Paranoia at Yale, or How I Mastered the Art of Conspiracy Writing

Very intelligent people like to scoff at information that is clearly labeled in the conspiratorial category, but the truth is that they are in general more susceptible to the implantation of unifying theories than the mainstream population, and this stems from a sociocultural detachment that leads to an inability to accurately measure the capabilities of other individuals or groups; something aptly dubbed: "Ivory Tower Syndrome." 

I grew up in the ghetto, and attended a predominantly minority high school in the South Bronx. At Alfred E. Smith Technical High School, I would spend several hours a day getting my hands greasy and sliding around on the floor under cars. I can't recall a single time when I was intimidated by one of my enormous classmates wielding a saw, a giant wrench, a screwdriver, etc. We had access to virtually every deadly tool imaginable, but the few times that people fought it was solved with extreme words, or a few punches. Some people who had fist fights freshman year were, by senior year, very good friends. 

I don't think my high school experience was exceptional beyond the dearth of females, and I think it mirrors the experience of many working-class, minority students in America's big cities. However, to my peers at Yale, my story was not just exceptional, it was completely foreign.

And it was in exploring the "exceptional and foreign" that I discovered wherein lay my creative powers. 

I have never witnessed a drive-by shooting -- and I spent many days on the street corner before I started high school -- yet to my peers it was not only conceivable that I had seen a few gangbangers shooting while driving, but that I had also survived a shooting myself. 

A childhood leg injury -- metal steel beam penetration -- that looks like an entry and exit bullet wound became just that in rumors. To this day I still have no idea how that rumor got started, maybe someone saw the injury, knew I was from the Bronx, and next thing I know I'm the victim of a shooting.

Where Jose Abreu was trained to be a conspirator. © Abreu Report
My all-black attire which in the Bronx signaled that I mostly listened to Metallica and not Tupac at Yale meant that I was an anarchist. Facebook pictures of me in a river in the Dominican republic playing softball with friends started rumors that I had an armed militia.

Not to brag, but I had sex almost every night my freshman year at Yale. I only slept with two different girls, but I chose not to reveal to my suitemates who I was sleeping with. Before I knew it, I had people I barely knew coming up to me and saying, "Damn, I heard you bagged like 15 chicks last month."

What kind of 18-year-old is going to deny something like that? I enjoyed the mystique, so I just laughed when people brought it up, but the fact is that having sex every night at stuck-up Yale is exceptional, and being a Dominican guy from the Bronx meant that I was completely foreign, and that people were ready to believe anything. 

Without me even meeting people, they were already afraid of me; I would either seduce you with one smile and take your pants off with one glance, or send my Dominican militia after you. The fact that Heavy labeled Abreu Report a far-right publication has only added to these militia fears, but I digress.

To people at Yale, Ivory Tower protocol is what's normal, and everything within it contains the total range of acceptable speech, behaviors, and mannerisms. After just one semester at Yale, some students return home feeling nothing but resentment towards their own families and friends, finding it completely impossible to communicate with them, and thus worsening their Ivory Tower Syndrome.  

The rift between America's elite and the masses isn't just financial, it's deeply cultural. And it is in this cultural misunderstanding where conspiracies thrive and can be fed to grow.

When I was a junior, I started a website called Ivy Leaguers for an Independent Investigation, calling for the attacks of September the 11th to be re-examined, and highlighting reasons why this was necessary. It was a moderately successful website -- we had articles on Infowars and other large publications -- but social pressure forced me to take it down. The whispers and the looks from people who didn't know me and who had not even seen the website, and the social avoidance which I experienced, led to me losing three years of my writing life, and to nearly doubt my own sanity.

Hell, the Financial Times even reported that I was too embarrassed to give my name to the paper when they interviewed me, writing: "A Yale student had promoted the lecture on Facebook Events, but fellow students had apparently been unwilling to add their names, which anyone can see, perhaps for fear of ridicule. Only six show up."

Today my ideas are more mainstream, and I own the second-largest English-language Dominican publication, but part of me is still bitter about losing three writing years, especially as I project that we will reach number one before the year is out, as we continue growing daily.

Today I look at my peers, and most of them have needed therapy; Ivory Tower Syndrome meant that the world they walked into was too scary, ruthless, and they couldn't find a system to comfort their conspiracy theories about poor foreigners.

It's called "common sense" and "playing it safe" when rich white people contrive fantastical machinations in their minds about those of us who are brown, poor, and speak in a non-mainstream-and-therefore-in-their-eyes-inferior dialect.

However, when those of us who are not elites contrive fantastical machinations about rich, white, mainstream-talking politicians, those common sense fears are referred to as "conspiracy theories."

Everyone believes in things they don't know for certain, convincing them of a conspiracy theory just means fleshing out which culture or group they don't understand and therefore can be made to fear.

I believe "conspiracy theories" about the Bush family because I fear them, they are foreign, and I know for a fact that they have killed and tortured and took pleasure in it. To paraphrase a very intelligent Yalie from New York: "Once a torturing murderer, always a torturing murderer."

By: Jose M. Abreu