It's not difficult to get sucked into a conspiracy theory. I've written a few times about my brief dalliance with 9/11 Truthers. It was between the infancy of the movement, and when they started to get fairly nutty. Which is a pretty short space of time. At first, you feel like you've discovered something. Next, you start to see a few "aha!" type puzzle pieces that fit into a fascinating narrative, then those moments pile up with surprising speed. "How deep does this go?" you wonder to yourself, and then--if you are lucky--you start to notice the holes in the theory. And the "fact"-spackle that doesn't quite fit. Eventually, if you don't get sucked in completely, you abandon the whole thing, because they've basically spoiled the soup with crazy.
|Image from source, New Yorker|
For me, it was "there were no planes." Which barely scratches the surface of the crazy to be found if you continue to follow with a more skeptical eye. Most conspiracy theories work on exactly the same sort of structure. And you could probably argue that you shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. But that's assuming there is a baby.
And if I used that particular old cliche to describe the #PizzaGate conspiracy theory, they'd all probably say that I'm in on it. Because oddly enough, the latest conspiracy theory to take political junkies by storm has managed to tie Wikileaks, Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, David Brock, MediaMatters and more to a child prostitution/kiddie porn/pedophile sex ring. Seriously. And, according to every fact-checking source out there, it's utterly baseless. As in: nothing to it.
But the #PizzaGate Truthers will not be swayed, and they're deluging the fact checkers with even more adamant "proof" that they're right. They will not be persuaded that it's untrue. What's worse, it's already lead to a crazy guy attacking the place, not to mention death threats and other harassment. Over an invented, "fake news" generated conspiracy theory. Which totally makes sense in post-truth Donald Trump's America.
On a side note, I can't help but notice that the exact same personality profile of your typical PizzaGate Truther matches that of the many of thousands of Josh Duggar supporters of several months ago. So, apparently outrage about fake child molestation by liberals is far more outrageous than real child molestation by conservatives. Or something.
THE AGE OF DONALD TRUMP AND PIZZAGATE
When trying to understand what has befallen Comet Ping Pong, a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C., over the past few weeks, should one start with the gun or with the lies? Both are durable; both are dangerous. The gun is an AR-15-style assault rifle that a man, reportedly a twenty-eight-year-old named Edgar Maddison Welch, carried into the restaurant on Sunday. According to press accounts, Welch waved the gun, pointed it at an employee, and then fired, thankfully not hitting anyone. . .
Read more at: The New Yorker