March 6th, 2005


Conspiracy Theory for Laughs

Back around 1979 to 1989, I had a fascination with conspiracy theory. I collected them like baseball cards. I studied them in depth. I memorized big chunks of the better ones. I hung out with other conspiracy theory fans to swap stories. I never took them terribly seriously as actual explanations of how history worked, but I was just absolutely fascinated by the historical details (and by the bogus explanations) that I saw nowhere else.

After a while, I got to know the genre well enough that I put out a standing offer: I will make up a new conspiracy theory for you on the spot, at any time, on a moment's notice. But only one of them was good enough to remember, and I still have fun with it from time to time. Here's my favorite artificial conspiracy theory:

America never had a space program. We rented one from the aliens. That's why all of a sudden our rockets stopped blowing up in mid-air, and what made it possible for us to get to the moon before the Soviets. Then in the early 1970s, because of the OPEC crisis and the Vietnam war, we got behind on our payments, so the aliens repossessed the space program. There must have been some component of the Saturn V system that required materials science we didn't actually have, or some other way in which we couldn't fly the Apollo/Saturn design without help from the aliens. So we ended up having to scrub the last three Apollo missions, and had to start over from scratch. That's why we can't get human beings any farther up than low Earth orbit, and why it costs us so much more per pound to orbit, and why two of our five spacecraft have blown up in operation.