I love conspiracy theories. I think they appeal to the intensely human desire to think that SOMEONE is in charge, even if it’s someone malicious.
The idea that NO-ONE is at the wheel and things just HAPPEN for reasons no-one will ever be able to fully comprehend is obviously terrifying to some people.
I also love making fun of the news business, as seen. So, two great tastes that taste great together.
[The people who run the world are beaten to the punch]
Illuminati Member One-Two-Three was sitting at her desk in her office, casually rubber stamping the requisition forms for that month’s chemtrail supply order when bursting through her door came Illuminati Member Four-Five-Six. He didn’t even knock.
“Excuse you!” She said, jokingly, but her smile faded as she saw the look on his face.
“What’s wrong?” She asked. He held up a newspaper and she blinked. Something of a charming anachronism in her eyes she was told that a lot of people still read them, a fact she found hard to comprehend. Quite why four-five-six would have one she didn’t know.
Because if you think about it, reading the news was a bit pointless when you controlled everything that was happening in it.
“You need help with a crossword? What?” She asked, not getting it. Face still as grave as it had been from the moment he stepped in four-five-six handed it over to her. One-two-three took it, none the wiser as to what any of this was about.
“Look at it, what jumps out at you?” Four-five-six asked. Rolling her eyes one-two-three figured she’d humour him for now.
She took in the front page. She saw doom, she saw gloom. She saw reports of just about everything getting worse. She saw articles about celebrities doing things that weren’t actually particularly notable but were reported on because the person doing it was notable. She saw instances of people being offended by things that had been done or written specifically to offend them. She an awful lot about murders, and war and disasters. It all rung a bell.
“This…this is project Bluebird, isn’t it? That thing they were trialling to, uh, ‘foster a general and all-consuming sense of apathy and despair in and amongst the population’? Who gave it the greenlight? I didn’t think it was finished,” she asked, handing the paper back.
It wasn’t her department, but you hear about these things. Someone’s high-falutin idea about adjusting public consciousness by restricting and controlling their awareness of the world to try and inculcate a feeling of utter helplessness. More of a pet-project than anything else, at least from what she’s heard. Still a cute idea by the standards of some of the other things being worked on.
Four-five-six took the newspaper without looking, his eyes not leaving her face.
“No-one gave it the greenlight. This isn’t us,” he said, dropping the newspaper onto the desk where it fell with a soft thump. There was a pause. One-two-three wondered if perhaps he had misheard him,
“What?” She asked, hoping she was missing something obvious. The alternative was too distressing to consider. Four-five-six’s face remained dour.
“This is just happening. This is just what they’re doing now. This is what shifts papers. We did not do this.”
“What do you mean we didn’t do this? We do everything,” one-two-three scoffed, folding her arms.
“Not this,” four-five-six said, beginning to lose patience with her refusal to accept this rather simple statement. His sympathy was roused however by the very obvious transition she was going through from ‘bewildered confusion’ to ‘legitimate concern’. He understood how she felt. The whole point was that they had something to do with everything. That was kind of their deal.
“B-but…but how…” One-two-three said, the stammer she’d long-since thought banished creeping back as she reached her desk for the squishy thing she squished to reduce stress. It had sat neglected for a long time before this.
“They’re looking into it. Right now though it just seems like this is something the people in charge of newspapers arrived at naturally. They did all this on their own. It seems to work, from what I’m told. I mean, print is still dying but this is apparently constitutes life-support; people buy this stuff. God knows what it’s doing to the morale of the population and the quality of public discourse but,” four-five-six said with a shrug.
He personally found the human fascination with grim, depressing stories a little confusing and inherently unhelpful, but was aware there wasn’t a whole lot he could do about it at his level in the organisation. One day maybe, but not yet. Meanwhile one-two-three continued falling to pieces.
“If…if the…if t-they can d-do this to themselves t-then…then…” she lowered her voice, looking around to check for eavesdroppers. A futile gesture in a building that had its walls basically insulated with bugs and other miscellaneous listening devices, but still well-meaning. Once this check was completed she finished her sentence:
“Do you think they’re going to make anyone redundant?” She asked. One-two-three’s eyes narrowed and his sympathy vanished at once. Another thing he found confusing was this sort of rampant, self-serving attitude in the face of problems that affected society as a whole. Again, not something he could do much about.
“No, I don’t think so. I think they’re actually bringing in more people to look into this,” he said. Almost at once one-two-three brightened, the death-grip she’d had on her squishy thing loosening and the beginnings of a smile coming back to her face.
“Really?” She asked.
“Really. A project on something that spontaneously appeared and is almost identical to a project that never got finished. Never a dull day. A bunch of newspapers actually got one over on us,” he said. One-two-three’s smile was in full-force now, her squishy thing back in the desk and the drawer locked as she picked up her stamp again.
“Lack of competition has made us sloppy,” she said. Four-five-six grunted and swept the newspaper off the desk and into the bin.
“Clearly,” he said, turning to leave.
“Are we, uh…are we still on for drinks later?” One-two-three asked quietly. This was not the first time she’d asked, and she was concerned about coming off as too eager. Four-five-six took the time to properly arrange his face before turning back to her.
“Of course,” he said.
“Only good news I’ve heard all day,” said one-two-three, grinning.
“Ha. Ha. Ha,” four-five-six said as he left.