In his book Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace Gore Vidal suggests that the American public has been conditioned to respond to the word ‘conspiracy’ with a smirk and a chuckle. Conspiracy, in other words, is for the nuts and the loners, and is not to be taken seriously. In this way, he argues, through the media’s association of the concept of conspiracy with fringe or extreme elements, the real conspirators go unnoticed.
It is a vital point, and Vidal courageously chases and exposes genuine conspiracies by politicians, the FBI, lobbyists for the tobacco companies, and so on. But the flip-side of the conspiracy coin is the proliferation of fanciful and fantastic theories that now crisscross the globe in seconds with the help of electronic media.