Words as Weapons

Political Conspiracies

The attack on 9/11 was a horrific act, but it is the story—the words, if you will—that surround the act that have given it meaning. The meaning conveyed by "You are either with us, or against us." or "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." are perhaps some of the more blatant examples of how the events of 9/11 have been framed to be the foundation of the Great Fear society. But, more insidious, is the use of the phrase "conspiracy theorist" to defend the official view from critics. The frequency and effectiveness of its use in this way has been so powerful that it is now part of the lexicon used to discredit anyone with a contrarian view of the world.