I found something special when I was trolling through the internet, looking for trouble. There I was gathering the fuzz, shaving a few things off and collecting the scraps (called ‘research’ to people who choose to intellectualize even the wasting of precious time). It was mostly the same boring, tired old shit–“He said vs. She said.” “Left and Right” “Pro- or Anti-” “Why versus why not?” All these people were hysterical in their mania to get someone to listen to them speak.
Now is the time of interruptions, where everything is distracting and no one is willing to let you finish a statement. Even on line, while you’re typing, that motherfucker sends four or five petty insults, calls you stupid. Calls you names they are surely projecting because they hate this element of themselves. You finally celebrate your pointed masterpiece off, only those assholes have moved on to heckling seventeen others. I would take too much time.
Anyway, I found this science-fictiony website, Crown Bio-Fiction, which is a shitty on-line publisher of bipolar rants, most of them written during the mania. It is a conspiracy site. It mostly preaches the right-wing because that is the nature of paranoia in this day and age. The lefty-psychos were from our parents’ generation, the mad bombers and militant cults stomping around and robbing banks and kidnapping rich folk. The right was that era’s throwing up of hands in disgust. The Reagan Revolution consisted mostly of moderates who had simply had enough childishness in their lives, no matter what the consequences of electing your grandparents’ peers. The next generation is now, and the cultural shift that rocks the world every thirty years is going into full effect. This could lead to war and revolutions and cultural insanity. It can lead to the birth of new holy faiths. It happens when we vote ourselves in and we find out just what a horrible generation we have become.
Now I was watching this closely. (I am fine. I have plenty of time to watch.) Political turmoil seemed to sell advertisements. The newsmedia had finally picked this up just a few years too late, getting gouged for advertizer costs and trying to make their presence known after social media had dominated the market with its opinions as facts.
And then I read an article called “Fake News.” And this was not the usual Trumpian changing the subject. Now it was a philosophical debate, on the absolute truth versus the fantasy we invent for ourselves, peopled with all the good and evil gods and all the heroes, saints and villains, and all the types of people you wish to surround you. Those more hateful among us tend to settle themselves into a world that they despise.
So “Fake News”– this was a speculation. It read, “I can see this one day being true: every news channel does a huge crossover and they’re on every network at the same time. They are all working together covering some major scandal in Congress or the White House. Possibly the start of a war. They are all speaking at once, in a hive-like drone.
“There are only two factions in order to get each side the maximum population. These two groups are opposed over sheer contrariness. They yell and scream and coat and blather and vomit out every resistance catcall they think they can outdo the other with. It is a great big shouting match set up to distract us from anything going on in our lives. Which side is right, who is wrong? Let’s take sides. Let’s line up. Let’s patrol the outer edges without getting into a skirmish, like in a video game. We have to root our favorite team on. So-and-so is the best player in the league, and LeBron versus Kobe has finally been settled because James has reached the Jordan and Chamberlain level.
“And it is as trivial, ultimately, as the last basketball argument. It is an argument over different eras facing different challenges. This is who the media are, everyday. They are sideline broadcasters at a super bowl, interviewing stars in the snow during halftime. They play their roles. They spruce up their acts. Personalities are hired–talk show hosts. Good-looking, smile; opinionated enough to develop a following, but also resembling an old-fashioned town crier delivering messages to an illiterate public.
“Have you ever wondered if maybe the whole thing is all an act, just another story going on in front of us, helping us to pass the time? Maybe they are all in on it: The President, the Opposition. All those occasional superstars in Congress, like an all-star lineup on a 1950s baseball team. They are reading their scripts out to a shrieking and terrified audience seeking to outlaw everything that frightens them. They threaten to make the world a worse place than it ever has been before.
“We watch all the drama unfolding: a new scandal with a counter-play, destroying the opposition’s credibility with a cleverly placed half-truth. There is a whisper campaign. Someone very high up in the government starts supporting even crazier conspiracy theories and that gives the nervous and deranged reason enough to believe in anything.
“I think that it’s all an act–a power play. They are trying to claim our souls by obliterating our minds. That is the conspiracy, and I think that they’re all in on it: Congress, The President. Conservatives and Liberals. The press. The people on TV. Hollywood. Space Men. Secret Societies. Environmentalists. Reptiles turning dials inside this hollow earth. Climate change. Drugs. Blacks, whites and every other color we know for one reason or another. All of them. I think you are probably in on it. You are causing this anguish. You! You–!”
Even this ended with an interruption. The phone probably rang. Pizza arrived. Dog just shit on the floor. But what I gathered was something true, something profound and enlightening about the very nature of conspiracy.
If everybody’s in on it how could anything possibly be my fault?