The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Monday, September 16, 2013
I NEGLECTED TO MENTION THAT I WROTE A BOOK: Seems like the sort of thing that should be noted on my blog, no? The book is called
The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory, and HarperCollins published it on August 20. This is from the description on the jacket flap:
Conspiracy theories aren't just a feature of the fringe. They've been a potent force across the political spectrum, at the center as well as the extremes, from the colonial era to the present. In The United States of Paranoia, Jesse Walker explores this rich history, arguing that conspiracy stories should be read not just as claims to be either believed or debunked but also as folklore. When a tale takes hold, it reveals something true about the anxieties and experiences of those who believe and repeat it, even if the story says nothing true about the objects of the theory itself.

In a story that stretches from the seventeenth century to today, Walker lays out five conspiracy narratives that recur in American politics and popular culture. With intensive research and a deadpan sense of humor, The United States of Paranoia combines the rigor of real history with the punch of pulp fiction.
On a related note, here's a list of articles I've published since my last update on this blog. Most of them relate directly to the book's themes:

• "The Anarchist in the Comic Book Shop" (Reason)

• "Stop Demonizing Preppers" (Reason)

• "5 Ridiculous School Security Scares" (Reason)

• "3 Lessons from the Boston Bombing Coverage" (Reason)

• "Dan Brown in Hell" (Reason)

• "What It Would Take to Stop the Spying" (Reason)

• "Hardhats for Peace, College Kids for War" (Reason)

• "Revolutionary Reading" (Reason) -- you have to scroll down for my segment of this one

• "3 Lessons for Libertarian Populists" (Reason)

• "The American Conspiracy Theory" (Publishers Weekly Tip Sheet)

• "A Government Afraid of Itself" (The Washington Post)

Articles adapted from the book have appeared in Salon, in The Wall Steet Journal, in Alternet, in, in The National Memo, in HopeDance, on the NPR site, in The National Post, in The National Post again, and in The National Post yet again. And, of course, in Reason. In a few days another one should appear in The Week.

I've also written a few mini-reviews for Reason over the last few months, covering a collection of right-wing folk music, a book about Hong Kong, and a graphic novel about prisons. And as usual, there have been many posts at Hit and Run, discussing topics that range from Syria to populism to the Snowden affair.

In short: It's been a long time since I last updated this blog.

posted by Jesse 10:13 AM
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