Culture Feature

Late Capitalism Diaries: All the Best Fake COVID Cures

There is no cure for the coronavirus, but these people still think you should give them money.

If there's one thing that can save us from a global pandemic, it's capitalism.

Maybe you think that a sense of shared humanity uniting us in collective action—with those least at risk looking out for the most vulnerable—would be a better approach than embracing greed and short-term profit. But you're wrong.

Capitalism teaches us that money is the only thing that's real and the only solution to every problem. So when people are desperate and afraid because a deadly and wildly contagious virus is killing hundreds of thousands and ravaging the global economy, what they really need is someone to give their last few dollars to.

Thankfully, the ancient, venerated tradition of the snake oil salesman is alive and well, and the following good Samaritans are more than happy to strip confused and struggling people of every last dime in exchange for "cures" that primarily treat the problem of having too many dimes.

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CULTURE

The Infowars Heckler's Impeachment Rant Shouldn’t Surprise Us

Owen Shroyer just live-streamed a racist rant at an impeachment hearing, because what's more American than that?

A heckler from the far-right website Infowars was just forcibly removed from an impeachment hearing after delivering an incendiary and racist rant that took aim at former President Barack Obama.

"Americans are sick of your impeachment scam! Trump is innocent!" Owen Shroyer shouted early Monday morning. "Folks, Obama was emailing Hillary Clinton on her illegal server under a secret name, that came out in emails. And he claimed he didn't know she had it. Barack Obama is a treasonous ... he belongs in jail. He belongs in Guantanamo Bay. I mean look, I'm not saying this should happen but Barack Obama, you know, find the tallest tree and a rope."

Shroyer's comments were delivered in defense of President Trump, who has insofar obstructed the current probe into his attempt to persuade Ukraine to help him win the 2020 election by withholding documents and discouraging witness testimony. Shroyer delivered his rant at the start of the latest impeachment inquiry hearing, accusing Congressman Jerry Nadler and other Democrats of treason. Less than 40 seconds after he started speaking, he was forcibly removed by police.

LIVE: House Judiciary Committee Impeachment Inquiry Evidence Hearingwww.youtube.com

Shroyer is a known conspiracy theorist and instigator who has been banned from Facebook and YouTube, which is really saying something. Along with Infowars, he infamously helped spread the debunked Pizzagate theory, which alleged that the Clintons were involved in a child sex-trafficking ring.

Shroyer's comments at the hearing were, of course, deeply racist, as they concern the first African American president of the United States, but given his website's track record and white supremacist leanings, this shouldn't surprise us. Websites that perpetuate this kind of misinformation present major threats to any form of democracy and justice. Videos with titles such as "Why Impeachment Crisis Is a Textbook Lynching" add insult to injury, co-opting legacies of racist oppression and transmuting the American people's distrust of authority into fake news.

Still, we shouldn't think of Shroyer as a lone wolf or solo extremist gone rogue; rather, he's an unusually visible symptom of a much larger and very complex matrix of problems. Some of the worst perpetuators of racist systems hold positions of power across party lines, and mainstream media sources and politicians can be purchased and influenced by major moneyed influences as well. In all these cases, false information can easily become weaponized as protest and alternative versions of truth when refracted through the right's kaleidoscope of circumstances, rage, and high-profile distraction.

Humor

Alex Jones Crashed a Marco Rubio Interview

This is Just What America is Now. Get Over It.

If you don't spend 6-8 hours a day online, it's entirely possible that you, like Senator Marco Rubio, haven't heard of Alex Jones or Info Wars.

This is Alex Jones on his show InfoWars:

prostheticlivesinthememoryhole.files.wordpress.com

He's famous for taking his shirt off (a lot), yelling in a voice that's somewhere between Father Coughlin's and Dave Grohl's, and waxing poetic about the government "putting chemicals in the water that turn the freakin' frogs gay." If for some reason you want more information, here's Super Deluxe's indie folk remix of his most conspiratorial rantings:

Anyway, earlier today, the Internet's favorite maniac took time out of his busy schedule of hawking useless dietary supplements and getting kicked off of Facebook and YouTube for being too racist to hijack an interview session Marco Rubio was having with the press. Jones came in shouting about how he's being persecuted and silenced by "big tech companies" and that these companies are "purging conservatives" from their (the tech companies') websites.

Rubio tried to respond calmly, but Jones pressed on shouting over the other reporters and insisting that his freedoms were being assaulted. Unable to ignore the shouting, foaming blob-man any longer, Rubio turned and said, "Listen man, I just don't know who you are." This was a critical error. As any city-dweller knows, if an insane person is shouting at you on the street, you never engage. This is one of the few instances in which ignoring the problem makes it go away.

Alex Jones responded with more vitriol, claiming Rubio was just pretending not to know about InfoWars. The climax of the interaction occurred after Jones called Rubio a "little frat boy" and placed his hand on his shoulder, at which point a secret service agent told Jones to step back. Jones, acting stunned, asked if Rubio was going to "get [him] arrested." Rubio responded point blank, "You're not going to get arrested. I'll take care of it myself."

As an increasingly annoyed-looking newswoman tried to ask Rubio questions about online regulation, Jones continued to hound everyone who would listen, blabbering about how "the Democrats are raping the Republicans [and] raping InfoWars." No one thought to ask him what this means. Eventually, Rubio walked away from the press briefing, saying "we gotta go to the committee, you guys can talk to this clown."

In the end, we're left with more questions than answers. Here are a few of them:

-Is Alex Jones insane?

-Does Alex Jones have a parasite eating the inside of his brain?

-Is it contagious?

-Is it from space?

-When he touched Marco Rubio, did he infect him with said parasite?

-Is Congress in danger of being infected with space parasites?

-Is this the end of America as we know it?


Matt Clibanoff is a writer and editor based in New York City who covers music, politics, sports and pop culture. His editorial work can be found in Inked Magazine, Pop Dust, The Liberty Project, and All Things Go. His fiction has been published in Forth Magazine. -- Find Matt at his website and on Twitter: @mattclibanoff


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