“The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory, is that conspiracy theorists believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is actually chaotic…The truth is far more frightening – Nobody is in control. The world is rudderless.”
– Alan Moore
At the beginning of 2020, Megan Nager and Erin Darling Torralva – two comedians and content creators based out of Los Angeles, CA – were getting ready to film a television pilot they had spent the past six months writing. However, as COVID-19 began to spread, the entertainment industry – along with many others – was forced to pause. For Megan and Erin, this meant their production would be put on hold – and for how long, they had no idea. As COVID raged on, the two friends and collaborators decided to shift gears and focus on a creative endeavor that they could embark on while the entertainment industry was on hold. Shockingly, the two landed on an idea within the first three minutes of discussing what to do next. That’s because not only do Erin and Megan have comedy and content creation in common – they also happen to be addicted to researching the internet’s wildest conspiracy theories. And with so many conspiracy theories popping up during lockdown, Megan and Erin knew they were onto something. Instead of focusing on the dangerous and ominous conspiracy theories, the girls decided to shed light on more lighthearted pop culture conspiracies, “the ones you could discuss at a dinner table and not end up getting in a fight with your friends and family,” Erin describes. And, to their surprise, they discovered that pop culture conspiracy theories are plentiful on forums. In fact, the creative duo found so many pop culture conspiracy theories, they compiled a list and within a matter of a few days, they had found over 100 story ideas that some groups of people believe to be true – such as Stevie Wonder really isn’t blind, Finland doesn’t exist, and Kylie Jenner is a clone. For every conspiracy theory – no matter how outrageous – there seemed to be a following or group obsessed with talking about the narrative as if it were true.
“The craziest part about some of these theories is that even the ones that you think are completely insane and there’s scientifically no way for it to be true – such as the notion that the moon is a hologram – have die hard believers who insist on the validity of these theories,” said Megan. “And that’s why Erin and I decided to launch our TikTok called It’s Conspiracy Seriously. We wanted to get people to think critically.”
Critical thinking is needed more now than ever. With so much information available 24/7 via the internet, there are going to be some crazy and even dangerous ideas thrown out there, which is why it’s so important to really evaluate what you’re reading or taking in. Just because someone hands you a piece of information doesn’t mean that you need to take it at face value. The good thing about having access to information at all times is that you can really check and research what you’re reading and choosing to believe. And it’s important to do that – so you’re able to sift through the crazy information and get to the truth of the matter.
“After spending a lot of time in the trenches, digging up ideas for content, and researching pop culture conspiracies, I’ve learned that people gravitate towards weird stories. Megan and I are fascinated by what people believe and more importantly why. Where did these stories even start? We knew we had a great idea on our hands – tracing the origins, and debunking the conspiracies when we can,” says Erin. “It’s a challenge to tell these stories with hyper-short form content like TikTok. We honestly need a TV show to do the research justice. But we have the audience of a TV show. That in itself is kind of amazing.”
People tend to believe conspiracy theories during a time of crisis or uncertainty. Most people are influenced by emotion – not rationale. And at the end of the day, logic typically isn’t a driving factor for why someone believes in a certain conspiracy theory or theories. Instead, people tend to believe in conspiracy theories because they provide an explanation for nonsensical, unexplainable things that happen in the world. Such as COVID-19. And when we really dig into this and unpack it – it makes sense that these theories would arise during such an unprecedented and scary time.
Since Erin and Megan launched It’s Conspiracy Seriously, they’ve amassed over 166,000 followers on TikTok and are being courted for bigger opportunities, on larger platforms. And, not only are they using their platform to entertain, but more importantly – to debunk. Their goal is to get their followers to think critically and question what they read, hear and consume. If you’d like to follow It’s Conspiracy Seriously, be sure to check out Megan and Erin’s TikTok channel: https://www.tiktok.com/@itsconspiracyseriously?lang=en