Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Strange Career of the Word "Conspiracy"

From ESPN:

Barrie: It won't. If I was in to conspiracy theories (maybe I am), I'd say DJ didn't try too hard to make the cut so he could get in work at Erin Hills this weekend, while the rest of the tour was at Muirfield Village.

So a plan one makes completely on one's own is now a "conspiracy"?

4 comments:

  1. My sense is that in common parlance "conspiracy" means something like "a plan whose actual goals the planner(s) would be embarrassed to state openly".

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  2. Actually, on further reflection, I think the following is slightly closer to true:

    My sense is that in common parlance "conspiracy theorist about X" means something like "someone who believes that the stated or official explanation of X isn't true, and that the true explanation is more sinister or at least more cynical".

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that's right. But look at how far that has drifted from the original meaning of "conspiracy"!

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  3. Reminds me of the time, during the first episode of Serial, when it became clear that one of the persons interviewed thinks that "technicality" means anything that results in exoneration, e.g. an alibi; i.e. that "getting off on a technicality" covers every time the accused is found innocent.

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Old-fashioned excuse: "The dog ate my homework."

Modern excuse: "Dual-factor authentication ate my ability to do my homework."