sepoy notes: At long last, I have cajoled our friend farangi back to CM. Be thankful. This is his first post on Da DaVinci Code. If you haven’t read his Religion in America series, do yourself a favor.
When a cryptographer and a symbologist get together, it usually ends in tears. ‚Äî A. O. Scott, NYT, 05.18.2006.
I. All the world‚Äôs Dr. Strangelove‚Äôs situation room, and we are merely
Chapati Mystery‚Äôs readers fall into various categories. Among our audience we count a goodly number of professional academics and scholars, who really should be getting back to work on that article, right now‚Ä¶I‚Äôm not kidding‚Ä¶you‚Äôve wasted enough time, haven‚Äôt y0u? We have a few homeboy-haters in the crowd, who come to harrumph at Sepoy‚Äôs progressive values and consider his unruly coif a betrayal of Islam. We cannot forget the spooks and troops and NSA folk who haunt these pages (hi there!), and comprise a third of our unique IP address hits.
And finally, to my extreme pleasure, are the reality-challenged malcontents who mistake possibility for probability and ruin the party for grown-ups trying to engage in serious conversation. And I say that out of love, because, to a lesser degree, I‚Äôm one of them.
Sepoy and I have a long history of disagreement over the concept that drives such people‚Äîthat of the capital-C conspiracy. I am not a proper historian, so my days are not filled with crackpots trying to explain, earnestly, that Venusians built Mohenjo Daro using Orgone energy. I feel Sepoy‚Äôs pain‚Äîwere I him, I would be inclined to dismiss speculation about concerted malfeasance in high places as well. It rings of darkness, of the Elders of Zion, of poisoned wells, of witches in woods.
I am more tolerant of the conspiracy theorists‚Äô basic cynical viewpoint. I encourage it, because though conspiracy theorizing is to critical thinking as cancer is to a normal, happy cell, CT‚Äôs at least show some inclination to ask basic questions about why things are the way they are. They tend to lack the ability to wield Occam‚Äôs Norelco. They illogically assume, at once, evil omnicompetence and bumbled overreaching on the part of the powerful and rich. They believe humans can keep secrets, or at least tamp juicy information. They look to fantastic, romantic causes for horrible effects.
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