How do I become the smoking man?

By that I mean, how do I become one of the guys who knows the secrets behind conspiracies, power structures, government, aliens…

What job should I pursue? CIA? President of the US? MIB?

What’s the best way to become someone who gets to know the truth?

You can start by becoming a regular member of the Straight Dope. :slight_smile:

From an external view, it’s hard to believe that anyone knows more than the President. Although, according to any good conspiracy theory, there are shadowy figures behind the President that the public doesn’t know about, and obviously we can’t give you a roadmap to become one of those.

The smoking man? Ha! He was just a puppet. The real insiders are people who hold influential roles in small communities, like pastors, high school science teachers and park rangers.

You gotta be a hand model.

I’d be willing to do whatever it takes to become president, even though it would obviously mean lying about my atheism, my past, and my reasons for wanting to become president. But I’ll never get elected; I’m not rich, I have no connections, etc.

Working your way up the intelligence service would probably be your second best bet. I have a friend who worked for the NSA and got tired of it because he couldn’t ever tell people what he was doing for work; now he works in the private sector.

But getting to the higher levels of the CIA and NSA and FBI is notoriously brutal. The only place more bureaucratic is the NYC Department of Motor Vehicles.

It is plausible that somebody like the director of the CIA knows way more about some weird plots than the POTUS. That was the official line during Iran-Contra. Reagan swore he didn’t know much about it yet it had everything a good conspiracy should be (US arms being sold in the Middle East secretly being used to fund a revolutionary group in Nicaragua). I am about as anti-conspiracy as they get but they aren’t always false and some of the real ones especially involving the CIA are more strange than the one that the nuts make up.

Sure, there are going to be things that the Prez doesn’t know. But in the end, I think that the President will know the most overall.

Actually, librarians are the secret knowledge-rulers of the world.

[sub]and sexy, too…[/sub]

Have you ever considered that the president knows practically nothing? He seems like a clueless figurehead, a puppet who knows only what he’s told. And I’m not just referring to Bush, but all presidents. Do you really think the Powers That Be would trust secrets to the average-IQ, Christian momma’s boy macho man crackers who generally occupy the white house? Please.

You think I’d let red tape deter me? I’m willing to kill people to get where i want to go; filling out forms and waiting a long time is nothing.

and a foil hat.

No, I haven’t.

Because it’s not true.

The easiest thing to do about conspiracy theories is disbelieve them. All of them. Certainly there are secrets that the government tries to keep, but they always come out. That shadowy figures rule with the president as a puppet is useful as a plot device for fiction, but laughable as a realistic view of the world.

One thing we’re very good about here at the Dope is beating conspiracy theories into blubbering heaps of goo. If you stick around, we’ll be happy to work over any you have. :slight_smile:

And no, that’s not because we’re part of the conspiracy. :smiley:

That doesn’t make sense to me. Willingness to kill people tells us nothing about your ability to not break down and cry like a little girl when faced with a true bureaucratic hellhole. If there is anything on this planet that could drive me to suicide then it’s red tape. As an ordinary person I’ve encountered dealings with the government that made me seriously question whether I’m in some sort of a nightmare where I’m trapped on the set of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. Unless you’re going to manage to shoot everybody who asks you to fill out the form, of course.
I doubt there’s anybody who knows everything, or even close to that. No organizers, no men in the shadows controlling everything, no evil puppeteers that have less unexpected in their life than the rest of us. People just don’t organize that way. I’m not saying there are no evil puppeteers, nor that they don’t think they know everything – I’m saying that they’re just as insignificant as anybody else in the grand scheme of things. There’s probably a whole bunch of people doing semi-official things thinking they’re the men in black, and in the end it’s just one giant venn diagram covering hundreds of thousands of people without any particular circle exceeding all that far past our Dunbar’s number.

So find whatever job is going to make you wear a black suit and sunglasses and have your salary line be blacked out except for the number on the budget. Which is hundreds of thousands of different people who do all sorts of different things. Try the Department of Fish and Game :wink:

If you were to serve in an intelligence agency, you’d probably spend an overwhelming amount of your career looking at the world through a soda straw: you might know a heck of a lot about our cloak and dagger activities in Kenya, for example, and nothing about anything else. Presuming you’re good at your job, you may get promoted to cover all of Africa, and perhaps start working for someone like (or become) the Deputy Director for Operations for the CIA. So then you’d be at a point in which you probably know a little about everything. All it will take is 20 to 30 years excelling in a bureaucracy!

There’s other points of convergence: you could be the White House Chief of staff, on the staff of the NSC (last time I checked we’re talking about 80 or so staff), or a budget analyst for the Office of Management and Budget (someone has to account for the cost of electricity to keep Kennedy’s head in the cryogenic tank). I’m sure there are other positions I haven’t listed (CIA historian, for example) but you get the point.

Good luck. Hope you wouldn’t be disappointed if you work 30 years to achieve your goal only to find that Roswell was indeed a weather balloon.

Right, so no matter how far up the ladder I think I am, I will always be looking to climb higher, b/c I’ll never know for sure whether I’ve gone as far as I can go.

Intelligence methods mean that there is absolutely no-one who has provable access to all those plots and sub plots.

Any individual will have a knowledge about one area, and there will be others who do not know about the detail but will be resonsible for strategy.

Its much too risky to have an all knowing individual.

Uhhh… it’s about the office, not the guy who holds the office. God have mercy for people growing up knowing only GWB as the President.

Has your father ever been president? Are there any Supreme Court Justices in his pocket?