When fake news and real news become as indiscernible as the actual composition of animal parts that make up the typical Dodger dog, we shouldn’t be terribly surprised when long established laws of the land are called into question. Of course, we shouldn’t pretend this is a trend that began with Donald Trump, as America has been on the path to radical skepticism for some time, with conservatives particularly adept at altering reality to serve their interests for several decades now. We need only look at the Pentagon Papers, the transformation of Oliver North into a hero, Reaganomics, the 2000 election battle, global warming, the case for the second Iraq War or the birther movement that started us on the path to our current, buffoon of a President.
But even those of us who pay attention to these trends with increasing consternation thought some battles were long over. Maybe we were being naïve, with even evolution still open for major debate 40 years after Inherit the Wind. Yet even I was a little surprised to hear that an argument that seemed settled a long time ago was back in the fray. What argument is that, you might ask? Is it the moon landing or the assassination of JFK? Maybe whether Marilyn Monroe was killed by the mob to warn the Kennedy's to lay off? Or that reptilian humanoid forms populate the most important leadership positions on the planet? Could it be that we were off by a few years with those greatest of sages, the Mayans, who were so good at predicting things they failed to prognosticate their own fate?
No this is a debate that goes even further back – hundreds of years, in fact. And it is the one around the very nature of earth itself. Oh, those silly folks who still think earth is the center of the universe? No, keep going – that comes later. What we are talking about here is that worldwide, centuries-long conspiracy that tells us … wait for it … that the world is round. That’s right, a basketball player from the title-winning Cleveland Cavaliers not only said he believes the earth is flat, but has backed that claim up in subsequent interviews, with many of his teammates and fellow cagers backing him up.
Kyrie Irving claimed, “'This is not even a conspiracy theory. The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat... It's right in front of our faces. I'm telling you, it's right in front of our faces. They lie to us.” That sounds about right to the age we live in, where Trump supporter Roger Stone feels comfortable openly claiming that you now have a choice, to believe the mainstream media or one of the alt-right new sources like Breitbart of Infowars, to use something crazy like facts and statistics in the search for the truth, or simply believe what someone tells you without bothering to research its veracity.
And that is increasingly becoming conventional wisdom. Draymond Green, of the Golden State Warriors who blew the 3-1 lead they had last year to allow Irving and the Cavs to end the city’s long losing streak, supported his foe on the court by saying, “It’s just his opinion. It’s hard to call someone’s opinion crazy. That’s what he thinks.” Have we really sunk that low? Sure, my opinion is that laws on public defecation are outdated and I therefore choose to drop trough in the lovely veranda of City Hall. You got a problem with that? And his teammate King James largely concurred with Green’s assessment, stating, “Kyrie is my little brother. He's my All-Star point guard, superstar point guard, and if he decides he wants to say the Earth is flat, so be it … He’s an interesting guy and he believes it.” Sound reasoning … for a Trump supporter, as least.
In other breaking news, the Russian government launched a plan of subversive attack to undermine the U.S. election, planting a figure friendly to their interests in the most powerful job in the world … and succeeded. Yeah right! Oh wait, that one might very well be true. Hmm, the oil and gas industries set out to convince the public that they are actually the great protectors of the environment and that it is a conspiracy by Nobel-Prize winning scientists to trick us into believing we are destroying our environment. Damn, no, that one appears to be accurate as well. The tobacco companies started a research institute to test the danger of their own product, finding out that, luckily, it wasn’t. No, that happened too. I’ve got it - a millionaire jackass from the 80s, known more as a playboy with a bizarre hairdo than anyone we should take seriously, makes it big in the world of reality television and then harnesses that popularity to convince enough people to vote him into the Presidency with a playbook of strategies right out of Nazi Germany, then backs that up with tools culled from the playbook of our greatest enemy in history.
Screw it; I give up. Maybe the earth is flat. Send me any pictures that might back up this proposition. Or, actually, hold off on those for now. I expect I’ll be reading about it on the front page of the Breitbart Washington Post or Infowars New York Times next year.