According to conspiracy theorist Nelson Thall, the recent tragedy visited upon Haiti was no mere earthquake. It was something more sinister. In his view, High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) technology destroyed the island. Why? Because it's a pawn in the ongoing battle between what he calls the Old World Order (loosely, the Anglo-American Empire) and the New World Order (loosely, the European Union and the Vatican).
George Freund, a colleague in the city's booming conspiracy brotherhood, stops short of attributing the Haitian quake to tectonic weaponry. But he notes that the country's "potential oil and mineral wealth make [it] plum for the picking," and that a bright plasma ball (doubtless caused by a HAARP weapon) was photographed on the eve of the quake in the skies over Haiti.
Mr. Thall, a.k.a. Lenny Bloom, and Mr. Freund are just two of a growing group of Torontonians who reject the "facts" they say we're spoon-fed, in favour of more unsettling truths.
They're not alone. As British writer David Aaronovitch observes in his new book, Voodoo Histories, the Western world now lives in an age of "fashionable conspiracism," its garments feverishly promoted via Internet forums, blogs and, increasingly, mainstream media. C oast-to-Coast - a late-night radio talk show - is syndicated on more than 500 North American stations. Conspiracy culture has even infiltrated TV prime time with Conspiracy Theory, courtesy of former Minnesota governor and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura, and The Conspiracy Files from the BBC, erstwhile bastion of establishment thinking.
But conspiracy theory seems to be nowhere more fashionable than in Toronto.
If Toronto is, in fact, the urban hotbed of conspiracy theory, it may be explained by the same theory that accounts for why so many Canadian comedians were able to find success in the United States: We live close enough to the empire to understand it and critique it, but are never really part of it.