If you’re unacquainted with the word “noisome” I’ll save you the trouble looking it up. It’s an adjective and carries as its first definition, “having an extremely offensive smell.” It’s one of those odd words that sounds exactly like something other than what it is. Having (apparently) the word “noise” at its root one would expect it to pertain more to the ear than the nose. Just as the archipelago “Canary Islands” has its name derived not from the bird but from the Latin word “canariae” for “dogs,” the name is unfortunately misleading.
And so it goes with the term “conspiracy theory.” With two such respectable words as “conspiracy” and “theory” in its composition, when joined together you would reasonably expect it to form an out-and-out monarch of propriety and righteousness as a set phrase. And yet it’s one of the most loathsome and dangerous expressions in English. It means “an explanation for an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful groups, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable.” If our species should die out in the next 500 years its most probable nemesis is going to be one or more conspiracy theories.
Which brings me to the king of conspiracy theories, Alex Jones, a man who is noisome at least in the second definition of the word, that is, “disagreeable or unpleasant,” if not the first. Jones is the creator of the moribund entity known as InfoWars, an American far-right conspiracy theory and fake news website.
In Jones’ so-called “emergency Christmas Day warning to President Trump,” Jones refers to Trump as either ignorant or evil. So far so good, and had he stopped there I, for one, would have agreed with him. But his reason for this conclusion was because he believes that the coronavirus vaccines (that Trump now promotes) are in fact “gene therapies” used as part of a worldwide conspiracy to overthrow and enslave the human race. In the classic illogic of General Jack D. Ripper from the movie Dr. Strangelove, Jones believes (or claims to believe) that most of the doctors and most of the scientists of the world have joined forces to create this artificial poisoner of our precious bodily fluids.
As is so often the case with conspiracy theories, Jones largely skips over the details of how this diabolical plan is supposed to be carried out. Jones has enlisted another fellow wack-job, a physician named Vladimir Zelenko, who warns that the Covid vaccine is a “Mark of the Beast System” to ultimately enslave all of humanity.
Alex Jones’ ex-wife says that Jones doesn’t actually believe the conspiracy theories he spouts, he just uses them to exploit the stupid so he can make money. Jones is, in short, just another kind of evangelical TV preacher with a slightly different message. But the process is the same, the cynical manipulation of the audience by using scare tactics to make money.
As I said, I can’t disagree with him when he calls Trump evil or ignorant. But when it comes to Jones himself there’s little doubt in my mind that, in his cynical manipulation of his moronic followers, Alex Jones is a man of pure evil. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.