Issue 49 cover
Cover Art by Robert Beatty
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  • Issue 49
  • Spring 2023
Pasolini once wrote that conspiracies make us think crazy thoughts because they free us from the burden of having to face the truth.... In fact, if you are convinced that the history of the world is directed by secret societies — be they the Illuminati or the Bilderberg group — that are about to establish a new world order, what do you do? You give up, and you fret and fume. So every conspiracy theory directs the public imagination toward nonexistent dangers and away from genuine threats. As Chomsky once suggested, imagining what was almost a conspiracy of conspiracy theories, those who get the greatest advantage from fantasies about a supposed plot are the very institutions that the conspiracy theory aims to strike.
— Umberto Eco, “Conspiracy,” 2015

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“Not every deathbed story about Joe Kennedy and the mob is true, but it’s hard to believe each one is false.”


Alexander Zaitchik

When Sinatra Sang for His Life

The Kennedys, the Mob, and the FBI — the Rat Pack’s legendary 1962 residency at the Villa Venice brought the secret power structure of postwar America under one roof.

James Bridle

The Conspiracy of the Algorithm

People aren’t wrong to feel like their lives are increasingly out of their control. Twenty-first-century technology guarantees it.

Gus Breslauer

The Jonestown Massacre and the Left

Over 900 died at Jonestown in 1978 in a murder-suicide that shook the world. How did Peoples Temple go from emancipatory project to disaster?

“QAnoners are awaiting a Blanquist revolution helmed by none other than Donald Trump.”

“Remove any members of the group who show signs of developing musical ability. . . . Replace them with gimmicks designed purely to upset people.”

“Even though most attacks are carried out by unarmed men, nearly two-thirds of incidents reported in Asia resulted in successful thefts.”

“All conspiracy theories have been consolidated into a single grand conformist mood of resentment and panic.”

“Hoffa was never heard from or seen again — except, perhaps, in the back seat of a maroon 1975 Mercury Marquis Brougham, heading to a destination unknown.”