Land of Delusion
Out on the edge with the crackpots and conspiracy mongers remaking our shared reality
by Colin Dickey
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Pub Date 16 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 06 Mar 2023
Scribd, Scribd Originals
Not so long ago, conspiracy theorists were relegated to the cultural fringes. They were the oddballs in the tinfoil hats, raging to one another about who really shot JFK and whether or not an astronaut walked on the moon. In recent years, however, as everything from stolen-election claims to vaccine disinformation to QAnon has made daily headlines, conspiracists have moved, if not front and center, then awfully close.
As the American right wing retreats further into its political bunker and war rages in Ukraine, two particularly bizarre theories are gaining traction in the United States and Russia. They seem laughably far-fetched, but behind the absurdity lurk radical ideas that are becoming alarmingly commonplace. These ludicrous beliefs offer a road map of where we might be headed and also highlight the lunacy that’s already here.
In Land of Delusion, cultural historian Colin Dickey, author of the acclaimed The Unidentified and Ghostland, introduces us to Tartaria, a great empire that sprang from Russia and spread across the globe, only to be destroyed by evil schemers who erased it from the history books. We also meet the New Chronologists, who claim that history began just eight hundred years ago and that the world was originally dominated by blond, blue-eyed Slavs. Crackpot theories to be sure, but they’re fueled by troubling beliefs that are all too real: that superior societies have been overrun by “others,” that we’ve been corrupted by fake news, and that power and lost glory must be restored. The far-reaching influence of Fox News, Alex Jones, lies generated by the Kremlin are enough to tell us that not only are these beliefs potent, they might soon become dominant.
By turns entertaining and grimly serious, Land of Delusion takes us inside the warped logic of conspiracy theorists and connects the dots between crazy ideas and real-time events. Weird is one thing—weird and dangerous demands our full attention.