Month: August 2010

Repeated reference to unnamed foreign elements who are undermining the country? Check. Nebulous list of leading questions straight out of the GOP playbook? Check. Vague assertions about shadowy organisations lurking in the wings? Check. I can't quite decide if this is a stroke of Machiavellian genius or an appeal to the lowest common denominator, but it looks as though President Obama (or one of his speechwriters anyway) has decided to tap into and try to ride the wave of popular conspiracy thinking which is washing across the USA. As you watch, count the number of questions asked which can't be properly answered. Also count the number of references to 'they' or 'them' - the classic signifiers of conspiracist thinking. Related The Republican Party and the Obama Conspiracy Theories The Tea Party: 'The People Who Hate People Party' Blather, Rinse, Repeat: An Ethnography of Conspiracy Theory The Haiti Conspiracy Theories Image...


A set of William Hope's 'Spirit Photographs', from the National Media Museum, UK. From the National Media Museum Flickr page: 'These photographs of 'spirits' are taken from an album of photographs unearthed in a Lancashire second-hand and antiquarian bookshop by one of the Museum's curators. They were taken by a controversial medium called William Hope (1863-1933).' More on William Hope


Ever wanted to take a course on the paranormal? Join a study group of the weird? Delve into a curriculum of conspiracy theory? Well, now you can. Or you'll be able to when you help us create one. We're using Hootcourse to throw together a twitter-based reading-list, video play-list and blog roll of the best of the best from the world of weirdness - everything from Alien Big Cats to UFOs and cute, whiskered Zoological oddities. Join us. Go on. You know you want to. To help us in this momentous task, us the 'course' feed below. You'll need to connect with either your Twitter or Facebook account. Your posts will have the hashtag #blatherskool added to them automatically. Image From the Commons pool on Flickr


By Clare Taylor. Crouched on top of Knockninny hill in Fermanagh with a beacon of fire roaring above our heads, a young man from Belfast explains the motivations of heroin use. "It's like, yer skint and ya only need a little at first and it gives ya everything, only problem's when yer tolerance goes up..." I offer him whisky, and he accepts, noting that as an alcoholic he really shouldn't drink and it could interfere with his medication. We chat about his diminished prospects, then break off our conversation and rise as a long line of masked figures dressed in sackcloth and straw, carrying flaming torches and led by a piper move towards us up the slope. The only light is from the fire, and from the half moon shining on this clear warm night. You can see for miles around, across Lough Erne and her endless wooded islands, and...