The infection in our election

Sometimes you have to call the idiotic conspiracy theories what they are: a big load of shit

Hi, friend.

This is a fun Webworm to round the week out.

I want you to forward it on, share it, and just generally go gangbusters.


Just quickly — my episode on Armchair Expert is out today. It was a lot of fun talking with Dax and Monica about, well, Webworm. I hope you like it too!

David joins the Armchair Expert to discuss all things conspiracy theories, from QAnon to Wayfairgate to Flat Earthers. The two discuss how these conspiracies happen, what makes people susceptible to them, and how to have constructive discussions with their believers. Dax confesses how sad he is that he can’t hang out with David every day.

As for today’s newsletter — an election is coming up, and the conspiratorial madness needs to be called out for what it is: utter horseshit.

Daniel Vernon’s done some illustrations for today’s Webworm that sums it all up perfectly.

But before that — some news that sounds outrageous, but is actually kinda wonderful.

A New Zealand-based conspiracy theorist who made false and defamatory claims about a member of parliament has been ordered to pay $875,000 by a judge.

Of course with this news, the “OMG-BUT-FREE-SPEECH” crowd appears:

I’d note that BPlat’s bio reads “weakness disgusts me” — which is just very, very funny to me.

To BPlat, I’d remind him that free speech doesn’t just mean you can spread a bunch of bullshit and harass the hell out of someone.

As an article about the judgement pointed out, “The posts, which were shared hundreds of times, accused the MP of being “a member of a secretive paedophile network” who had been “parachuted into parliament to protect a past generation of paedophiles”.

The MPs lawyer added “It’s not an unknown world — but it is a bit of a scary world — where people can share whatever they like and it’s only by going through legal cases that things can change.”



Reply All did an excellent episode on QAnon this week — a reminder of why it made my top 10 podcasts list here on Webworm.

Country of Liars” is riveting listening — up there with their Pizzagate episode. PJ Vogt and the Gimlet team masterfully distill a very complicated, technically boring story into its very human, fascinating elements — and come up with a theory about who’s a major driving force behind QAnon right now.

But ultimately, I couldn’t give a shit who’s behind Q.

The worrying thing is how we have an increasing part of the population that’s swallowed QAnon’s shit.

Which brings us to today’s main helping.

I asked New Zealand illustrator Daniel Vernon to come up with a comic strip that illustrates how conspiracy shit spreads during an election cycle.

He’s used some local New Zealand examples, but I have a feeling you’ll find similar characters no matter what country you’re reading this in.

And look — I know a lot of the advice I’ve been giving this year is about how we need to find kindness and understanding when talking to people about their whacked beliefs.

To find our common ground.

To avoid talking down to people.

But fuck me, sometimes you have to call a spade a spade. You gotta be brutal.

Flush this shit.

Vote on Election Day.

Have a safe weekend. Kia kaha.


PS: If you missed it, here is all of my conspiracy writing so far.

It includes explainers about QAnon and “Save Our Children”, tips on how to talk to people who’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, and Billy TK Jr’s tall tale about being chased by an international assassin.

PPS: Check out Dan’s illustrations and comics over at @yeehawtheboys, or on his website.

PPSS: Was thrilled to discover this office desk this week, which also doubled as a bed and plant nursery. Possible new Webworm office imo?