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Christmas conspiracies, and the joys of a little red button

December 26, 2020

Christmas progressed on its pre-ordained path yesterday. A message from the Queen that made me a touch emotional and the King’s College Choir battling for my attention while I was wrestling with the turkey. Ghosts at the table, more food than we could eat, calls to and from relatives,

But if anything served to remind us that this was not a normal Christmas, a call from a friend in the US did just that. She’s a conspiracy-minded Trump supporter, which I guess shows that we don’t cut off from long-time friends because of their batty beliefs. And anyway, it’s good to know a genuine member of a different species. The world, after all, would be the poorer without islands full of Komodo dragons (as above).

Our friend lives in California, so it must have been quite early for her when she called. She was extremely excited because the news had just started spreading over the networks about a camper van that exploded in Nashville, Tennessee. She wanted us to know that this was just the beginning. The beginning of what, I’m not sure, because I wasn’t listening very closely (she was talking to my wife), but I did hear her mumbling about January 6th, so it was pretty easy to guess that it was about Trump.

Has the real Kraken woken? Could we expect similar events in other cities across the US? Would Trump use Nashville and subsequent incidents to declare martial law?

The plot thickened when it emerged that whoever blew up the camper van gave warnings that served to avoid human casualties, just as our beloved IRA did, with varying success, in the 1980s. Even more intriguing was that the van blew up next to an AT&T building. The damage caused phone communications to fall over for a while across the state. Presumably the building housed some kind of hub.

A helpful person on Twitter pointed out that AT&T owns CNN, the perennial scourge of Trump and all his works. Which no doubt will give rise to speculation that this was the reason for the attack. Though I have to wonder why, if that was the case, the owners of the vehicle didn’t choose to drive over to Atlanta and detonate it outside CNN headquarters. After all, Atlanta isn’t that far away, at least in American terms, from Nashville. What’s more, if they’d hit the largest city in Georgia, it would have been a timely warning to the electors of that state not to deviate from the true path in the upcoming run-off senate elections.

Even as I write this, there will surely be conspiracists in the US who will be speculating that the Nashville bomb is a dummy run for other attacks in strategic locations that will bring down the communications networks across the country for long enough to enable Trump to deploy his little green men in state capitals and seize the political commanding heights.

Well, maybe, though I suspect that the American mobile phone and internet infrastructure is strong enough to resist the attention of a few posses with beer bellies and chemistry degrees. What was interesting was that the Nashville police described the explosion as an “intentional” act, as opposed to a terrorist attack, which is a relief, because good ole boys are never terrorists, are they?

Another odd aspect of the incident is that whoever built the device chose to put it in a camper van or, as Americans call them, a recreational vehicle. RVs don’t come cheap, so unless it was stolen, or a decrepit old wreck bought anonymously for a few dollars from someone who rents them out to new-agers at Burning Man, this would seem to be a disgraceful waste of money. At least the old IRA used to steal the shittiest vehicles for their car bombs.

Anyway, this was an interesting diversion on a quiet and rather doleful day. No doubt the truth (yours, mine, the FBI’s or QAnon’s) will out. Until then, there’s surely cause for feeling impressed at the ability of Americans to come up with unorthodox ways of celebrating the festive season.

If I’m treating this event with more levity than it deserves, perhaps that’s because nothing that happens these days in the US seems unusual. It’s almost as if it’s become a nation of big bawling babies screaming for attention. Or am I just characterising an entire country in the image of one big baby?

Which brings us back to Christmas Day, and what a pleasure it was to watch our three-year-old grandson on video playing with his baffling array of new toys without having to witness the inevitable tears as the stimulus became overwhelming and it was time for bed. If I was a miserable old grouch, which of course I’m not, I might reflect that there’s something to be said for a quiet celebration during which all communications that reach the end of their shelf lives can be quelled with a little red button.

From → Media, Politics, Social, UK, USA

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