Conspiracies I Don’t Understand

I love me a good conspiracy. Who shot JFK? We don’t know. There’s weird shit there that doesn’t make sense. Was the moon landing faked? I used to call shenanigans on that, but, my god, we can’t even get out of Earth’s orbit almost 50 years later, so, hmmm, you know? Are there secret societies that run the world behind the scenes? Well, I don’t know how anyone could argue against that if you live in the United States of Corporatacracy. And if you watched that documentary on Scientology how are you not in the streets right now with torches and pitchforks? Oh, right, because you vanished mysteriously as soon as you tried.

But there are some conspiracies that just don’t make any sense at all. Like, if you buy into them, you’re a really dumb fucking cunt and everyone says that about you as soon as you’re out of earshot.

Number One: Contrails

The conspiracy:

When you see the condensation trail behind a jet, it’s actually part of a massive, global conspiracy to release chemicals into the atmosphere. These “chemtrails,” depending on who you ask, have many purposes, from controlling the weather, to brainwashing us, to shortening our life spans, to repairing holes in the atmosphere made by UFOs. Most commonly the belief is that they’re part of some attempt to control our minds and/or make us sick. The “chemtrails are toxins” camp says that we’re being poisoned because of…something something. I prefer the HAARP conspiracy theory. HAARP was cool before the Hadron Collider spelled the apocalypse. It stands for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, and it’s a real thing. Very simply, HAARP’s mission was to seed the ionosphere to see if we could develop a technology that could boost radio waves. Like, you know, turn the Earth into an antenna or something. Like every evil alien tries to do on Doctor Who.

HAARP’s main goal is to improve communications across the board. In theory, your GPS phone can be accurate to within a foot instead of a hundred feet. Which…I guess could be useful if it was stuck in the couch or something. Plus there’d be no weird delays when you talk to your friend in the jungles of Borneo via sat-phone because you’re James Bond.

Oh, and we’d like to understand how the fuck the ionosphere works…because we didn’t really know much about that till HAARP.

The HAARP conspiracy theory is that the government is turning the ionosphere into a mega-weapon and it’s totally in the style of Lex Luther – weather control! The Earth’s atmosphere itself is being weaponised and, once done, the government will be able to control all aspects of the weather and communications. This nefarious atmospheric magnetic communication can also be used to send high frequency radio waves into our brains and control our thoughts and actions. (The HAARP conspiracy is the root of the iconic “tinfoil hat” image.)

Why you’re a dumb cunt:

So, look, there’s actual science behind what’s happening. It’s water vapor from the engines. Condensation. You learned this in fucking grade school, as well. Anyone with more than an 8th grade education knows what contrails are. Hell, anyone who drives a car understands this. In fact, if you were born in the last 200 years, you should understand this. I don’t even think you need grade school science.

Besides, how does this poisoning work? We’ve had 80 years of contrails and we’re all the same stupid fucks we’ve always been. Is there some global government invested in a really long game here? Yes, Dark Lord, in just 500 years the human race will belong to us! Or…to our 16 generations removed descendants! Jeez. If so, then fine. Why should I care?

And the HAARP stuff? Look, if the US government could control the weather, then why are we worried about Iraq? Iran? South Korea? Afghanistan? Why aren’t Mummy-style evil spirit dust storms swirling through Iran all the time? How come there isn’t 89 feet of snow in Moscow right now? And controlling us with radio waves? We’re more divided and fucked up than we’ve ever been. If someone could control our thoughts, then how come our leader isn’t General Gonzo Bullethead, and the United States doesn’t include the entire world?

Now, the conspiracy nuts say that we have to careful about controlling the weather. Little nudges here and there. If we show our hand, the world will turn against us. Um…dudes, we can control the weather! If everyone launches a nuke at us at once, we can zap them out of the air instantly. HAARP’s been accused repeatedly of knocking planes out of the sky. And who’s going to launch a nuke against us when they know we can control the launch, defend against it, and then send an ocean-sized tsunami at them? I think, even if I were the leader of ISIS, and I was told that my choices were to either watch a category 5 hurricane form in 14 minutes in the swimming pool out back or to put on a uniform and work at Dairy Queen and vote Republican, I’d snap to attention and let them know what my size was.

Number Two: Numbers Stations

The Conspiracy:

These mystery radio stations (which still exist) and broadcast a seemingly nonsensical string of numbers, phases, and songs are actually transmitting orders to spies. Or, for the real fringers, it’s some sort of mind-control (see HAARP, above).

Why you’re a dumb cunt:

Well, duh, motherfucker! We’ve been doing that since Marconi’s time. Try reading a book sometime. Hell, when you scurry home to watch Sherlock on the BBC you’re tuning into the descendant of a glorified numbers station. People go on and on about numbers stations when they’re obviously not a mystery. It’s like you all are constantly screaming “The number 2 comes after the number 1!”

Yet people are super devoted to this conspiracy, and it even seeps into our popular culture (see Lost as just one of many examples). They write about it, they monitor the stations and try to crack the codes, people even try to pinpoint the location of the stations and travel the world trying to snoop out what’s going on. The conspiracy sites say – we don’t know anything about them! Aaaahhhhh!!! What are they?!

But… Captured spies have repeatedly – and we’re talking from 1918 through to 2006 – said that they were receiving orders from numbers stations, and even explained everything in detail. Not to mention that those people who try to locate the stations have actually found some of them and they’re all at military bases. So, okay, there’s your answer. Now try not to get noticed as you slowly back away.

The conspiracy people wonder why no government takes responsibility. Okay, look, the whole point of spying is…what? Not being detected while you steal secrets or otherwise fuck shit up, right? Do you really expect the government to say, “Oh, yeah, we’re spying on people. But don’t tell anyone, okay?”

The mind control aspect of numbers stations is a strange thing to claim. That would mean that everyone needs to be listening, right? And, no, the radio waves are not being magically decoded by our cells or teeth or something. Since numbers stations are getting rarer, and since I would be hard pressed to find someone with a shortwave radio, the only way I’ll ever hear a numbers station broadcasting is when one of the conspiracy sites has a recording of it. This means that the conspiracy theorists who think the numbers stations are broadcasting mind control signals are actually the ones propagating these signals to the public. This does actually constitute a conspiracy.

Number Three: Ancient Aliens

The conspiracy:

That mankind was settled/seeded/uplifted/gang-raped by alien astronauts. Thus the reason so many ancient peoples really seemed to cream themselves when it came to astronomy and liked to stack heavy stones.

Why you’re a dumb cunt:

You know, lots of this shit boils down to “Try reading a book sometime…” This, like the Maya apocalypse, comes not from anything scholarly but, instead, by hack writers trying to sell books in the mid-20th century.

Ancient astronauts sort of rose in the zeitgeist of silver age sci-fi — the Wells/Verne era into the 50s. The 50s is when a man named Harold Wilkins took this theory to the next level with his trilogy of books Flying Saucers on the Attack, Flying Saucers on the Moon, and Flying Saucers Uncensored.

His plagiarized BS was picked up by more academic-minded people and became a thing in the 60s and 70s. The whole idea of ancient aliens hinges on two things – weird ass drawings that go as far back as the Paleolithic era clearly showing anachronistic things like helicopters and men in spacesuits, and odd artifacts that we can’t explain.

The weird ass drawings, of course, are all subjective and, when you ignore the context and accompanying text, you can say anything. That man has a jackal’s head! Therefore werejackal’s exist!

Seated Mayan astronauts appear to be haloed (or helmeted) and ascending into the stars when, right there on the tomb’s walls or the sarcophagus itself, the Mayans were kind enough to explain WTF was going on. They’d depict their rulers and gods as part of the very terrestrial tree of life, which does look a bit cosmic and out there if you look at it from the right perspective. It’s really unfair to point at the Mayans and use their art and culture as evidence of ancient aliens (or the apocalypse or anything else) because we don’t know too much about them. The Spanish obliterated the culture of the indigenous South Americans – and they did so with abandon. We’re talking temples razed, documents destroyed, history simply erased. We didn’t crack the Mayan language till 50 years ago, and we didn’t know their actual history till about 40 years ago. There are chunks of the Mayan language that we still don’t understand today and, with each new discovery, everything we know about them changes wildly. In 1970, it was believed that the Maya were primarily contemporaries of Rome and all that, just sort of magicing themselves into existence in the middle of the first millennium AD. Now we know that the Mayan culture goes back to 3200 BC. So, you know, if you said, back in 1960, that you knew what the Maya were up to, you were wrong.

All in all, when it comes to interpreting petroglyphs and so on, it seems odd that we don’t take into account Mankind’s natural storytelling ability and how our brains are basically pattern recognition machines. We’ve been telling fantastical stories since writing was invented. In fact, the first examples of the written language are fantastical stories. It always depresses me when I read books like A Canticle for Leibowitz, where the events of a post-apocalyptic future are largely shaped by a shopping list. I think it more likely that the post-apocalyptic future will be shaped by Harry Potter.

So is it odd that, 8000 years ago, people were writing about giants and magic and flying and feats of derring-do? I don’t know. Is it odd that Rick Grimes has killed over 500 zombies right there in your living room in glorious high-definition?

And as to pattern recognition – such as the Egyptian hieroglyphs that look an awful lot like they’re talking about helicopters – that’s what our brain does. That’s why we started out with pictographs and symbols as our language. We’re always searching for patterns. It’s why you remember faces better than you remember names. It’s how we got out of the jungles alive. If you show me ancient pictographs then, not being learned in what they mean, I’ll try to match them to patterns. That’s a sun, that’s a cow, that’s a person throwing a spear. Is this a helicopter? Sure, looks like one to me. But the famous “helicopter” pictograph in Seti’s temple is actually a pharaoh’s name that was defaced by his son’s name, which is written overtop it. Seti I had the bad form to die before his temple was complete. When his son, Ramesses, took over, he wrote over his father’s name. Every ruler had five names, and they all start out with these long honorifics that (annoyingly even then, I imagine) are represented by stuff like a rising sun, a falcon sitting around, plants, etc. So if the father’s name is represented by, say, a rising sun, and the son’s name is represented by a falcon sitting on some stuff and curling its wings, and you overlay them… The result? It’s very clearly a picture of the helicopter from Airwolf.

In untouched photographs, you can actually see that someone has “written over” the original pictographs, and they’re both done by different workers so it’s as clear as two different types of handwriting. We know the images of the names for Seti and his lazy son from other monuments, so there’s no guesswork here. Also – why is there only this one depiction of Airwolf? There were so many episodes of the show, and we were always so eager for them to actually fucking use the Airwolf, that I think the pictograms would be everywhere. “Ramesses II, he of the sedge and bee, ruler of all the lands, wonders why the Airwolf wasn’t featured at all in the season 3 premiere.”

What about megalithic oddities? Stonehenge, Easter Island, the Nazca Lines, the pyramids? Used to be that proponents of the ancient alien theory said that these places only existed because aliens built them. Now, of course, modern discoveries have figured some of this out. We’ve discovered whole towns that rose up around massive projects like the pyramids, and we know where the stones came from and it all makes sense. They were quarried – we’ve found the quarries. They were transported by land and sea – we’ve found the transport routes, and even evidence of where quarried blocks fell overboard or sunk their transports. We’re still finding things that help put the whole picture into place – such as recent finds showing that Stonehenge is, in fact, part of a much larger project. Stonehenge, itself, is a little small, by the way. There’s a henge about 20 minutes north that’s so big the entire village of Avebury is in the middle of it. So why don’t we hear about that? Why’s it always Stonehenge, Stonehenge, Stonehenge? Because all this shit is pop culture stuff. If I talk to you about Avebury you’ll stare blankly at me, but everyone knows what Stonehenge is.

The why of it all? What’s the point of a generation-long project like that? Isn’t stacking things oddly usually best left to the realm of bored poltergeists?

Look, the first thing Humanity did when we reached a point where we had enough people to allow for luxury and a comfortable upper class was look for a way to keep everyone busy. If everyone is busy – say, building roads, or performing a totally bullshit construction project for 50 years – then they’re not sitting around the forum saying, “You know what? I think I’d make a good king.”

The moment you do get a whole class of people who can sit around and wonder idly about how many people need to die before they become king, shit goes wrong. In fact, that’s just about how every ancient empire collapsed. So…let’s build a pyramid! You and 50,000 of your buddies. We’ll start today and we’ll finish up in…30 years. You’ll get a steady paycheck, job security, and you’ll be out there in the desert away from the capital. Hail Khufu!

But you can argue for hours about this stuff because, yes, even if you rationalize it, lots of the shit our ancient ancestors wrote, drew, and built is fucked up and makes no sense. Take, for example, the Dodecahedra – bizarre, hollow metal balls covered in arcane symbols that, apparently, were widely used throughout the Roman Empire. We have no clue what they were for, and the official science-types have settled on “candlesticks,” a declaration that feels like it was picked at random. I know I just scream “candlesticks” whenever I’m trying to get out of an awkward conversation.

What convinces me to not accept this theory is simple: Where are the ancient aliens? What happened to them? Why aren’t they checking in on us?

The response is – aliens are among us! But, come on. That’s Human hubris talking. The assumption that the Human race is something glorious as opposed to a filthy plague on the surface of this otherwise wonderful world. If the aliens are among us, observing us, waiting for…something…then they’re crazy! That’s like if you put on a cockroach costume and burrow into the wall behind the kitchen sink and live with the cockroaches. For thousands and thousands of years.

Even then, they would always know you’re not a cockroach and would all be WTF is with this guy?

My friend says that the aliens among us all work in secret because we’re not ready for the truth. Slowly but surely, things are leaking out and the cultural zeitgeist is prepping us for the Big Reveal. Missing planes over the Indian Ocean, unsolved mysteries, vanished people, the reboot of the X-Files… It’s all part of the masterplan to prepare us for the moment when the alien overlords reveal themselves.

So we can only conclude, I guess, that Donald Trump is an alien. Which explains everything.

   One Comment

  1. RC
      October 16, 2015

    I love you.

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