Wingnuts Can't Stop Making Up Weird Conspiracy Theories About Why Nobody Likes Them
It started, I think, with the "paid protesters." an idea that was once the exclusive purview of conspiracy nuts like Alex Jones, but which swiftly became a "truth" widely accepted on the right, pushed by Fox News pundits and Donald Trump alike. At first, the primary targets of this theory were Black Lives Matter protesters -- the notion that black people didn't actually think cops were racist or that police brutality was a problem, that they didn't actually think racist white people were racist, but that they were being paid to say so by George Soros, a random Jewish man who wanted to ruin the days of good, God-fearing Republicans for no good reason whatsoever. (George Soros, for the record, is a goddamned HERO.)
Soon after, it was that people out there protesting Donald Trump were not doing so because they actually disliked him or thought he would not be a good president, but, again, because they were being paid by George Soros. It was a conspiracy practically built for the kind of man who would go around lying about the size of his crowds and how sexually attractive women find him. Shudder.
And now, it's going even further. (If you thought they'd cut out the George Soros shit now that the George Soros shit has caused the brutal murder of Jewish congregants worshiping in Pittsburgh, you thought wrong.)
In an article published today in The Daily Beast, Kelly Weill interviewed Proud Boy Gavin McInnes, who claims George Soros is to blame for his neighbors disliking him:
Even McInnes' mockery of the suburbs—a common punk trope—takes on a right-wing bent. In [a] September Infowars broadcast, McInnes pushed an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, claiming his neighborhood spats were the effects of a campaign by George Soros, a billionaire philanthropist and prolific Democratic donor who is Jewish.
"I'm laying on the couch here bitching about the sort of pariah status that has been imbued upon me," he told viewers. "The reason it's relevant to your life, is I believe it can be traced back to Soros."
The very idea that someone could have actually seen McInnes talking or read something that he's written and decided for themselves that they found him repulsive? Impossible! That someone might not invite the guy who goes around screaming about how he wants to choke transgender people to the neighborhood barbecue? Foolish! Clearly, it's all George Soros's fault. If not for him, everyone would find McInnes's behavior perfectly delightful! Soros is probably sending them all weekly checks to ensure they pretend to be afraid of him, even though they secretly think he is great.
Today, noted ridiculous person Laura Loomer tweeted some ridiculousness about how Twitter is somehow conspiring to deny conservatives followers:
How that would even work, I cannot imagine. If people want to follow Republicans, all they have to do is go to their page and click "follow." Twitter cannot prevent people from doing this, unless they lock down their accounts, which they can't do.
Naturally, several people responded to this by explaining that this was the reason behind their own lack of followers on Twitter.
That guy, for the record, only has 677 tweets. He probably did not have "over 2000" followers at any point, ever.
This person has been on Twitter for OVER A YEAR and only has a few hundred followers. Obviously a conspiracy!
I happen to know many people who have been on Twitter way longer than a year who only have a few hundred followers. Probably most people only have a few hundred followers.
Twitter is, however, cracking down on bots, which explains why some people are losing followers. It's not a "conspiracy," as those Twitter followers weren't real people to begin with. It's no more of a "conspiracy" than it was when people like Diamond and Silk started screaming about how they were being "censored" on Facebook because their traffic went down -- everyone's traffic went down on Facebook after the algorithm changed to prioritize weddings and children or whatever.
It goes the opposite way as well. Trump and his acolytes also continually brag/lie about how beloved they are and how everyone secretly agrees with them. Or, in the case of John McAfee, how much random waitresses desperately want to fuck him.
Guess that bar is owned by the same people who run that hipster coffee shop Jacob Wohl is always going to.
I don't know if Gavin McInnes actually thinks it's George Soros's fault that his neighbors hate him, or that all those Fox News pundits truly believe that everyone who protests Trump is only doing so because they are being paid to do so, or if any of these people actually believe what they are saying about this crap. What I do know that this is the narrative their base wants most desperately to hear. It's the conspiratorial equivalent of "The only reason that girl doesn't like you is because she's just jealous of how pretty you are." It assures them that the loss of social power they feel is not real. If it weren't for a very small amount of people conspiring against them to make people not like them or to not agree with them, they would have that power back. It sends the message that the disdain people have for them is not real or sincere, and that therefore they have nothing to worry about.
We talk a lot about how these people are obviously lying, about how Trump is obviously lying, but we don't talk about why they are lying. They are lying because it works, and -- in these cases -- it works even if the people they are lying to are well aware that they are lying. Their base takes those lies as a compliment, and they appreciate it. They want to hear that the only reason people dislike them is because they are being paid, that the only reason people aren't listening to them is because they are being "censored." Like someone telling you that you look stunning on a day when you know your hair is all googoots, you know it's not true but it's nice to hear all the same.
Of course, it is also entirely possible that I am overthinking this and they all actually just suffer from delusions of grandeur and persecution. One of the two.
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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. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse