Arcane Secrets of an Alt-Weekly Adept 

Missives from the occult meetings of the MSM.

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“You may disrobe.” The voice filters through the candle-lit haze of incense. Though I cannot see the speaker, cloaked as he is in a heavy cowl, I know the voice emanates from one of the five points of the pentagram table. Or it would if we weren’t having this edition of the Flyer editorial meeting via Zoom. Which sucks because it means we have to provide our own incense, candles, and spooky robes. 


It’s the Wednesday-morning editorial meeting, and my fellow members of the MSM (that’s Mainstream Media, for those of you not familiar with our arcane arts) throw back the cowls of their ceremonial robes. Visible over Zoom, a group of sinisterly connected journalists shake off their flowing robes to reveal flannel and Hawaiian shirts. So innocuous. The perfect disguise.

Which reminds me — did you see that The New York Times just revised their list of vital local journalistic outlets to include alt-weeklies? That’s because we’re all in this together, from the ritziest New York office suites to the second floor of the Cotton Exchange building in Memphis, Tennessee. One vast, powerful globe-spanning conspiracy.


Okay, all funny business aside, some of my colleagues have suggested that most folks now accept that the coronavirus is real and that social distancing has proven an effective method to contain it. I guess I’m just Facebook friends with too many family members, or maybe my colleagues haven’t seen that ridiculous Plandemic video, but I’m not sure if that’s true.


In the past two months I’ve seen more conspiracy theories shared than I can roll eyes at. Seriously. My left eye has developed a twitch. From Bill Gates and 5G to the Deep State to China — all somehow, to some folks at least, more plausible than the idea that RNA mutates and people have poor hygiene. I even saw one article that held up actor Kevin Sorbo (you know, from television’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys?) as a reputable source.


I understand that we have a mile-wide antiauthoritarian streak in America. We’ve been telling the government to piss off ever since we all still had British accents and decided to throw tea in Boston Harbor. But the guy who played Hercules on TV is not an authority on anything but leather vests and muscle mass. While we’re at it, Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz are about as qualified to dispense medical advice as is Dr. Teeth, leader of the all-Muppet funk band Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. 


Let me tell you, as someone who has played in bands for upwards of 15 years, no group on Earth is coordinated enough to pull off something like this. It’s hard enough to get four under-employed guys in the same room once a week — I always had to promise to provide plenty of beer.

Put simply, to convince doctors across the globe to ignore the Hippocratic Oath, common decency, the investment of years of education, and the risk of medical malpractice — well that’s a lot of beer. No, I think in the end we’re left with a mutated virus and poor hygiene.


So can we please just listen to doctors and scientists and immunologists and virologists? They sat through a lot of classes and racked up a lot of student debt to be able to guide us. Even if I’m wrong and there is some horrible conspiracy at play, what are the chances any one of us could expose it? Wouldn’t it be safer to play the odds and move forward as if there’s a deadly and extremely contagious disease on the loose?

Just to be on the safe side, wash your hands, wear a mask, and check your damn sources. After all, we’re none of us immortal. It’s not like we’re Hercules.

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