Conspiracies Are Fun!
Blueberries Are Delicious
Are They A Breakfast Topping And A Cure for Cancer?
I have a friend
who once tried to give me quite unsolicited advice about cancer while I was recovering from the bone marrow transplant that saved my life.
And it turns out that he just had to let me know that I’d been doing it wrong. Not only that, but so had my doctors and incidentally the entire western medical establishment, because… reasons!
It started off with, what I’m certain he thought was helpful advice. “Hey Marty has your oncologist talked with you about nutrition, cause it’s really important and most of them don’t and you should really be eating more blueberries because they’re antioxidants…”
So, right away I was immediately put off by his framing and tone, but before I could even gather my thoughts to respond, he kept talking at me. “Y’know the pharmaceutical industry and the medical establishment don’t want you to know that the cure for cancer exists and there’s this place in Mexico… and I watched this five hour video on YouTube that lays it all out…” And on and on…
To the point where the bartender would occasionally give me sympathetic glances and oddly enough, when by chance I ended up meeting him a few months later at a mutual friend’s housewarming party and he recognized me he sidled on over and said, “I hope you’ve been eating your blueberries!” with an accompanying eye roll. We both laughed and he said, “I can’t believe you didn’t slug that guy!” to which I replied, “well we’ve been friends a long time and trust me I really wanted to…”
It was only later that I reflected and remembered that my inane friend was a 9/11 truther, loved to tell you all about his interpretations of his dreams and/or would delve into random monologues about his deep metaphysical insights, or misguided quasi-misogynistic notions about women or how he was smarter than this that or the other person. Oh and the minutiae of amplifiers, effects and his guitar sound, which as a music head was mildly interesting to me to a point, but after the umpteenth one sided pontification, got old real quick.
To top it off, it was only a few months later, at that same bar, along with another mutual friend who bore witness that after some blurb about that clown who built his own rocket so he could prove it to himself came on the TV, my friend said “well y’know… there really isn’t any scientific proof that the earth is round… “
At that point, I kind of lost it, and asked my friend,
I didn’t bring up cancer, or his previous rant because in that moment it started to hit me that nothing I’d ever say or do would convince him of anything. In his mind, he’s privy to the real truth that all deluded conspiracy theory thinkers believe they are. Because they’re special. Because they’re so far up their own narcissistic asses they wouldn’t know a fact if it smacked them upside their ass-heads!
So, clearly I’m still pissed and aside from a heated text exchange a while back after those two incidents, wherein I tried in vain to reason with my friend and explain correlation vs causation, cognitive bias and even tried a snarky Platonic-esque approach of asking him if for example he didn’t value expertise if he still took his car to a mechanic or rather just waved some burning sage over it and hoped for the best, I haven’t spoken with him since. It’s sad, but it all confirmed to me that his narcissism was always there, but since I’d never had such a personal stake in it and he’d never been quite so clueless and tone deaf I’d always let it slide.
And it sucks cause there’s plenty to like about him, but that blueberry rant of his just cast a pall over our friendship. Almost as if he’d tried to evangelize and justify being a Trump supporter, or a militant anti-vaxxer, the latter of which I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he is cause that’s just one of the more high profile ways in which the extreme left and right have idiotic uninformed opinions in common.
I’m certain this is a fairly common scenario and that plenty of friendships have been ruined by such disagreements, wether they’re overtly political or simply within the realm of arguing about facts and reality vs alternative nonsense. In fact this pretty much sums up the differences between our two party system in these cult of Branch Trumpianians times.
Republicans, acting always in bad faith and having the benefit of an entire news network and mostly pliant news media spreading their propaganda and the advantage of a base that has been indoctrinated over the last 40-50 years or so to accept being told what to do like the good little authoritarians they are, just fuckin’ make shit up and lie all the time and when called on their reprehensible, xenophobic and outright cruel, inhumane policies and edicts take great umbrage at the fact that anyone dare critique them or bleat about free speech as if it is they who are oppressed. They alone who, wrapping themselves in the self righteous, self satisfied, sickeningly smug cloaks of religion, twisted “patriotism” and false moral piety should be allowed to just be total assholes to whomever they please with zero consequences, because… reasons!!
Personally, I find it quite challenging being friends with people who don’t “believe” in facts, science or expertise, but have no problem offering their opinions on all manner of subjects definitively not in their narcissistic wheelhouse, yet I often find that, especially living where I do in beautiful, bucolic and hippietastic Sonoma County it is I who end up being accused of being insensitive to other’s experiences because I can’t abide their nincompoopery or take it unquestioningly at face value.
Why people believe that their right to spew false equivalency nonsense unchallenged is more valuable than my right to point out said nonsense I’ll never understand. Maybe it’s the east coaster in me?
Oh well… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯