January 21, 2016
My approach to the JFK assassination is that it was “an operation”. When I’m feeling down to earth, I refer to myself as an “operations researcher.” When I’m making progress, I might upgrade to “investigator.”If I was looking for employment, I would go with “analyst.”
David Talbot refers to people like us as “people’s historians”. That’s good too.
When discussing the events of November 22, 1963, I ted to use terms like “Joint action”, “concerted action”, or “acted in concert.” Don’t forget the simple word “plan.”
I don’t often use the word “conspiracy.” I think that when talking about the JFK case or similar events, the c-word is counterproductive and marginalizing. Why describe those of us that challenge the lone gunman story as “conspiracy theorists”? Or, in reductive bumper sticker terms: CTs?
Those who study the case are “historians”, “researchers” or “students”. All perfectly good words, unlike “CT,” “LN,” or “theorist,” Theory of what?
‘JFK buff’ is an insult
The term “buff” is — how do i say this politely? –repellent. A buff is a hobbyist. What we’re doing has great value, but it would be a pretty sick hobby. Remember how John Kerry did some good work on the contra-cocaine story? Newsweek labeled him a “randy conspiracy buff”, invoking the trifecta of nudity, sex, and high adventure. No thanks.
I refer to myself as an “operations researcher.” When I’m making progress, I might upgrade to “investigator.”I
“Lone nut” is also in poor taste, often used in the context of the “LN crowd”. The terms “Lone wolf” or “single gunman” are respectful ways to refer to one’s adversaries in a case like this.
The people fighting AIDS had to deal with “victim”, “sick”, and similar metaphors. Those in danger of infection were not “shooters” or “junkies” but “injection drug users”, or IDUs. The challengers of the anti-immigrant forces have spent many years using the phrase “undocumented worker” rather than “illegal alien”. Words matter.
The romance of conspiracy
I believe that many of us use the phrase “conspiracy theorist” because it seems practical, romantic, or titillating.
The last two reasons are bad ones. Real bad. Two of the many reasons the word has been marginalized.
Those who study the case are “historians”, “researchers” or “students”. All perfectly good words, unlike “theorist”. Theory of what?
If we want to not be seen by anyone as “on the margins”, there is a simple fix. Admit that the phrase has been abused by our adversaries and the mass media. It is now used as a red flag. The design is to put the target in a box. It can no longer be used by us in a practical sense.
I think the romantic and titillating aspects of the word “conspiracy” are enticing. “They killed the President! We have to call it what it is – conspiracy!” It’s fun to be wrapped up in a world of high adventure, fighting the forces of Mordor with the energies of truth and light.
I understand it — I like romantic stuff and have a rebel nature. But, I have to admit, it makes me blue. We’re in the midst of an important conflict about how history will be written. We need to share good stories, not needless drama. I’d rather win.