the CO nspi­ra­s­phere

The Gren­fell Tower tragedy spawned, in­evitably, nu­mer­ous con­spir­acy the­o­ries, which nOel rOOneY sug­gests re­veal emerg­ing and com­pet­ing schools of thought

Fortean Times - - Strange Days -

gren­fell’s grand nar­ra­tive

The con­spir­acy the­o­ries that blos­somed in the wake of the tragic fire at Gren­fell Tower elu­ci­date some epis­te­mo­log­i­cal trends in the Conspirasphere. The au­to­matic na­ture of the re­sponses is symp­to­matic of the event anx­i­ety that per­me­ates the com­mu­nity (an anx­i­ety that of­ten re­sem­bles ma­li­cious glee more than fear); the range of re­sponses speaks to a grow­ing for­mal­i­sa­tion of the­o­ris­ing – the emer­gence of schools of thought.

Event anx­i­ety (or event com­pul­sion) is not unique to the Conspirasphere; how can it be in an age when the news me­dia are des­per­ately sub­or­di­nate to the next new thing, and pass that ap­petite on to their con­sumers? But the car­ni­val of tragedy has dif­fer­ent ef­fects on dif­fer­ent au­di­ences. Whereas in the main­stream it typ­i­cally in­duces short-term hyp­no­sis fol­lowed by an ad­dict’s yearn­ing for the next fix, in the Conspirasphere it is of­ten a strangely af­firm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It adds to the store of proofs, em­beds va­lid­ity into the most el­dritch of world views. Those world views lead to very dif­fer­ent retellings of events; the nar­ra­tives are be­gin­ning to have a canon­i­cal feel to them, the tell­tale signs of a bur­geon­ing of sects. They range from a very spe­cific, and con­sis­tent, at­tri­bu­tion of blame to a po­si­tion that might be char­ac­terised as satiris­ing re­al­ity; the for­mer re­flects the fact that the sphere has its own main­stream, while the lat­ter is ev­i­dence of the rad­i­cal off-shoots that the alt-truth tes­ta­ment has spawned.

The con­tin­u­ing un­cer­tainty over ca­su­alty fig­ures, and the very real litany of neg­li­gence and cost-cut­ting are the main fu­els for the canon­i­cal re­sponse. For this school of thought, Gren­fell is more proof that the rich are out to get us; that any­thing that can be cov­ered up, will be cov­ered up (I’m tempted to term this Icke’s Law); that the main­stream me­dia nar­ra­tive is slave to (or in ca­hoots with) an elite agenda of op­pres­sion, per­haps ex­tend­ing to eu­genic attrition by ne­glect; above all, that some­thing must be done (and retelling the story in the lan­guage of con­spir­acy the­ory is the some­thing that must be done).

The school that presents all ma­jor events as false flags is, in many re­spects, an ex­am­ple of hermeneu­tic, or grand nar­ra­tive, con­spir­acy the­o­ris­ing (see ft330:4 for a dis­cus­sion of this term). For this group, the fire was de­lib­er­ately started (the im­me­di­ate cul­prits range from the Lon­don Fire Brigade, through the lo­cal au­thor­ity to the Ger­man se­cret ser­vice) to serve an agenda com­pletely un­re­lated to the be­nighted res­i­dents and their lost homes. To ren­der this kind of in­ter­pre­ta­tion leg­i­ble, one needs to ac­knowl­edge the Il­lu­mi­nati as an ax­iomatic el­e­ment, and un­der­stand the Big Pic­ture as way big­ger than any­thing an au­to­matic dis­si­dent might recog­nise.

Then there is the school of thought that un­der­stands Gren­fell as a hoax: Hol­ly­wood in­cen­di­aries rigged on a build­ing de­void of real res­i­dents but re­plete with cri­sis ac­tors (cri­sis ac­tors recog­nis­able from ear­lier episodes of the post-real tableau) in a species of post­mod­ern per­for­mance that has no im­me­di­ately dis­cernible pur­pose. This sect is gath­er­ing ad­her­ents at an in­creas­ing rate; its world view is es­sen­tially ni­hilist, or cryptic ex­is­ten­tial­ist, and de­fies ra­tio­nal ex­pla­na­tion. Pat­tern is more im­por­tant than mean­ing for this group; for in­stance, it in­cludes a sub-sect that in­ter­prets events purely in terms of nu­mero­log­i­cal clus­ter­ing. Above all, it de­nies the ve­rac­ity of all ma­jor events, a po­si­tion oddly close to that of Fort him­self in some re­spects.

None of this far­rago of in­ter­pre­ta­tive in­ge­nu­ity is much com­fort to the real vic­tims of the real fire, of course. Re­al­ity is not per­form­ing on­to­log­i­cal cart­wheels for them; it is merely killing peo­ple, and ru­in­ing lives, in the cal­lously neu­tral, and vi­ciously ran­dom, way that it al­ways has.

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