite as if they were scientific journals. Then they challenge skeptics such as myself to prove them wrong, which I would do with detailed, rational, evidence-based rebuttals. My hard work and concern for detail

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would then be rewarded either with name calling, goal-post moving, sudden changes of subject, or (more often) complete silence as they ran away to hide. This is not normal behavior. Some of my colleagues would take the easy way out and dismiss them as mad tin-foil hat wearing nutters, crackpots and/or zealots but I never found this very satisfying or particularly useful. Then I had a revelation. I have a theory, just my personal opinion valued at precisely $0.02. The problem is not that byand-large conspiracy theorists are crazy, obsessed tinfoil hat wearing buffoons (no doubt a few of them are). The problem is a deficiency of thinking skill called "divergent thinking". People fall broadly into two groups - those who can assemble and process reasoned arguments convergent thinkers - and those who generally cannot reason for themselves, nor understand reasoning when presented by others - divergent thinkers. Put with brutal bluntness divergent thinkers cannot think rationally whilst convergent thinking is, by definition, rational. People become CT's because they cannot think rationally. Question: What do you think about people who are heavily invested in the idea that theres a New World Order taking/getting ready to take place? Question: Why do you think so many people take conspiracy theories in as truth? He again directs me to something else hes written on the subject for my last two questions. Here it is: There are many things that motivate conspiracy theorists. Some are indeed nuts. Some are just anti-social. Others are excessively anti-authority enough to deny anything and everything society or authority holds as true. Others are blinded by their personal social and/or political biases and simply are willing to swallow whatever fits into their ideology. Then there are some who are simply trolls who will respond to anything rational with CT talk just to get under peoples skin and create a reaction for the sake of creating a reaction. Further I'd guess that some can't emotionally cope with the idea that the world can be so random and chaotic. They find it more emotionally appealing to believe there are "bad guys" in control than to accept that the world is wild and weird. The idea that NOBODY is in control is just too terrifying. This is much like a religious person. There was a Vanity Fair article called "Welcome to the Conspiracy" and Rich Cohen said that CTism was an "oddly self-comforting worldview" because "nothing is accidental, everything can be explained, and someone is always in control." There is some perverse measure of comfort in having a designated enemy. Conspiracism, as I see it, is predicated largely on identifying some Powers That Be as the root of all evil. There is a parallel in some religions that identify a Devil.