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THE GATOFILES™: conspiracy cat talks nonsense. (maybe)
because the truth is out there, somewhere
someone asked me what my favorite conspiracy theories are.
this is a fun question. let’s dig in.
and leaving aside the truly obvious ones
and some stuff i (hopefully) just made up
i do have a couple of real favorites and they’re simple and fun.
my favorite utterly implausible theory is this:
their website is wonderful.
and they sell all kinds of awesome schwag.
the author(s) were for a long time so assiduous about never breaking character that i had no idea if they really believed this or it was just an awesome, epic troll that had become a nice business selling hilarious merch. the dude literally drove around in a van with a radio dish on top and “wake up: birds aren’t real. they charge on power lines” written on the side.
how do you not love this guy?
he finally broke silence in 2021 in an NYT article:
What Birds Aren’t Real truly is, they say, is a parody social movement with a purpose. In a post-truth world dominated by online conspiracy theories, young people have coalesced around the effort to thumb their nose at, fight and poke fun at misinformation. It’s Gen Z’s attempt to upend the rabbit hole with absurdism.
“It’s a way to combat troubles in the world that you don’t really have other ways of combating,” said Claire Chronis, 22, a Birds Aren’t Real organizer in Pittsburgh. “My favorite way to describe the organization is fighting lunacy with lunacy.”
it’s a fun theory and a fun way to create a sort of combo of zeitgeist and lightning rod for the gray faced stickybeak literalists to rail against. it’s the move to take absurdity one step too far and expose it for what it is and the sort of mockery against which there is no defense. it’s a humor revolution of taking the piss to galvanize us. i owned a “birds aren’t real” hat long before the NYT article and i confess i sort of miss the ambiguity, but i love the movement. the best way to rebel against the tediousness of totalitarians is to ostentatiously amuse oneself with irreverent gusto.
my favorite plausible theory is:
i mean, we’re unlikely to ever know for sure on the “fidel castro is justin trudeau’s dad” one, but it’s not nearly as crazy as it sounds at first pass.
justin’s mom was a young woman who was notably, unapologetically promiscuous, and notably attracted to powerful men. she spent only a few days a week with her kids so she could continue her party girl/hedonist lifestyle.
she bragged about it and her aims and self-absorption shine through as she speaks to reporters. this video is telling, especially her points on abandoning as harmful these “old fashioned values and old fashioned bonds.” she was a swinger’s swinger and liked it that way. pierre seems to have been as well and was a notable dater of starlets and married margaret when she was 22 despite being 29 years her senior.
castro was catnip to a lady like this. a notable triple alpha firebrand and a massive womanizer to the point of several per day and he was quite probably in close contact to margaret trudeau right at the time of conception. she described him as “one of the sexiest men alive.” so, we’re sort of making a bet that a woman famous for sleeping with every powerful man who got near her passed up on her top shelf choice (himself an inveterate ladies man) while on vacation in the caribbean in 1971. (more in a sec)
the “find someone who looks at you like like margaret trudeau looked at fidel castro” meme has been pervasive for a reason.
the internet is awash with so many “debunkings” of this theory as to pass the point where one wonders about just why they are trying so hard. the track record of accuracy of these truth ministry deluges is certainly eyebrow raising. when the whole first page of google results are fact checks, “methinks the censors doth protest too much” has been quite a sound heuristic.
their claim is that the pictures of them together (from the official visit) are from 1976, so it was far too late for fidel to be justin’s papa no matter how much they look alike and how little resemblance there is to pierre.
but this may well not be so and it’s really not clear that anything was debunked.
this piece seems to be among the best and most cogent explainers of the plausibility.
in the end, the bet sort of comes down to this:
Third, the timing is uncanny. This is the part about which ‘debunkers’ intentionally mislead readers. Justin Trudeau was born on Christmas day, 1971. In order for his father to be Fidel Castro, his mother would have to be somewhere close to Cuba in March and April 1971.
In April 1971, the Trudeaus took a long “second honeymoon” all around the Caribbean. According to Wikipedia, they visited one island they declined to disclose. It is the only island they did not disclose.
To be clear: they disclosed all the other locations they visited but asked the press for privacy when they went to the “unidentified” island. Come on.
Justin Trudeau was born 8 1/2 months later. In 1976, Pierre eagerly became the first NATO leader to travel to Cuba. He brought his wife. Before even leaving the tarmac, both Trudeaus were showing an unusual amount of familiarity with Fidel considering he was a national leader they just allegedly met. Within hours of their first official meeting, Margaret was photographed intimately touching and holding Fidel Castro with both arms. The Trudeaus announced they had become besties with the dictator and sang his praises during the height of his human rights violations.
personally, i struggle to imagine what island other than cuba would have been masked from the otherwise public itinerary. there was really only one controversial choice to visit.
so this could have happened.
are we sure? nope. can we be? barring validated genetic testing, i’m not sure how. maybe lucky pierre just got lucky on his honeymoon and the resemblance to castro is coincidental/overstated. but does this cross the line into “if i had to bet even money would i bet on it?” yeah, i suspect it does if only because this bet would be funnier and yeah, sure, those are always the ones you need to be careful of, but they are also what make such rabbitholes amusing. we are talking about “conspiracy theories” here.
it’s not my intent to claim surety on this, just to explain why i think the thesis is intriguing and perhaps more than one should readily dismiss. and not being quite sure yourself whether or not you are joking makes for grand debates and if we’re going to run down rabbitholes, they might as well be the rolicking ones.
certainty may unendingly elude us, but if one thing is sure in this day and age of emergent conspiracy and investigation, it’s this: