FOR those of you who don't know already, the tsunami that hit Japan in March was caused by a space-based earthquake weapon controlled by the CIA.
I learned this from email I received recently from an anonymous gentleman with a fondness for block capitals and a disdain for conventional spelling who claimed that the American government has been behind every major earthquake and weather event of the last decade.
It wasn't clear from his message: a) What the Earth's natural tectonic forces had been up to in the meantime — presumably taking care of the whole spying thing — or b) What he wanted me to do about it, but I have to say that reading his email, I felt a pang of envy.
For the true conspiracist, there are no boring news stories. Wars, oil prices, Kennedy assassinations, all are the work of shadowy organizations. For some, apparently, even weather is the work of the powers that be ("Ten degrees and partially cloudy? What are those maniacs in Langley up to this time?")
One might imagine that these people live lonely lives beset by helpless outrage, but I don't think that's true. I think they're happy as clams.
I know this because I met one.
When I was 16 years old, an otherwise normal-appearing family friend stopped by our house one day to say hello, and to inform us of an interesting piece of news. It turns out Michelangelo had painted the roof of Rome's Sistine Chapel in order to hide the fact that it was in fact made of solid gold. And not just run-of-the-mill solid gold, but manmade solid gold, using a formula developed by alchemists in the Renaissance and kept secret since then.
No one knew this, our friend said in all seriousness, except an elite few in the upper echelons of the Catholic Church and, it seemed, a guy in Comox he had bought a used box liner from that morning.
He wasn't able to explain how artificial gold was made, or why one of the few people in the world who knew the secret of limitless wealth still felt the need to list his box liner in the Buy Sell and Trade, but he believed the story 100 per cent.
My 16-year-old self tried to highlight the logical flaws.
Pope: "OK, so here's the deal: We made this whole roof out of solid, manmade gold, and then suddenly realized that, in addition to the obvious structural issues, it's going to be super hard to keep it secret. Luckily and inexplicably, no one has noticed yet. What we need you to do is paint over it as quickly as possible so it stays that way. Only me, you, a few people in the Vatican, and some guy in Comox can ever know about it."
Michelangelo: "Sure thing. I can have it done in four years, tops."
Pope: "Perfect. Another seamless conspiracy."
Our friend couldn't be swayed. And looking at him bouncing on our doorstep, I kind of wished I could believe too. The knowledge that the entire global financial system hinged on a scam perpetrated by the leader of the Roman Catholic Church was clearly the best news he'd heard in weeks.
Looking back, it makes me want my own conspiracy to believe in. As a journalist, I get plenty of suggestions in my inbox, but I have yet to find one I can really buy into. It's frustrating.
I guess one strong contender is the climate scam. The idea is that all of the world's environmental advocates, the United Nations, the leaders of most countries and the 2,000 or so climate scientists who have spent decades churning out apparently irrefutable evidence to support the theory of global warming are basically all lying.
It's certainly a fun idea, but I get tripped up on the question of motive. What deep-pocketed lobby group is behind this conspiracy? Big Bicycle? The sweater industry? Imagine that first meeting.
Devious climatologist: "Let's make up a giant thing about the earth going to be destroyed in order to force people to ride the bus! Ha ha."
All other climatologists: "Yay!"
Big Double-glazing: "Man, we are going to take the world's people to the cleaners!"
Big Snorkel: "This is our hour!"
Big Oil: "Wait you guys! It's not right to lie. Science should be unbiased!"
Credulous media: "Booo! Lies are the best!"
General public: "Yeah, those climontogonists are right! We should all stop driving. Let's think about it vaguely on the way to work this morning!"
Everyone's cars: "Vroom!"
It just doesn't sound realistic. Are climate scientists that evil? And who invites cars to a meeting?
The moon landing hoax is another personal favourite. I guess in this case I can see the motive — pretending to go to the moon has got to be cheaper than for-real going to the moon — but then the execution makes me wonder. If you're going to make up a story that someone would have to go 300,000 kilometres to double-check, wouldn't you at least make it interesting?
The Americans went all the way to the moon and they were like: "Look, there's some dust. That's not something you see every day."
You’d think if you were trying to put on a show to dazzle and dishearten the Soviet Union, you would be like: "One small step for a man; one giant leap for — holy crap this place is crawling with giant beetles! Buzz, get the death rays! Hey Russia, this is you. Zzzap!"
Abraham Lincoln: "Whoa. What's all the ruckus?'
Neil Armstrong: "Abraham Lincoln! What are you doing here?"
Abraham: "The moon is where famous people go when they die. Hand me one of those death rays. I'll help you with the beetles. Big Foot, give me a hand, here."
Who's going to know, right?
I don't know. I'll work on it.