This is why I love conspiracy theories.
I got this story (and both these pictures) at the always excellent Bad Astronomy blog, though it was apparently all over the intertubes last week. It's Dick Cheney, of course. But if you look into the reflection in his sunglasses you are supposed to see a naked woman. And some folks have seen a naked dead woman.
It's pretty clearly his hand, holding a fishing rod. But I think the myth speaks more truth than the reality. And the truth is this: many people are unsurprised at a picture of our Vice-President smiling in front of a naked dead woman. This is, after all, a guy who not only shot someone in the face while in office, but had the guy he shot apologize to him. The Onion has reported he can spontaneously regrow his limbs after injuries. And if you can't trust the Onion, who can you trust?
I like to think of conspiracy theories as the bubbling subconscious mind of the American people. The actual truth of them is less important than what they reveal about us. The Cheney myth tells us we fear our leaders, and believe them to be unbound by the rule of law. The alleged blowing up of a levee during Hurricane Katrina to flood poor people and save the property of the rich (which really did happen back in 1927) tell us we believe the government does not have out best interests at heart. And alternate 9-11 theories, true or not, tell us that we fear our government is actively willing to kill us if we get in the way of its real agenda.
It goes beyond fear of government. Crop circles. Chupacabras. Cites on Mars. Ghostly figures in television static. Bat Boy. Hollow earth theories (always my favorite). It's the world behind the world. Not literally true. But speaking to our hopes, our fears, the large swaths of our lives left ignored and hungry by our culture and our institutions.
Eric at My Heart's Porch tagged me with the 6 word life story meme. I believe I did this for Dancehall a few years back, but have no memory of what I wrote. So here's a new one:
Angry at god.