Missives from never-never land

Over on Violent Metaphors, Colin reported on his adventures on the Conspira Sea cruise, a cruise ship full of people absolutely convinced that vast shadowy evil empires were out to personally get them. Now Jezebel reports on the same cruise. It’s all very entertaining. It sounds like the Jezebel reporter, Anna Merlan, got a more hostile reaction from the cruise participants than did Colin.

I’ll be plunging in again to something just as weird, but not quite as paranoid, this spring. I’ll be attending the Paradigm Symposium in mid-May, right there in Minneapolis, and will post a few summaries here. I don’t expect a hostile reception (well, not too hostile, anyway). These aren’t generally conspiracy theorists. Rather than believing in malignant shadow forces, they generally believe in exotic, other-worldly influences on the ancient past and fleeting encounters with strange entities today.

Needless to say, they’re both equally wrong.


  1. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    I skimmed that Jezebel report a few days ago and it was horrifying. They had people stalking her, suspecting her of writing derogatory slander about their cruise, to the point of physical bullying. I only skimmed it, as it was nauseous and making me nauseated, [Larry Wilmore highlighted the -ous v -ated distinction last night.]
    but it was pretty horrific that enough people take such a cruise not just for entertainment but to reinforce their paranoia.

  2. scott says

    If I believed in shadowy ruthless conspiracies, the absolutely last goddamned thing I’d want to do is gather with all the other conspiracy believers, incommunicado, on a ship in international waters.

  3. chigau (違う) says

    …attending the Paradigm Symposium…
    Did you get the appropriate kind of hat yet?

  4. says

    What is the appropriate kind of hat? I noticed a lot of the people there try to go for the faux-archaeologist, Indiana Jones look. Rough adventurers in the trans-dimensional planes, they are.

  5. says

    I like how they were going with the theory that Merlan was supposed to be a CIA patsy, because she worked for Jezebel, and thus Gawker Media, and thus answered to well-known TPTB media operative Nick Denton, who came upon his wealth by some suspicious means I guess? Something Merlan was encouraged to “look into.” And when she stated that she didn’t work for the CIA, her interlocutors asserted that this may be her reality.

    I thought the most fascinating exchange was with the old woman who’s husband was in jail for tax evasion, mostly because they were getting crank advise from a sovcit/Redemption Movementarian. She asked Merlan if she believed what she was hearing, and when she said she thought most of it was probably false, she was accused of having a “closed mind.” Merely having doubt means you’re under HAARP mind control.

  6. marcoli says

    This could be the basis of a fun movie. The story would introduce us to these wacky, loony conspiracy theorists on one of these cruise ships, only some of the conspiracies are real, and men in black are out to silence our plucky heroes and heroines. Then the aliens come to do something, oh, alieney. But in the end bigfoot saves the day by ripping their arms off.

  7. says

    @7 Oh oh oh! Do it like that X-Files episode which is just long tracking shots, where the boat is trapped in the Bermuda Triangle and the ship is in a time warp where it’s always WOrld War II in Mulder’s timeline but it’s an abandoned wreck in Scully’s.

    Best episode of the series.

  8. Nentuaby says

    scott: I KNOW RIGHT? I had the *exact* same thought. If I was into this type of thing, I’d totally attribute the organization of this cruise to the Dark Forces.

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 7:
    yes, that would be a movie I would like to see, in documentary form, dispassionately filming the various talks and dinners on that cruise. I’d bet it would instantly be branded as a ‘mock’umentary ( a parody of the actual cruise), with repeated denials when presented with hard evidence of filming actual occurrences.

  10. Sastra says

    The Paradigm Symposium looks like a hoot.

    OUR MISSION: To inspire, advance and promote the convergence of mainstream and alternative thinking…, the goal has always been to Bridge the Gap between the sciences and the alternative, offering a platform for reasoned presentation, critical thinking, dissemination and dialog of ideas, hypothesis, theories and even some far out notions.

    “Critical thinking … dialog of ideas?” Oh, I have my doubts about that. My experience with folks who both ascribe to “alternative thinking” and attend conventions like this one is that their idea of a healthy “dialog” with people who dissent is hearing from us that it’s just so wonderful that different people are allowed to believe different things, isn’t it? Confronted with actual reasoned criticism on topic they react like you’re criticizing them, as people, and must be afraid to think outside the box like THEY can. You close your mind to “possibilities.”

    They’ll never Bridge the Gap and meld “mainstream and alternative thinking” together unless they can convince everyone to get their understanding of science from Futurama.

    “Nothing is impossible if you can imagine it. That’s the wonder of being a scientist!”
    Prof Hubert Farnsworth

  11. davidnangle says

    Well, I hope the submersible-launched limpet mics worked as advertised. We almost have enough evidence for the Big Crackdown, now.

    Wait, did I type this in a public thread? Damn it! How do I erase this? Someone call IT! Orange Eagle! It’s an Orange Eagle situation, people!

  12. blf says

    Orange Eagle alerts were discontinued in 20–, after the incident with teh hamster. You just can’t replace that many car gasoline tanks that quickly, even with the aid the Mark VI Timedisruptor Satellite.

  13. devlynh says

    Just the fact that there is such a cruise negates the reality of conspiracy theories. To expand on Franklin’s quote regarding keeping secrets. It should be that two can keep a secret if both of them are dead.

    But what a plot for a movie; a boat full of conspiracy theorists disappears in the middle of the Pacific Ocean… the problem is no one cares.

  14. raven says

    Orange Eagle! It’s an Orange Eagle situation, people!

    Ffftttt!!! No big deal and no one better wake me up for an Orange Eagle.

    We’re getting ready for CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN.

  15. abelundercity says

    In this case, the ideal hat is one with a little pocket on it for storing extra aspirin.