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Tea’s Weird Week: One Year of Keepin’ it Weird (and Top 5 Columns)

TeaWeirdWeek

Retro 2019 columnhead

My first Tea’s Weird Week column, “Parallax and Cthulhu Power Zones” was published almost a year ago on June 28, 2019. I started the column because I wanted to connect with readers, promote projects I’m working on (mostly books I’m writing), write about topics I’m interested in (some of which might be featured in future books), and to have a small weekly writing deadline.

In that first column I wrote a year ago, I talked about a book I had recently read (Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea by Christine Garwood) while finishing up some research on my upcoming book, American Madness. I also discussed how I had just learned about “Cthulhu Power Zones” (I’ll let you read the column on that one). Since then, I’ve written the column weekly (minus a couple weeks off in December for the holidays). Some of the topics have included ghost stories, Real Life-Superheroes, lots on conspiracy theory, quarantine journals, Internet hoaxes, CIA UFO files, as well as an occasional life reflection.

I collected all the columns I wrote in 2019 into an e-book: Tea’s Weird Week: 2019 Review which you can get for the low, low cost of $1.99 (or free on Kindle Unlimited): CLICK HERE

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Here are my 5 favorite or most noteworthy columns from the last 12 months:

1.) Best working theory: “A Theory About Vampires, Zombies, Killer Clowns…and Donald J. Trump” (Sept. 5, 2019). A brief examination of politics and horror movies, this column got a nice boost when it was reprinted (in a slightly different form) in Fortean Times, the best magazine dedicated to all weird things.

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2.) Scariest shit: “There are Two Dozen Members of QAnon Running for Congress” (Feb. 13, 2020). QAnon has been running candidates across several states. In February the number totaled about 24, but I’m sad to say that number has doubled. This column got a lot of reads and  I followed up in another column “Trump Inspired QAnon Followers, Proud Boys, Gun Nuts, Racists, all Have 2020 Campaigns” (May 8, 2020).

3.) Fun stuff: “9 Music Conspiracies and Urban Legends”(Oct.10, 2019) I love hearing about music/Hollywood urban legends and talked about the classics in this column and a sequel: “Now That’s What I Call Music Conspiracy Vol.2” (Nov. 8, 2019). A spin-off, about the conspiracy theory genre of flat earth hip hop (or “flat hop”) “The Top 7 Flattest of the Flat Earth Hip Hop Songs” (Feb. 6, 2020) totally bombed though. “I watched like one minute before I had to turn it off,” one of my friends wrote, after watching one of the presented music videos. “I couldn’t get past the headline,” wrote another. Well, excuuuuuuuze me for my “flatsmacking!” 😉

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4.) Most read/ second best working theory: “I got my own conspiracy theory, which is that the world is becoming 24 times more batshit crazy every day” (April 9, 2020). This column had the most views, including quite a few from across Europe. It featured bits on the QAnon “mole children” theory, 5G towers being burned over conspiracy theories, and a bit on the Wisconsin elections. This was during peak pandemic boredom, or maybe lots of people were googling “batshit crazy.”

5.) Tie between two columns:  I really loved “Ask Tea Anything (Pandemic Edition)” (April 23, 2020), I think because I was lonely during the pandemic, so it was nice to interact with people even if it was just answering questions in a column. I also really loved the concept for “Freak Out Your Next Zoom Call With These Conspiracy Inspired Backgrounds” (June 12, 2020) where I just created some Zoom backgrounds based on well known conspiracy sites, like this one from Area 51:

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Thank you for reading over the last year. Who knows what other weird stuff 2020 is going to throw at us (nervous laughter)– but I look forward to writing it up!

Next week: I’m taking a trip for 4th of July weekend, so I’ll be reporting live from the road.

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: Bookshop.org: CLICK HERE Amazon:CLICK HERE

It’s on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52486773-american-madness

Follow me on:
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“Tea Krulos has forged a fascinating collection of work by immersing himself in various sub-cultures that exist on the fringes of society.” —Cult of Weird

 

Tea’s Weird Week: Watch Out for the Phrase “Do Your Own Research”

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Let me tell you a little bit about Young Krulos– when I was 18, I graduated high school, then I moved out of mom and dad’s. I moved to Milwaukee’s east side into a house full of roommates, got a string of jobs like washing dishes, telemarketing, and cashiering. I lived a carefree life. I didn’t have much money or even wanted much… I dined on Ramen noodle packs, and frozen pizzas. Not having much money, I spent many days hanging out at the East and Central libraries. I would spend hours browsing and reading books, magazines, CDs, and videos.

A lot of times I’d be on some random kick– I’d be reading all the books I could find about comic book history or UFO case studies or famous gangsters of the 1920s…whatever struck my interest. I guess you could say I was “doing my own research,” so I understand the appeal.

“Do your own research.” That’s a phrase I ran into a lot while working on my book American Madness, which is about conspiracy theory culture, and it’s a term I’ve heard many times in the last few months. It kind of makes my eyes roll and my skin crawl when I hear it now.

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Over the course of working on American Madness, I was told I should “research”  9/11 and vaccines and flat earth theory and other stuff I’ll just let you read about in the book.

I have mixed feelings about conspiracy theory, depending on the topic. Some of it, like UFO cases and the JFK assassination, I find to be really interesting. Stuff like the moon landing hoax or Jimi Hendrix faking his death and becoming Morgan Freeman, are just goofy and amusing. Theories like the Sandy Hook shooting being fake are pretty disgusting. There’s a fine line that’s hard to navigate sometimes.

I think my irritation with “do your own research” was already there, but blew up with all the COVID-19 theories from an internet army of people who were suddenly “researchers.” Someone on Facebook told me I was dumb for believing the pandemic was a real threat. This person had “researched,” they said, and their findings was that the “plandemic” was fake.

Really? Did you? Did you do this research in a lab? Did you have it published in a peer-reviewed journal? Or did you just watch something floating around YouTube?

Ok, let me take a breath here. I’m not saying you need a PhD to educate yourself. We should all strive to be better informed. Media literacy is more important than ever.

Fake news is a real problem in 2020. Conspiracy sites, foreign interests (like Russia), bots, data mining, deep fakes, far right sites–some that have deceptive, Orwellian names ( justthenews.com, for example is definitely not “just the news”) have formed a tidal wave of misinformation. Unfortunately, I don’t think a lot of people want media literacy. They’d rather follow their “hunch,” like Trump does, and find faulty resources that support their idea that the world is flat, or that vaccines cause autism, or that Democrats have imprisoned “mole children” under Central Park.

Here’s some things we should ask ourselves when searching for information:

  • What source is this and is it credible? Is it “fake news”–not the type that Trump yammers on about because they report information that hurts his ego, but heavily skewed, conspiracy peddling, Photoshop fear-mongering sites like Breitbart News, InfoWars, FOX, OANN, etc.?
  • Who authored it and when was it written? I periodically see people mourning the recent loss of Gene Wilder on Facebook– but he died in 2016.
  • What sources are provided for the article you’re reading or the video you’re watching? Some outlets use an echo chamber– they might use articles on their own site or other similar bad sources for information.
  • Is this source heavily biased, an opinion piece, or a satire site? It’s hard to tell these days if we’re looking at the New York Times or The Onion.
  • Am I looking for the truth, or am I just looking to have my opinion validated? Research follows facts, not emotion.
  • Appeal to authority is a misunderstood logical fallacy. It says that a claim isn’t necessarily true just because an expert says it is without other evidence. It doesn’t mean all authority figures are wrong, it just means that they aren’t always right. Appeal to false authority is using evidence from someone who claims they are an authority on a subject when they are not.
  • Who pays for the site the source comes from? Are they owned by a non-profit, or a special interest group? Those are things to consider. Do they fund their site by selling scam products (ahem, Alex Jones)? Are they really owned by George Soros, or is that something you saw someone say on Reddit?

Doing your own research can be a fun and rewarding thing, a way to understand life better. Just be careful where you get your information from.

Freelance Dept.: I interviewed members of Antifa for local paper the Shepherd Express this week: https://shepherdexpress.com/news/features/what-is-antifa/

My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: Bookshop.org: CLICK HERE Amazon:CLICK HEREIt’s on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52486773-american-madness

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Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

“Tea Krulos has forged a fascinating collection of work by immersing himself in various sub-cultures that exist on the fringes of society.” —Cult of Weird

American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness by Tea Krulos from Feral House on Vimeo.

Tea’s Weird Week: Dr. Fauci vs Trump’s Q Army

 

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I wrote a column here titled “Laughing My Ass Off at These Bonkers Trump Paintings,” in which I showed some works by Jon McNaughton, a painter who depicts scenes of Dear Leader literally teaching a man to fish, literally running a football down a field, and speaking to the press who are literally clowns. I shared these and cracked a bunch of jokes. You got to understand that this was back in a simpler, carefree time….February 27.

One painting in particular had me ROFLMAO. Take a look at the people aboard the S.S. Trump in “Crossing the Swamp” and see if it jumps out at you.
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That’s right, about half the crew is now gone: besides Nikki Haley  and Sarah Sanders, you have 4 former administration members who were fired/ forced to resign because they butted heads with Trump. Good-bye to James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Jeff Sessions, John Bolton, and John Kelly (and take your duck hunting costumes with you).

Here’s the point– if you anger Trump by disagreeing with him, you’re gone. His ego is more important than your job. His ego is more important than your life.

Let’s talk about QAnon for a moment. If you’re not at all familiar, I’ve ended up writing about them a lot this year– too much. QAnon believes that a mystery figure known as “Q” is giving them information that President Trump has a secret plan to defeat the “Deep State” of Democrats, intelligence agencies, Hollywood, the Fake News media, etc. This cabal of evil are all participating in a satanic pedophile sex trafficking/ cannibalism ring that gets high off eating human adrenal glands. It is cult-like in it’s adoration of Trump and it’s willingness to believe crazy shit. See last week’s column for their theory that the Deep State has been keeping “mole children” hidden in tunnels underneath Central Park. No, I’m not shitting you: Click Here and Pray for the Mole Children.

When I first learned about Q, I thought it was a goofy, ridiculous thing that would burn out and disappear after their early predictions that “Crooked Hillary” and company would be rounded up and sent to Guantanamo Bay failed to pan out. Instead they’ve grown and become way more dangerous than a group of kooks on a message board.

When I started the #TrumpConspiracyCounter on January 1 (trying to catalog all times Trumps promotes or retweets a conspiracy or known conspiracy theorist) I was surprised to see how many times he retweeted a QAnon supporter. He continues to do it on a regular basis. This is the President of the United States sharing these fanatics to his audience of millions. Doesn’t he have people to advise him not to do this? But then again, we wouldn’t expect an egotist like Trump to speak against a cult that worships him, no matter how wrong they may be.

Here’s why you should be concerned about QAnon: their ideas likely inspired a man to derail a train and crash it into a hospital ship in Los Angeles; QAnon are among the conspiracists spreading theories about 5G internet that has led to cell towers being burned across the UK; and there are around two dozen Q believers running for Congress.

Trump went on a tweet binge last week, retweeting three QAnon followers (most of them tipped off they were Q-balls by having hashtags #Q and #wwg1wga which is the QAnon mantra “where we go one, we go all” right in their Twitter bio).

Then, after Dr. Fauci of his Coronavirus Task Force dared to contradict him by saying more could have be done sooner, Trump retweeted Deanne Lorraine, one of the aforementioned QAnon members who was running for Congress and a regular on InfoWars. Lorraine was running against Nancy Pelosi, but suspended her campaign after receiving less than 2% in the primary (let’s hope the rest of the campaigns fizzle out, too). Lorraine’s post, which Trump retweeted on Easter, admonished Fauci for disagreeing with Trump and included the hashtag #FireFauci. QAnon has identified Dr. Fauci as their latest enemy, someone viewed by them as trying to discredit and undermine Trump and have nicknamed him “Dr. FearPorn” as they believe he is trying to inflate the pandemic as a cover up for some nefarious scheme.

So, choose your fighter: one of the world’s leading immunologists or a group of people who believe mole children are being harvested for sex and adrenal glands under Central Park.

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Is Trump going to have a tantrum and fire Dr. Fauci because the doctor speaks truth instead of Trump talking points? Right now any terrible thing is possible. Be well, people.

Please Clap Dept.: My book Apocalypse Any Day Now came out last year but is being marketed as quarantine reading. Here’s a Q and A I did about it this week: https://www.ipgbook.com/blog/publicity-spotlight-apocalypse-any-day-now/

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

It’s on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52486773-american-madness

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

 

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

Every Saturday during quarantine, I’m hosting online trivia via Facebook Live:

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Tea’s Weird Week: I got my own conspiracy theory, which is that the world is becoming 24 more times batshit crazy every day

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OR “WEIRD DAY?” “WEIRD HOUR?” “WEIRD TIME IS AN IRRELEVANT CONSTRUCT?” 

Well, my column title says it all. To support this theory, I’ll do as a conspiracist does and string some random crazy scraps together with pieces of yarn. The COVID-19 pandemic has made people snap. Yesterday we got news that a Waukesha, Wisconsin man murdered 2 family members and the family dog (and injured 2 more) back in March (the details were just made known in court) after fears of coronavirus overtook him. In Texas, a Trump supporter named Karen posted a screed dismissing the virus as a “media driven” hoax, and that:

They are leading with fear causing you to panic like sheep…you don’t need hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and Lysol. You need common sense, a sense of direction, faith, a will to fight, and of course, guns!

Well, Karen is dead. She died from COVID-19. The stories are coming in so thick and fast, this column could be re-branded as “Tea’s Weird Day.” Consider, for example, these stories from the last few days:

Conspiracy Theorists Are Destroying 5G Towers Because They Believe There is a 5G/Coronavirus Connection

Over the past week, conspiracy theorists have destroyed the following: a train (see last week’s column: “Conspiracy Theory Trainwreck“), “at least twenty” 5G towers, and quite a few of my brain cells. The hottest conspiracy this week is that 5G Internet is linked to coronavirus. The theory is that “5G radiation” is either exacerbating coronavirus symptoms or that the symptoms are from 5G and the virus was invented as a cover story.  The theories are being spread by a coalition of conspiracy theorists– InfoWars, QAnon, Anti-vaxxers, and David Icke.

David Icke. Yeah.While wrapping up my book American Madness (out in August) I was like gee, I hope there’s some conspiracy stuff going on in 2020 to talk about when the book comes out. Ha! Be careful what you wish for–the last couple months have been an American Madness reunion party– Alex Jones and QAnon have been in the news frequently, and now the sudden bump in interest in Icke. If you don’t know who he is, David Icke is a British conspiracy theorist who has been ranting and raving since the 90s, churning out conspiracy books and delivering lectures, which average 9-10 hours long (that’s not a typo.) He’s most infamous for his theory that a race of extra-terrestrials called the Reptilians (aka “Lizard People”) have infiltrated earth and disguised themselves as human world leaders.

 

Now, through a show called London Real, Icke has reached millions of viewers. The most recent Icke episode was removed by YouTube as the platform cracks down on coronavirus misinformation (as you’ll see in American Madness, YouTube is often too little, too late on these policies.) The YouTube ban has only given Icke more street cred. Across the UK about twenty 5G towers have been burned or otherwise destroyed or damaged, most recently in Belfast, Liverpool, and Birmingham. Some of the towers were actually 3 or 4G towers. There is a growing call on the Internet for people to destroy more.  Tech engineers are being threatened on the street. Obviously, the spread of this idea has dangerous implications– communication systems are being targeted during a pandemic.

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Burning 5G tower in Birmingham.

What’s even more disappointing is that several celebrities have helped entertain and spread the misinformation, including John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, M.I.A., and others (though some have since deleted their posts). I think this is a great place to note that we all want to envision someone spreading conspiracy as an obnoxious Alt-Right bloviating gas bag like Alex Jones, screaming and pounding his fist about chemicals in the water “turnin the frickin’ frogs gay!” or saying that Hillary Clinton is a literal demon, but that’s not always what it looks like. Sometimes it’ll be someone you admire or a friend. Just be aware of that, especially if they ask you to…

Holy Moley! Pray for the Mole Children

When I first started my book, I always thought I might find the bottom of the rabbithole, the craziest conspiracy of all. The Bohemian Grove? Reptilians? Flat Earth? Birds Aren’t Real? Nah, keep falling. But QAnon’s latest theory has got to be a contender– that coronavirus is actually a cover up to rescue the mole children. Yes, won’t someone think of the mole children?

Here’s the theory: QAnon says that there are thousands of “mole children” living in tunnels underneath Central Park. As Wonkette reports on the theory:

They have, of course, been bred for the specific purpose of being sex slaves, but also for being eaten and having their adrenal glands harvested so “elites” can get high on their adrenochrome. Which, for the 47,000th time, is not a thing anyone can get high off of.

The coronavirus emergency center set up in Central Park, they say, is to treat the mole children, some of whom are deformed or sensitive to light from living in the tunnels. Rescued children are then moved to hospital ships like the Comfort in New York and Mercy in LA (which was also the target of the guy who derailed the train there last week.)

Do people actually believe this? Yes. Are they praying for the Mole Children? You bet. Are they writing goddamn poetry about them? Hell yes.

Read more: “QAnon Idiots Very Concerned About Mole Children Now,” wonkette.com

One of Wisconsin’s Darkest Days 

On a personal note, Tuesday was an extremely fucked day in Milwaukee, the city I love. It was a batshit, terrible, dystopian day. We have a stay-at-home edict, Summerfest and the Democratic National Convention were both postponed, but the election was ordered to go on here. Not only that, but the usual 180 plus polling locations were reduced to 5 for the entire city of Milwaukee, population of about 600,000. Waukesha, a suburb of 70,000, had 1 open. Thousands of absentee ballots were requested but never arrived. Lines to vote stretched on for blocks of brave voters who had to choose– risk their health or vote. Trump’s words on the situation: “not my problem.” These games being played with people’s lives have left me sad and angry.

The next day, Bernie Sanders dropped out. Let’s ask the important questions here, like the 5 Ws (no, not the 5Gs, settle down) which are: Who, What, Where, When, and of course:

Ok! Excuse me now while I dunk my head in cold water and try to get through the rest of this week. Best wishes to all of you out there in this crazy world.

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My upcoming book American Madness features a journey through conspiracy culture. It’s out August 25, 2020 from Feral House. To pre-order: CLICK HERE

It’s on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52486773-american-madness

Follow me on:
Facebook//Twitter//Instagram//YouTube

 

Having just returned from the grocery store during an official pandemic, I’m reminded to highly recommend Apocalypse Any Day Now, from Tea Krulos, who went way down the doomsday prepper rabbit hole. Fun and unfortunately highly relevant. Do it.” — Brent Gohde, Cedar Block/ Science Strikes Back

Every Saturday during quarantine, I’m hosting online trivia via Facebook Live:

Automotive (3)