Conspiracy theories — most people believe at least one or two (I cannot let go of the suspicion that Michael Jordan was forced to retire from basketball in 1994 because he was gambling on his own games). No matter how absurd they are, it’s just hard to let go of some ideas. But what about the conspiracy theories that make you think the person espousing them is a complete crackpot for you to casually brush aside? Sometimes, those conspiracy theories don’t stop growing, and suddenly you see them getting national media coverage, thus validating every other kook who wants to make a twenty three minute YouTube video! Well, we’re going to take a look at some of these theories that refused to die online, in a new segment I’m calling… nothing. I’m not giving it a special title.
The Earth Is Flat
The cities in the background are approx. 16miles apart… where is the curve ? please explain this pic.twitter.com/YCJVBdOWX7
— B.o.B +1 404-236-6129 (@bobatl) January 25, 2016
When I see “Some people believe there is a scientific conspiracy to cover up the fact that the Earth is flat”, all I can think is “No they don’t, this is literally unbelievable.” I mean, people haven’t believed that the Earth was flat since, like, the middle ages! Here’s the thing though — even people in the middle ages knew the Earth was round. “The myth of the flat Earth” refers not to the myth that the Earth is flat (this is a myth, though), but the myth that medieval peoples believed the Earth was flat. The whole “Columbus thought the Earth was flat” thing? Columbus is FURIOUS about that (and good — he was a bad guy).
People have known since ancient Greece that the Earth is round, but that didn’t stop popular rapper B.o.B. from taking to Twitter (not exactly known for its users’ diligent fact checking) to use some shoddy Microsoft Paint pictures to demonstrate that the Earth has no curve. Obviously Neil Degrasse Tyson wasn’t going to sit back and go “that’s a fine thing for someone with over two million Twitter followers to say”, so he got into it with B.o.B. (and by “got into it”, I mean “was clearly and gloriously correct”). However, as we’ll come to see, nothing as simple as “science” will convince someone that they are wrong about “science”, so B.o.B. will continue to live in a world where he believes we all living on a flat disc that is constantly moving up (that’s how they explain gravity; the Earth is constantly moving “up”).
Google Is Skynet
Do you know what Google’s motto was for a long time? “Don’t be evil.” That seems like a weird rule you have to actually write down; shouldn’t the default plan be to not be evil? It’s as disconcerting as when you see a sign saying that employees must wash their hands in the bathroom of a restaurant. Yeah, and so must the valets, and the customers, and anyone else who is touching their ass and/or genitals.
So that’s strike one for the Google=Skynet crowd. Strike two? The secret lab known as “Google X“, where engineers work on flights of fancy so out there (and if we’re being honest, probably stupid) that almost no one has clearance to visit. And a THIRD strike — within the last year, Google has filed for a patent for “allocating tasks to a plurality of robots”. Oh, a plurality of tasks? Like, say, DESTROYING MANKIND?!
Stevie Wonder Isn’t Blind
Since he’s a little past his peak, here’s a little primer on Stevie Wonder — he’s been an incredibly gifted multi-instrumentalist since he was a kid (meanwhile, I didn’t score a goal the entire three years I played soccer as a small child) who was incredibly popular during the entire late 20th century. Here’s the song of his that you’re probably familiar with:
His other distinguishing quality? HE’S BLIND! That’s right, the guy has accomplished so much, all without eyesight (he even hosted Saturday Night Live). But is Stevie Wonder blind? IS HE?! Because some people say his blindness can be traced back to his childhood days, when he was a “notorious prankster” (no source for this because how could that possibly be a thing you source?!) and he just started pretending to be blind as a joke. Now, it’s pretty impressive if, on top of being a “gifted multi-instrumentalist”, Stevie Wonder was also more deeply committed to a practical joke than any actual comedian in the history of the world. There are also small moments here and there that raise people’s suspicions. If he hugs someone in a way he shouldn’t have been able to, or catches a microphone stand. One of the biggest proponents of this theory is ESPN personality Bomani Jones, and in a series of YouTube videos, he lays out his (insane) case.
Katy Perry Is JonBenet Ramsey
JonBenet Ramsey was six years old when she was kidnapped and later found dead in the mid-nineties. The case was never solved, and speculation about her family’s involvement continued until Patsy Ramsey, JonBenet’s mother, died of cancer in 2006. Then people were like “Maybe this is in bad taste now.” But of course, taste and the fact that the case is seemingly unsolvable would never prevent the internet from trying to solve it anyway. And that’s exactly what Youtube user Dave Johnson (pretty generic name, perfect for an alias — WHAT ARE YOU HIDING, “JOHNSON”?!) does in this seven minute-long YouTube video. In it, Johnson “definitively proves” that JonBenet Ramsey did not, in fact, die, but actually grew up to be Katy Perry. His evidence is mostly just pictures of JonBenet slowly fading into pictures of Katy Perry, but he does make a good point about how Katy Perry’s parents vaguely resemble JonBenet Ramsey’s parents (one of whom is, once again, deceased, so that certainly complicates this theory in a way that is never addressed). Johnson does demand that you apologize to anyone you’ve ever told about the death of JonBenet Ramsey, because you are a false witness to murder and death, and who can argue with a man with a very deep voice that has also made videos about how no one was hurt in the civil war, and Donald Trump and Joe Biden are actually THE SAME PERSON?
Ted Cruz Is the Zodiac Killer
I don’t want to be accused of being a partisan hack in the comments, but I don’t think it’s any secret that no one likes Ted Cruz. But is the fact that no one loves him Ted Cruz’s biggest problem? Maybe… not! Because the Zodiac killings, which started in the Bay Area in 1968, have never been solved, and all you have to do is overlook the fact that Ted Cruz was born in 1970, and would have been four years old when the last confirmed “Zodiac letter” was mailed out, to accept that there’s really no other reasonable explanation. I mean, just look at some of the compelling evidence over on the Facebook page where this theory really started to gain traction.
— crying about Fungie the dolphin in Julia Fox's DMs (@alexqarbuckle) January 16, 2016
Of course, the whole thing is really just a joke started by a few comedians on Twitter who clearly do not like an incredibly divisive politician, but that didn’t stop the story from gaining so much (ironic, sincere, who can tell anymore?) traction that a poll in Florida actually asked voters if they thought Ted Cruz could be the Zodiac killer, and forty percent said “Yes”.
Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams
The idea that the attacks on September 11th were the result of a controlled demolition was maybe the first giant conspiracy theory. The “documentary” Loose Change was posted all over the place, and no matter how hard scientists worked to show that yes, in fact, jet fuel CAN melt steel beams (its supposed inability to do so became the rallying cry for 9/11 “truthers”), some people still refuse to accept reality. Popular Mechanics ended up writing a book outlining the science of how it was all possible, but who needs that when you’ve got Jesse Ventura insisting that only controlled demolitions could’ve taken down the towers?
What dumb garbage do you believe in spite of all of the evidence? Let us know in the comments!
6 Crazy Online Conspiracy Theories That Won’t Go Away