For most of us, the words crisis and actor have no particular connection to one another. They’re both two-syllable nouns referring to things that definitely exist: there is always a crisis somewhere, and actors have been acting since antiquity. What about it?
Within the past decade, these two ordinary words have been stuck together and, with some post-reality Trumper alchemy, used to describe something imaginary which makes it possible to deny something real. Something in the news makes one of your public policy positions look bad; you claim the story is fake and that those apparently involved are actually “crisis actors”. Voila! These two ordinary nouns, written or spoken together, become a portkey (in Harry Potter terms), a magic door to an alternate world of reality-denial and splendid fantasy.
Mainly, the phrase is used to deny that some particular mass shooting happened. This makes sense, in its way: elected Republicans do not and will not vote to ban assault rifles, the weapons of choice for many mass murderers, although it is known and understood that most Americans would prefer such a ban. Naturally, these incidents hit an exposed nerve on the right. Ouch! Let’s say the magic phrase and make the whole incident go away.
There are, of course, some limitations on the power of the “crisis actors” talisman. It has not been used to suggest that there simply are no mass killings in the U.S.; that would be too much. There are so very many of them, all the time, it would be like telling Oklahomans that tornadoes are a hoax. The “crisis actors” gambit is only used for certain killings, the most attention-grabbing, like school shootings. The most prominent practitioner is, of course, Alex Jones, who has made hundreds of millions of dollars by denying that the Sandy Hook shooting ever happened. Millions of people buy it, literally and figuratively.
For those of us who still regard “crisis” and “actors” as unrelated real-world phenomena, there is (unfortunately) nothing that strains credulity about any mass shooting. We know people go nuts, we know some are consumed by hatred, that some want to die and go out with a bang, and that essentially all have access to tools designed to slaughter people. Why wouldn’t these things happen?
From our perspective, come to think of it, the phenomenon that seems unlikely and weird is Alex Jones. Can you imagine becoming seriously wealthy by claiming that Sandy Hook didn’t happen? It is truly bizarre. Wait a minute…. let’s put on our fantasy-thinking caps…. What if Alex Jones is a crisis actor?
Given that the world is rife with and largely controlled by shadowy left-wing forces (got that cap on nice and tight?) that have essentially supernatural powers of subterfuge and illusion, why wouldn’t they dream up an Alex Jones? Here is a figure clearly designed to put an ugly face on post-reality right-wing politics. He feasts on the suffering of the utterly innocent – people whose kids were murdered in elementary school. We realize some people aren’t very nice, but Alex Jones’ commercialized cruelty beggars belief. Could nature have created this kind of mind-boggling lurid evil? Evil that just happens to make post-reality Trumper politics look bad? Talk about an embarrassing news story, what about the existence of Alex Jones? If he didn’t exist, the left would want to invent him; maybe they did!
Remember, folks, the worldwide leftist conspiracy is very deep, and has been for years. Are we getting in the spirit? Someone with dark powers probably approached some young blowhard, years or decades ago, and proposed the scheme. The blowhard would become “Alex Jones.” The deal he was offered included saying stuff that was obviously crap, being loathed by most people, loved by a sizable minority, and living like a king. We can speculate about whether the possibility of jail time was discussed, but in a sense the whole scheme comes with a get-out-of-jail-free card. If it comes to that, “Alex Jones” will reveal the fact that he has been a crisis actor all along, merely spouting the lines given to him by the shadowy left-wing conspirators. No, “Jones” won’t know their real names or where they live. He can’t help us find them; he only knows they created him and that it’s all their doing.
Okay, you can take your fantasy-thinking cap off. Some of you have developed mild headaches during this little exercise: my apologies. Some discomfort often accompanies a trip to the other side, but it is important to try to see the world the way the “crisis-actor” crowd sees it.
Eric Kuhn lives in Middletown.