Help, I’m stuck in a hoax

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - OPINION OUR & YOURS - DUN­CAN LAY

MY favourite con­spir­acy the­ory is the one that claims Aus­tralia does not ex­ist and is, in fact, one of the big­gest hoaxes ever cre­ated.

If you’ve for­got­ten (or are stuck in an ex­is­ten­tial cri­sis), last year a blog­ger from Stockholm called Shel­ley Flo­ryd put up a post that said: “Aus­tralia does not ex­ist. All things you call ‘proof’ are ac­tu­ally well fab­ri­cated lies and doc­u­ments made by the lead­ing gov­ern­ments of the world. Your Aus­tralian friends? They’re all ac­tors and com­puter gen­er­ated per­sonas, part of the plot to trick the world.” Ap­par­ently Bri­tain made up Aus­tralia so it could kill a bunch of con­victs, rather than send them across to the other side of the world.

Pur­chas­ing a hol­i­day to Aus­tralia only gets you flown to a South Amer­i­can is­land filled with ac­tors and, pre­sum­ably, an­i­ma­tronic mar­su­pi­als. Ob­vi­ously the is­land’s de­sign­ers were on some of Colom­bia’s finest ex­ports when they whipped up the duck-billed platy­pus.

As laugh­able as this ob­vi­ously is, it popped up again re­cently at the Flat Earth Con­ven­tion in Birm­ing­ham. You know, the city that will be the next host of the Com­mon­wealth Games. Games that will prob­a­bly be won by ath­letes from a coun­try that doesn’t ex­ist.

Flat Earthers are pos­i­tive Antarc­tica is a gi­ant ice wall that runs all the way around un­til it meets the Arc­tic ice wall, thus keep­ing the sea from drain­ing off the side.

It’s kind of like The Wall in Game Of Thrones, only with­out a brood­ing Jon Snow.

Good­ness knows what is on the other side. Hope­fully not an army of zom­bies be­ing led by an un­dead dragon. Or is that too ridicu­lous even for a Flat Earther?

But while it’s easy to laugh at a story that says we are all paid ac­tors in the em­ploy of the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment to cover up a hideous crime from 200 years ago, there are weirder things on the net that peo­ple truly be­lieve.

There are YouTu­bers out there who make a liv­ing from this. It scares me when I see how tens of mil­lions of peo­ple are watching their wacky videos. Not all are do­ing it for en­ter­tain­ment.

The old say­ing a lie can run half­way around the world be­fore the truth has put its shoes on has never held more weight. Es­pe­cially when it doesn’t even have to visit the imag­i­nary coun­try of Aus­tralia.

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