Denialism is a ‘boomers’ thing | The weekly country

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For the British it is almost a familiar image. Every couple of months, a group of protesters gather in London’s Trafalgar Square to protest against the “liberticidal and genocidal” vaccination campaign and social distancing measures. A significant minority also takes the opportunity to show their strong rejection of George Soros, the alleged 5G plot or the alleged child abuse network orchestrated by the global progressive elite. Barely a hundred people have attended some of the rallies, but two of them, that of September 2020 and that of June 24 of this year, have been mass events that have brought together several thousand protesters.

The British conspiracy theorists are led almost from the start by a peculiar woman, Kate Shemirani, a 56-year-old nurse on leave of absence, blonde, courageous and charismatic. The Rosa Luxemburg of the most visceral denialism. Shemirani was fired in July 2020 from the hospital where she worked for spreading unsubstantiated theories about the origin of COVID-19. She attributed it at first to a conspiracy by a group of “bitter and obese” nurses who hated her for her sympathy and unbeatable appearance. Today, after “investigating” on his own through the internet and radicalizing his speech to toxic extremes, he feels that he has suffered professional reprisals for denouncing a selective genocide plan that has the complicity of health authorities around the world.

The British media were initially interested in the story of this loose verse of incendiary verb, but her insistence on comparing the measures against the pandemic with the Holocaust caused the doors of the sets to end up closing for her. The one who continues to go to television with some frequency is her 22-year-old son Sebastian, who until recently still lived with her and today considers her “a disturbed person and a public danger”. On the 24th, while his mother harangued the masses from a makeshift pulpit, Sebastian acknowledged on the air his unease and impotence: “He has lost his mind and it is a matter of time before someone does something outrageous spurred on by irresponsible extremists like her.” As a result of his intervention, young people began to appear in the networks willing to share similar experiences. “My parents have gone crazy too. They believe all these lies and I no longer know what to say to them, ”confessed a young man from Bradford on Twitter. “I want to get vaccinated, but my mother insists that I will be powerless if I do,” explained an anonymous user.

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In a matter of hours, a small army of young people and adolescents came out of the closet who, with messages in several languages ​​and from very different corners of the planet, tried to preserve their good sense despite living with radicalized adults to the point of delirium. The common denominator among many of them was that they asked for practical advice to counteract the bizarre theories of their parents: “They no longer listen to reasons, what arguments could I use to convince them?” The world may seem upside down. Members of Generation Z, allegedly responsible for the latest pandemic waves due to their reluctance to respect the rules and accept restrictions in their hedonistic leisure routines, have become the last bulwark of common sense, while some boomers with those that coexist, they fuel authentic nonsense and enter the orbit of QAnon and other “alternative” discourses.

The Trafalgar Square deniers have something in common with those who demonstrate in Rome, New York, Paris or Madrid: they are, for the most part, in their fifties and octogenarians. Gray hair, alopecia and beer bellies predominate among them. Unpopular as it may be, denialism and conspiracy theories are mostly middle-aged. It is more a generational issue than one of ideological bias.

In an article in the digital magazine Air MailRosie Kinchen attributes this strange phenomenon to the digital divide. According to his thesis, a part of the boomers you are now purging your late access to the internet and social media. Those most prone to distrust the “official speech” and to see multiple feet to any cat have recently looked at the hidden face of the internet. They do so without reserve or critical distance, and they find very heavy-caliber ammunition there to fuel their corner of the world view. Add to this a pandemic and a five-year period of post-truth and political sectarianism.

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The Z, digital natives, live much more immersed than their parents’ generation in everyday life online. But precisely for this reason they are in a position to distance themselves from this wealth of heterodox information that is intended to be disruptive. They know when an image has been tampered with, they know how to intuitively sift through sources, and they don’t so easily target digital bombardments with the uncritical enthusiasm of the tourist and the convert. That would explain why contemporary conspiracies are finding fertile ground among those who comb gray hair. Even some of those responsible for stoking the fire are starting to scorch in their embers. On August 21, Donald Trump was booed with unprecedented force during a rally in Alabama. Your crime? Recommend to the crowd, made up mostly of boomers, that they get vaccinated. The man who convinced an entire generation of Americans with children, grandchildren and mortgages that the truth is relative and that the ignorant arrogance of “experts” is to be wary of preaching in the desert when he claims to embrace common sense. It is not strange that the Z are asking for help to thwart this unprecedented conspiracy of the old men (their old men). They are going to need it.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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