June 30, 2021
Okay. This is going to be pretty tricky metalinguistic work.
The “Taunts” peak, as you may have already noticed, is a compilation of “what if…?” - each edition of a different theme, with different reasoning, with different intensities and objectives.
But, it is, above all, a compilation of “what if…?”
And, here between us: given the proper proportions, what are conspiracy theories if not a gigantic (or a compilation of) “what if…?”
So there goes a conspiracy theory about conspiracy theories. Just kidding, I won't do this. But I'll raise some “what if…?” important for us not to fall into traps.
If it's on the internet...
As basically any and all dynamics were affected in the Digital Age, it would be no different with conspiracies.
However, the irony is in the order of the factors: if before, in the early 2000s, we listened to our parents and teachers not to believe in literally anything that was online, today we have presidents elected by strategies for sending fake news through the Whatsapp.
I want to go back in time a little, more precisely in January 2017.
Annually, the Department responsible for the production and elaboration of the Oxford Dictionary (Oxford Dictionaries) elects the word of the year for the English language. The one from 2016 was “post-truth” (“post-truth”).
Oxford Dictionaries defined the term elected as an adjective "that relates to or denotes circumstances in which objective facts have less influence in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal beliefs."
Despite the low popularity in other segments, the use of the word grew 2,000% that year, mainly in the political and journalistic worlds. In 1992, Serbian playwright Steve Tesich debuted the term with the meaning it has today, however, it is no wonder that this peak in the use of the expression occurred in 2016.
“Post-truth”, similarly, is what I described in the previous paragraphs. “Don't believe anything on the internet”, “Don't trust anyone in the virtual world”, “Don't click on this site, don't go to that other one”, they said. But many did not.
“If it's on the internet... It's because it's true!”, say the same people who had so much doubted before - after all, they received it in the zap group.
A lot of news via WhatsApp comes to us confirming the arrest of politicians, disseminating the approval of dozens of laws in the dead of night, even revealing that Pope Francis, the representation of world peace and goodness, supported Donald Trump's candidacy! ? And the number of shares, likes and forwards of the lie multiplies so that the rumor (theory) ends up becoming fact.
The sources responsible for producing the daily untruths we receive are taking on such power that they become as (or even “more”) official as the periodicals or institutes that disprove such untruths.
Academics believe that "the lies were part of a successful strategy to appeal to prejudice and radicalize the electorate's positions", that is, the news rumors arouse hatred or adoration of public figures (mostly political), because they function as a "caricaturized" version " of society.
With these exaggerations, society increasingly rests on just two opposing pillars: one of good and the other of evil. Humanity is, by nature, complex, it needs to be complex and it only stays alive because of the complexity. The prevailing duality will finish us off.
The way in which these factoids are disclosed further aggravates the scenario: if before we found it absurd that the news feed of the most popular social networks works in a way that prioritizes content with which you most identify (then, if you liked the “fact” If Pope Francis says he's in favor of Trump, more facts about Trump will appear for you to enjoy, and it will all seem very legitimate), imagine if we knew exactly what digital platforms do with our data. There is a phrase in the documentary “The Networks Dilemma” that summarizes what we live: If you are not paying for a product, it is a sign that the product is you.
Okay, you got me: I could be conspiring right now.
It turns out that, as much as we are interested in the most diverse conspiracy theories - from the most viable but veiled, to the most popular, such as that the rock singer Avril Lavigne is dead and has been replaced many years ago - the Digital Age doesn't let us stop there, the Digital Age doesn't divide information into boxes like “truths”, “fake news”, “conspiracy theories”. That duty is ours.
(I specifically cite this Avril theory because the news, so absurd, has gone so far and reached so many adherents of the belief, that the singer herself has had to speak out about it several times and there are still many, many people who believe in the theory. give a Google. We have been constantly cultivating and producing content on the subject for over 10 years).
Are we all journalists?
The duty to verify and check facts transcended the barrier of journalism and today looms over our routine. At a time of so many untruths, we all need to be inspired by journalists (the real ones, right?), at least to doubt what we read and only move on if it is proven true.
Today, the much-harmed traditional press opts far more for the raw truth than for the immediacy of disclosure - much less for the low, underhanded emotional appeal that zapzap messages bring.
Returning to conspiracy theories, we can agree that, yes, it is a pleasure to conspire, listen to crazy theories and even believe in ideas without evidence - as long as none of this interferes with your social sense and humanity.
I say this because we let a point reach a point where the Flat Earth Theory was once again taken seriously. People. Flat Earth. 2021. And, it's not that I'm suggesting anything, but the terraplanistas sources converge with those of presidents elected through fake news that infected so many WhatsApps that it even seemed like a… Pandemic…