Conspiracy theories used to be just for kids. We gobbled them up like bowls of Fruit Loops at the breakfast table. The cow jumped over the moon? No doubt, as the Three Stooges used to say, followed by crack, crack, crack.
My mother told me it was, and I believed. Proof was not necessary.
Then my father chimed in: “And the dish ran away with the spoon.” I had not yet seen crockery on the run, but I was still young then. Besides, I didn’t look at the dishes all the time. It never occurred to me to doubt my father.
Every time we passed a farm I scanned the sky for flying cattle. I never saw one, but I thought they would float at night, after the moon came up. Like, duh, everyone knew that.
It took me a while to realize that adults lied. That’s what we kids did. We lied about our homework or where we were when we had to be home to do our homework.
The big lie was, of course, Santa Claus, followed closely by the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Big Pumpkin. In my parents’ defense, their lies were relatively benign.
Times have certainly changed.
My four older brothers broke the news to me when I was in kindergarten: there is no Santa Claus, or Rudolph, not even a strange Elf with pointy shoes. I didn’t believe them at first. Where do my Christmas gifts come from? And what about the Easter eggs hidden all over the house?
They looked at me like I was a blossoming idiot and said, “Guess what, dipstick.” There were two main suspects. So on Easter night I stayed awake and crept from my bedroom to the second floor landing and waited. It wasn’t long before I heard Mom and Dad running around the living room, laughing and saying, “How about putting one under the rocking chair or, better yet, behind the curtains.”
“He’ll never find it,” my father said. Thanks for your confidence!
Like the Kix breakfast cereal, wild conspiracy theories aren’t just for kids anymore. In fact, alleged adults have cornered the market. They can listen to and believe the most outrageous lies.
Like ignorant, gullible youths, they don’t do their homework. They just swallow the crap whole, hook, line and float. It’s so much easier to do that. My side right or wrong!
A good example is the new main owner of Twitter. One of his first actions in his powerful new role was to retweet an outrageous lie from a notorious right-wing conspiracy website about the recent assault on 82-year-old Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
And like children, many of the followers believed in this man child.
David Holahan is a freelance writer from East Haddam.