- The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2006

Elastic theory

“The real accomplishment of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ is that Dan Brown has proven that the theory of conspiracy theories is totally elastic, it has no limits. The genre’s future is limitless, with the following obvious plots:

“Bill Clinton is directly descended from Henry VIII; Hillary is his third cousin. Jack Ruby was Ronald Reagan’s half-brother. Dick Cheney has been dead for five years; the vice president is a clone created by Halliburton in 1998. The Laffer Curve is the secret sign of the Carlyle Group. Michael Moore is the founder of the Carlyle Group, which started World War I. The New York Times is secretly run by the Rosicrucians (this is revealed on the first page of Chapter 47 of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ if you look at the 23rd line through a kaleidoscope). Jacques Chirac is descended from Judas.

“None of this strikes me as the least bit implausible, especially the latter. I’d better get started.”

—Daniel Henninger, writing on “Holy Sepulcre!” Friday in Opinion Journal at www.opinionjournal.com

Alien faith

“Since the 1950s, when science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard first introduced his bizarre self-help concepts, Scientologists have sought to free themselves and new converts from secret alien control to achieve maximum human potential — even superpowers. Despite a stream of well-documented books and media reports discrediting Mr. Hubbard as a charlatan, his pay-as-you-go religion has maintained enough devoted followers to achieve fabulous financial standing.

“A latter-day influx of celebrity practitioners like [Tom] Cruise and John Travolta has propelled Scientology into mainstream consciousness. …

“Web searches spiked … this spring when Isaac Hayes quit his job as the voice of a popular ‘South Park’ character in protest of the Comedy Central cartoon’s lampoon of Scientology. The episode in question exposed the secret doctrine of the evil space lord Xenu, whose use of Earth 75 million years ago to free his planet from overpopulation resulted in the mass alien possession of human souls.

“The far-fetched Scientology narrative, outlined accurately in ‘South Park,’ is only known because disgruntled ex-Scientologists released the information and documents proving it.”

—Mark Bergin, writing on “Superpower Religion,” in the May 27 issue of World Magazine

Arianna’s world

“Arianna Huffington … has made her career out of having opinions, often totally contradictory ones, and being shamelessly outspoken about whatever viewpoint she is currently holding. Arianna, during the time I have known her, has gone from being an anti-feminist, far right-wing conservative to the far-left blogger queen she is today. While many people’s politics have evolved … Arianna’s have whiplashed.

“But, hey, she keeps being on TV, even with that grating accent, and keeps mixing in more and more rarefied celeb circles. Remember, Arianna was once dubbed the most upwardly mobile Greek since Icarus. [Recently] she was picked by Time magazine as one of America’s 100 Most Influential People, and she hobnobbed at the party at the Time Warner Center with J-Lo and Condoleezza Rice. In true journalistic spirit, the only question she asked, when face-to-face with the secretary of state, was who had designed Rice’s dress.”

—Myrna Blyth, writing on “R.I.P.,” Wednesday in National Review Online at www.national.review.com

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