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None Dare Call It Bullshit:

Conspiracies as the All-Natural Supernatural

The Agony Column for Monday, August 26, 2002

Commentary by Rick Kleffel



The evidence that it's all a conspiracy was delivered to my doorstep yesterday. We're talking the Bilderberg, the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations. This is heady stuff. It's actually kind of scary to know that I was targeted with this knowledge. Somebody thinks I want to know about this, somebody thinks I want to know names.


This was delivered to my front porch last week. The names have been blurred to protect the guilty, also so that you can't see *my* name on there!

My house is set back from the street. All you can see is the garage door. I have a long white porch. At one end is the front door and at the other a garden walkway that leads to the driveway. What I'm trying to convey is that it takes a significant effort to get something even on to my porch. Yesterday -- and it's only as I type this that I remember the date, 08/22/02, and how I was worried about the symmetries, in public, in my previous column -- I walked out on my porch at about 11 AM (is there something in the time as well? I don't know I didn't check the precise time!). There, perched on the end of the porch was a lovely looking blue paperback book. Now, it's not usual for books to show up on my front porch. Readers are probably aware that I do a fair amount of book buying from mail-order vendors. But the books I order from my roster of vendors don't show up unwrapped. And with a large piece of paper inserted in the middle. I picked up the bundle, and got that snake-bit feeling. The book, a beautifully, professionally published paperback was titled 'None Dare Call It Education'.

This little book brought back memories of my youth lounging in the John Birch Society storefront and wondering what it was all about.

Back in the late 1960's and early 1970's, the smallish southern California suburb I lived in still managed to sport a small 'Main Street', albeit one that was fairly close to the San Bernardino Freeway. Just off the main street, there was a store that had a hugely high ceiling and lots of windows. But the inside itself was rather barren -- just three or four tables, none of which ever managed to be covered by the books and pamphlets on them. The "store" belonged to the John Birch Society, and one of the books on those tables was 'None Dare Call It Treason', an early call to arms for the extreme right wing of United States Politics. The other item prominently featured was the unforgettable 'Get us OUT of the United Nations' bumper sticker. The one time I actually ventured in, the people who greeted me were creepily friendly. They wanted to help me understand. I never went there again.


The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is exposed in this daring expose.

So, many years later, they came to me. Holding the package, I felt snakebit. I looked to the street, but could see no one, hear nothing. The neighborhood was quiet, as if the clouds overhead were damping all sound. I took the book and paper inside to see what exactly I had.

A quick search on the Internet located 'None Dare Call It Education'. It's a $21.95 hardcover book that had been dropped on my porch in a paperback format that would probably steal $6.99 from somebody who wanted to pay for it. Free. On my porch. Somebody is trying to send me a message. Comments in the online bookseller database for the book range from 'Religious twaddle' to 'Extremely well-documented book!' My inclination is to side with the former evaluation, especially on the evidence stuffed inside the book -- a huge foldout chart which, while folded shows only one part of its title:

Dominance of the U.S.A

Under Red headings of 'College & University Presidents', 'The World Bank', etc, are listed names with up to three abbreviations showing who belonged to the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg, or the Council on Foreign Relations. Unfolded, it measured 17" by 22"; the front 'documented' CFR, Trilateral, Bilderberg Dominance of the U.S.A'; the back "$$THE BIGGEST GAME IN TOWN$$", 'The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Exposed' by Walter J. Burien, Jr. A quick search for the author on Google is as far as I can make myself, and virtually every link is to his article about the CAFR. The Web was made for conspiracies.


Please note that I have scanned only the portions of the document which do not mention my family's name.

I know a little bit about printing -- at least how much it would cost to print up that poster. Well not exactly, only that it wouldn't be cheap. And yes, while the book wouldn't cost a distributor seven bucks a pop, it would certainly cost one or two. Imagine -- leaving five dollar bills on the porch of every house in your neighborhood.

But maybe it's just selected houses. Maybe I was targeted.

There had, a couple of weeks ago been a drop-off of some mind-bogglingly offensive hate literature. It had even made the 'Mid County Crime Blotter'. This seemed like a follow up. I begin to wonder if they're after me. Then, having done the net search and knowing, as do most Netizens about the Evil Overlord status of the Trilateral Commission, I start to wonder if there's anything to this CAFR stuff.

I've just fallen own the rabbit hole.

What really happened was that, as it happens, I live in a place where inspiration is delivered to my doorstep.

Robert Anton Wilson is the undisputed king of conspiracy fiction. He' also a card-carrying member of the Illuminati.

That's because there's a wealth of conspiracy-oriented science fiction and horror to remind me of the boundaries, blurred as they are, between reality and fiction. In fact, there's probably too much. Robert Anton Wilson pretty much has the field cornered, and has deliberately blurred the lines of fact and fiction. But conspiracy lends itself to "thriller" fiction, because writers can pick up on a plot that's already familiar to readers. A few net searches and you've got about 50 pages of expository material that can be blown into the standard three hundred pages of "page turning thriller".

The conspiracies spun by writers of fiction and fact serve the same emotional needs that create gods and monsters.

There's a subtler reason that conspiracy fiction has so much appeal. In its attempts to excavate forms that are hidden behind the "real world", it offers a "realistic" alternative to the supernatural. The writer can offer all the terror, all the imminent danger of the supernatural, all the hidden forces of gods and monsters, but do so using ordinary men as the vehicle. Human conspiracies can be used to achieve the same ominous effect that supernatural menaces often generate. Because it is an 'all natural' form of the supernatural, the good conspiracy novel can back up the nebulous terror with a dose of "reality" that makes it even scarier.

'The Straw Men' offers a Unified Field Theory for Serial Killers. Don't read it if you have insomnia.

At least in theory. Not many writers can actually pull it off successfully. The most recent to try is Michael Marshall Smith, whose 'The Straw Men' offers nothing less than a "Unified Field Theory of Serial Killers". It's a chilling idea, and Smith comes perilously close (for the reader's ability to sleep) to a success. The novel begins with three apparently disconnected events; a mass killing in a McDonalds in Pennsylvania, the kidnapping of a teenage girl in Santa Monica, and the one-car accident death of a couple in rural Montana. Smith splits the narrative between the first person pursuit of Ward Hopkins, investigating his parents' deaths and the third person pursuit of 'The Upright Man', a serial killer by burnt-out LAPD officer (is there any other kind?) John Zandt and FBI agent Nina Baynam.

Where 'The Straw Men' succeeds, it creates a feeling over overpowering paranoia, especially in light of the recent attention that the media has shed upon any child-kidnapping in the nation. Smith depicts a positively Lovecraftian set of circumstances and people and actions that could account for all those people who go missing in any given year. Some of the punch lines for this reign of terror are truly gut-wrenching.

On the other hand, Smith finds himself cornered into some scenes of gunplay that though well-done, are far too familiar for anyone who goes to the movies. There are also some niggly details got past the editor's filter. Still, this is not a novel recommended for the nervous. Smith, who is well known for his surreal, horrific science fiction, carries the feel of that fiction nearly seamlessly into typical thriller territory. The result is a real-world thriller that reaches some of the heights of the best supernatural horror, by substituting a conspiracy amongst humans for the clutches of the supernatural.

This limited edition of F. Paul Wilson's 'Conspiracies' was given a small print run to prevent the wrong people from getting too much information.

F. Paul Wilson has worked many of the same territories as Michael Marshall Smith, and his novel 'Conspiracies' has a very similar paranoid feel. Wilson's durable hero Repairman Jack, a sort of 'Equalizer' created in the 1980's in 'The Tomb', is still around for the new millennium, and more relevant than ever. 'Conspiracies' starts out on the humorous side, when Repairman Jack is asked to find a missing wife. The trouble is, the wife is a conspiracy theorist who was on the verge of a breakthrough, a Grand Unification Theory of Conspiracies. Jack attends the convention at which she was supposed to present her papers as a UFO contactee. But events rapidly take a supernatural turn, and Jack finds himself matched against a familiar foe with a new face.

In 'Conspiracies', Wilson undercuts the usual conspiracy theories with his supernatural spin. It's an interesting turn of events, and Wilson writes a page-turning thriller with a good dose of humor. Ultimately, it lacks the power that Smith attempts to tap, but that doesn't stop Wilson from giving the reader a great tour of the world's nuttiest conspiracy theories along with a couple of excellent monsters.

Jim Keith is a scary guy wrote wrote a scary book.

Reader's who want to the real deal, who want to stare into the abyss and have it stare back at them need go no further than Jim Keith's 'Black Helicopters Over America'. Here's a non-fiction work that's every bit as scary as any horror or thriller novel. If you buy into Keith's theories about underground concentration camps and the New World Order, as the author of 'None Dare Call It Education' probably does, then we're in a world of hurt and we don't have a clue. If you read this stuff and think it's completely nuts, then you find yourself face-to-face with an authorial voice that's every bit as frightening as the terrors it wants to warn the reader of. Keith is no great turner-of-the-phrase; he's not a particularly believable researcher either. But he's blindingly convinced of his thesis, and he's out to see everyone else get just as blind. This book is the proverbial sharp stick in your eye.

Someone, somewhere knows that I ordered 'Black Helicopters Over America'. Could they have dumped that information to the people who dropped $8 worth of conspiracy literature on my front porch? It sounds paranoid, I know. But why else would I be targeted for this delivery. Yes, there were those deliveries of true hate literature in our neighborhood; maybe everybody just got this as the follow-up. But I'm a bit hesitant to ask the neighbors. Maybe they're in on it -- maybe they ordered the material for me. If so, I can probably find out. There are lots of resources for this kind of thing on the web, in particular

And it's all true. requires Flash 5 to run on your computer. Once it is running, they control the vertical, horizontal and your email accounts.

None -- none dare call it bullshit.




Rick Kleffel