Viral Culture

From gossip to rumour to conspiracy theory.

Social media was rife with speculation and fearmongering.

A career as a folklorist studying disease narratives.

The rumours, legends, gossip during the pandemic.

Narratives are recycled from one epidemic to the next.

They maintain certain features over time.

Specific details vary to fit a new disease or context.

And channel contemporary preoccupations.

Increasingly, people feel powerless and alienated.

It’s appealing to believe there are forces plotting against you.

Once these beliefs take root they readily go viral.

Conspiracy theories are for the downtrodden.

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