Date of Original Version
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.
Reyes, Ian and Jason K. Smith. "What They Don't Want You to Know About Planet X: Surviving 2012 and the Aesthetics of Conspiracy Rhetoric." Communication Quarterly, vol. 62, no. 4, 2014, pp. 399-415. doi: 10.1080/01463373.2014.922483.