David Aaronovitch discusses his new book Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History:
We want to believe theories that contradict the idea that young, iconic people died senselessly. If a story takes away the accidental from their death, it gives them agency. After the JFK assassination, it was unbearable to many people that they could live in a country where a lone gunman could kill a president. In those circumstances, it’s not surprising that an overarching conspiracy theory emerges. It suggests that somebody is in control, rather than that we’re at the mercy of our neighbors and to some extent of ourselves (as was the case with Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana). It’s the urge to make sense of a particularly traumatic moment.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.