Spend some time sifting through this stuff and your eyes will roll so far back into your skull you’ll look like you’ve been possessed by Baphomet. The theorists’ revelations are presented, variously, in portentous tones and with exclamation-point-riddled urgency: The Illuminati, intent on global domination, treat pop music as a powerful mind-control weapon, weaving secret messages and dark imagery into hits and videos; there is much inveighing that we wake up to the brainwashing. The Illuminati truthers make 9/11 truthers seem as rigorous and compelling as Woodward and Bernstein on Watergate.
The Illuminati-in-pop meme has tremendous traction. References to the secret society began popping up in hip-hop songs back in the early ’90s, but with the rise of broadband Internet, Illuminati conspiracies have enjoyed the same steroidal super-boost as pornography and cat photography. The theorists occupy music’s margins, and yet their message has splashed into mainstream waters.
Who are the Illuminati, and why are so many pop-music observers obsessed with them? The Illuminati were an actual group, founded in Bavaria in the late 18th century by a philosopher and law professor named Adam Weishaupt. more…
By Jonah Weiner
© 2011 The Slate Group
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