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Conspiracy: How Chuck Klosterman Accidentally Got Wrapped Up In A CIA Scandal

“It's weird to be inside the news,” Chuck Klosterman writes in Grantland. The title of his article, “I Lived a CIA Conspiracy Theory,” perfectly sums up the whirlwind of a weekend he had after the Twittersphere exploded with rumors that the author had inadvertently played a part in David Petraeus' decision to resign from his post as head of the CIA. After news of Petraeus' extra-marital affair (and resignation) went public, speculations began to mount that a letter Klosterman responded to in his New York Times Magazine column, “The Ethicist”, was possibly related to the scandal. The letter, published back in July, was written by a man who discovered his wife was having an affair with a high-profile American government official. Coincidence? The Internet didn't seem to think so. Klosterman, however, says that it was, “an imaginary controversy that was the social-media equivalent of noting how Abe Lincoln was shot in Ford's Theater and John Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln automobile manufactured by Ford.”

The rumors, of course, were squashed almost as fast as they started, and major news outlets promptly began posting stories that put the rumors to rest. “I suppose I could theoretically turn this into some dark commentary about the Internet,” he writes. Instead, he took the whole episode at face-value, quipping simply that: “It's just something that happened (and it just so happens that it happened to me). Life is crazy.” While his response may seem less analytical than one would expect from a social satirist, perhaps it is everyone else that is over-analysing. When it comes down to it, as Klosterman explains, nothing really happened, and the whole event turned out to be one big coincidence. Further, Klosterman has frequently made the argument that the way we consume the media surrounding us defines who we are as people. As the author of books such as Killing Yourself to Live and The Visible Man, Klosterman is well-seasoned in the art of humorously and intelligently dissecting pop culture. His speeches expands on the material covered in his books, and he teaches us how pop culture shapes our lives and how little connections (like the speculative link between his column and a national security issue) make life ultimately more fascinating.