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Anti-lockdown ‘5G Truthers’ – dangerous or some light relief in humourless times?

Police attend an anti-coronavirus lockdown demonstration with protesters in London's Hyde Park. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: AFP via Getty Images

MITCH BENN reflects on last weekend’s coronavirus lockdown protests in Hyde Park.

For someone who’s ostensibly got nothing to do at the moment I seem to be weirdly busy. If anything I’ve been over-committing myself; I’ve actually had to back out of a couple of projects for which I’d volunteered in a burst of enthusiasm only to realise I didn’t have the time to see them through.

For example, a couple of weeks into the lockdown, some comedy pals of mine decided to undertake one of those ‘let’s remake a movie’ projects.

There have been a few of these over the years; just for fun, a bunch of friends nominate a movie (in this case the film chosen was the Disney/Pixar classic Toy Story); each is assigned a minute or so of the movie to recreate (be it as home video, animation, puppets, whatever comes to hand); then the whole thing is assembled as a full length patchwork remake of the original and posted online.

Thinking this sounded like fun, I offered my services and was duly designated a chunk of the opening titles to reproduce. But as the deadline approached and I was assailed with unforeseen events (including, as documented here in previous weeks, some tragic ones) it became clear that there was no way I was going to be able to get my segment shot in time and so I made my apologies and withdrew.

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There were no hard feelings, and I understand that the movie was duly cobbled together without me. I say ‘understand’ as I haven’t seen it yet; within a few hours of being posted on YouTube, it had been taken down after the Disney corporation objected.

Disney are of course within their rights to do so; even if not a second of footage from the original was incorporated, it’s still an unauthorised remake of a Disney property.

I believe appeals are being made and that Disney may yet relent given that it’s all a bit of non-profit making fun.

I was reminded of this as I watched the anti-lockdown ‘5G Truther’ protest in Hyde Park the other day. It’s always struck me that there’s one big problem common to all conspiracy theories, and it’s this:

The idea behind the big, apocalyptic conspiracy theories (flat earthers, moon truthers, holocaust deniers, 5G mast-burners) seems to be that some all-powerful they – be they Bill Gates/the Rothschilds/Big Pharma/the Merovingian dynasty/the Silurians/whoever – have decided that there is a particular truth that must never be revealed to the peoples of the world.

As such, in order to conceal this Earth-shattering truth (the world is flat/NASA faked the moon landings/we’re all being poisoned by 5G), an equally big lie (the world is round/we went to the moon/it’s a virus) must be propagated and protected from exposure at all costs.

In all cases, spreading and protecting The Lie involves creating and promoting, at the very least, an entirely false version of the present, but also, in many cases, an entirely false version of some, or all, of history.

The disseminators of, for example, the Round Earth Big Lie must not only convince the human race that right now we’ve been to space and seen the round earth, we fly around it on a regular basis and there are satellites orbiting it, etc, etc, but must also create and propagate an entirely spurious history of the world in which the ancient Greeks calculated the Earth’s radius and circumference, we’ve been circumnavigating the globe for centuries, there’s a massive country called ‘Australia’ on the underside (this particular subterfuge having necessitated not only constructing an entire fictitious history and indeed prehistory of Australia but also the deployment over the years of thousands of crisis actors to put on an accent and pretend to come from the place).

Conspiracy theorists believe, and require us to believe, that The Powers That Be are determined – and able – to manipulate the whole of human history right up to the present day, because the Big Truth must never be revealed or disaster will befall them…

… and yet they’re either unable, or unwilling, to have a bunch of conspiracy theorists’ YouTube videos taken down.

Think about that; a group of incredibly powerful people have decided that a certain truth is so dangerous that they’ll distort all of reality to conceal it, and yet there are, at any given moment, hundreds of YouTube vids blurting this truth for all to hear, and nobody’s doing a damn thing about it. Are these videos being censored? Nope. Removed? Nope. Are their creators being whisked away in black helicopters? Nope.

So apparently, you can expose a Truth which the whole of human history has been falsified to conceal, on YouTube, and nothing happens. But a bunch of my pals post an unlicensed re-shoot of a Disney movie and *poof* it’s down within hours.

Does this never occur to conspiracy theorists as, well, troubling?

Ah well, if nothing else the 5G Truthers’ amusingly formatted placards are providing some much-needed light relief in these otherwise humourless times.

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