Well apparently the Osama “deather” meme has become a full-blown conspiracy theory in record time. The idea is not so much that Osama bin Laden is still alive but that he was killed years ago (some say as early as 2002) and kept in hiding – on ice, I’ve read – for some obscure purpose.

Has that purpose been revealed? Clearly, Obama is using it to put the “birther” business behind him and get re-elected in 2012. But that would also imply that the Obama administration and the Bush administration are in cahoots, working together in the cultivation of the Greatest Conspiracy Ever. This notion was echoed by noted truther Giulietto Chiesa, who called Obama a “neocon” on Italian television last night.

It’s slightly exhilarating to watch the weeds of conpiracy theory sprout up literally overnight. Before I’d even heard the news that Osama was dead, Twitter was brimming with announcements of the new manifestation of “birtherism”, tagged #deather/s. “Show us the birth certificate” was the new “Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber” and is now “Show us the photos/corpse of Osama bin Laden.”

Of course no photos would ever be enough (they could be faked), no cadaver would ever be that of the real Osama, and how could we trust the “experts” even if they told us that his DNA matched? So the White House is – very wisely, in my opinion – brushing the whole business aside by refusing to go there.

Because the truth about conspiracy theorists is that they never stop when evidence is shown to them; they never say, “Alright, we were mistaken. Now that you’ve shown us adequate proof of X we’ve accepted your narrative.” That never happens. Conspiracy theorists are not skeptics, though they love to think of themselves as such. Skepticism is after truth through supporting evidence, while conspiracy theorists are after “truth” despite evidence to the contrary. The more you give them, the stronger the conspiracy becomes. Their minds are already made up.

Goodbye, motherfucker

New York is alive and well in 2011.

On Sept. 11, 2001 I was living with my then-girlfriend and our Greek puppy in Brooklyn. After the surreal horror of the day, the black smoke billowing up from the burning ruins of the World Trade Center and darkening the horizion, we decided it might be best to be in the company of fellow Brooklynites. So we went to a local bar to have a beer and…well, what do you do in such a situation?

Mostly everyone just sat around sipping drinks. It seemed like we were afraid to even talk. But talk about what? What had just happened was beyond the ken of our ability to even grasp what was going on (who knew the next blast wasn’t just around the corner?). This was the beginning of something, or the end of something, or both at the same time. We were confused, frightened, shocked. But we were together.

I’m not rejoicing at the death of Osama bin Laden. I’m not sure I like seeing all-night party people in the streets of Manhattan celebrating his removal from life on Earth with face paint and banners, as if it were a sports victory. But I do understand the elevated emotions at knowing we got him. That he wasn’t eliminated in a drone operation, but by the firearm of a US soldier in hand to hand combat. There’s something primitive in this, I admit. But one enjoys pausing on the last thought to fly through bin Laden’s brain before he met his demise. A novel or a poem will surely be written about it one day. And I doubt very much it was “Allahu Akhbar.”

Goodbye, motherfucker.