Curating the History of Mystery & Conspiracy By Iona Miller
Despite its deceptively breezy name, Conspiracy Geek is far more than a collection of Joan d’Arc’s interviews and kitchy psifi. It is an archival compendium that contains some valuable history of the conspiracy genre. In a pre-blog world there were few reliable sources of paramedia. Joan’s commitment to her inquiries never faltered. She was in the forefront of what became “infotainment”.
This is a seriously involved investigator who escaped into the Paranoid Women Institute from a world in which virtually no one believed in “conspiracies”, and to do so was to call one’s sanity into question. Now, a large segment of the public accepts such alt.news as par for the course. The fact remains Joan got there first and kept her journalistic integrity intact.
It’s important to look at the effects of things, not just original intentions. Yes, in 1992 Joan and her co-founder, Al Hidell at Paranoia Magazine wanted to deeply probe the underground, fringe and mainstream sources for whatever new tidbits they could add to the usual list of assassination plots, false flags, and bizarre theories. Many of her interview subjects have become celebrities in the blogosphere.
But the fact is, they created one of the best journals on the subject in the world. As such, Joan’s interviews constitute a sort of archive of the evolution of the conspiracy genre, and some measure of the availability of certain types of information from certain sources. These are the stories behind the stories and urban myths, often from the “horse’s mouth”.
Over time, more and more credible witnesses came forward, even as the public became more inclined to believe them. That doesn’t mean we should take all stories without the proverbial grain of salt, but even factually inaccurate stories can reflect something of the collective imagination – something that wants to emerge from our mythic consciousness.
Conspiracy as a genre faces a similar dilemma to parapsychology and frontier science. Both began with serious challenges in credibility and reporting; they were allocated to the fringe. Both became fields that not only had to produce its own material but find ways to archive and curate that work as well.
Conspiracy Geek is a great effort toward preserving this era where conspiracy has gone from a dirty word to more of an attitude of, “Oh yeah, I knew it all along.” But don’t imagine for a moment that there are no surprises left in this guided tour of the dark underbelly of life under the hidden hand. Often the truth is stranger than fiction.
Paranoia also took a much more artful approach than other zines, styling itself as a sort of Juxtapose of the conspiracy world, including innovative cover artists. Joan is not just a writer. She is an artist herself who has a way of keeping things sassy and fun. She can juggle subjects from UFO to evolution to parapolitics without missing a beat.
The HunterGatheress is a joy to read even when the subject is deep, or as inscrutable as a famous UFO abductee or yet another mind-bending JFK revelation. In a world of heavy and foreboding fiction with well-worn dystopian tropes, she brings a lightness of spirit into the darkness that translates to the page as an easily readable style. It is as enjoyable as a night out at your local Tiki Bar. --Iona MillerSecond Amazon review receives 5 stars! Hail to the Queen! October 22, 2012 By Trevor Curtis
The alternative politics field, wrongly labeled "conspiracy theory" by the mainstream, has always been a boys club. The number of women who've managed to bust through in the field is small. The first was Mae Brussells, whose work is a legend in the field. Right behind her in the parade of women in conspiracy theory is Joan D'arc. A longtime investigator and editor at Paranoia magazine, a collection by Joan is long overdue. When I received my reviewer copy, I was wondering how this collection would present her to both longtime readers and newcomers.
What's inside this book is a good sample of Joan's work. Subject themes in the volume include some usual suspects in the field(JFK, mind controlled slaves) and some surprising ones(a focus on non-Darwinian origins of human life). While I don't agree with everything Joan and her interviewees say(hell, sometimes they don't even agree with each other ), I admire her ability to present those viewpoints in a cogent and entertaining fashion. The best thing I can say about her work is that regardless of your belief, Joan makes you think and question your world. She has a way of taking some of the most dense topics and making them understandable.
Is the book perfect? No, but for a first collection, it's a hell of a start. I wish the articles had been cited for where they appeared first, but that's the editor in me. I also wish they'd had dates for when they were done.
So if you're looking for a primer on conspiracy theory, this is not it. If you're looking for an engaging collection of writing and interviews across a wide berth of the field, here's the book for you. So where's volume 2?
Conspiracy Geek: Collected Writings and Interviews by Joan d'Arc
Joan d'Arc of Paranoia Magazine and HunterGatheress Journal, and Chief Resident of the Paranoid Women Institute at conspiracygeek.blogspot.com, compiles her best writings and interviews in this collection.
*** A new race of disembodied cyborgs is being engineered to travel into deep space. *** Ballistic Panspermia: What is it and how did we get here? *** The night Wilhelm Reich's Cloudbuster became a Spacegun. *** Proof that the U.S. knew Japan was going to bomb Pearl Harbor and let it happen. *** A new mafia-connected JFK witness steps forward. *** Everyday life: The common denominator. *** Giordano Bruno, 16th Century Ufologist? *** Beings in NothingDrive: An Existential Analysis of the Travis Walton UFO Abduction. *** Why alternatives to Darwinian Evolution should be taught in public schools. among many others ....
This cutting edge 356-page book contains 13 articles and 12 interviews. Interviewees include:*** Joan Mellen on the assassination of JFK; *** Michael Cremo on how museums and textbooks hide evidence of extreme human antiquity; *** Barbara Walker on how God replaced the Womb with the Word; *** David Ray Griffin on 9-11 and Osama bin Laden; *** Jarrah White and Ralph Rene on the Apollo Moon Hoax; *** Stephanie Caruana on the Gemstone File; *** Acharya S. on the Jesus Myth; *** Craig Heimbichner on Freemasonry and the OTO; *** Beth Goobie on surviving a Canadian MKULTRA cult; *** Robert Eringer on how he brought in Ira Einhorn for the murder of Holly Maddux; *** and Mike Bara on evidence of remains of ancient cities on the Moon.