The year was 1950. As a lark, the tiny magazine that my father wrote for published this photo of an alleged 27-inch alien who was said to have crashed outside Mexico City.
The picture had come from a flying saucer fanatic and was so obviously faked that the staff thought no reader would take it seriously. Instead, the issue sold out and the story went national. The office phone rang off the hook. People called in confirming they’d seen the craft. The magazine had inadvertently discovered the future readership of Weekly World News, the tabloid that revealed the location of the Garden of Eden (it’s in Colorado) as well as the 43 entrances to Hell.
That same audience has bequeathed us the dreamscape we all now inhabit, a place where no claim is too ludicrous to be bandied and believed. Perhaps you took heart at the defeat of the candidate for the Texas State Board of Education who declared that Barack Obama had worked as a gay prostitute and that climate change is a hoax started by Karl Marx. Consider, though, that she pulled in 41% of the vote. What’s going on?