Fans of the original TV series Bewitched from the 1960s remember Gladys Kravitz, the iconic neighbor of Samantha and Darrin, residents of the psychedelically named Morning Glory Circle. Gladys was one of the only mortals in the show who ever caught on to the scope of the supernatural powers of Samantha. Yet she was constantly ridiculed by her husband, the police, and others. Her husband was always trying to get her to take more medication, because she was seeing people appear and disappear, people turn into animals, and other bizarre occurrences at the Stephens’ home next door.
As the omniscient television viewers, we knew that Gladys was correct in what she was reporting. Her persecution was unjust, and she was by far the most observant person in the neighborhood, if not the entire town. Samantha was outwardly kind to Gladys, even though it was really Samantha’s fault that Gladys was overmedicated and constantly ridiculed by her husband and the authorities. Surely a fantastic spin-off opportunity was missed, with Gladys portrayed as the hero of the neighborhood, defending the world against the evils of witchcraft!
Today, Gladys Kravitz would be called a “conspiracy theorist” by those who seek to use this label to instantly discredit anyone who questions the official, often bland, narrative of current events. In reality, the conspiracy that requires more convolutions, leaps in logic, or downright impossibilities are those perpetuated by the government as the “official story”. For example, it is harder to maintain a lone-gunman-assassin-from-behind JFK story while simultaneously explaining why six credible witnesses saw a hole with a pattern indicating a bullet had entered the front of JFK’s windshield, than to come up with a theory that accounts for more than one shooter. The theory that the government labels as “conspiracy” is often the one that more easily holds up to logical scrutiny.
However, the government also runs the school system. Therefore, they know that a large portion of the public has never been properly trained in logic and analysis. Also, most people care more about fitting in with the crowd than with knowing the truth. That’s why ad hominem attacks like demonizing “conspiracy theorists” work. Few are willing to become the Gladys Kravitz of their neighborhood by questioning the official narrative of the lovely, innocent, completely “normal” blond woman who lives next door.
Just shut up and take your medication, Gladys.