Image: YouTube screenshot
We all could use some respite after the exhausting hell-spiral that was last week, so let's play a game. The Boston bombing conspiracies are out in full force; Alex Jones' YouTube videos are accruing millions of views, as are image-based false flag threads on Imgur and Infowars. Thing is, most of them are so hilariously contrived that it's actually hard to tell whether or not they were ripped straight from some boilerplate Hollywood action flick or braindead TV thriller. So let's dispense of them with the seriousness that they deserve.
Boston bombing conspiracy theory, or lame Hollywood action thriller plot? You tell me. Here's the first one:
Congress is gearing up to pass legislation that would expand the surveillance state, but a couple politicians and some of the public is wary. So, the state decides to resort to gruesome violence in a very public place to remove the obstacles and turn the tide—when it does, however, it's unaware that its nefarious deed is caught on camera. Before the public can make sense of the story, however, the government strikes again, framing another man nowhere to be found in the original video for the crime.
Sorry, Infowars, you're ripping off the plot of Enemy of the State, that inscrutable 1998 Will Smith vehicle. See, the top asshat theory being churned out of Alex Jones' quarters goes like this: the Boston Marathon bombing was a 'false flag' attack carried out by the government and designed to divert the public's attention while Congress passed CISPA and expanded the security state (as if anyone was paying attention to CISPA in the first place). However, as Jones points out in this typically Alex Jonesian video, the state screwed up.
They didn't count on so many amateur sleuths on 4Chan and Reddit (and Infowars, natch) to crack the code. Internet truth-seekers spotted the true culprits, who are also government operatives, and their cover was blown. So the state had to hastily whip up brand new suspects, and viola!: two angsty Chechen Islamist militants appeared.
This imgur thread contains all sorts of "proof" that the Tsarnaevs can't be the true bombers, and it has been viewed more than four million times. Just like Enemy of the State, except I guess for the part where Will Smith clears his name and Gene Hackman ends up in Hawaii somehow, the government's abuse is covered up and the public is none the wiser.
Interesting. Let's try another:
There is a terrible disaster at a sporting event. After some hard-boiled detective work, an amateur investigator soon realizes the terror can be traced to "oil executives, suspected CIA assets, crime bosses, oligarchs stealing billions from banks and laundering money with seeming impunity, fire-eaters, peacock-feathered stilt-walkers, and a girl swinging on a trapeze pouring vodka into ice sculptures shaped like naked male and female torsos."
No, that's not the plot of Eastern Promises, Syriana or some unrealized Bourne Identity film set at Burning Man. That is what reality actually looks like, as imaged by a conspiracy theorist called Mad Cow Prod, who thinks the suspects' outspoken uncle has something to hide.
Okay, let's do one more.
There are two men, raised in a country where radical Islam is prominent, but who have since moved to a Western, predominantly Caucasian nation. But at least one of them is in fact a secret agent who was sent to infiltrate the terrorist cell. Details as to why are uncertain; perhaps it has something to do with his checkered past of sadistic violence. Unfortunately, perhaps he infiltrated too deeply—despite any last minute changes of consciousness, the attack is carried out, and the bomb goes off.
Ooh, sorry; if you thought that was a prominent Israeli conspiracy theory, it's not. It's Sayid's plotline in the early seasons of Lost, the one where he infiltrates a terrorist network in Sydney and convinces his buddy to become a suicide bomber. You can be forgiven for mixing them up.
Wired reports on the popular conspiracy theory counterpart, which is espoused primarily by an Israeli tabloid called Debkafile: "They were 'double agents,' Debkafile claimed, 'hired by U.S. and Saudi intelligence to penetrate the Wahhabi jihadist networks which ... had spread across the restive Russian Caucasian.' But then something went wrong. 'Instead, the two former Chechens betrayed their mission and went secretly over to the radical Islamist networks.'”
These conspiracy theories all have one thing in common—they're dumb. And they're plagiarized. With the sheer amount of data we've got access to now, it's going to get easier to cobble together bits of real-world events into fantastic and sinister plotlines. Call it the dawn of a thousand Umbrella Men—just with the Blue Robe Man, the Bag Men, or the Man on the Roof—and get used to it. More characters like these are going to be populating our Hollywood-ified alternate online realities from here on out. And they're going to be involved in all sorts of crazy cover-ups and 'false flag' stuff.