Image by quarkscrew via Creative Commons
The New York Times‘s Michiko Kakutani, so often the purveyor of eviscerating book reviews, for once truly loves something: an all-out mockery of a myriad of conspiracy theories, from 9/11 to Princess Diana, by David Aaronovich, Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History:
The principle of Occam’s razor suggests that the simplest hypothesis is usually the correct one — or as the character Gil Grissom in “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” succinctly puts it, if you hear hoofbeats, “think horses, not zebras.”In his lively new book, “Voodoo Histories,” the journalist David Aaronovitch uses Occam’s razor to eviscerate the many conspiracy theories that have percolated through politics and popular culture over the last century, from those that assert that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were actually a United States government plot to those that claim that Diana, Princess of Wales, was murdered at the direction of the royal family or British intelligence.
In most cases, Mr. Aaronovitch notes, conspiracy theorists would rather tie themselves into complicated knots and postulate all sorts of improbable secret connections than accept a simple, more obvious explanation.
Of those who claim that the Pentagon was not hit on 9/11 by a terrorist-piloted American Airlines Flight 77, Mr. Aaronovitch sarcastically observes: “But there is always the possibility, however extraordinarily remote, that DNA might have been planted to the exact specifications of the missing passengers, crew and employees, that wreckage might somehow have been placed at the scene within minutes of the crash, and that the real occupants of the missing Flight 77 might have been spirited away to some unknown place, there to be butchered or to live in the world’s weirdest witness protection program.”…
[continues in the New York Times]