Saturday, May 1, 2010
THE PROBLEM WITH CONSPIRACY THEORIES
On Friday the lights in Sofia (not in Georgia) went out during the Topalov-Anand game (and I'm sure many other things were interrupted as the central city electricity freaked out). Mig Greegard and others said they were getting emails from people who were wondering if Elista-like shenanigans might be responsible. In fact, this very agitation is grist for the mills of the panicky-manicky types who must live a wretched life always wondering if someone is coming to get them or their friends.
The problem with "conspiracy theories" can be basically be brought to four important points:
1) So many get floated around that when (or if) one really is true, it is easily dismissed after a while like the little boy who was always crying wolf.
2) If you are discovered to be wrong one too many times you are listed as a "nut;" probably forever. Anything you write or say after that has no credence except to other nuts.
3) Do you have any idea how difficult it is to hold a conspiracy theory together if it is TRUE? Only the true blue, dyed in the wool patriots, cross my heart hope to die conspirators can keep a secret (if they did, no one would ever know). If one other person is told a "secret," that is one too many persons.
4) The embarrassment factor of being discovered would most likely end a whole lot of careers. Only crooks don't seem to mind as they already have no careers... people who will believe that anything is morally and legally justified at Goldman-Sachs for example. Could you imagine the accusations of Topalov getting "signals" from Danailov--if there was absolute proof? It would end his chess career (but some do not really imagine that possibility until it actually happens) immediately. The spin doctors would become whirling dervishes trying to save their "man."
I am not saying the "dictatorial" days are past (where many things were possible), you can't put anything OFF the table when it comes to human incredibility. There are those who want their 15 minutes and it seems like there are more and more of them, though percentage-wise, I doubt it's true.
When Fischer didn't show up for the 1975 world chess championship I am certain in his heart of hearts that it made Karpov very uncomfortable because he had to spend the next ten years of his chess life "proving" he really should be champion anyway. Read the story on Fischer in NIC's 25 Years... Fischer was going into "nutjob" mode... the perfect conspiratorial person.
I decided to avoid reading these "lights out" stories. These kinds are always typified as: living with their mother, in a basement, and with banks of computers and food lying around them (Die Hard 4, and The Score). Who needs that?
Conspiracy theorists, in general, only come around AFTER someone else has revealed potentially bad news. Then they "knew."
The "fake" moon landings, flying saucers, aliens keep tabloids going. I just hate to see chess going down that slippery slope.
PS: If anyone out there did not get my new catalog on chess artifacts yesterday, let me know and I will send another. You have no idea how much I don't want to miss a sale!