David Icke has a lot to answer for. His notion that a race of reptilian aliens in human form is enslaving the planet is an umbrella under which all conspiracy theories - and theorists - can comfortably sit and have a picnic. Leaders from America’s President Obama to England’s Queen Mama have been accused of being reptilians, but all refuse to answer or even acknowledge the accusations.
All except one. New Zealand musician Shane Warbrooke asked his government - via an official Information Act request - to “disprove the theory that [Prime Minister] John Key is in fact a David Icke style shapeshifting reptilian alien ushering humanity towards enslavement.” In an unexpected move, the government responded, declining the request on the grounds that “the information requested does not exist or cannot be found.” To die-hard Icke followers, that’s a smoking gun.
Key then spoke to press himself, protesting too much in the following statement and causing a firestorm of online reaction in the process:
I've taken the unusual step of not only seeing a doctor but a vet, and both have confirmed I'm not a reptile. I’m certainly not an alien. I’ve never been in a spaceship, I don’t have a little green suit, and I’ve never been to outer space.
I have no love for Key. A former investment banker on a mission to terraform New Zealand into an unholy amalgamation of the I-405, Wall Street, and the East Texas Oil Fields, he doesn’t need to be a reptile to raise my ire. But here, it’s not hard to see how he got elected, by speaking well with a sense of humour - even if his “little green suit” comment is rather odd. He should broaden his fashion horizons. Might do him some good.
Demonstrating the one hundred percent true fact that all New Zealanders know one another, Warbrooke happens to be a friend of mine. He told me he’s been taken aback by the explosion of responses and assumptions that he’s some sort of Icke-obsessed wacko:
A lot of people think that the request was genuine and based on my literal beliefs, which I guess is a result of living in fairly fundamentalist times. For the most part this has been by journalists and online commentators itching for a chance to show off how incredibly smart they are for not believing this. The end result is more indicative of how amazingly smug they are, and how critical thinking and an understanding of satire seem to be skills disappearing from the human race. The reaction and spread of it has been incredible. It was a little bit of satire I thought a few friends would find funny, and now Glenn Beck is using it as an excuse to demand Obama's birth certificate again.
To be fair, I would argue that most journalists (and Key himself) took the joke for what it was, but Warbrooke’s final sentence drives his point home. Noted unusual human Glenn Beck’s own conspiracy theories are every bit as bizarre as Icke’s, only less science-fictional. His self-important cackling about this episode - designed to satirise people like him - is astoundingly hypocritical.
Sure, Warbrooke may have wasted some government time, and even some of your time, if you're reading this; but if he’s also wasting Beck’s time, it can’t be all bad. And after all, time you enjoy wasting isn’t wasted at all.