Real-World Harm

A History of Nibiru, the Made-up Planet That Keeps Failing to Destroy the Earth

Nibiru, the secretive Planet X speculated to exist by some people who are not astronomers, will not pass through our solar system and destroy the Earth this Saturday, goddamnit.

David Meade, an author who boldly describes himself as a “Christian numerologist” despite that not now, or ever having been a job, predicts the world’s end in a potent mix of Bible-code-eschatology and New Age Planet X fears. And he issues his prophecy via the means best accepted by the people: incredibly stupid Youtube videos.

A woman will descend from heaven, looking like something out of a Pure Moods ad.

“…but because she saw The Shape of Water, she’ll kinda be into it.”

A great red dragon will appear, looking like a Langolier rendered on a Nintendo 64.

Snatched up by God in a way akin to the magical books in Myst, yet somehow with more antiquated graphics.

Ah yes, what more Judeo-Christian symbols are there than Astraea, Hermes, Ares and Aphrodite? We later learn that her child is Jupiter – that classic figure of Christianity, Zeus, God of Thunder.

What follows is an apocalypse depicted with all the verisimilitude of a basic cable drama starring a lesser Skarsgard.

My god, look at the sky…it’s a blurry aurora, at this time of year, localized entirely in your shitty Youtube video!

People disappear worldwide from stock footage of major cities, carried away in epilepsy-inducing balls of light. On this random street, hazy filters distract us from how few people are actually there as cars crash and helicopters fall in some hollow The Leftovers-ripoff. I guess the message is less “be Christian and stuff” and more “NEXT TIME YOU INVITE FINAL PAM TO BARBECUE”.

Pants fall from the sky and we close with a final warning:

…says the man literally making an overwrought Youtube video saying the exact day and hour he thinks the world will end. What a world, what a world. (more…)

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The Neo-McCarthyism of Louise Mensch

Louise Mensch is a former member of Parliament who gained attention in the United States by exposing Trump’s ties to Russia; her career since has been a conspiratorial clusterfuck, an unrelenting tide of unsupported accusations and conspiracy theories that would make any Redditor blush. In short, Mensch, a former Tory, is quickly becoming the Alex Jones of American centrists – but far more damaging.

That Russia interfered in the 2016 election, or at least covertly supported Trump, is a fact. What’s not is Mensch’s view that the Russians left their fingerprints all over, well, everything.

Andrew Breitbert, the bloated, clogged heart of the media empire of the same name, died of a heart attack. As someone who saw Breitbart speak live, this is by far the least surprising thing to ever happen. His speech consisted of screaming at the top of his voice that every last protestor (at a rally with a counter-protestor:protestor ratio of 10:1) should go to Hell. But if you ask Mensch, Breitbart was murdered by Russian agents. Shootings such as that in Istanbul become Russian false flags; so, too, are the sexts of Anthony Weiner. Believing foreign corruption is needed to make Anthony Weiner send a dick pic is truly the most unbelievable thing in American politics: I’d sooner accept that Area 51 is holding aliens than that Anthony Weiner needs any prompting at all to take a picture of his junk.

People aligned with Trump are part of the Russian plot. So are people opposed to Trump and Russia. Putin’s grand scheme includes both Trump and Bernie Sanders, liberal and conservative journalists, Putin’s critics and Putin’s supporters, statesmen and Twitter randos. You get the sense that the only people definitively not part of the conspiracy are…Mensch and her supporters.

None of Mensch’s accusations are supported with evidence, but that hasn’t stopped her from compiling a list of 200 plus people she accuses of being Russian agents. Secretive lists of Russians used to throw around accusations of treason is something that’s never gone disastrously, horribly wrong in American history.

But there are moments that go from “ridiculous fringe” to out-and-out offensive, and deeply troubling. Mensch also claimed the demonstrations in Ferguson were Russian operations, and so is voter suppression. And elsewhere a brewing xenophobia lurks: TIME Magazine representing Russian influence by showing the White House morphing into, not, say, the Kremlin, but a goddamn Orthodox cathedral; or Congressman Ted Lieu making up a story about his child asking if Trump is “part Russian”.

“The persistence of people making up stories about their children in the face of constant ridicule is truly inspiring,” said my nine-year old.

One of my favorite instances of this is this Tweet:

Cyrillic autocracy. The authoritarian regime of…a alphabet! A writing system that’s not even exclusive to the Russian language. Yes, truly Putin is trolling us all with his devious dictatorship of the weird-looking letters. First, our democracy – next, our very Latin letters!

Ivan the Terrible didn’t campaign in Wisconsin either.

Russia absolutely interfered in American politics. But so much of the Russian conspiracy theories propagated by Mensch and her comrades feel like dodges. If our election was controlled by a foreign power, then why bother looking at what went wrong? That a vile candidate won over too many of your fellow citizens is scary; it’s easier to place the blame on an outsider, a mastermind pulling the strings. It’s the same impulse behind all conspiracy theories: a kind of comforting terror, the idea that the world is not just chaos, but that there’s some reason behind it, because someone – even an evil someone – planning what happens is preferable to no one.

But whatever Russia did do to our election, Vladimir Putin didn’t make Hillary Clinton not campaign in Wisconsin or Michigan; he didn’t force the Democrats to embrace pragmatic centrism at the worst possible time; he didn’t make Americans hateful and paranoid. Nor did he ferment unrest in Ferguson, or make it difficult for African-Americans to vote: American racism did that. Every moment spent spinning outlandish conspiracy theories is a moment America’s left isn’t looking at their own mistakes – and it’s bringing us one moment closer to Trumpism’s reign continuing.

And you must always remember the difference between a government and its people. Criticizing a leader must never turn into a demonization of a culture; after all, there are far, far more Russian victims of Putin than American ones. Putin is Russian. So is Pussy Riot.

There’s more to dig into, but my borscht is getting cold…er, so dosvedanya, comrades.

The Week in Conspiracy Theories: Top Minds Explore The Satanic Origins of Feminism, Islamophobia Down Under and More!

Feminism: A Secret Freemason Plot?

Via r/conspiratard comes this jumble of run-on sentences alleging that Feminism is a Rockefeller/Rothschild/Satanist/Freemason conspiracy to make sure the state raises children, not parents.

56561954Feminism is a cruel hoax, telling women their natural biological instincts are “socially constructed” to oppress them. It is elite social engineering designed to poison male-female relations – divide and conquer. By promoting Feminism, the state is able to gain the allegiance of women to promote more government control. Their twin objectives are depopulation and totalitarian world government. Research it so you can believe your own eyes. IT’S A TRAP! IT’S A SET UP!

 

To be a Freemason, in most lodges you have to be two things:

  1. A man
  2. Religious (usually Christian)

But let’s not dwell on those facts. Let’s instead dwell on this site’s bizarre images:

fem 3

Women! They have eyes! The All-Seeing Eye. Money. Government. Women making a hand symbol! Three of them! Looks like three sixes. ARE WOMEN A FREEMASON-ILLUMINATI-SATANIST PLOT!??? Of course! IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW! (more…)

“Only Ideological Feminists…”: #GamerGate reaches new lows

Feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian, who no one noticed until she started criticizing video games for being sexist sometimes, faced another challenge as an anonymous person threatened a massacre if she made a speech. Again, this is over moderate criticism of video games.

Also: Depression Quest is free.

Also: Depression Quest is free. (source: r/gamerghazi)

The ongoing campaign of harassment against women in gaming has, oddly enough, been better reported by non-gaming sources than gaming news sites. Dubbed #GamerGate, it’s technically a campaign for ethics in journalism – and so, obviously, they’ve allied themselves with Breitbart.com to fight the New York Times. But actually the movement began with long, pointless Youtube videos attacking a developer called Zoe Quinn for sleeping with men. Including a man who gave a good review to her game Depression Quest, except he never once reviewed Depression Quest, meaning the whole justification for the movement is bullshit.

Now, the threat doesn’t mention #GamerGate. But that doesn’t stop Gaters from engaging in the time-honored tradition of conspiracy theorists everywhere: shouting false flag! False flag! everywhere like total assholes.

This isn’t the first time this has happened with Anita Sarkeesian. Back in August, loathsome MRA site Return of the Kings reported that Anita Sarkeesian must have invented threats she showed off: after all, she’s logged out (no one has multiple accounts on Twitter or browses offline, obviously) and the account’s recently made (no one’s ever made a new burner account to get around a ban in the history of the internet)! Plus, isn’t the guy’s grammar too good to be real? And the search bar’s empty – which always happens after going to a account’s page from search results, as I just verified now. It takes 5 seconds to confirm this.

But people ranting about false flags are like cicadas: you can’t seem ’em now, but you know they’ll be back soon and they’re going to be fucking loud when that happens.

anita

I’m pretty sure that politicians get death threats all the time. In fact, quite a few of them have been outright murdered by people. Stephen Sondheim has a musical on the topic if you’re interested.

J61ml88

And here we see someone “proving” the threat was fake by grading it like a damn middle school essay. It must be fake because this manifesto by someone who wanted to shoot people over feminism is too focused on women. Only feminists would know of the Montreal massacre (a major event that spurred gun control in Canada), and you can’t say it’d be an attack like it because there was only one attack (huh?), And this death threat by someone willing to kill people to protect video games from feminism has some weird writing in it, Ergo, false flag. Elsewhere, someone uses a website to prove that a woman wrote this.

There are valid arguments on both sides. For instance, one side thinks saying something about ethics lets you harass women and the other side is full of rational adults who see #GamerGate as the horde of petulant children they are. One side allies with conservative news sites, conservative websites and conservative celebrities and the other side somehow thinks this means they’re a conservative movement. One side angrily reacts to headlines, and the other actually bothers to read things before judging them. One side talks about ethical concerns honestly, and the other only started caring about corruption in the game industry when it let them yell at women. There are truly two sides to this issue, as you can see.

“A few bad apples” is a funny phrase. Now it’s a defense – it’s just a few bad apples, the rest of our group is fine! But the full expression says the opposite: a few bad apples spoil everything. There may be apples in the #GamerGate bunch that aren’t rotten to the core, but they all spring from the same, poison tree.

PS: I apologize to cicadas for comparing you to #GamerGate. Cicadas are great. Bugs are great. Please go look at cool bugs instead of reading anything about #GamerGate.

“It’s the age of the Tea Party, all government is bad. That’s why they threw an amazing, award-winning plan into the trash.”

Conspiracy theories are, generally, harmless. They may become a target of unhealthy obsession for their advocates, but they usually don’t harm anyone else in and of themselves. But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes conspiracy theorists can harm the people, and world, around them.

Agenda 21: a non-binding UN resolution calling for sustainable development. Passed in 1992 and signed by many world leaders, including George H. W. Bush.

But if you ask conspiracy theorists, Agenda 21 is something far more sinister. It’s a threat to American sovereignty, it’s a plot to take away your property, it’s going to destroy the Constitution!

And that’s why people fought an award-winning development plan in Baldwin County, Alabama and killed it in 2012. Smart growth and urban development had become something more:

“This battle is more than just planning,” the county commission’s chairman, Robert James, said that day. “This is to protect the Constitution of the United States and what’s in it and, to me, even the Ten Commandments that God gave us.”

In attacking the Baldwin County comprehensive plan, James, the county commission chairman, invoked the names of Hitler and Stalin, Mao and Mussolini, and how their “plans, guides, outlines” resulted in the deaths of millions of people.

(more…)