Kenneth A. Shaw, Chancellor

Sandi Tams Mulconry '75
Associate Vice President for
University Communications; Publisher

Jeffrey Charboneau G'99
Institutional/Administrative Publications;
Managing Editor

Jay Cox

Carol North Schmuckler '57, G'85

Gary Pallassino

W. Michael McGrath, Amy McVey

W. Michael McGrath

Jennifer Merante

Denise A. Hendee

Stacey Felsen G'00,
Danielle K. Johnson '00

Tammy DiDomenico,
Susan Feightner,
Denise Owen Harrigan,
Jonathan Hay, Judy Holmes G'86,
Kelly Homan '92,
Wendy S. Loughlin G'95,
Paula Meseroll,
Cynthia Moritz '81,
William Preston,
Amy Shires

Syracuse University Magazine
(ISSN 1065-884X) is published
four times yearly in summer, fall,
winter, and spring by Syracuse
University and distributed free of
charge to alumni, friends, faculty, and staff members. Periodical postage paid at Syracuse, New York, and additional mailing offices.

Development Information Services,
820 Comstock Avenue, Room 009,
Syracuse, New York 13244-5040.
Telephone: 315-443-2233.
Fax: 315-443-5169.
For duplicate mailings, please send
both mailing labels to the
address above.

Syracuse University Magazine,
820 Comstock Avenue, Room 308,
Syracuse, New York 13244-5040.
Telephone: 315-443-5423.
Fax: 315-443-5425.
Contents 1999 Syracuse University,
except where noted.
Views and opinions expressed in
Syracuse University Magazine
are those of the authors and do not
necessarily represent the opinions of
its editors or policies of
Syracuse University.

Send address corrections to
820 Comstock Avenue, Room 009,
Syracuse, New York 13244-5040.

To promote learning through teaching,
research, scholarship, creative
accomplishment, and service.

To be the leading student-centered
research university with faculty,
students, and staff sharing responsibility
and working together for academic,
professional, and personal growth.




The train careened through the dawn mist of the Welsh countryside as the sun began its climb into the sky. From my window seat I could see steam clouds puffing from the cooling towers of a nuclear power plant in the distance. I’d spent the night before on a ferry crossing the Irish Sea and was dog tired. The morning already had a surreal feel to it, but turned decidedly stranger when a self-proclaimed "old-age pensioner" sat down next to me and began talking about Armageddon. "You know about the Trilateral Commission and the multinational banks, don’t you?" she asked. "If you’re ever going to fight anything, fight a one-world monetary system. That will be the end."

She spouted quotes from the Book of Revelations and insisted that computers were the beginning of the end. At one point, she instructed me to look at my bank cards and examine bar codes. "A lot have ‘666’ on them–the sign of the devil," she said. "Coincidence?"

Great, I thought. No sleep, and now I’ve got Mrs. Nostradamus sitting next to me. Truth be told, the whole scene smacked of craziness. After all, there I was–bleary-eyed, exhausted, and not exactly functioning at optimal brain power. And here was this woman, jabbering in my ear about the apocalypse as the sky took on an eerie glow and the nuclear power plant loomed more ominous in my mind. Fortunately for me, the woman soon slipped off the train. "We can’t win," she said while departing. "We’re doomed."

At first I had hoped the experience was just a sleep-deprivation-induced hallucination. Then, as my imagination stretched, I wondered: "Was that woman for real–or some kind of sign from the Almighty above?" Nope, just another conspiracy theorist spreading gospel from the tattered fringes of civilization, I figured.

It wasn’t my first encounter with a pontificating citizen distortionist, nor was it my last. This, of course, makes me contemplate whether I have a look about me that attracts these folks. I don’t have a bumper sticker that says, "Honk If You Believe Oswald Had Help," or clothing declaring, "My Wife Visited Area 51 And All I Got Was This Lousy Radioactive Alien T-shirt." In fact, I tend to be skeptical about information generated by late-night talk radio, Internet chat rooms, gossips, or paranoid people with political motives. Yet how can anyone automatically dismiss the hand of the government or military when their track records include such notorious cover-ups as Watergate, the My Lai Massacre, and the Tuskegee Experiment?

Conspiracy theorists have plenty of fodder for their cannons. But how they rally around far-fetched beliefs–including vulgar hate-group views that justify racism and anti-Semitism–boggles my mind. In "Harbingers of Hate" three Syracuse professors share insights on these groups. Some of the information is downright frightening. Such notions often give these people a common ground, the professors say. Apparently, once you accept one disturbing idea, buying into the whole package becomes part of the bargain.

Even after reading the article, I still wonder how a seemingly pleasant former neighbor of mine could turn a casual conversation into a bigoted tirade that encompassed everything from the Trilateral Commission and David Duke to an imminent Russian invasion of the U.S. mainland. He liked to call me a "Boston liberal," though I was neither from Boston nor a liberal. But it sure sounded better than anything I would have called him, which certainly would’ve revealed my role in the conspiracy.

                                                                                    Jay Cox

Main Home Page Contents Chancellor's Message Opening Remarks
Up Front Harbingers of Hate Vision Fund Orange Olympic Champ
Cooperative Experience Quad Angles Campaign News University Place
Student Center Staff Circle Faculty Focus Alumni News/Notes
Cover To Cover View From The Hill

820 Comstock Ave., Rm. 308
Syracuse, NY 13244-5040