Chuck Klosterman: I Lived a CIA Conspiracy Theory

The following is an excerpt from a column published on

I had an interesting weekend. Maybe you did, too. It's always a mixed bag, you know? Some Friday nights are drunken and exhilarating; other Friday nights are empty and reserved. And then, of course, there are those Friday nights when random people believe you accidentally forced the resignation of the head of the CIA.

We've all been there.

I'm not sure what I should write about the previous 72 hours of my life, or even if I should write anything at all. Technically, nothing happened. But I've been asked to "explain" how and why a certain non-event occurred, and I will try my best to do so. If you already know what I'm referring to, you will likely be disappointed by the banality of the forthcoming details. If you have no idea what I'm referring to, I will now attempt to explain what a bunch of other people desperately wanted to believe, mostly for their own amusement. It's a good story (not a great one, but a good one).

On Friday evening, I started watching a movie in my living room just after 9 p.m. This particular movie was 184 minutes long. I didn't want to be distracted, so I turned off my phone. When the film was over, my wife mentioned that she had just received an odd, alarmist e-mail from a mutual friend of ours. I subsequently turned on my phone and instantaneously received a dozen text messages that ranged from the instructional ("You're on the Internet") to the inscrutable ("This totally makes up karmically for that time you caused Billy Joel to go to rehab"). I had no idea what any of this meant (or even what it could mean). But what had transpired was this: At 9:09 p.m., the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine had tweeted the words "interesting letter" to his 48,000 followers, along with a link to an article published in the New York Times Magazine on July 13. What happened after that is totally bizarre and stupidly predictable.

It was an honor to be involved.

For the rest of the column, including the original letter to 'The Ethicist' and Q&A with Klosterman, click HERE.

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