- The Washington Times - Friday, April 18, 2008

In a recent interview with Blender magazine, R&B; singer-songwriter Alicia Keys let loose a doozy of a conspiracy theory: that “the government and the media” played up the coastal feud between slain rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. “to stop another great black leader from existing.” Miss Keys’ theory isn’t quite in the same league as the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s (and Kanye West’s) AIDS-as-genocide hypothesis, but then again, nothing can truly top that one.

Richard Belzer — There’s scarcely a conspiracy theory that the “Law and Order: SVU” star won’t at least entertain: UFOs that have been here for millenniums; secret experiments on human populations; the Year 2000 anticlimax as a sort of martial-law dry run — you name it. The guy literally wrote the book on conspiracy theories (“UFOs, JFK, and Elvis: Conspiracy Theories You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Believe”).

Spike Lee — The devastation of New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina was not only a natural disaster exacerbated by governmental incompetence — it was, said the filmmaker, perhaps a deliberate act by the government to flood the Lower 9th Ward. “I wouldn’t put anything past the U.S. government when it comes to people of color,” Mr. Lee said.

Marion Cotillard — The freshly minted Oscar winner joined Sept. 11 crackpots such as Rosie O’Donnell, Charlie Sheen and Willie Nelson when she aired her belief that the attacks were a grand ruse to demolish the World Trade Center, an outdated “moneysucker.” However, Miss Cotillard vaulted into the ranks of rapper Mos Def with her lunatic (to use a particularly apt term in this case) doubts about whether astronauts physically landed on the moon.

Tom Cruise — Yeah, yeah, the guy gets picked on enough, but because we’re talking looniness, let’s not forget Mr. Cruise’s deranged 2006 crusade against psychiatry, which the actor and his co-religionists believe is a “Brave New World”-like conspiracy to mask the true causes of human suffering.

Mel Gibson — Living up to his title role in 1997’s “Conspiracy Theory,” Mr. Gibson was pulled over by police two years ago in Malibu, Calif., on suspicion of drunken driving, upon which he began raving about Jews, “who are,” he said, “responsible for all the wars in the world.”

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