Here Are Just Some Of The Unbelievably Stupid Things People Believed Last Year
If there is any one thing that has surprised me over the last few years, it has been the staggering propensity of people to believe in the kind of crazy ass shit it seemed as though everyone had collectively stopped believing in a long time ago. I, at least, had assumed that things like "scientific racism" and the Satanic Panic were relics of their respective bygone eras. I certainly did not ever expect to hear anyone try to seriously reference "The Bell Curve" except as a joke, and I definitely thought that we were living in a post West Memphis Three world when it came to anyone thinking that people were going around doing Satanic Ritual Abuse.
But, as they say, here we are.
Last year, people fell for hoax after hoax, conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory, mainly because those hoaxes and theories, as ridiculous as they were, confirmed some belief they had about the world in a way they found particularly satisfying. And as much as I'd like to say "Let's hope this year is better!," I think the best we can hope for is that it does not get worse.
The Cop And The Coffee Cup
This is a recent one! In fact, it just happened last week. A story about a 23-year-old Kansas police officer (and veteran!) who went to McDonald's for coffee, only to be greeted, cruelly, with the words "fucking pig" written on his cup went viral, and boy was the Blue Lives Matter crowd pissed about it. How dare this lowly McDonald's employee disrespect the boys in blue! Surely such a thing would never have happened if everyone hadn't been so rude about talking about police brutality all the time!
Except that such a thing did not happen, and the police chief who posted the picture of the cup on his Facebook page announced that the cop it had supposedly happened to had admitted the whole thing was a "fabrication." Nice. So someone nearly lost their minimum wage job because this guy decided to be an asshole for literally no reason whatsoever. America!
The last time this kind of thing happened — this time at a Starbucks — the whole thing turned out to be a misunderstanding, involving a barista joking around with an old friend who happened to be a cop.
Greta Thunberg Is A Crisis Actress Named Estella Renee!
A really fun thing about conservatives is that they are so into their own shit that they truly think that the only reason anyone disagrees with them is because they are getting paid to. By who? George Soros, probably. This year, they decided that climate change activist Greta Thunberg couldn't possibly be "real," and thus created a variety of conspiracy theories about how she was either an actress herself or a non-existent person being played by an actress. Can't fool them!
Satan Is Using Chemtrails To Keep People From Hearing God's Voice
If I had to pick an absolute favorite group of conspiracists, it would be the flat-earthers. If I had to pick a second favorite? CHEMTRAIL PEOPLE. I love them so much, especially when they go out in their yards and spray vinegar bottles at the sky to combat the chemtrails. It is my favorite thing.
My other favorite thing is when people mix and match their bullshit. Like when Firefighter Prophet Mark Taylor claimed that chemtrails were keeping people from hearing "God's frequency."
It only makes sense!
Kate Bush Is A Murderer!
Kate Bush - The Red Shoes youtu.be
This year, the very serious "QAnon Researchers" imagineered a ton of extremely stupid things for their fellow "Patriots" to fall for. However, far and away, my favorite thing they came up with was the time they decided that Actual Living Goddess Kate Bush was a murderer, and that her 1993 video for "The Red Shoes" was a reenactment of her "initiation kill" into Hillary Clinton's Cannibalistic Satanic Child Sex Ring. Why? Because they think that people only wear red shoes as a way to let the world know that they love to kill and eat children, and also that those people love to "rub it in the faces" of people who hang out on the internet all day making up weird conspiracy theories about everything.
Post-Birth Abortions Abound (But Not Really!)
In January of this year, Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia, a a pediatric neurologist, appeared on a radio show wherein he explained what happens when a fetus is not able to survive outside of the womb:
When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of obviously the mother, with the consent of the physicians, more than one physician by the way, and it's done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that's non-viable. So, in this particular example if the mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.
Due to a fairly severe misunderstanding of what the term non-viable even means, wingnuts across the country and in the White House lost their ever-loving minds screaming about how doctors and mothers were just straight up letting babies die for no reason, rather than providing standard end-of-life care.
Since then, regardless of the amount of times this has been debunked, we have had to contend with legions of morons who absolutely believe that women are going around, going through nine months of pregnancy, delivering the baby, and then, once the baby is born, killing that baby.
Drinking Bleach. No, Really.
This year, we encountered the Genesis II Church, a church that encourages its followers to drink bleach — AKA "Magic Mineral Solution" in order to cure almost every ailment on earth, particularly those ailments caused by vaccines.
While it's hard to know exactly how many people saw this and thought "Oh, what a fabulous idea, guess I'll go drink some bleach now!" — we do know that, at the very least, Alan Keyes was into it. And now we are going to just keep our mouths shut.
Quillette's Fake 'Marxist-Leninist-Alinskyite Construction Worker' Op-Ed
This year, the right-wing site Quillette became the premier site for self-described members of the "Intellectual Dark Web" — a group consisting primarily of the kind of unbearable people who adhere to long-debunked "scientific" rationalizations for bigotry and tell you their "IQ" within moments of meeting you.
Of all of the stupid things they published this year, the absolute best was an op-ed written by a "Marxist-Leninist-Alinskyite Construction Worker" who described being very dissatisfied with how intersectionality and political correctness had just ruined Democratic Socialists of America meetings, warning that these practices were really going to put off working class Joes like himself. It would have been absolutely perfect if it were not so incredibly, obviously fake. — starting from "Marxist-Leninist-Alinskyite" and moving forward to the totally non-existent "Brooklyn Chapter of the DSA." It hit so many right-wing bugaboos — intersectionality, people with green hair, Brooklyn hipsters, talking about Saul Alinsky way more than any normal person has ever talked about Saul Alinsky — that anyone who had ever met anyone who was not a devoted Glenn Beck fan would have been able to realize it was a hoax. Which it was. As it turned out, the "Marxist-Leninist Alinskyite Construction Worker" of Intellectual Dark Webbed Dreams was just a 24-year-old guy from Illinois having a good laugh at their expense.
Just A Reminder, For Us All
If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse