Web perfect for conspiracy addicts
As a publishing medium, the Web affords site designers unparalleled access to a worldwide mass of eager information junkies. So it’s not surprising that ideas and images that weren’t previously available through mainstream TV media have crept into the computers and the homes of Web surfers.
In stride with the plethora of companies and public organizations which have taken advantage of consumer access is a minority fixated with theories of conspiracy; theories that challenge conventional wisdom about everything from government, extraterrestrial life and global weather patterns to music, warfare and economics.
In this way, the Web challenges tradition and promises a world where whispered secrets eventually resonate loudly into public domain. Two personalities found on the Web have found success as a result of their relentless campaign to make public what has always been private.
One of the Web’s purveyors of the right-wing brand of conspiracy is Matt Drudge.
Long before he gained attention as Fox News’ Sunday-night guru of government corruption, Drudge’s Web site, http://www.drudge.com, offered cynical portraits of public figures and scornful ribbings of public policy. His was the site computer-connected Clinton haters went to first to investigate the latest alleged misdeeds of Clinton’s regime.
Whether it was the brouhaha over the Gennifer Flowers, Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones scandals, or the mysterious “suicide” of former White House counsel Vince Foster, Drudge had them coming – or clicking – in droves.
Television did not distract Drudge from his focus on the Web. He remains true to his Internet roots, constantly updating his site with interviews and commentary that covers the political spectrum and raises the eyebrows of even the least fastidious of his critics.
In the tradition of Drudge, others have come forth, similarly using the Web to feed the skeptics a virtual trough of political, social and economic table scraps. There are enough one-man sites online to blur the distinction between fact and fiction.
The inevitable result is that now information comes in clumps, and a lot of these clumps deserve flushing.
But we are gluttons for the stuff, and as long as we keep our gullets open, they will keep pouring it in.
Renegade late-night disc jockey Art Bell provides listeners and Internet junkies an info-clump that nearly rivals that of Matt Drudge. While Drudge’s work gives the air of factual basis, Bell’s work shamelessly leans toward the paranormal.
From the sands of rural Nevada in his home-based radio studio, Bell spouts pretentous theories about alien visitation and astral projection. His guests fill the airwaves with personal stories – sometimes in convincing detail – about out-of-body experiences and extrasensory perception. The Internet version, http://www.artbell.com, takes it one step further.
In addition to Web cam updates every minute (while Art is on the air), Bell’s site is a catalog of audio snippets from interviews with some of his more engaging guests. Much of the available information comes from the mouths of educated, scientific experts – the very types of people who are better known for debunking theories about the as-yet unknown.
Bell also invites listener (and Web surfer) input in an effort to provide a forum for those people unheard in traditional mass media.
Drudge and Bell also offer links to related sites.
Featured chats of the week:
— Monday, Feb. 7 and Wednesday, Feb. 9: Dating story discussion at http://www.blindate.excite.com
Roger Lodge, host of the UPN show “Blind Date,” hosts two chats from 9 p.m. to midnight Monday and Wednesday where Web surfers can share stories of personal triumph and tragedy.
— Tuesday, Feb. 8: Martha Stewart Living at http://www.marthastewart.com
Magazine editors from Martha Stewart Living give their hints on cooking a romantic dinner (for Valentine’s day) at 1 p.m.
— Friday, Feb. 11: ER fans web chat at about.com
Fans of the television series “ER” chat about the latest developments on the show from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
— Thursday, Feb. 12: Snowmobiling at snowconnection.com.
From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. the editor of the site gives gives fans of the snowmobile an opportunity to talk about their hobby and even win prizes.