I have been challenged to write about something less dire and depressing than my usual fare. I understand the request from a mostly loyal reader. My focus is terribly bleak and my outlook even worse. My quest seems to be to dig deeper and deeper into the mire of hatred and human failure and expose the secrets we invent to justify the misery we blame on everyone other than ourselves. Yeah, regular readers have heard this all before in one way or another, covering just about every subject both past and present, as well has my vague prophecies for a future that might literally not exist. Yes, I want to write about something more hopeful, about certain aspects of beauty that can often overwhelm us and put our dark thoughts into a brighter place (the lovely photo of the field of poppies above is meant as a joke for the one person who made the request,and it is very specific to our dialogue. I hope tomorrow to give you a rather dense history of the use of the poppy throughout time, superficially expressing hope before sinking into the horror of drug cartels). But I can’t quite muster it, at least not today. No, one of my primary subjects has drastically arisen again and I feel the need to comment.
I have been a collector of conspiracy theories since I was in high school, more than thirty years ago. These alternative stories on “the way things actually are,” provide an interesting backdrop to the so-called “official versions” that drone through textbooks and the meekest sort of fact collection history. Of course most conspiracy theories are silly, the deranged ranting of someone both so angry and so out-of-touch with reality that they can only find comfort in the supernatural, or in visions of totalitarian evil so well organized and intense (often since the dawn of time) that it is a wonder that this brave individual has managed to peek into the veil clouding our assumptions. Or . . . or are they merely just another agent, spreading misinformation in order to throw the rest of us off the trail of the truth?
There are, inevitably, some real conspiracies, some hazed in the darkest shadows of nightmare, the questions unanswerable and an industry of possibilities sprouting up around such never-ending mysteries. The JFK assassination comes to mind, certainly a sketchy event with an improbable solution offered, something either being covered-up or simply lost in the panicked confusion over the death of a controversial President. Certainly there were people pleased with this murder, and of course there are those who responded with increasingly exaggerated assertions about their political opposites, pointing fingers and blaming without anything beyond questions to back up their beliefs.
And yet the JFK assassination is no longer a historical constant (like 9/11 to our subsequent generation, although that is a story I do not wish to get into today, with other priorities on the narrative. To say nothing else I only wish to ask a question: for those “Truthers,” people who consider George W. Bush to be among the most profoundly stupid and incompetent leaders in United States history, how did he mastermind this attack if he couldn’t even understand the working natures of those who supposedly benefitted?). The JFK assassination has grown into a massive cottage industry, theories proliferating from every side of the spectrum. It has generally been accepted today that more than just Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for the crime (and to those who claim Oswald was not involved at all–come on! Of course he was one of the shooters! There are few people in recent US history with a more questionable background than this low-level conspirator). And yet should you trove a section on theories of who is responsible you will find a collection that crawl across the political spectrum and beyond. Here are just a handful of examples (and by handful I minor a very tiny selection):
You might recognize a few names of the authors–notably Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone, who have roles in the Russia/Trump conspiracy. More on this later, not so much on the Russia thing, but on the fact that serious conspiracy theorists revolve around the President of the United States in the present tense.
There are compendiums offering a variety of theories collected, confusing the matter further. These books are more “popular history” tomes of their specific genre:
Each of these has a different conclusion.
Other theories focus on single individuals and how their stories expose the hidden truth:
And of course there are the conspiracy debunkers, those who themselves become a part of the plot, presumed “disinformation agents” who promote a lie to deceive the public. These range from suddenly questionable government officials to partisan hacks pompously trying to clear up the mystery. Sometimes they even refuse to doubt the government, no matter how questionable the assertions:
Some attempt to strip the culture of the mythic element and try to prove or disprove reality with a handful of numb debates:
or scientific evidence:
And, of course, there are the raving lunatics attempting to tie everything bad that has ever happened together into one grand conspiracy:
And so the purported “truth” of conspiratorial thinking ultimately complicates the matter, creating even more division in the culture as the very essence of reality gets subsumed under cynicism, paranoid rants and a complete lack of trust in what appears before our eyes. In fact, should the “actual truth” ever be exposed, with all the ideas that have overwhelmed the discussion, it would be written off as “just another theory.”
Which brings me to Jeffrey Epstein. A pedophile, a hideous scumbag whose wealth enabled him to get to know a great many powerful people, his suicide in a prison cell after the final capture for his crimes has exploded into a spiraling mythology that, on the most part, makes no sense at all. Sure, there are suggestions and considerations about what may have happened simply on the basis of who the man knew: the current President, a former President, multi-millionaires and billionaires of industry and international prominence. The fact that Epstein was involved in such horrible things of course manages to rub off all over his associates, on the most part unfairly.
Do I think that a sleazebag like Bill Clinton was fucking thirteen year olds in Epstein’s home? No. Do I believe he screwed some of-age prostitutes there? Possibly. Donald Trump? Not a pedophile. Certainly a whoremonger. Were either of these two powerful men aware of Epstein’s proclivities? That is a question that should perhaps be explored, but it seems pretty doubtful. For all of the wicked and vindictive cruelty of both men, I do not believe that either Clinton or Trump would tolerate child rape.
And yet the conspiracy theories abound. Clinton, you know, say several of his froth-mouthed opponents, had Vince Foster (another suicide) murdered to cover up some crime, and some claim that Hillary Clinton was running a sex-trafficking factory out of a pizza joint in New York City. And while the second theory is absurd, one side’s paranoid hatred of the Clinton’s give rise to these ideas, plus the fact that we happen to have a history, we humans everywhere in the world, of watching our leaders murder inconvenient people.
Which brings us once again to Jeffrey Epstein. Some think Clinton must have done it, tying it into other conspiracies and deeper ideas, falling into a concentric abyss with no bottom. They even understand the reasons (and have no sympathy for Epstein whatsoever), about what sort of dirt this monster might have to say (whether truthfully or not has never been relevant). Donald Trump, one of the most prominent conspiracy theorists in the history of the world, is ravenously promoting this theory–the Clintons–what did they know? What did Epstein know about them? I have the Justice Department at my beck and call. I am President. I can tell them what to turn up and what to fabricate. This is what conspiracy theorists do, you see. When reality does not fit their perspective, they invent what they believe to be true and pile on until their version of reality gathers a following.
As for Trump’s involvement,
it seems unlikely that the man would even waste his time murdering Epstein; not because there is nothing incriminating, but simply because he has evolved into such an expert at draining the truth of all substance that he has no reason to bother. Of course, one of the chief attributes of a conspiracy theorist is their ability to “get them before they get you” if they actually have the influence to pull this off. Something mysterious becomes very easy to blame on somebody else, further dividing the people.
If we really want to consider the death of Jeffrey Epstein I ask you to take a deep breath for a moment and try to put yourself in the man’s head. This is something a character sketch writer such as me tries very hard to do, even if the mind is as poisoned as creature like this. Okay: you are unbelievably wealthy and have lived a perverted life as you pleased. You could get away with anything. You even went to prison before, although spent a single day a week there, the other six in your magisterial spread in New York, claiming to still be working at your amazingly profitable industry, for some reason not even cut off from the greedy motherfuckers still willing to work with you. You have it made. You finish your time in jail and go right back to it, running underage prostitutes, fucking them as you please, finding other pedophiles, part of the NAMBLA cult, and profiting off of this too. Rich people with children as sex objects no doubt are willing to pay a lot.
Anyway, suddenly your charmed life is over. You know it too. You will never have what you used to love. All of your toys, every fantasy you tried to fulfill . . . gone. You have no future outside of prison. The hatred the whole world now directs towards you–especially in prison, the guards indifferent to your first suicide attempt, the taunts and the fear imposed causing you, ultimately a weakling whose wealthy arrogance sustained you prior to the fall, now overwhelming you. You look at the corners of your cell. You understand that you may never see daylight again. Certainly, since the DA has no sympathy and cannot be bribed this time, you are going to be trapped in a terrible, terrible place, filled with murderers and rapists and drug kingpins and Nazis and every single one of them might one day rape you. You know that someone will rape you and this has never been one of your fantasies.
What would you do? Perhaps not kill yourself, sure. But I understand it. You do too. Quit politicizing everything. Jeffrey Epstein killed himself and the only reason he succeeded is because no one there to keep an eye on him cared whether he lived or died. Do any of you?