I was reading along in Salon’s expose of Carlos Castaneda, the author in the 1970s of a series of wildly popular pseudo-anthropological books on American Indian sorcery and spirituality and, apparently, later the leader of a small cult, when I came to this paragraph:
No one contributed more to Castaneda’s debunking than Richard de Mille. De Mille, who held a Ph.D. in psychology from USC, was something of a freelance intellectual. In a recent interview, he remarked that because he wasn’t associated with a university, he could tell the story straight. “People in the academy wouldn’t do it,” he remarked. “They’d be embarrassing the establishment.” Specifically the UCLA professors who, according to de Mille, knew it was a hoax from the start. But a hoax that, he said, supported their theories, which de Mille summed up succinctly: “Reality doesn’t exist. It’s all what people say to each other.”
Hmmm. A hoax that supported theories held by academics, such that it fell to people outside the academic establishment to debunk the hoax. Sounds to me a lot like the whole “Islam is a religion of peace” enterprise.