Conspiracy people don’t believe that Marco Polo ever went to China,
because if he had, then surely he would have written about chopsticks, the Great Wall, sweet-and-sour pork and so on, as if he would’ve been interested in exactly the same things we’re interested in almost seven hundred years later. What’s the point of the argument anyway? Even if he didn’t, many others did. He’s got nothing on Ibn Battutah, by the way. No amount of whining by self-appointed conspiracy watchdogs and other assorted speculators can change the fact that the history of the world is the history of blind circumstance and brute survival and a few great men doing some extraordinary work. If someone doesn’t do the work, then it doesn’t get done. Conspiracy people even doubt the existence of Jesus and the genius of Shakespeare, notwithstanding the fact that none of their contemporaries doubted them. Maybe conspiracy is like anti-gravity- the farther from the source, the stronger it is. Aside from the absurdity of the argument, the bottom line is that it doesn’t even matter. The work stands on its own. Somebody did it, and did it brilliantly, regardless of whose ego is at stake.