Probably everyone has had to deal with a friend or family member who has given in to conspiracy theories. But where once those truly invested in outlandish tales that just a few seconds of research could debunk were usually given at least some access to the therapy they might need for their paranoia, now we reward them with seats in Congress and elsewhere.
And you wonder why I don't like politics.
Now, everything is a conspiracy, even Taylor Swift's romance with the Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce. I haven't paid attention to the NFL in years (and I used to watch religiously in my youth), but now I can't get away from it. There's even a theory that Swift wrote a spy movie/yet-to-be-published novel ("Argylle"; she didn't, but that's neither here nor there); there's apparently very little that woman can't do.
I'm no Swiftie, but I admire, as any conniving little sister should, the way she can rile up certain quarters with her very existence. Take notes, girls. This might come in handy.
What may be most annoying to me in the Swift conspiracy theories is that they've become so infuriatingly and stupidly political (because how dare she stand up for her work and other women, and really how dare she encourage voter registration).
Over the weekend, Mike Crispi, who on his website says he is "an experienced talk show host, TV reporter, businessman and political activist" (strange, never heard of the dude, but it appears he's an America First podcaster ... maybe padding the resume a bit), tweeted: "The NFL is totally RIGGED for the Kansas City Chiefs, Taylor Swift, Mr. Pfizer (Travis Kelce). All to spread DEMOCRAT PROPAGANDA.
"Calling it now: KC wins, goes to Super Bowl, Swift comes out at the halftime show and 'endorses' Joe Biden with Kelce at midfield. It's all been an op since day one."
A lot to unpack there. Yeesh. Crispi isn't the only one advancing this theory, though. Failed presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy piped in Monday in reply to Pizzagate promoter Jack Posobiec's tweet about Swift "coming out as super liberal in 2020" (uh, she mostly stayed out of politics till 2018, when she endorsed two Tennessee Democrats; she endorsed Biden in 2020): "I wonder who's going to win the Super Bowl next month. And I wonder if there's a major presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally propped-up couple this fall. ..."
Frankly, I'm sensing some people in need of new hobbies that don't involve seeing the world as a series of interconnected plots to ... I dunno ... make cats the rulers of the world (they already rule the Internet, and did long before Taylor Swift's cats were ubiquitous). Actually, that theory would be a nice departure from their usual doom and gloom. How do people live like that? I have had severe depression for decades, but I'm a nonstop ray of sunshine in comparison.
But there are more theories about Swift and Kelce's romance, including that she's dating him for his money (!!), despite the fact that she's worth upwards of $1 billion (with a B) and he's worth about $40 million. There's the idea that she's dating him to tank the Chiefs in favor of the Philadelphia Eagles (she was born in Pennsylvania); that didn't quite work out, now, did it? There's also the one claiming that she actually wants to date Travis' brother Jason, who plays for the Eagles ... and is married.
Some others Angela Wirecutter of Wired rounded up several months back, long before the latest theories:
Something about the Swift-Kim Kardashian feud (don't ask me). Kardashian announced in September that Usher would play the Super Bowl halftime show, and the thought is that Swift wanted to outshine Kardashian by her presence at Chiefs games. Another of the Super Bowl-related theories is that the NFL is playing Swift's football fandom up to try to capitalize on the energy and hype of the Eras Tour (believable).
Swift is trying to deflect attention from, well, just about anything, but in one specific instance, from her outing with friend Sophie Turner, with whom she shares an ex.
She just wants new material for an album, and/or to sell movie tickets to the Eras Tour concert film.
The numbers "make sense": They were both born in 1989, and her lucky number (13) added to his number on the field (87) equals 100.
I think a lot of people could use a new hobby. Maybe turn off the Internet for a while ...
Some genuine conspiracies do exist, but what makes them workable historically is something that's lacking in many of the outlandish ones (seriously, you think Swift is a psy-op?): proportion. Those that have (mostly) worked generally were confined in breadth and width, with small groups working closely together on the details. The more people and geographical area added, especially over a long period of time, the harder it is for a conspiracy to work.
But sure, maybe there's been something in the works since Swift and Kelce were born in 1989, all so Joe Biden can prevail in the 2024 election.
Then again, maybe Swift is angling for something bigger; she is almost old enough to be eligible to be president ...
Assistant Editor Brenda Looper is editor of the Voices page. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her blog at blooper0223.wordpress.com.