Flavors of Conspiracies

I feel that one should never stop learning new things, which I admit isn’t exactly profound. But I also feel that, especially in the intelligence field, too many people are unreceptive to new ideas simply because they don’t trust/like/know the source. That’s crazy, I think; you can learn things, and gain new and interesting insights, in the most unlikely of places. (I’m not “reading webcomics”, I’m conducting research!)

Anyway, an interesting observation I stumbled across this weekend, in an unlikely place, and wanted to share:

Conspirators come in two basic flavors… The bland vanillas, usually wealthy, who meet in comfortably appointed boardrooms or dining rooms, scenting the air with expensive perfumes, liqueurs, and good food. The more complex chocolates, usually impoverished, who meet in dingy back rooms of failing businesses or scruffy warehouses, where the musty air stinks of dangerous chemicals and unwashed bodies. The vanillas, when they cursed, did so with a sense of risk taken, as if the expletives might pop in their mouths like flimsy balloons and sting their tongues. The chocolates cursed without noticing, the familiar phrases embedded in their speech like nuts in candy, lending texture. The vanillas claimed to loathe violence, resorting to it with reluctance, under the lash of stern morality. The chocolates embraced violence and its tools as familiar and comforting rituals. No wonder, since when the vanillas chose violence, they employed chocolates for it.

Poetic early-twentieth-century scholarly description of the class struggle in Britain? Contemporary media description of anarchists and other extremists in America? An intelligence report on the the Palestinian Intifada, or the Sadr militia?

Nope… it’s actually the opening paragraph of Elizabeth Moon’s 1995 science-fiction novel Winning Colors. Go figure, eh?

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on January 26th, 2009| Comments Off on Flavors of Conspiracies

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