The Wide Angle: Examining lizard presidents

I’ll admit it. I didn’t know what I was going to write about this week.

There was a brief moment where I considered not writing anything and even another moment where I contemplated telling a story about how I named an intern Axe.

Funny story though — typed in Axe on an email instead of Alex and it stuck. Hahahaha!

Anyway, that didn’t stick either. If it had then this odyssey would be three paragraphs long. A quick read, but I felt I had more.

So I turned to the one thing that was guaranteed to get me going on something.

Conspiracy theories!

And here’s how we got to this point. Trolling through Facebook for — well let’s call it research — I came across a story (in the absolute loosest sense of the word “story”) that claims it had absolute proof that Michael Jackson was alive. And by absolute proof I mean your standard fuzzy picture of a dude with a rather pointed nose in the background of a dark picture.

Honestly, I could take a picture of my cat Buster walking through the house, call it chupacabra, and boom I’m winning the conspiracy theory footrace over this photo.

It made me think of the role the Internet — the sink-trap of news — plays in these types of things. You can literally go on YouTube and look up “conspiracy” and find a whole assortment of videos on the Freemasons, Illuminate, UFOs, Bigfoot, Atlantis, the CERN Supercollider, Stargates, John F. Kennedy assassination and yes, Michael Jackson still being alive.

The problem is, you can get stuck in that sink-trap as you try plunging your mind before you really know what’s happened.

It starts innocently enough, but as both myself and sportswriter Rocky Hulne can attest, it can suck you in for far too much time.

Case in point. One Saturday, not long ago, I took a break from putting the Sunday paper together and did some searching for the CERN supercollider. Now if you’re not familiar with this, it’s a very large supercollider that is looking to discover the secrets of the Big Bang and create what is called the “God Particle” — which is whole different kettle of Internet fish.

I could go into more, but for this article, it’s not particularly worth it. Just know that by the time it was all said and done I was on a video that preached that Vatican City was actually the Devil’s city and that it could be proved by drawing a kindergartener’s version of a dog over certain streets. I’m assuming it was a dog only because the narrator kept saying so and really if you can’t trust that, what can you trust on the Internet?

Rocky also has admitted getting sucked into one video after another and it starts, like I said, innocently enough. One minute you’re trying to watch something serious and then the next you’re watching it for entertainment and then it’s all spiraled out of control.

At some point you stand up and proclaim, “Hi, my name is Eric and I’m a conspiracy theory addict.”

And stop sitting there scoffing at my words because you, my casual reading friend with probably little else to do, is guilty of this. There may even be some videos where you start off openly scoffing at it, only to turn off the lights and silently nod, thinking, “I could see that.” It’s your dirty little secret and I won’t tell anybody.

The truly sad part of this — he says, pointing sadly at the screen — is this is hardly new because some of you, the other 11 people who read this, remember standing in supermarket check outs and marveling at Bat Boy escaping from the pages of the Daily News. Oh, don’t pretend you don’t remember this gentle reader. That fine bastion of questionable Photoshopping gave us great articles about lizard men being president and the ongoing saga of Bat Boy.

So, yeah, we’re all kind of suckers to the outhouse of Internet news, but while we may be guilty we can at least put our minds at ease in that these are all crazy yarns that give us an afternoon’s worth of web-surfing fun.

Unless you’re talking about the skunk ape. That dude’s real. YouTube wouldn’t lie about that.



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