Elvis, Lizard man, and an Alien Walk Into a Bar
I love conspiracy theories, good or bad, I’ll swipe the page to read more even if it’s poorly concocted.
I’ve never subscribed to one of those newspapers or magazines that once graced newsstands (now online), though imagine it would be fun to write about a royal alien baby, a politician from Alpha Centauri, or Obama’s Reptilian shape-shifting bodyguard; to make up my own and see how far it flies? You only need trip over online to stumble on a conspiracy theory. YouTube is full of videos, mostly scored with tawdry music designed to heighten a sense of the believable.
The popularity of X-Files ‘I want to believe’ is proof enough there’s fellow theorists, and want to believers out there in droves if you send out the right signals.
The idea that somehow, someone–choose your own nefarious reason–puts in place an elaborate process to hide, fake or misdirect a populous is intriguing to the imagination precisely because they sound ridiculous and worthy of time-out in an appropriate institution under heavy sedation. Sci-fi writers have been doing it right in front of our eyes for years and getting away with it. Thank the stars.
You don’t have to delve too far back in your mind to come up with ideas. We all want to believe in at least the possibility of the outlandish, the discovery of a secret. We’ve been doing it for centuries (try every religious text for a free sample): the Beatles, Paul is dead; JFK; Area 51; alien abductions; fake moon landing.
Elvis has been spotted over the years working in of all places 7/Eleven.
Though I’m not sure he’d abscond from his illustrious life to serve donuts and sweep floors at the local convenience store for $1.80 an hour. And as Groundskeeper Willie at Graceland no less, yep, Elvis still alive pruning bushes, mowing lawns and spreading fertiliser. The King himself, oh, how far do we have to sink? Delicious isn’t it? Uninhibited imaginative imaginations hard at work. Become famous enough and you too can have your own conspiracy theory dreamt up and handed to you by an assistant. Beyoncé has her own clone. Why?
There’s something comforting about a conspiracy theory. An excuse, something to point blame at when things don’t work out the way we think they should. Conspiracy theorists live beyond the fringes of mainstream disaffection with politics and culture, are afflicted with a duplicitous thought process belied by its own complex set of rules, unexplainable yet completely obvious. “You didn’t know about the Nazi moon base or the advanced species of aliens living inside the earth?” What rock have you been living under?
Don’t you dare mix your aliens in front of me.
My own immiscible belief in conspiracy theories involves connection. It can’t be too unreal as to be unreal. No sufficiently joint conspiracies should ever mix. I have my Greys flying around in silver UFOs abducting people, sure, no problem (and they like cows, me too), but reptilian man roaming the world masked as political leaders at the same time is pure bunkum.
Similarly, JFK may or may not have been killed by an arm of the government, or allowed to be, but the moon landing he initiated can’t have been faked. The CIA can have all the secret bases it wants, but it simultaneously can’t be part of an Illuminati plot for a New World Order. This all might seem arbitrary, but there’s sound logic there. Liken it to tweaking rabbit ears on an old TV. You have to hold the signal and vertical stability at the same time to see the truth of re-arranged electrons on the screen.
I’ll leave out Flat-Earthers. Those guys are down with some serious mind-altering chemistry.
Just as you never see an Irishman, an Englishman and an American walk into a bar, you’ll never get me to believe Elvis, a Lizard man and an Alien walked into a bar. They have to arrive at different times for the suspension of disbelief to hold.
Of course some conspiracies make the leap from theory to reality: Deep Throat and Watergate, the CIA’s mind control experiments and its heart attack gun (cool stuff, look up that one), NSA tapping phone lines. Yet as soon as the discovery happens there’s disappointment. The secret hiding in the corner known to you is dragged into the light becomes less attractive, less fanciful, too real. It’s as if the meds have started to work and you’re plugged back into boring reality.
Also published on Medium.