Ah, Infowars. You manage to be the premiere right-wing conspiracy theory group and also the best parody of right-wing conspiracy theorists at the same time.
I don’t remember how I stumbled across this video. I think it was on Tuesday, give or take, but I’m not sure about when either. I tried to embed but WordPress wasn’t having that, so you’ll have to follow the link if you want to watch it. Which is fine, they have a transcript there which is, frankly, easier to work with.
Let’s spend a paragraph or two describing the video.
Owen Shroyer is our host, and he begins by challenging us to call him crazy, call him a conspiracy theorist. Then he shows us an animated map of total precipitable water from August 9th. He narrates how there are two hurricanes forming in the Pacific, then a wave or energy beam emanates from Antarctica and suddenly the budding storms split and dissipate. Then we’re treated to a similar map from the same source around August 22, (he says “yesterday”, it was posted on the 23rd, and the world is large and has time zones) and a similar effect is described.
Then Shroyer and his guest, Professor Darrell Hamamoto, speculate wildly that since John Kerry went to Antarctica in November of 2016, maybe he’s connected to these events, and that there might be, and I’m just going to quote from the transcript here, “there might be a direct line that connects that facility down in Antarctica to the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington D.C., where the Obama Foundation is housed”.
Okay Owen, you’re a conspiracy theorist. Read the rest of this entry
This seems to be one of those topics that cycles into the public consciousness every so often.
Do you think Shakespeare existed? Or are there just to many plays and sonnets credited to him to be the work of one person?
The new film Anonymous questions his prolificity and his existence.
If you think these claims against history are a waste of time, why do you think they are periodically raised by so many people?
I remember this subject being discussed quite a bit fifteen or twenty years ago. I haven’t seen Anonymous but unless it presents something not known during the ’90s, some genuinely new discovery, it’s just another conspiracy theory.
As I recall back then, the argument consisted mainly of claims that we didn’t know as much about his personal life as we should (How much should we know?) and an alleged message coded into the inscription on his grave. A quick look at Wikipedia informs me that the first such claims were made in the 19th century based on the idea that only a nobleman could have written so much about court politics. Not very compelling stuff.
So why do stories like this continue to circulate?
I think mostly because it’s fun. Seriously, hidden messages on the grave, mysterious people writing enduring plays for the masses under a pen name, a centuries-old conspiracy revolving around one of the most influential writers in the history of the English language. It’s good stuff, really talks to the imagination. If you’re a writer of fiction you could use this as a base for great plots of intrigue and mystery. If you’re an imaginative person you could easily convince yourself that there’s something deeper to this sort of idle speculation.
A more cynical reason is that people can make a living promoting conspiracy theories. Take a look at the number of books published that are about some wild, unsupported claim. Aliens taught the ancient Egyptians to build pyramids, the World Trade Center was destroyed in a controlled demolition, NASA faked the Moon landings and/or is covering up evidence of alien life on Mars, just to name a few. Shakespeare is a tempting target because he’s long dead with no known descendents to defend him, and he’s a name that everyone knows.
It’s important for us to keep re-examining and re-evaluating history. (Also, it’s a very useful way of keeping historians busy, you really don’t want to let people with minds like that go around with time on their hands.) I don’t want anyone to read this and think that I’m opposed to the idea that we may be wrong about things we think we know about the past. New ideas about history should be carefully examined with a clear and open mind. But the burden of proof is on the new idea, and unless there’s something new that I don’t know about yet, the Shakespeare authorship question fails to carry that burden.
I really wish I’d had more time, I’d have tried to write this in iambic pentameter. Maybe next time. Have a great day everyone.