One shouldn’t go around believing in them, of course, but I think there’s something to be said for the construction of conspiracy theories as a mode of political analysis; trying to come up with an entertaining conspiralogical explanation for events is a nice way of exploring the various interests and affects caught up in them. My current research focuses on who is really responsible for the Celebrity Big Brother racism row. My money is on the BNP and Ken Livingstone, hand-in-glove; doubtless one of the housemates was their cat’s-paw (Jo O’Meara, perhaps? Or Ian “H” Watkins, his lovable camp persona just a front).
Celebrity Big Brother is perfect for the co-dependent “respectable” fascists and soft-left anti-fascists: racism gets reduced to a matter of politeness, allowing for pleasing self-righteousness on all sides. The excessiveness of the supposed anti-racism here is remarkable, the viciousness of the continuous joyful presentation of pictures of young women in tears. The mainstream media get to abominate “racism” while ignoring the way in which racism, as a social structure, means that, well-mannered people that they are, they are in exactly the same position as Jade (“I’m not racist but…”).
The right, on the other hand, get to present their racism as “realism,” as a courageous defiance of social norms, while racism simultaneously becomes something non-threatening. Jade, representing the “racist,” becomes a figure of hate, but not one worthy of serious criticism or organized opposition. It’s difficult to think of anything that could trivialize racism more than a police investigation into the use of “poppadum” as a racial slur. And so the BNP get to play the role of fascists, while politicians on the left get to play the role of anti-fascists; a fun game of dressing up that revitalizes racism for the entertainment of all concerned.