Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

7-25-2014

DOI

10.1080/01463373.2014.922483

Abstract

Predictions of catastrophe at the end of the year 2012 are popular enough to be exploited by Hollywood and debunked by NASA. Drawing from a YouTube video series predicting a 2012 cataclysm caused by “Planet X,” we ask whether the discourse in question is a conspiracy theory and demonstrate how it exemplifies the challenges of analyzing rhetoric in the “paranoid style.” Examining these videos in terms of evidence, credibility, and inter-textuality, this article articulates an aesthetic of conspiracism, going beyond identifying the components of paranoid style to answer what makes a good conspiracy theory as such.

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