Conspiracy theories

Will I ever get my HRT?

The novelty of living in a place where a policeman called Ambrose lives in a house whose door you can knock on if you need him will never wear off on me. I’ve asked around and no one here can remember any crime, aside from years ago they seem to recall there was a murder. But except for the odd murder, policing in West Cork usually consists of an old person having a broken oil burner and Ambrose taking them a portable heater. The doctor reminded me of Dr Meade from Gone With the Wind when he’s about to start amputating limbs It’s rather like an episode of Heartbeat, and

Are conspiracy theories just conspiracy therapy?

At the Centre for Rare Diseases, the car park was full and lots of people were milling about. I pulled into a private space I wasn’t meant to be in so that I could let my mother out of the car by the front door. I then sat in the car waiting, watching the rare people come and go. On further inspection of the website, it turns out that a rare disease is not necessarily something that happens rarely. A rare disease is a condition affecting less than one in 2,000 people. However, ‘with more than 7,000 individual rare diseases, their collective prevalence is about one in 17 of the

Is there any defence against the tidal wave of online disinformation?

Whether you’re left, right or just somewhere vaguely in between, wherever you’re coming from you may well have a sense that things are somehow not quite right, that the country is headed in the wrong direction, that our various problems and crises seem to be multiplying. You may well have concluded that this is because our institutions have been taken over by an out-of-touch elite who run the government, the judiciary, the media and goodness knows what else, and that the only way to discover the real truth is to do your own research, which involves scrolling through the internet because you no longer trust the ‘mainstream media’. Pizzagate, in

The unmaking of Russell Brand

Russell Brand’s hero status among a prominent section of the British left began on Friday 13 September 2013 and officially came to an end one week ago. On both occasions the medium was the Guardian. The 2013 moment came when he wrote for the paper giving ‘his side of the story’ after being kicked out of a GQ awards event for making a joke about the Hugo Boss fashion label and its historic links with the Nazis. Just shy of ten years later, the paper’s columnist George Monbiot last week published a mea culpa for having once been an advocate for Brand. He had nominated the comedian as his ‘hero’

Incoherent and conspiracy-fuelled: Adam Curtis’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head reviewed

‘History,’ wrote Edward Gibbon, ‘is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.’ In this respect, though, history has nothing on the work of Adam Curtis, whose latest documentary Can’t Get You Out of My Head has now arrived on BBC iPlayer — all six episodes and eight and a half hours of it. Anybody who’s seen Curtis’s previous series (including The Century of the Self, The Power of Nightmares and The Trap) will know what to expect. Once again, he mixes terrific news footage, short clips of more or less anything, mood-inducing songs and a lordly commentary to remind us just how hopeless

Beware the super-spreaders of coronavirus conspiracy theories

When a new virus is discovered, conspiracy theories often spread faster than the disease. I’ve been following the debate in China and the latest theory doing the rounds on social media is: what if the coronavirus didn’t come from China, but originated in the US instead? It would be classic CIA, wouldn’t it? The outbreak of this particular rumour can be traced to a medical pundit on Taiwanese TV two days ago. He referenced an academic paper which shows five different ‘families’ of coronavirus: A to E. But all 80,000 Chinese coronavirus cases belonged to one group: C. In the US, there are only 70 cases but a far greater