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SHANE BROWN: The information superhighway needs a detour into truth

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Shane Brown, classified advertising and columnist.

There was a time I used to love and appreciate the weirdness of the internet. If you ever need proof that the world is deliciously bonkers, just visit the deeper nooks and crannies of the world wide web. If you keep opossums in your house, there's a website for you. If you cook opossums and need new recipes, there's a website for you. If you like to dress up in furry costumes and pretend you're an opossum on the weekends, there's an entire online community waiting for you with open arms — err, paws.

But it's 2022, and the weirdness of the internet no longer hides in the back alleys of the information superhighway. Nowadays, it just stands on the median hitchhiking — and an alarming number of people give it a ride. Last night, I opened my computer to two back-to-back newsflashes.

The first was a TikTok video stating that concrete evidence now exists proving that America's greatest treasure — the late and universally-loved Betty White — was, as you can guess, part of a secret Satanic cabal that drinks the blood of virgins in unholy rituals to achieve global domination. Oh, Q-Anon, it's good to know you're still out there. What's their damning evidence? I have no idea, because I rolled my eyes and scrolled past the video after 2.5 seconds.

I think the big takeaway here is the knowledge that, even on your worst day, when you're fully convinced that you're wasting your life, you can take comfort in the fact that someone somewhere at this very minute is watching reruns of "The Golden Girls" in slo-mo to see if they can find evidence that Betty White was a reptilian extra-terrestrial. Feel better about yourself?

Newsflash #2: Did you guys hear there's a surefire cure for COVID? According to a new wave of crackpots on the internet, the easy solution to ward off COVID is... drinking urine. (Note: Do not ever do this.)

I have at least 37 jokes here that I simply CANNOT tell you, because I like to operate within at least a modicum of good taste — and I'm pretty sure I can guess one thing that does NOT taste good. But let me just say this: Those folks may be on to something. I bet they won't get COVID. Know why? Because the minute you start doing something THAT gross and stupid, no one will EVER want to come within six feet of your crazypants ever again. Problem solved.

But that's what we've turned into. We can laugh at the foolishness all we want, but there are now chatrooms and message boards devoted to these crackpot theories, and all week long medical doctors have been forced onto Twitter to beg people not to drink their own urine, which is about the most 2022 thing I can possibly imagine.

The world used the internet to prove just how utterly stupid we can be. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to power this laptop off and go pet a cat.

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