It's that time of year - time for the top ten conspiracies of 2008.
For those of you new to CommonMistakes, here are the rules of this annual review of the most delicious conspiracies of the year:
Conspiracies must be primarily associated with news events of 2008, not the kinds of things we hear year after year (i.e., aliens in area 51).
They shouldn't be ACTUAL events (a "conspiracy" to elect Obama) but should be the kind of wild-eyed accusation that has some small air of credibility, and some very large entertainment value.
Rankings are determined by a combination of newsworthiness, salaciousness, and popularity.
And this year, no doubt, the recent election is top of mind, particularly the paranoid mind.
Here then, without further ado, are this year's top ten.
10. There were many weird and wild accusation about Obama this year as part of the attempt to Swift-Boat him with the public before the election. But perhaps the most bizarre was the accusation that a thirteen-year-old Obama had had a gay affair with a pedophile uncle. Weirdest thing about the story - the attempt to insinuate that it was Obama who was the smarmy one for the "affair."
9. Of course, let's not forget the drama of the primaries, and those who thought Obama's ascendancy to be a conspiracy by Democratic party...or the media...to drive out Hillary from her rightful place of honor. I know - some of you may still be arguing this one to be true.
8. More recently, we have the death of Bush IT guru Mike Connell. Here's a story just breaking: while Bush claims that critical emails are missing, the head of his IT consulting company - the person who actually may know what happened to them - dies in a plane crash. Shall we call this Three Days of the Cheney?
7. And by the way, why is the government refusing to release details of the TARP 700 billion dollar bailout program? Some conspiracy theorists have the answer: it's called The Plunge Protection Team, a shadowy group of government agencies and actors. Instead of shoring up banks, this theory holds that the government is really only using the money to buy up stocks - acting as a kind of massive bull on the market artificially keeping it from collapsing completely. The theory has the benefit of being deeply scary as well as plausible.
6. When it comes to shadowy government actors, however, it's hard to beat the drama created by the idea that the seizure of Fannie and Freddie was part of the Global "Fed" Conspiracy (backed by Illuminati, Trilateral Commission, etc.) to control the world.
5. And speaking of the economy, perhaps the most talked about conspiracy of the year is what's "really" behind the Market Crash. According to Rush Limbaugh, it was secretly engineered by liberals to elect Obama. According to others, it was engineered by Jews to make money. And then there's my personal favorite: that it was caused by Legatus, a shadowy Christian religious sect, as part of it's long-term plot to control the world.
4. However, if you follow the tech world, then maybe the biggest conspiracy of the year is what's become known as the Digg "Bury Brigade," or the attempt of this well-known bookmarking site that helps people "discover and share content" to deliberately bury stories it disagrees with politically.
3. But now that we get to the top three, we get to some really influential conspiracies. For instance, the conspiracy that Obama isn't a US Citizen made it all the way to the Supreme Court!
2. Then again, some people have this idea that some people can turn into Lizard people. That seemed a pretty obscure idea until just recently, when we found out that a Lizard person was on the ballot in Minnesota along with Norm Coleman and Al Franken. Next thing you know, they'll be protesting Obama's plans to serve frog legs at the inaugural.
1. But most definitely, the number one conspiracy of 2008 has to be: Sarah Palin's Down Syndrome baby Trig was really the baby of Palin's daughter Bristol. This conspiracy just wouldn't go away, no matter how many press conferences Palin refused to give.
So there you have it. The top conspiracies for 2008. And as we head into a new year of hope and change, let's hope that most of them don't turn out to be true, and that our paranoid worries get a chance to change.