You Are Wrong: Don’t believe everything you read, except this

Posted on April 14, 2014 in Perspectives
By Thaddeus Moriarty

Ellen Spahn

I’m Thaddeus Moriarty, and you are wrong. Why?

Because you believe what you read. Because you believe that because an “expert” said it or wrote it down, it must be true. This is a fatal flaw in mankind, to be sure: we tend to take things at face-value. We watch the news or we log onto a website and see tweets about global warming and missing airplanes and Kim Kardashian, and immediately believe them to be at least mostly factual. Well, I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t believe anything that you read. At all. Present column excluded, of course; everything I write is unerringly true. (The previous statement is unbelievably false. I completely make up everything that I write.)

“Trust no one,” the famous line from The X-Files reads. Smart advice, favorite TV show! People are to be feared and hidden from, not believed! Heck, if I believed everything that my roommates told me, I’d be showering more than once a week. There’s fluoride in that water, man! The Russians, man!

But this brings me to my topic-of-the-week here in You Are Wrong, and you’d better believe it: conspiracy theories. As a society, we can’t get enough of conspiracy theories. The past century has been stuffed to the gills with them: the JFK assassination (Obama did it), the moon landing (In every single picture there’s always space in the background! How do you explain that!?), Elvis Presley’s death (he’s currently playing quarterback for the Houston Texans), and, especially, perceived mysteries about the attacks on September 11, 2001 (Personally, I heard it was Ancient Aliens from the planet Bieber).

Why do we love these conspiracies, you ask? Why do we spend money and time reading and writing and watching bad specials about them on the History Channel? Because human beings hate trusting people. We hate trusting people and so we make up (sometimes completely moronic) stories in order to make it easier to not trust people. It’s like when there’s a boy who’s dating the girl that you love, and so in your head you assure yourself that he has both awkward hands and a terrible singing voice. It makes it easier to hate him. I love hating him.

I also love conspiracies myself. Some of you are probably thinking that the only people who conspiracies are crackpots and nutcases and X-Files fans, but no! Normal people like me also like conspiracies! Yes, I am completely normal; it says so at the bottom of the column! And my bookshelf in my room is full of books about dubious mysteries: “The Secret History of the World,” “Don’t You Believe It!,” “The 2013 Boston Red Sox World Championship.” They make for interesting reads, as long as you take every word written with a grain of salt.

Now, it’s true (if you believe that things can be true) that some of these conspiracies even have decent bases of evidence to stand upon. There’s the conspiracy that the WWE is fake (which is true because, come on now.), ESPN is biased towards Tim Tebow, LeBron James, and the Red Sox (this is true, sorry Boston fans), the Free Press is being controlled by robotic overlords and I even heard that Sam Hill and Kirsten Silv**MESSAGE REDACTED** There’s even the whackjob theory that interspersing parenthetical asides throughout your writing makes you sexier (this is definitively true).

Not all conspiracies are old silly stories about UFOs and the Mafia, either. There are some fun contemporary ones: there’s a conspiracy that says that President Obama has gone by the aliases Barry Soetoro and Jean Paul Ludwig and is actually a Reptilian planning the domination of the world (alongside other Reptilians who have infiltrated the global governments), Stevie Wonder ain’t blind (“She’s a girl in a dream/she’s a four-eyed cartoon monster on the TV screen…and red is green/and she’s a tangerine.” A whole lotta visual references in there for a blind man), the USM administration wants to gut the music and theatre departments (#USMFuture), and have you noticed how much the Fresh Prince looks like Will Smith?! Seriously, check that out.

I really do love conspiracies. I love watching documentaries about them and I love reading about them, and even I understand how silly a lot of these are (real or not). But isn’t that part of the fun? We all know that Obama isn’t a lizardman poised to disseminate the New World Order, but how ridiculously interesting would it be if that were the case? What if we never went to the moon, and it’s the biggest secret in American history? What if Taylor Swift is, in fact, a a serial-dating hologram? The world would certainly be a more fantastical place.

What, don’t believe me?

Well, you are wr**MESSAGE REDACTED**

 

Thaddeus Moriarty is a senior history major and is utterly normal, shut up.