Bizarre Travis Scott says conspiracies are just the way we process things – Mother Jones

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Travis Scott performs at his Astroworld festival.Photo by Erika Goldring / Getty

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“Look what just happened at a Travis Scott concert!” Greg Locke, a Pennsylvania pastor, yelled as he walked across the stage amid the hums of appreciation from his congregation. “If you think it was an accident, you’re not paying attention. If you look at the stage setup, if you listen to the lyrics, this wasn’t an accident in a field in Houston. This was a 100% satanic ritual, “he continued to build up cheers and cheers.

You may already know what Locke is pedaling. After hundreds of people were injured and eight died at Travis Scott’s seemingly badly run Astroworld music festival in Houston, conspiracy theories about how deaths were somehow part of a ritual of sacrifice abounded on social media. People on Twitter have started posting QAnon-style numerology about Scott. On Tic knock, in which Locke’s video received over 100,000 views, others have continued to call Scott’s set a “portal to hell” and unearth alleged Illuminati references in his lyrics.

Journalists and disinformation analysts, rightly so, complained the vortex—A mini-redux from the 1980s satanic panic, mixed with QAnon residue. But he also remembered something else: almost every other moment of great, or even medium, upheaval and social and political change in recent years.

The elections, the Capitol uprising of January 6, the coronavirus vaccine, the coronavirus in general, vaccines in general, fireworks be deployed in cities as a government conspiracy, save the children, etc., etc. Each, just like Scott’s concert, inspired a conspiratorial response. Most of it is just from the past 12 months. If you want to think again a little bit, there are crazy claims about laser beams starting fires in California, 5G technology, George Soros funding a caravan of migrantsand false flag attacks.

Conspiracy theories aren’t necessarily prompted by a specific incident. Someone can just post something weird online and people will use it, like the fake accusation that Wayfair trafficked children in closets. Many of these theories have layered and flowed together in what Anna Merlan described in Vice as a “conspiracy singularity: the place where many conspiracy communities suddenly meet and merge, a melting pot of unimaginable density.” Merlan wrote those words to make sense of what was happening at the start of the pandemic, but the trend has continued and worsened since then.

The woman who shared Pastor Locke’s video on Tik-Tok also maintains an Instagram page, full of post about other conspiracies: QAnon-adjacent affirmations about missing children, chemtrails, flat earth talk and the like. Even though it might seem like it behavior originating from antisocial bangs, beyond a concern with conservative politics, the rest of his recent feed shows a normal mix of kids, hobbies, and a life beyond the Internet.

But if you scroll back years, you can see that at the beginning of the pandemic he published pretty much exclusively about his family and hobbies of exercise and nutrition. It is more recently that it has begun to slip into the publication of more right-wing – and often conspiratorial – political statements.

Which follows with broader trends, such as the coronavirus and its social fallout beyond helped rekindle QAnon, which had been briefly faded, but it also served as an accelerator for conspiracy thinking in the broader sense. This phenomenon was clearly explained by the artist and Internet researcher Josh Citarella in a recent episode of his podcast: “The pandemic has been an incubation period for people who are already on their edge. And then the consumption of content increases. Social atomization increases. Economic precariousness increases … and well, the people who are on the border are now radicalized. “

As conspiracy theories have become a lingua franca among some groups, allowing them to tidy up the mess – particularly the chaos and economic upheaval of the pandemic, more and more conspiracy theorists resemble the woman who posted Pastor Locke’s video – relatively people. normal people move around the world and then go online and post surreal things. Conspiracy theories are only now the logic that many rely on and, for the time being, the rest of us have to deal with it.

Rejecting won’t always make a difference. “They wanted to kill those people and they are not at all sorry for that. I don’t care what they say on Twitter, “Locke said at the end of the Scott video, perhaps anticipating that site’s criticism of his beliefs. younger and left-wing users. The congregation applauded.

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