Conspiracy theories — so easy to make up, so hard to disprove. Why do so many people believe in crazy-ass, far-fetched political plots these days? First, everything from religion to the spotted owl has been politicized and then disputed by two camps, left versus right. Second, we are a bored-out-of-our-minds society. Truth and stability are essential to a free society but uninteresting. Conspiracy theories like sexual fantasies are more exciting, more fun, more paranormal than normal. Lies are lascivious, gossipy and stoked with intrigue while a fact just lies there like a lug nut not needing a car chase or a mysterious death to enhance its popularity. As Mark Twain said, a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on.
The problem with conspiracy theories is you have to keep ‘ginning them up’ to hold your audience of naive believers. It’s one thing to claim Hillary Clinton is the head of a pedophile ring but next week you need to show a satanic photo of her drinking blood. That’s where the creators of all this glamorized crap risk losing their hold on their flock when a few of them start to think for themselves and say, “No, sorry. I just don’t see Bill Gates sitting down to a four-course dinner of babies.”
Now if I told you that a lobster diver off Provincetown, Massachusetts ended up in the mouth of a whale two weeks ago and lived to tell the story, would you believe it? Probably not, but it’s true. Apparently the enormous humpback did not like the taste of 56-year-old Michael Packard so he breached the surface of the ocean and spit him out. Rude, but true.
Now, if I told you the only man who had verifiable proof that the recent US election was stolen from Donald Trump was mysteriously swallowed by a humpback whale, would you believe it? Well, if this story got repeated ad nauseam on US conspiratorial social media sites, at least three out of four Republicans and tens of millions of Trump supporters would believe it… and then launch a Moby Dick-style whaling expedition to retrieve the body and the evidence. That’s where we are today, truth or dare, truth and despair, truth or bare-faced lies.
Having said that, don’t for a second think that the conspiracy theories bouncing back and forth on social media sites like chlamydia on Miracle-Gro are not hugely entertaining. I mean if conspiracy theories were a movie, Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene would be an Oscar-winning actress.
When Greene claims the Parkland, Florida high school shooting was a “false flag” hoax, every friend and family member of the 17 victims have to confirm and then relive that massacre. This is disturbing. But when Greene, “a rising star in the Republican Party” according to Donald Trump, claims wild fires in California are being started by Jewish satellites in space in order to clear a path for a high-speed rail project… well, that’s the kind of material director John de Bello wished he had included in the movie The Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes. No coincidence, that movie is what’s known as a “cult film”.
Trump’s big lie that the November election was stolen has become the mantra for conspiracy freaks and QAnon followers, but in order to keep it from getting stale it needs some spiffing up like:
Like the theory that an Italian aerospace company used computer systems and military satellites to help rig the US election in President Joe Biden’s favour. This international dirty trick could have been avoided if one of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Jewish satellites had crashed into the Italian satellite causing the phoney ballots to burn up in outer space. See the fun you can have with falsehoods?
Like the theory that an Asian country flew 40,000 illegal ballots into Arizona to help Biden win that state so right now Trump’s people are using black lights to test all ballots in Maricopa County… wait for it… for traces of bamboo fibres and cheese dust because Asians use bamboo to process their paper and — I’m guessing here— eat cheese doodles while they work.
Like the theory that the entire population of capuchin monkeys at the San Diego Zoo not only escaped on the evening of November 2, 2020 to stuff hundreds of Biden ballots into nearby voters drop boxes but also managed to break back into the zoo without being detected by security. Republican vote auditors in San Diego Country are now testing all ballots for traces of Kopi luwak, a very expensive coffee made from beans that monkeys poop out. Okay, that one I made up, but the others are as true as any incident based on 100% bullshit can be.
Just last week, Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ official super spreader of baseless hypotheses claimed the January 6th attack on the US Capitol was an FBI plot to create a riot so violent that they would then be justified in arresting every rightwing American of their choosing. I’m sure this will all get cleared up when Donald Trump is reinstated as the US President in August, according to him and QAnon.
I’m placing my faith in the words of Canadian film director Paul S. Lynch who said, “The truth does not become a lie, right does not become wrong, and good does not become evil, just because the minority believes in conspiracy theories and fakes news.” That’ll work as long as more people do not fall under the cult spell of false information, the intellectual cancer of our time. With more sophisticated faked news a marginalized minority could become an overwhelming majority and with that, the core of democracy cannot hold.
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