"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 30 April 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Fringe Groupies


[50 Greatest Conspiracies Of All Time]

The devil made them do it.


[Playboy Boycott Page]

The deeply held belief that

Procter and Gamble is a

money-laundering front for Evil,

Inc. is an urban legend of

enough strength that not to hear

it mentioned in connection with

P&G's recent webvertising

subversion seems strange.

Stranger still considering the

unholy relationship of

conspiracy theory to the Web,

whose ability to nourish puny

postulations into volatile (if

vaporous) worldviews is almost



[Art Bell]

That no one bothered to make the

connection between P&G's

announcement that they wish to

destroy the Web by only paying

for clicks on ad banners (at

standard impression rates) and

their frequently alleged, if

patently untrue, dark secret

might indicate to some that the

lunatic fringe has been trimmed.

But the taciturnity of the

Ultrafundamentalists doesn't

necessarily signify the failure

of contemporary conspiracy

theory. Rather, it seems more

likely that the conspiracists

themselves have been caught,

like all modern mainstream

politicos, in a conspiracy of

ineptitude. And as surely as

Playboy supports the radical

feminist agenda, this stratagem

has found its pulpit on the Web.


[Letter from Mrs. Alice May Williams]

Of course, in the contest for the

leader of the kook brigade there

are many contenders. There are

the endearing members of the

Mind Control Forum (a

prophylactic institution, not an

instructional one - sorry).

William Sherman, of the MCF, is

caught in a hell equal parts

Dante, Nancy Reagan, and Love

Boat, as his dreams are

interrupted by (among others)

Kathie Lee Gifford, Jerry

Seinfeld, and Al Yankovic doing

anti-drug spots. Then again,

when he reports of an emergency

room as "a literal madhouse

which included someone farting

loudly, repeatedly, and directly

at me," it's easy to be jarred

by the grace with which he

encapsulates the fundamental

concept behind all broadcast




To their credit, members of Lip

Balm Anonymous take full

responsibility for their

not-dissimilar predicament.

Well, almost full. Through dry

lips this Web-based chapped-ter

whispers of an elaborate

"Chapstick Conspiracy" centered

around addictive "free samples,"

and opens the nagging question

of whether or not "lip balms

serve as a 'gateway' to hard

drugs for these stars?"


[Alien Autopsy FAQ]

Interested in stars of a

different sort is right-wing

talk show host Art Bell, whose

page, along with the usual

minimum-wage-increase harangue

and family-values spiel, warns

that the apocalypse will be

heralded by "Weather: More

Occurances." Not to mention

"Comets, comets and more

comets." (Faith Popcorn he

ain't.) He predicts as well the

effects of "Numerous challenges

to the status-quo, like

buildings on the moon." And you

though Pat Buchanan was vocal

about illegal aliens.


[Lip Balm Anonymous]

But in keeping with Art's

rightist mentality, let's not

forget to give the victims their

fair share of the blame in this

scheme. Gullibility exists on

both sides of the screen -

because the real danger of these

plots is not in their scope or

ingenuity, or in their obviously

leaden thinking, but in the

possibility that someone might

take them seriously. This danger

was obviously on the mind of at

least one conspiracist, who

offered a disclaimer disavowing

responsibility for "any

unexplained scars or scoop

marks, missing time, bright

colored lights in the sky, or

the sudden urge to visit Freedom

Ridge, the Brazel Ranch, or Gulf

Breeze." But can we blame him

for the increase in weather

we've been having?


[Kooks Museum]

And if you think the crackpot

parade is crowded, you should

see the grandstand. For every

true believer are a half dozen

hecklers, each making the

near-fatal mistake of confusing

pointed commentary with simply

pointing. Not that we would know

anything about this, but the

numbers speak for themselves:

those who can't do, leech.

Making fun of someone else's

creative effort is far less

trouble than coming up with

something yourself, after all.

And in these troubled times no

taunt cuts quite the old saw:

"Anything you can do, I can do



[The Conspiracy Pages]

Along these lines, The Girl From

Roswell has brought meta to new

heights (or re-purposing to new

lows), in declaring herself "The

Unofficial Fan Site Of The

Roswell Autopsy Footage."

Repeated references to the

film's importance ("whether you

believe it or not") make us

wonder if The Girl From Roswell

is real or not...paid shill or

legitimate fan? And if she is a

paid shill, who signs her

checks? "The people who sell the

Roswell video," you say. But who

signs their checks? "The people who

buy the Roswell video," you say.

And it just makes us wonder, are

we really supposed to believe

that you're that naive?

courtesy of Ann O'Tate