Monday, June 8, 2009

Conspiracy Con 9 - The Live Blog: The Worshipful Master

Dateline: Santa Clara, CA
June 6, 2009 5:30:22 P.M.
I woke up this morning under a heavy cloud of FFA (free floating anxiety). I take a few deep breaths and remind myself that I'm at home, not Conspiracy Con. Clearly I'm too close to this story.
I rolled into last night's dinner at about nine o'clock, which seems to me a civilized hour, But most people are already working on the desert buffet. Perhaps they have an early curfew on the spaceship. 

My first order of business was a drink – my third for the day – followed by a scan for an interesting place to sit. I see the guest of honor, George Noory, at a table with the conference producer, Brian Hall. I take a shot, "Is that seat open?" I ask. Bingo.

A young man named Christopher, whose day job is shredding documents for the State of Califonia, pulls out my chair for me and is a delightful dinner companion; a perfect gentleman of the sort that I thought was long extinct. In the raffle I win a copy of "The Broken Code," by Frank LoVe, a book that should be Exhibit A in any discussion of why editors are important: "This book is a bold and bazaar story....No Pope, No Saint, So Science, No Senitor, No Clery, No Ayatollah is spaired the all seeing eye of God."

I don't get an opening to talk to Noory. His eyes scan the crowd like he's looking for someone. He fidgets, glances at his watch, and speaks quietly to the man next to him, his producer. His body language says he'd rather be somewhere else. He talks to the audio-visual crew about the lighting. "Lower," "Light enough to see," he says, "but intimate."

Finally it's time for the Noory, the pro who deftly walks the crazy line without actually seeming actually crazy himself.

He begins where all conversion narratives do, the moment of insight. 

"When John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated, I was 13 years old," he begins. "It was a few more years before I started to understand there's something going on here. Then I realized that this was going on long before JFK." 

Now it's my "aha" moment. Everyone I've talked to at Conspiracy Con starts their stories at exactly the same point:"When Kennedy was assassinated…"

A picture comes into focus: Baby Boomers and their world.

Children in the time of the McCarthy witch hunts and nuclear attack drills.  P.S. 107, the elementary school I had the misfortune to attend, stressed the immanent perils of communists lurking in Little League dugouts and atomic bombs screaming through the stratosphere directly on target for 13th St. and 8th Ave. in Brooklyn. Teenagers during the Viet Nam war, learned that the CIA had overthrown governments and engineered coup d'etats, and that the federal government did indeed lie – about the Gulf of Tonkin and plenty of other things. Young adults in the time of Watergate, we wrote term papers while watching the unwinding  -- under Sen. Sam Ervin's beetle eyebrows -- of criminal conspiracies at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

I tune back in to Noory. "Where there's smoke, there's fire," he says, dropping his voice on 'fire." Immediately, he makes an about face, dropping that ball of yarn and finishing on an up note. "We're all in this together. We need to keep hope in us. I hope Obama is successful. When you get negative, then they have you. This is our country and our planet. And nobody is going to take it away from us."
No indeed, I think, and head for the exit. Next: Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound.

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