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Chapter 3 - Revelation, Secret Knowledge, and 9/11 Conspiracy Theory

from Part I - America as Apocalypse

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 December 2020

John Hay
Affiliation:
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Summary

Since at least the obsessive scrutiny afforded to Abraham Zapruder’s home movie of the Kennedy assassination, the notion that a conspiracy theory could reveal secret knowledge has become increasingly intertwined with the concept of technology. When the stakes are raised by apocalyptic overtones, these conspiracy theories perform a complex dance of obfuscation and revelation. The techno-conspiracy – a hermeneutic model in which technology functions as both the means of revelation and the thing-to-be-revealed – speaks loudly to modernity through its fixation on the anxiety of what comes next. This chapter examines 9/11 as a wellspring of both apocalyptic trauma and contemporary techno-conspiracies. Its centerpiece is a discussion of Dr. Judy Wood’s remarkable 9/11 conspiracy theory about directed-energy weapons. It is my contention that Wood’s theories reveal a complex nexus of anxieties over the American technological regime: from urban technologies, such as skyscrapers, to media technologies to the legacy of the atomic bomb. It also reveals the workings of a poignant fantasy about energy in a time of ecological crisis.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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