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Life Arts    H4'ed 11/1/20

I'm Really Sorry Redux

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From Behind the Curtain

Dried fruit
Dried fruit
(Image by Harold Litwiler, Poppy)
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In the co-op market I was standing over the bulk bins, trying to decide what dried fruit to buy. They all looked good. It was a tough choice---

A few years ago, after reading a brillig academic article about how those who believe in conspiracy theories might be inclined toward unethical actions and petty crimes, my conscience got the best of me and I made a public confession. I had been accused of being a conspiratorial thinker, and I knew I had once committed an unethical act, one that might be called a petty crime. The article made me feel guilty and I felt a strong need to admit my transgression, which I did. It felt so good to come clean in public. Oprah would have been proud of me.

In recent days, however, I have seen many mainstream corporate media articles, not just academic studies, warning about deluded people who believe in conspiracy theories and how their erroneous beliefs are messing up the upcoming election and the authorities' responses to Covid-19 and a lot of other important stuff like the Lockdown. That old devil guilt has revisited me. I don't want to mess anything up for the authorities.

Let me, however, be clear at the outset what I mean by my conspiracy theories.

They are different from the conspiracy theories of George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Joseph Biden, Donald Trump, the World Health Organization people, and other such luminaries, concerning events such as the attack of September 11, 2001, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the ongoing war on terror, the prosecution of Julian Assange, Russian-gate, the need for dramatically increased censorship, the Lockdown, the Great Reset, etc. These people's conspiracy theories have nothing to do with petty crime, for their handiwork is grand indeed. They are big people, and very smart. In any case, I don't know what small stuff they might be up to when not killing so many people all around the world.

I remember how that academic article that I had read was "backed up by science," which was very reassuring, and that it wasn't referring to big people like the aforementioned. The distinguished authors, who were from illustrious universities, meant little people like me, who have concluded that the U.S. national security state conspired to kill President Kennedy, to take one nutty example, and are inclined to take to the dark side and pilfer M&Ms from candy counters and stuff like that. We are very gullible and prone to pettiness and mass delusions was the authors' point because the internet has scrambled our brains.

They were saying we tend to believe weird sh*t like there's a government spy program that involves electronic squirrels that climb trees and take pictures of you inside your house. That Building 7 at the World Trade Center was brought down by controlled demolition. Or the really wacked-out thought that all conspiracies take place behind our backs since they can't take place in front of our backs since our backs are back and not front. Or that Sirhan Sirhan did not assassinate Senator Robert Kennedy. That Donald Trump is actually Liberace's illegitimate son and Queen Elizabeth his mother. Or that the war on terror was a preplanned government plot devised to justify the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, among other countries. Crazy stuff like there's a government plot to place signs near low doorways warning "Watch Your Head," so people will literally try to do that and smash their clueless brains to smithereens and die as part of a population control program.

As we know, all these nutty conspiracy beliefs are of equal value and validity, and to even harbor the thought that the CIA's 1967 secret Dispatch - Doc 1035-960, showing their employees and media accomplices how to counter and discredit the claims of conspiracy theorists - might be involved in all these articles I've been reading is to risk further accusations of being wacked-out and in need of examining one's proclivity toward everyday crimes. So I won't go there. I'm feeling guilty enough.

So bless me, folks, for I have sinned. For the second time in the past few years I have stolen and eaten the forbidden fruit. Let me confess.

Last week, I again found myself in my local co-op grocery market. You might wonder where I had been looking for myself when I found myself there, staring into bins of dried fruit, but let's just say I had been around. When you're lost and wacked-out, you never know where you are or why you believe what you believe, and so you can find yourself in strange places. Years ago my good friend went to California to find himself, and when he returned he said he found himself in a mirror and was really his step-brother's illegitimate uncle. He and my other friends used to always tell me that I tended to do everything ass backwards, even think ass-backwards, and when I said, "Of course, I do, so do you. What's wrong with that?" they looked at me as if I had flipped. When I asked them if they could do things ass forward, our friendships ended. I found myself alone.

In the co-op market I was standing over the bulk bins, trying to decide what dried fruit to buy. They all looked good. It was a tough choice, sort of like staring at forty different tubes of toothpaste on the store shelf and wondering which to buy or if the one advertised for women would work for a man since men must have different teeth. The comparison is not exactly apt, I guess, for you can't test the toothpastes, but the fruit looked so delicious. So, when no one was looking, I first tried the mangoes, then the apricots, and finally the figs. I thought I saw the store manager see me when I took the figs because I was so enjoying the fruits of my crime that I let my guard down and was facing in his direction with my mask off. This was really stupid of me, since the same thing happened the last time and I was paranoid afterward. I know, I know - when you keep repeating something that doesn't work, they say that's insane. But I remembered when I couldn't afford such expensive fruit and went to orgies just to eat the grapes. Even then I thought people were watching me.

When I was leaving the store, my heart was pounding. I kept glancing over my shoulder. I decided to replace the orange day-glow mask I had used in the store with another I carried. Flesh colored - to blend in. An old lady on a walker seemed to be following me, but I ditched her by circling the block two-and-a-half times, my lucky number. As I was close to home, I thought of my narrow escape and the brilliance of the study that connected my conspiratorial thinking to my criminal activity with the fruit.

I also couldn't help thinking how the figs had reminded me of my latest conspiracy theory, but one supported by sources as confidential and reliable as those referenced by The New York Times or The Washington Post. In addition, like those devotees of truth and confidentiality, I will never reveal my sources. They can torture me and I won't.

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Edward Curtin is a widely published author. His new book is Seeking Truth in A Country of Lies - His website is

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