We spend a good amount of time here either debunking or mercilessly ridiculing conspiracy theories and those who believe in and espouse them. The reason for this is simple: media proliferation has reached the point where there's as much misinformation out there as there is genuine information, and the result is having a legitimate and damaging impact on our culture. It would be great to be able to just brush off the lunacy, safe in the knowledge that it's confined only to people living in their parents' basements with no contact at all with the outside world, but that just ain't so. Throw enough bullshit at the wall and not only does some of it start to stick, eventually the whole room stinks like hell.
Case in point, a story that broke over the weekend out of the Lake Havasu City area of Arizona. It's there that residents have apparently begun complaining about the increasing presence of "chemtrails" in the sky, so much so that Republican state senator Kelli Ward has now called a special meeting on the matter. "I have gotten a lot of communications from people who are concerned and there has been a sense that no one has been doing anything for them to address those concerns," Ward told the Havasu News. The local paper's coverage of the story is flat-out hilarious, with a picture attached of the supposed "chemtrails" criss-crossing the skies above Lake Havasu, minus an ounce of skepticism.
The Havasu News goes on to call the white streaks across the sky "mysterious," which they are only if you know absolutely nothing about science. "Chemtrails" are, in reality, nothing more than the contrails -- or condensation trails -- created by airplanes. They occur naturally, when hot vapor from a jet's engine exhaust comes into contact with the frigid, moist air in the upper atmosphere -- or when wingtip vortices stir the humidity in the air. They're basically man-made clouds. Not a thing mysterious or nefarious about them.
But don't tell that to the simple, shit-scared people of Lake Havasu City.
Local resident Jennifer Cramer says she's seen the effects of these chemtrails herself. "Every time they do chemtrailing there is some dramatic change in the weather. I noticed it this weekend and then it got very windy,” she says. "I’m not a scientist and I don’t know what’s in the (chemtrails). I think we have a right to know instead of worry about it every day." Perhaps Ms. Cramer should spray a little vinegar into the air in her backyard -- four out of five internet crazies say it works like a charm to get rid of those pesky chemtrails. Other residents say they're concerned because it's obvious the government isn't telling them everything and they fear that the spraying of chemicals high in the atmosphere might be affecting mineral levels in their blood. Because, why not.
State senator Ward, it should be noted, has a degree in psychology and a masters in public health, so it doesn't seem like she'd be a dummy. Maybe the best you can give her here is to say she's just pandering, basically entertaining the whims of the idiot yokels who keep her in office and hopefully mollifying their bizarre conspiracist night terrors. But the fact that nobody here seems to be willing to step up and end this ridiculous debate with ten seconds of scientific fact -- "There's no such thing as chemtrails, you morons!" -- is disconcerting to say the least.
This is where we are in this country right now, with the inmates running the asylum and the media and political wardens who are supposed to know better instead agreeing that they see the hallucination too.