At 1:39 a.m. on Wednesday, as most of us have been in mattress, reeking of bleach and having plague nightmares, Oprah Winfrey obtained on Twitter to deny she is a sex trafficker.

“Just got a phone call that my name is trending,” she wrote. “And being trolled for some awful FAKE thing. It’s NOT TRUE. Haven’t been raided, or arrested. Just sanitizing and self distancing with the rest of the world. Stay safe everybody.”

Poor Oprah. She’s cooped-up in pandemic isolation — I’m picturing her decontaminating Stedman’s moustache with Purell from a Gucci spritzer — when her iPhone chimes and a frantic voice begins relaying the bonkers rumours: They say you’ve been taken into custody for sex trafficking! And that cops are excavating a tunnel system beneath your mansion in Florida! They’re calling you a Hollywood ringleader in little one smuggling!

And then Oprah’s like, “SAY WHAT? FAKE! NOT TRUE!”

Of course, it’s not true. But the reality Oprah wanted to tweet NOT TRUE is REALLY SAD.

From what primordial slime did this smear emerge? And how did it spill over from the fringe into mainstream social media on Tuesday evening? It’s powerful to say. To be sincere, right here in my very own isolation bunker, I’m feeling too woozy from the scent of Lysol to tumble down any QAnon rabbit holes.

But, mainly, Oprah was focused by the similar lunatics who imagine their hero, Donald Trump, is the sufferer of a Deep State plot as a result of, any day now, he’s going to unleash a secret police pressure to bust a shadowy cabal of Satanic globalists who management the world whereas sexually abusing kids and feasting on human flesh.

Or one thing like that. I instructed you. I’m woozy. It’s Day three of this Possibly Never-Ending March Break and my bored youngsters are already climbing the partitions, my spouse is ordering masks and Mr. Clean is taunting me with his creepy grin. People, one thing’s gotta give.

Then in the center of this domestic-professional-psychological Bermuda Triangle that’s 2020, right here come the QAnon freaks, posting their unhinged movies to YouTube and jabbering on about how Oprah is a pedophile in between incoherent asides on the coronavirus and martial regulation.

That is perhaps the worst a part of this weird Oprah story: we’re in for more of this in the weeks forward.

The draw back of mass isolation? People are going to run out of diversions earlier than they run out of bathroom paper. How many movies of water-skiing squirrels can we probably watch after our retinas are already tattooed with the Netflix brand? Before the pandemic, if the QAnon kooks claimed Beyoncé guzzles the blood of lifeless infants or Tom Hanks retains sex slaves chained in his basement, this insanity was contained to the hoax retailers and their gullible believers. But now, with everybody on the web all the time, it’s not going to take a lot for even the wackiest fever dream to begin trending, as Oprah did on Tuesday evening.

(Note to the QAnon group: she doesn’t even personal a mansion in Florida!)

Crazy rumours are what occur when any dumbass with a smartphone can spout off into the ether. But loopy rumours can get dangerously actual traction when the world is in isolation and a viral pandemic enters an age in which we have already got the twin epidemics of conspiracy concept and data overload.

I may most likely now persuade hundreds to imagine Dr. Phil rapes bunnies.

I wouldn’t do this as a result of that’s a complete lie, so please don’t sue me, Dr. Phil. But you get my level. I’m truly beginning to miss the conspiracy theories from again in the day. The moon touchdown was faked! Elvis continues to be alive! Compared to the pedophilia-obsessed, falsely-naming-names treachery as these QAnon mouth-breathers go snorkeling for clown fish in their radioactive swamp, these previous conspiracies now appear endearing.

We paved over the grassy knoll and erected pizza joints with little one sex rings in the again. Insanity.

So in case you go deeper down the rabbit gap to uncover what the QAnon co-conspirators are falsely claiming, I suspect what you’ll in the end discover is an indictment of the training system and a cautionary story on what occurs when partisan rage and suspicion finds a receptive viewers susceptible to disinformation.

In this sense, QAnon is not all that completely different from a few of the shrieking heads on Fox News. Truth and actuality, that is out the window.

No, Oprah Winfrey was not arrested this week for sex trafficking.

But, sure, you may expect more insane rumours to unfold, similar to the coronavirus.

Vinay Menon

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