[Pyramid of Biscuits ]

How to stop worrying about fake news and love conspiracy theories

Illustration: Ian Racoma
Stacy J. Willis

It wasn’t the Trump election that made me a believer in conspiracy theories, although a lot of his subsequent actions have made me look into doomsday survival courses. It was never the chemtrails, nor the vaccines. It wasn’t the Cubs’ World Series win—they were due, but whenever the Series goes seven full games I’m sure it’s fixed to allow advertisers to make the most money possible. And no, I’m not open to any logical explanation of how that’s not true. Conspiracies require dogged devotion to ignorance. So even though I don’t think the Indians threw the series, I can’t be sure there wasn’t some agreement to get to the seventh game before the real showdown.

Last Sunday, my tentative feelings about conspiracy theories solidified in the second half of Super Bowl 51, after the Atlanta Falcons gave up a 21-3 halftime lead. Clearly, they were visited in the locker room by a cabal of hitmen who have ties to Tom Brady (and a bunker of exact Brady replicas) and Trump (they’re buds! ) and Putin and Jack Ruby and Sirhan Sirhan. “Throw the game,” a shadowy figure told Falcons coach Dan Quinn, “or we’re appointing Betsy DeVos as your offensive coordinator.”

And so the Falcons worked incredibly hard to throw the game, and the stadium celebrated and Brady cried and all was as planned. The interwebs ignited: “Wow I’m sorry but this is rigged … Atlanta didn’t burn the clock down, didn’t run the ball at all. #Rigged,” wrote Twitter guy Joel Embiid. Totally.


Las Vegas has been home to a slew of conspiracy theories. I remember eyeballing two pictures of Roy Horn way before the tiger tragedy, trying to decide whether, as the theory had it, Horn had died in the 1980s and been replaced a look-alike cousin.

And we all know Tupac didn’t die in the shootout at Flamingo and Koval: The coroner’s photo was a fake, and he’s living out his days in Cuba, just like Elvis now works as a groundskeeper at Graceland (we know this in part because there’s a street near Kyle Canyon Road called Elvis Alive Drive, where he winters with Jim Morrison and Princess Di).

We also know Area 51’s secret government experiments included aliens. Whether we were attacked by them or hatched them from tadpoles ourselves is unclear, but it’s a certainty that somewhere out there are little, green space creatures who proved immune to atomic bomb testing. Moreover, the pictures of the Apollo moon landing were faked right out there in the Area 51 desert. I watched a documentary called Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon? that showed Russian aerial photos of Area 51 and pointed out that the desert and those craters look kinda moony.


Once you embrace the conspiracy life, today’s fake-news world makes much more sense. For example: Millions of people voted illegally in the most recent presidential election. Just roll with it! Millions! Now I recall scrutinizing all of the old white people at my voting location and thinking, These people aren’t even Americans! Probably rascally Norwegians!

I also think there are two Beyoncés—because how could all of that talent be in one person?—and it was recently suggested to me that Stevie Wonder can see. Of course! All these years, not blind. When some online sleuth asked for factual proof, the Twitterverse answer was, “Basically, that motherf*cker can see” which I find a wholly convincing argument.

Also suspect: the Federal Reserve and World Bank, because I don’t really understand the intricacies of their work. I-don’t-get-it is a major criteria for determining the existence of conspiracy, and it’s why I’m also suspicious of Freemasons, Daylight Savings Time, the Kardashian empire, homeowners associations and non-alcoholic beer.

But, for the record, the Bowling Green Massacre is real. It involved microchipped sheep over-gnawing a lawn so that a Super Bowl game of lawn bowling would be rigged. Basically, those motherf*ckers chewed it up.

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