Seeing a headilne (a headline!) in today's Wisconsin State Journal, announcing a talk by local conspiracy "theorist" Kevin Barrett, it occurred to me that there is no way he would be getting this invaluable free publicity, if Republicans in the Wisconsin state legislature had not called for his dismissal from the University in July. Thanks a lot, fellas!
In the excellent "Penn and Teller: Bullshit!" episode on conspiracy theories, they show a clip of a "theorist" saying that the WTC towers were destroyed by explosives, and that the crew and passengers of the four planes that somehow disappeared from the face of the earth are all "in the pay of the government." Penn Gillette says at this point, "You know, I hope this asshole runs into a family that lost a loved one on one of those planes, who probably wouldn't take kindly to his theory that Daddy is faking his death." I agree that the more extreme conspiracy "theories" are not merely nutty but a spectacle morally offensive to behold. But attempts to censor them (though supported by law blogger Ann Althouse) are a part of that sorry spectacle: a sad, short-sighted, self-defeating part.