Ok gang we need to discuss flat-earth conspiracy. Yes, this is really a thing in the year 20 16. Its pretty stupid but also fascinating which is why I recently read Christine Garwood’s excellent book Flat Earth: The\History of an Infamous Idea.
Garwood’s research acknowledges Pythagoras as figuring out the Earth is round, meaning that people living as long ago as the 400 B.C knew this to be true. Yet more than two millenniums later people still believe otherwise, but hey to each his own right?
Garwood attributes much of the modern belief in the subject to Samuel Rowbotham aka Parallax (no relation to the Green Lantern villain). Rowbotham was a charlatan who barnstormed England in the 1800s lecturing on the subject to anyone who would listen. The funny thing about Parallax is that he in no way shape or form resembled a certain American politician and business man who I’d rather not name. Parallax was only too happy to denounce the findings of the era’s most accomplished scientists which is kind of like saying…oh I don’t know…they know more about military matters than generals. Parallax was also thin skinned and frequently threatenedto sue critics for libel. He also enjoyed bad-mouthing his detractors referring to them as ‘cowards and assassins.” Parallax even had a populist bent claiming he had been encouraged by ‘thousands of worthy and intelligent people worldwide.” Yes sir..I’m really glad there aren’t people like that around anymore! Especially ones who are elected to very important offices that many in their country believe they aren’t qualified for.
Anyways, I digress. Daniel Shenton was another Englishman, living in the modern eradedicated to the cause. He is quoted as saying the following “That’s where those Americans & Russians are so damned cunning.For some reason they obviously want us to think the world is round!” Shenton was doing his thing during the Cold War which make his remarks that much more amusing. He’s dead so obviously we can’t ask him but it would seem his remarks meant to insinuate that nuclear standoffs and the possibility of mutually assured destruction were meant to distract us from the fact we were living on a flat earth. To what end an intelligent person might ask? Fuck it who knows!
Shenton was pretty interesting though because he had a fairly large following. He appeared on television and received plenty of fan mail. The book mentions some colorful correspondence he received from a Canadian schizophrenic who discussed, among other things, the possibility of human shape-shifting and whether it was possible to communicate through jewelry. I am envious I do not get mail like this on a regular basis, and that is not sarcasm.
Charles Kenneth Johnson was an American flat-earther of note. He floated the idea Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt would announce the world was flat at the conclusion of WWII. Johnson also argued that the UN was a flat earth organization. His proof? The UN’s logo is a flat earth (wake up sheeple!).
However Johnson’s finest flat earth theories were inspired by OJ Simpson’s troubles in the mid-1990s. In 1978 Simpson starred in the film Capricorn One whose plot focused on a staged NASA mission to Mars. Johnson believed the movie to be a documentary about space and the moon landing hoax. This in turn birthed the notion that Simpson’s legal troubles were a direct result of him exposing NASA’s lies. His acquittal, however, defied explanation.
In addition to all this other nonsense the author makes a provocative point towards the end of her book that applies today especially if the term flat-earther is replaced with fake news consumer.
“From evolution to the Atkin’s Diet, in a pluralistic world where one person’s crank is another’s expert and one person’s heresy is another’s faith, flat-earth believers illustrate that there will never be a consensus on any given fact, however essential and obvious it may appear.”
In summation I am providing a pair of links. The first is a link to the Flat Earth Society’s web page and I encourage you to either become enlightened or belittle it. The second is a link to some simple experiments that demonstrate the rotundity of our planet in case you bought in to the first link.