Sunday 11th May 2008

Dictionary makers (lexicographers, in other words), are unreliable. Here's the proof: 'conspiracy' is present in all major dictionaries, but there is no such thing! How do I know that conspiracies don't exist? Well, boys and girls, it really is quite simple. I read the papers, I watch the TV. I'm a normal citizen, going about my daily business and listening to all those opinion formers out there whose sacred duty it is to keep us democracy-dwelling Free Men (and occasionally Women) informed of what we Need To Know. And each and every journalist this side of armageddon uses 'conspiracy theory' as proof positive that something didn't happen. Ergo: conspiracies don't exist.

Doesn't that make you feel better? To take one comforting example completely at random, members of the British government did not recently conspire to end a criminal investigation into bribery and fraud relating to Saudi arms buying from one of our country's biggest companies (BAE). To suggest otherwise would be to theorise about conspiracies, to be a conspiracy theorist, in other words to be a something of a tosser.

So, clearly, those chaps at the OED, Collins, Merriam-Webster and so on, have been telling us porkies. I recommend a thorough overhall; certainly I'm going to take a long hard look at some other definitions that I've long taken for granted. Now then, what was the meaning of 'journalist', again...?


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