If there once was an age of innocence, I would say we now live in the age of confirmation. It is as if the “Show Me” state mentality of Missouri has spread across the entire nation. I came to this realization not from the Bin Laden photo scandal, but from a personal anecdote. You see, I was waiting at the vending machine as a young lady struggled to get it to take her money. Once the full sum was accepted, she entered her selection into the key pad. An immediate gasp of shock and disappointment came from her mouth as the wrong item was dispensed. The machine was not in error, rather, the young lady had pressed the wrong keys. Her mistake was immediate and irreversible. The spectacle got me thinking, why so much shock. And then I realized that she, like myself, sits in front of a computer all day. All day long, whenever she is tries to execute a command of some sort, she is always given the choice “Are you Sure you want to ….” , “Please confirm….”. She has gotten used to having that fail safe available before she makes a decision, so when she put her money into the vending machine, she wasn’t very careful to enter the correct choice because she has become used to having to provide confirmation.
The same process that causes a person to become lax when entering information is the same process that is causing conspiracy theories to run rampant. Conspiracy theories are nothing new, from Elvis’ birth to JFK’s assassination, our country loves a conspiracy. Ever since 9/11, however, I would say that the conspiracy theorist is going more and more mainstream. At first, you could blame the internet for providing an undisputed forum for any persons theories. People can even use any number of software programs to alter video and sound. I for one, never believe a shocking internet video because I know there are professionals that put these things out. Over the last 3 years, we have been dealing with the Obama birth certificate movement. For some reason, the conspiracy around Obama’s birth never died down as he had hoped. In fact, the movement only grew and grew to the point that the President had to provide full documentation. And now that documentation itself is suspect. The former “birther” movement has now evolved into the “deather” movement regarding the death of Osama Bin Laden.
Until this afternoon, I wanted to believe such paranoia existed because of the mistrust of our President and government in general. Three minutes in front of a vending machine has changed my mind. I now believe that it is because of the subconscious imprinting of millions of computer users that is the cause. It is like a ludivigo treatment from “A clockwork Orange”, only we don’t have to have our eyes propped open. Every few minutes, we are asked “Are we sure”. Every few minutes, we are asked to “Confirm” something. After each of these actions, we are told it will be “okay”. If I’m asked to confirm and be sure of everything I do, it is easy to believe that I would apply that to others. For example, a President announces that somebody has died. Our first question is “Are you sure”, and “please confirm”, after which we will be okay with the announcement. It has just become second nature at this point. And when it doesn’t happen, our natural response is to “cancel” what is said.
Now that you have read my theory, don’t you want some sort of confirmation. Didn’t you ask yourself, “is he sure”, and thus I have proven my theory.