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By now we’ve had plenty of time to reflect on the conspiracy theory portion of our classroom. Hopefully you also remember our discussion of something called the rhetorical triangle. What I would like you to do here is think about how the rhetorical triangle applies to conspiracy theories. Remember that the triangle makes the writer or speaker just one third of the equation, with the known history of the topic being another third and the intended audience the final third of the equation. Sometimes the audience participates in the act of creation by meeting the author halfway. one might say, adding their own twists or their own spin to the original tale. That’s true in literature, but I wonder if it’s also true of conspiracy theories and those who indulge in them. Let’s say for example that a new conspiracy emerges on whether NFL games are “fixed” or thrown” for sports betting purposes. Let’s say, further that the theory embraces the idea that the mana is behind it. Okay, now it seems to me that the listener/reader/audience who is not interested in sports will turn off this theory. The argument doesn’t fall on receptive ears because the audience is simply not interested. However, a famous NFL personality who has achieved crossover appeal on social media may yet draw that audience in, as now there’s a different angle, a celebrity angle. Does that make sense? We all evaluate the world through the lens of our own value system, our own beliefs in what is true, and our own ideas of authority of what makes someone an authority on a subject . We are all susceptible to conspiracy theories to a greater or lesser degree depending on not just our own strength of will but whether the theory has been tailored to attack us. Thinking about audience may help you realize how different demographics are more likely to fall for different conspiracy theories.