How To Approach Music Conspiracy Theories|
by Alex Cosper, Sunday, February 19, 2017
Pop culture has radically changed over the years. In the 20th century, pop culture was defined by music, film, literature and art. In the internet culture of the 21st century, pop culture is all about conspiracy theories. The most popular conspiracy theory revolves around the themes of the New World Order, The Illuminati and a one world government. It's important to remember that the government and big corporations have been involved with creating conspiracy facts due to corrupt individuals for a long, long time. Although not all politicians or corporate officials are corrupt, there have been plenty of real conspiracies to create plenty books and movies about government corruption.
Consider the Source
The question is: how do you tell the difference between a real conspiracy and just a stack of rumors? The first step to answering this question is to consider the source. During the election of 2016 many mainstream news media sources were exposed for reporting fake news about the candidates. Even the polls were so out of wack, it's not a stretch to say that several high profile pollsters lost credibility. Even the traditionally most respected news serivce, Associated Press (AP), got caught up in a firestorm of controversy when it published its secret exclusive poll of democratic super-delegates that indicated Hillary Clinton had clinched the democratic nomination the day before the California state primary. This move clearly had an impact on the election, as the state's record year for voter registration was overshadowed by a low turnout.
The point is, information begins with an original source then is repeated by many secondary sources. The closer you can get to the original source, the more likely you will have access to truthful information, unless the original source is warped in any way. Even if you have access to an original source, you have to consider that source's reputation, history and agenda. Every publisher or media outlet has an agenda, which may involve a mix of philosophy and promotion. Keep in mind that an author and a publisher may not share the same agenda or views. The main agenda of most publishers is to sell units of books, magazines, videos or other products. The main agenda of most commercial authors is to promote their name as a brand.
The author of a college term paper has a much different agenda than the author of a commercial book or documentary. The student report that is submitted to an academic institution for a grade will often attempt to be as strict about the facts as possible, whereas a commercial venture may be focused more on marketing concerns.
David McGowan is an author of several conspiracy books. In 2014 he released a book called Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon: Laurel Canyon, Covert Ops & the Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream. It appears to be the first book to expose how several well known rock musicians of the sixties counter-culture were kids of military intelligence personnel. McGowan's overall approach was genuine and did not seem to factor in a marketing agenda (some authors want to sell a series of books based on the same profitable theme). But in interviews he took leaps of imagination to get his point across. He was honest about what he knew as documented fact and what he believed to be true, which made him a more credible researcher than someone like Alex Jones, who makes his living off of creating hysteria about facts and rumors he collects about "globalists."
Do The Dots Connect?
McGowan's book provides plenty of factual information backed by credible sources. The evidence he uncovers does reveal a connection between intelligence organizations and hippy culture. Frank Zappa, John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas, David Crosby and Jim Morrison all came from military families. Yet each of these rock stars aligned with the war protest kids of the Vietnam era. McGowan, who died at age 55 in 2015, was a guest on several internet radio talk shows about his books. He seemed to formulate a theory that it was more than just chance these kids were connected with military intelligence. He even suggested in some interviews that the entire hippy movement was contrived by intelligence officials, especially those involved with the CIA's declassified MK-Ultra mind control program. That's the program that unleashed LSD on college campuses.
So does this mean that Doors songs like "Unknown Soldier" and "Five To One" were really mind control songs to get kids to protest the war? What would be the purpose? One theory might be that the establishment wanted to control and contain the counter-culture movement and would have access to brainwashing this crowd through concerts and recordings. Another explanation might be to get hippies to "turn on, tune in and drop out" so that their apathy wouldn't interfere with the ideals of registered voters. Another theory might be that the establishment wanted youth to be drugged out so that they could romanticize the theater of war, but the plot backfired. None of these theories, however, offer a clear explanation as to why such a colossal plan was ever worth the trouble.
While McGowan brought together several puzzle pieces, he was not able to confirm his suspicions about a government/counter-culture partnership with facts. He was merely looking at a puzzle with enough pieces to speculate but not enough pieces to draw conclusions. His connecting of the dots do not necessarily add up to an accurate conclusion. While it may be beyond coincidence that so many of the world's most brilliant songwriters and musicians wound up in the same community together, there is no real evidence to suggest a wider grand conspiracy of mass mind control. After all, the anti-war hippies proved to be on the right side of history, while the establishment proved to be on the wrong side of history.
Gathering data is a scientific skill. Connecting the dots, which requires assumptions and imagination, is more of an art. If the goal is to be super-artistic, then connecting the dots can be an exercise in creating amazing fiction or entertaining "what if" stories. But if the goal is to be as factual as possible, then an author should offer different scenarios that connect the dots and be able to identify pros and cons for each theory. When an author appears to be very biased and married to unproven theories, it's a red flag when it comes to determining credibility.
McGowan, to his credit, was not 100% set on believing the "government-hippy conspiracy." The connection between military intelligence personnel and rock stars has not been explored in depth and there are plenty of plausible explanations, starting with the concept that kids really do rebel against their parents sometimes.
Weeding Out Ridiculous Gossip
The most ridiculous conspiracy theories suggest that Earth is ruled by reptiles from other planets. That's the kind of conspiracy theory that burns credibility instantly, since there still is no shred of evidence to back up the claim. While there is plenty of evidence that the Beatles allowed "Paul is dead" clues in their songs following the popularization of a 1966 rumor that Paul died in a car crash, there's no real compelling evidence to prove the rumor is true. The most obvious repeated clue was the statement that sounded like "I buried Paul" at the end of "Strawberry Fields Forever." Another startling clue was when you played "number nine" from "Revolution 9" backward on a turntable the words almost clearly said "turn me on, dead man."
The idea that the music industry is controlled by a handful of players is true and doesn't need to be debated, since it doesn't take much research to prove that a high percentage of the biggest selling recordings in history were issued by a short list of giant labels. It is not widely known, however, what the agenda is behind the music scene other than profiting from music sales and concert ticket sales. The idea that some big artists are members of "The Illuminati" is not backed up by proof in 2017. Part of the reason is that "The Illuminati" is not well defined. People whom the term refers to do not typically use the term at all, while people who throw the term around a lot do not typically specify what it means, other than it's a term that appears frequenty in conspiracy writing and documentaries.
Since it's a free country, people are free to believe whatever they choose, although this does not change the definitions for "facts" and "beliefs." One of the main reasons to stick with facts when studying conspiracy puzzles is that our culture is quick to call you a quack if you're too far outside the parameters of what's considered "common knowledge." It's true that mainstream media controls much of what the masses believe as news or facts, but that doesn't mean everything or anything mainstream media reports is true. What conspiracy researchers must keep in mind to protect their own credibility is that it's easy to be ostricized in our culture if your thinking is outside the norm.
Keeping Clear Perspectives
You will have a clearer perspective on researching any type of conspiracy by keeping certain facts in mind. Conspiracies do exist and just because one cannot be backed up with facts doesn't nullify its existence. Some conspiracies will likely never be proven, since they were set up to be mysteries in the first place. The more details, characters and places you can add to a conspiracy story, the more it becomes a confusing rabbit hole that is either too complex to follow or too out there to believe.
The rabbit hole aspect of a conspiracy is what either repels the mainstream that only wants to consume shallow easy-to-understand trends or attracts the disenfranchised audience that looks for confirmation of things they despise. It's best to follow facts on your journey through the rabbit hole, which will likely branch out into multiple places to explore. In that sense, available time becomes a factor in how much you can spend investigating the topic. In speeding up the research cycle, it's helpful to remember that just because a credible source makes a statement does not guarantee it's a fact. When multiple credible sources agree on events it tends to be regarded as fact, but that still doesn't prove anything.
Usually the most believable conspiracy facts are found when the original sources themselves admit secrets that would otherwise not be in their best interests. Whistle blowers can hold a certain amount of credibility as well, especially if they have nothing to gain and everything to lose by making concessions. Some people can't help but be honest because they feel guilty about hiding the truth.
The most amazing hurdle that most people need to get over about conspiracy theories is the concept that a "theory" isn't valid. A true scientific theory results from observing a collection of facts. When you just dream up a possibility you're not really theorizing as much as you are hypothesizing or just fantasizing. It's best to start with the facts and then use imagination to explain parts of the missing puzzle, but with the understanding that you are merely speculating. Some conspiracy theories grow into bigger legends over time, while others fade into irrelevance. The idea that "all conspiracy theories are fake" is as fake as the most fake conspiracy theory.