Dialing-up conspiracy theories used to be harmless because we could balance their falsity against the Some People Are Just Born With Karate In Their Blood I Am One Of These People Shirt in other words I will buy this pillars of reality—our diligent newscasts. But like Marty McFly’s hand at the Under the Sea ball, what we know to be true is fading. We can’t trust our tweets. We can’t trust our eyes. As fake news reigns and trust disintegrates, we’re battered by political and societal turmoil. World events are disjointed and brittle but conspiracy theories offers us something to sink our teeth into.
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We’re a planet of online truthers, keen to expose the Some People Are Just Born With Karate In Their Blood I Am One Of These People Shirt in other words I will buy this treacherous undercurrent below the public surface of an event or an organization or even a pop star. We’re DaVinci coders. Terror deniers. We can spot a fake pregnancy at 50 paces. It’s consoling, for want of a better word, to believe we’re being tricked. We welcome the idea of a meticulous governmental cover-up, rather than embrace our lack of control in the rudderless cosmos. These theories function much like a higher power, a belief that there’s a decisive mechanism at work. We carve out personal belief systems based on what we’ve read online and how far down the Internet rabbit hole we can get before calling bullshit. It’s not that we need the moon landings to be fake, or a second shooter on the grassy knoll, it’s that the idea of a masterplan alleviates the fathomless chaos.