Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Failure of the Day: Conspiracy

I clicked on this story last week on whim, and the name of the guy it is about kind of jumped out at me. I did a little digging it turns out that he is the guy I used to date around 1990 (he was cuter then, and less dogmatic); in fact, one of the best poems I ever wrote is about him.

Apparently he’s a fairly well-known 9/11 conspiracy theorist these days, which I guess is not all that surprising—he’s the guy who introduced me to Philip K. Dick after all, and he was writing his thesis on the VALIS trilogy when I knew him. I also recall that he pursued me aggressively and was terrifically charming, but I was never all that into him, despite the breathlessness of my poem.

Back then I was seriously into conspiracy theory myself, but I’m not at all interested in it any more. I have no earthly idea if it was actually a missile that hit the pentagon or if the WTC was actually a controlled demolition. Maybe it was. But I don’t think the idea that the official story is mostly true is laughably naive, either. I don’t know, and I don’t know if it is possible to know. The only thing I do know is that I don’t ever want to believe something just because it makes me feel better than believing some other thing.

That’s pretty much the reason I could never be in any way religious, too. I think being devoutly and relentlessly and unforgivingly rational is about the only appropriate response to a culture that thinks Because I Said So constitutes incontrovertible proof. And even if that entails abandoning some of the theories that make me the happiest, I’ll do it. The world is slightly duller for it, but I choose a matte reality over a dazzling lie any day. I’ll say it: Maybe Metallica didn’t cause my remission. Maybe there wasn’t some terrible mix up and I am not really Mrs. Dr. Buckaroo Banzai.


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