Conspiracies made for the internet

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

I enjoy a good conspiracy theory as much as the next tin-foil hat-wearing crackpot, and the internet has certainly made the sharing and perfecting of those conspiracy theories so much easier.

When the news broke at the weekend that Scotland Yard was having another look at the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, it sped around the internet faster than a peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich at an Elvis Presley convention.

It’s been nearly 16 years since Diana died in Paris but the rumours about her death being a hit ordered by the Royal family, the British military or possibly even the government have never really gone away.

Given the fact that there have been other members of the family who have caused every bit as much embarrassment in the ensuing years, you’d think that if there was any truth to those rumours, there’d be a certain bent-nosed rugby player with a taste for canoodling with sheilas they aren’t married to who might have been in line for an, ahem, unfortunate accident.

Unless, of course, it was the Queen Mother who did the hit. Then that would explain the lack of retribution.

It is quite sad that after all this time there is still so much doubt about how she died but now more than ever, it seems there is a hardcore group of people looking for the conspiracies in every high-profile death.

Barnaby JackWhen New Zealand ATM hacker Barnaby Jack (pictured) died suddenly last month, just a week before he was scheduled to speak at a Las Vegas hacking conference on how to hack into pacemakers and defibrillators, the web was awash with rumours: The death of a man who claimed to have discovered how to perform a hack hit was conspiracy theory nirvana.

While I was a bit concerned by his claims – particularly since I was told last year I’ll be needing one of those internal cardiac machines myself and had visions of being hacked by an angry Nigerian investment broker with a Hotmail address – I was also keen to hear what he had to say.

Sadly, he never made it to the conference and now the online rumour mill is busily spitting out theories on how and why he died.

He was just 35 years old and for his family, it’s a tragedy not a conspiracy.


On a brighter note, isn’t it great that we finally have marriage equality here in Godzone?

Congratulations to all those who have taken that leap into married life this week.

I reckon the whole debate was summed up beautifully by a quote I saw online a few months ago: Saying someone else’s marriage is against your religion is like getting angry at someone for eating a donut while you are on a diet.

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