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RSVPhillippi | November 2018

 
Dennis Phillippi

Sometimes Stupid Just Is?

As God is my witness I was planning on writing a column this month about something cheerful and absolutely not a column about a group of idiots doing idiotic things. I realize that lately, and I have no doubt it is largely due to my advancing years, this column seems to have become my own personal ax grinding station, but honestly, it’s not my fault that people keep trying to bring kangaroos on airplanes, buy into ridiculous fashion trends and won’t stop sharing their opinions. I’ve been telling people for days I’m looking for a feel good column idea and then this — a real live reputable news organization actually visited a gathering of the dumbest people on this planet, or any other, Flat-Earthers.

I’m not going to name the news organization because I refuse to be drawn into the “fake news” conversation. I have known a lot of journalists in my life, all of whom worked for respectable agencies, and all of whom were trying their best to be fair and balanced, unlike the outfit that uses that motto, I assume, ironically. With few exceptions the people who work for real news companies are doing everything in their power to report the news honestly. Why a company that has as many Peabody Awards as anyone would give a nano-second of coverage to these chuckleheads is lost on me, but they did.

It seems impossible in a world where just about any piece of information is readily available, that a group of upright-walking people who apparently are capable of dressing themselves and even driving cars, would honestly believe that the Earth is flat and that a giant wall of ice around the perimeter is holding in the sea water. One of these “believers” acknowledged that “people will hear about this and think we’re idiots.” That would be because they are idiots.

Let’s not let up on the gas on this one, these people also believe that we have not gone to the moon, there is no rover on Mars, and in fact, there have never been any astronauts of any kind ever. One of these simpletons, and I will name names, Michael Hughes, launched himself 6,000 feet in the air in an attempt to prove that there is no curvature of the Earth. Let’s, for one painful second, set aside the fact that the very act of building your own rocket and trusting your safety to it, in itself, proves that this chump believes in rocket technology, something he disavows. Hughes went on the say that he thinks people should question everything; what their city council is doing, what scientists are really up to, and “what really happened during the Civil War.” I don’t want to know this chump’s theories on the shape of the Earth. I sure don’t want to hear his thoughts on “what really happened during the Civil War.” Hughes went on to say that he is currently working on a larger rocket, and fully expects to find a flat disk “up there.” Well, he does at least admit that there is and up and down.

These people, no doubt, went home and excitedly watched this piece about their crackpot hootenanny, a piece that was almost certainly sent to the New York facilities by being bounced off of a satellite, which is orbiting the Earth, which they maintain nothing can do because you can’t orbit something that isn’t round.

NBA player Kyrie Irving, who generally has come across to me as a pretty bright guy, recently said during a podcast that he believes the Earth is flat. This is a man that defies gravity for a living. Naturally the sports press went nuts portraying Kyrie as a kook, and science teachers from around the Earth (please note the phrasing there) decried Irving putting them in a position of having to re-teach their curriculum because a basketball player had just pronounced everything they taught as fraud. Eventually Irving retracted the statement, in front of a summit of science teachers, apologizing for making their lives miserable and explaining that at the time he was “heavy into conspiracy theories” and didn’t realize the power of his voice. He’s going to understand that power as this story follows him for the rest of his life. Not just his career. His life. He will always be known primarily as a guy that believed, as an adult making millions of dollars a year, that the Earth was flat.

People understood, at least in the abstract, that the Earth was round as early as ancient Greece. These are people who literally couldn’t imagine a light bulb, but could imagine the shape of our planet. The spherical nature of our planet was established as fact in the third century. For those of you who believe the Earth is flat, that would be in the 200’s. Da Vinci knew it. Shakespeare knew it. The average first grader knows it. This isn’t conspiracy theorism. This is willful ignorance. This is actively deciding to be stupid. I’m guessing a few of these folks weren’t particularly good about vaccinating their kids either.

Here’s something really fun to do Flat-Earthers, put an ISS tracker app on your phone. It will tell you every time the International Space Station is going to fly right over your pointy-head. On a clear night you can walk outside and watch it zip over at 17, 500 miles per hours, 200 miles up in the air. It’s not a magic trick or a special effect, it’s a snazzy piece of technology orbiting around the Earth. Which is round.  Unlike the EKG readout of your brain, which is flat.