The good place theories

  1. 1. Byford J. Beyond belief: The social psychology of conspiracy theories and the study of ideology. In: Antaki C, Condor S, editors. Rhetoric Ideology and Social Psychology: Essays in Honour of Michael Billig. London: Routledge; 2014. pp. 83–93.
  2. 2. Byford J, Billig M. The emergence of antisemitic conspiracy theories in Yugoslavia during the war with NATO. Patterns of Prejudice. 2001; 35(4): 50–63.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  3. 3. Goertzel T. Belief in conspiracy theories. Political Psychology. 1994; 15: 731–742.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  4. 4. Ross MW, Essien EJ, Torres I. Conspiracy beliefs about the origin of HIV/AIDS in four racial/ethnic groups. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 2006; 41(3): 342–344. pmid:16540935
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  5. 5. Williams J. PC wars: Politics and theory in the academy. New York, NY: Routledge; 2013.
  6. 6. Jolley D, Douglas KM. The social consequences of conspiracism: Exposure to conspiracy theories decreases intentions to engage in politics and to reduce one’s carbon footprint. British Journal of Psychology. 2014; 105(1): 35–56. pmid:24387095
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  7. 7. Jolley D, Douglas KM. The effects of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories on vaccination intentions. PLoS ONE. 2014; 9(2): e89177. pmid:24586574
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  8. 8. Oliver JE, Wood T. Medical conspiracy theories and health behaviors in the United States. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2014; 174(5): 817–818. pmid:24638266
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  9. 9. Lewandowsky S, Gignac GE, Oberauer K. The Role of Conspiracist Ideation and Worldviews in Predicting Rejection of Science. PLoS ONE. 2013; 8(10): e75637. pmid:24098391
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  10. 10. Simmons WP, Parsons S. Beliefs in conspiracy theories among African Americans: A comparison of elites and masses. Social Science Quarterly. 2005; 86(3): 582–598.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  11. 11. Wood MJ. Conspiracy suspicions as a proxy for beliefs in conspiracy theories: Implications for theory and measurement. British Journal of Psychology. 2017; 108(3): 507–527. pmid:28677916
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  12. 12. Enders AM, Smallpage SM. On the measurement of conspiracy beliefs. Research & Politics. 2018; 5(1): 2053168018763596.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  13. 13. van Prooijen JW, Van Vugt M. Conspiracy theories: Evolved functions and psychological mechanisms. Perspectives on psychological science. 2018; 13(6): 770–788. pmid:30231213
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  14. 14. McCauley C, Jacques S. The popularity of conspiracy theories of presidential assassination: A Bayesian analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1979; 37(5): 637–644.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  15. 15. Keeley BL. Of conspiracy theories. Journal of Philosophy. 1999; 96: 109–126.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  16. 16. Vitriol JA, Marsh JK. The illusion of explanatory depth and endorsement of conspiracy beliefs. European Journal of Social Psychology. 2018; 48(7): 955–969.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  17. 17. van Prooijen JW, Douglas KM, De Inocencio C. Connecting the dots: Illusory pattern perception predicts belief in conspiracies and the supernatural. European journal of social psychology. 2018; 48(3): 320–335. pmid:29695889
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  18. 18. Hofstadter R. The paranoid style in American politics. Harper’s magazine. 1964; 229(1374): 77–86.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  19. 19. Abalakina-Paap M, Stephan WG, Craig T, Gregory WL. Beliefs in Conspiracies. Political Psychology. 1999; 20(3): 637–647.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  20. 20. Whitson JA, Galinsky AD. Lacking control increases illusory pattern perception. Science. 2008; 322(5898): 115–117. pmid:18832647
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  21. 21. Swami V, Furnham A, Smyth N, Weis L, Lay A, Clow A. Putting the stress on conspiracy theories: Examining associations between psychological stress, anxiety, and belief in conspiracy theories. Personality and Individual Differences. 2016; 99: 72–76.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  22. 22. Miller S. Conspiracy theories: public arguments as coded social critiques: a rhetorical analysis of the TWA flight 800 conspiracy theories. Argumentation and Advocacy. 2002; 39(1): 40–56.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  23. 23. Swami V. Social psychological origins of conspiracy theories: the case of the Jewish conspiracy theory in Malaysia. Frontiers in Psychology. 2012; 3 (280).
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  24. 24. Swami V, Chamorro-Premuzic T, Furnham A. Unanswered questions: A preliminary investigation of personality and individual difference predictors of 9/11 conspiracist beliefs. Applied Cognitive Psychology. 2010; 24(6): 749–761.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  25. 25. Thomas SB, Quinn SC. The tuskegee syphilis study, 1932 to 1972: implications for hiv education and aids risk education programs in the black community. American journal of public health. 1991; 81(11): 1498–1505. pmid:1951814
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  26. 26. Jones JH. Bad blood: The tuskegee syphilis experiment. NY: Simon & Schuster; 1993.
  27. 27. Bogart LM, Thorburn S. Are hiv/aids conspiracy beliefs a barrier to hiv prevention among african americans? Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 2005; 38(2): 213–218. pmid:15671808
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  28. 28. Barron D, Morgan K, Towell T, Altemeyer B, Swami V. Associations between schizotypy and belief in conspiracist ideation. Personality and Individual Differences. 2014; 70: 156–159.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  29. 29. Darwin H, Neave N, Holmes J. Belief in conspiracy theories. The role of paranormal belief, paranoid ideation and schizotypy. Personality and Individual Differences. 2011; 50(8): 1289–1293.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  30. 30. Freeman D, Bentall RP. The concomitants of conspiracy concerns. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology. 2017; 52(5): 595–604. pmid:28352955
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  31. 31. Robins RS, Post JM. Political paranoia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press; 1999.
  32. 32. Young TJ. Cult violence and the identity movement. Cultic Studies Journal. 1990; 7: 150–159.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  33. 33. Raab MH, Ortlieb SA, Auer N, Guthmann K, Carbon CC. Thirty shades of truth: Conspiracy theories as stories of individuation, not of pathological delusion. Frontiers in Psychology. 2013; 4(406): 1–9.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  34. 34. Paul LA. Transformative experience. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2014.
  35. 35. Lantian A, Muller D, Nurra C, Douglas KM. I know things they don’t know! Social Psychology. 2017; 48(3): 160–173.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  36. 36. Franks B, Bangerter A, Bauer MW, Hall M, Noort MC. Beyond “monologicality”? exploring conspiracist worldviews. Frontiers in psychology. 2017; 8, 861. pmid:28676768
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  37. 37. Brotherton R, French CC, Pickering AD. Measuring belief in conspiracy theories: The generic conspiracist beliefs scale. Frontiers in psychology. 2013; 4, 279. pmid:23734136
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  38. 38. Bruder M, Haffke P, Neave N, Nouripanah N, Imhoff R. Measuring individual differences in generic beliefs in conspiracy theories across cultures: Conspiracy Mentality Questionnaire. Frontiers in psychology. 2013; 4, 225. pmid:23641227
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  39. 39. Swami V., Coles R., Stieger S., Pietschnig J., Furnham A., Rehim S., & Voracek M. (2011). Conspiracist ideation in Britain and Austria: Evidence of a monological belief system and associations between individual psychological differences and real-world and fictitious conspiracy theories. British Journal of Psychology, 102(3), 443–463. pmid:21751999
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  40. 40. Wood MJ, Douglas KM, Sutton RM. Dead and alive: Beliefs in contradictory conspiracy theories. Social Psychological and Personality Science. 2012; 3(6): 767–773.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  41. 41. Sutton RM, Douglas KM. Examining the monological nature of conspiracy theories. In: van Prooijen JW, van Lange PAM, editors. Power, Politics, and Paranoia: Why People are Suspicious of their Leaders. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2014. pp. 254–272.
  42. 42. van der Linden S. The conspiracy-effect: exposure to conspiracy theories (about global warming) decreases pro-social behavior and science acceptance. Personality and Individual Differences. 2015; 87, 171–173.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  43. 43. Backstrom L, Huttenlocher D, Kleinberg J, Lan X. Group formation in large social networks. In: Ungar L, Craven M, Gunopulos D, Eliassi-Rad T, editors. Proceedings of the 12th ACM SIGKDD international conference on Knowledge discovery and data mining—KDD’06, New York, NY: ACM; 2006. pp. 44–54.
  44. 44. Douglas KM, Sutton RM, Cichocka A. The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 2017; 26(6), 538–542. pmid:29276345
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  45. 45. Binning KR, Sherman DK. Categorization and communication in the face of prejudice: When describing perceptions changes what is perceived. Journal of personality and social psychology. 2011; 101(2): 321. pmid:21463076
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  46. 46. Bantimaroudis P. “chemtrails” in the sky: Toward a group-mediated delusion theory. Studies in Media and Communication. 2016; 4(2): 23–31.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  47. 47. Centola D, Gonzlez-Avella JC, Eguíluz VM, San Miguel M. Homophily, cultural drift, and the co-evolution of cultural groups. Journal of Conflict Resolution. 2007; 51(6): 905–929.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  48. 48. Holme P, Newman ME. Nonequilibrium phase transition in the coevolution of networks and opinions. Physical Review E. 2006; 74(5): 056108.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  49. 49. Coman A, Momennejad I, Drach RD, Geana A. Mnemonic convergence in social networks: The emergent properties of cognition at a collective level. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2016; 113(29): 8171–8176.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  50. 50. Vosoughi S, Roy D, Aral S. The spread of true and false news online. Science. 2018; 359(6380): 1146–1151. pmid:29590045
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  51. 51. Sunstein CR, Vermeule A. Conspiracy theories: Causes and cures. Journal of Political Philosophy. 2009; 17: 202–227.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  52. 52. Doris JM. Lack of character: Personality and moral behavior. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2002.
  53. 53. Allport GW. Pattern and growth in personality. Oxford, England: Holt, Reinhart & Winston; 1961.
  54. 54. Funder DC. Persons, situations, and person-situation interactions. In: John OP, Robins RW, Pervin LA, editors. Handbook of Personality, New York, NY: Guilford Press; 2008. pp. 658–580.
  55. 55. Buss DM. Selection, evocation, and manipulation. Journal of personality and social psychology. 1987; 53(6): 1214–1221. pmid:3320336
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  56. 56. Emmons RA, Diener E, Larsen RJ. Choice and avoidance of everyday situations and affect congruence: Two models of reciprocal interactionism. Journal of Personality and social Psychology. 1986; 51(4): 815–826.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  57. 57. Bakeman R, Gottman JM. Observing interaction: An introduction to sequential analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1997.
  58. 58. Gundogdu D, Finnerty AN, Staiano J, Teso S, Passerini A, Pianesi F, et al. Investigating the association between social interactions and personality states dynamics. Royal Society open science. 2017; 4(9): 170194. pmid:28989732
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  59. 59. Sherman RA, Rauthmann JF, Brown NA, Serfass DG, Jones AB. The independent effects of personality and situations on real-time expressions of behavior and emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2015; 109(5): 872–888. pmid:25915131
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  60. 60. Frederickx S, Hofmans J. The role of personality in the initiation of communication situations. Journal of Individual Differences. 2014; 35(1): 30–37.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  61. 61. Rauthmann JF, Sherman RA, Nave CS, Funder DC. Personality-driven situation experience, contact, and construal: How people’s personality traits predict characteristics of their situations in daily life. Journal of Research in Personality. 2015; 55: 98–111.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  62. 62. Klein C, Clutton P, Polito V. Topic modeling reveals distinct interests within an online conspiracy forum. Frontiers in Psychology. 2018; 9: 189. pmid:29515501
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  63. 63. Gosling SD, Mason W. Internet Research in Psychology. Annual Review of Psychology, 2015; 66(1): 877–902.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  64. 64. Halevy A, Norvig P, Pereira F. The unreasonable effectiveness of data. IEEE Intelligent Systems. 2009; 24(2): 8–12.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  65. 65. Del Vicario M, Bessi A, Zollo F, Petroni F, Scala A, Caldarelli G, Stanley HE, Quattrociocchi W. The spreading of misinformation online. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2016; 113(3): 554–559.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  66. 66. Del Vicario M, Vivaldo G, Bessi A, Zollo F, Scala A, Caldarelli G, Quattrociocchi W. Echo Chambers: Emotional Contagion and Group Polarization on Facebook. Scientific Reports. 2016; 6:3 7825.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  67. 67. Quattrociocchi W, Caldarelli G, Scala A. Opinion dynamics on interacting networks: media competition and social influence. Scientific reports. 2014; 4, 4938. pmid:24861995
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  68. 68. Centola D. The spread of behavior in an online social network experiment. Science. 2010; 329(5996): 1194–1197. pmid:20813952
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  69. 69. Weng L, Menczer F, Ahn YY. Virality prediction and community structure in social networks. Scientific reports. 2013; 3, 2522. pmid:23982106
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  70. 70. Zhang J, Hamilton W, Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil C, Jurafsky D, Leskovec J. Community identity and user engagement in a multi-community landscape. In International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media 2017; Retrieved from https://aaai.org/ocs/index.php/ICWSM/ICWSM17/paper/view/15706
  71. 71. Cheng J, Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil C, Leskovec J. How community feedback shapes user behavior. arXiv preprint arXiv. 2014; 1405.1429.
  72. 72. Zhang J, Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil C, Sauper C, Taylor SJ. Characterizing online public discussions through patterns of participant interactions. In: Karahalios K, Monroy-Hernandez A, Lampinen A, Fitzpatrick G, editors. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 2(CSCW); 2018. 198.
  73. 73. Choi D, Han J, Chung T, Ahn Y.-Y, Chun B.-G, Kwon T. Characterizing conversation patterns in Reddit: From the perspectives of content properties and user participation behaviors. In Sharma A, editor. Proceedings of the 2015 ACM on Conference on Online Social Networks, New York, NY: ACM; 2015. pp. 233–243.
  74. 74. Mohan S, Guha A, Harris M, Popowich F, Schuster A, Priebe C. The impact of toxic language on the health of reddit communities. In Mouhab M, Langlais P, editors. Advances in Artificial Intelligence, 30th Canadian Conference on Artificial Intelligence, LNAI 10233, Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2017. pp. 51–56.
  75. 75. Nithyanand R, Schaffner B, Gill P. Online Political Discourse in the Trump Era. arXiv preprint arXiv. 2017; 1711.05303.
  76. 76. Saleem HM, Dillon KP, Benesch S, Ruths D. A web of hate: Tackling hateful speech in online social spaces. arXiv preprint arXiv. 2017; 1709.10159.
  77. 77. Cole JR, Ghafurian M, Reitter D. Is word adoption a grassroots process? An analysis of Reddit communities. In: Lee F, Lin Y-R, Osgood N, Thomson R, editors. Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Modeling (10th International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction and Behavior Representation in Modeling and Simulation), Springer International Publishing; 2017. pp. 236–241.
  78. 78. Volske M, Potthast M, Syed S, Stein B. Mining Reddit to Learn Automatic Summarization. Proceedings of the Workshop on New Frontiers in Summarization. Stroudsburg, PA: Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL). 2017; pp. 59–63.
  79. 79. Benkler Y, Faris R, Roberts H. Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2018.
  80. 80. Zannettou S, Caulfield T, De Cristofaro E, Kourtelris N, Leontiadis I, Sirivianos M, et al. The web centipede: understanding how web communities influence each other through the lens of mainstream and alternative news sources. In: Uhlig S, Maenel O, editors. Proceedings of the 2017 Internet Measurement Conference New York, NY: ACM. 2017; pp. 405–417.
  81. 81. Samory M, Mitra T. Conspiracies online: User discussions in a conspiracy community following dramatic events. In International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media. 2018. Retrieved from https://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/ICWSM/ICWSM18/paper/view/17907
  82. 82. Yarkoni T. Personality in 100,000 words: A large-scale analysis of personality and word use among bloggers. Journal of research in personality. 2010; 44(3): 363–373. pmid:20563301
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  83. 83. Haber EM. On the stability of online language features: How much text do you need to know a person? arXiv preprint arXiv. 2015; 1504.06391.
  84. 84. Tausczik YR, Pennebaker JW. The psychological meaning of words: Liwc and computerized text analysis methods. Journal of language and social psychology. 2010; 29(1): 24–54.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  85. 85. Niculae V, Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil C. Conversational markers of constructive discussions. arXiv preprint arXiv. 2016; 1604.07407.
  86. 86. Tan C, Niculae V, Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil C, Lee L. Winning arguments: Interaction dynamics and persuasion strategies in good-faith online discussions. In: Proceedings of the 25th international conference on world wide web Switzerland: International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee; 2016. pp. 613–624.
  87. 87. Samory M, Mitra T. ‘the government spies using our webcams’: The language of conspiracy theories in online discussions. In: Karahalios K, Monroy-Hernandez A, Lampinen A, Fitzpatrick G, editors. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 2(CSCW), 152; 2018.
  88. 88. Fast E, Chen B, Bernstein MS. Empath: Understanding topic signals in large-scale text. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. New York, NY: ACM; 2016. 4647–4657.
  89. 89. Fast E, Chen B, Bernstein MS. Lexicons on demand: neural word embeddings for large-scale text analysis. In: Sierra S, editor. Proceedings of the 26th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, ijcai.org; 2017. pp. 4836–4840.
  90. 90. Mathew B, Kumar N, Goyal P, Mukherjee A, et al. Analyzing the hate and counter speech accounts on twitter. arXiv preprint arXiv. 2018; 1812.02712.
  91. 91. Ribeiro MH, Calais PH, Santos YA, Almeida VA, Meira Jr W. ” Like Sheep Among Wolves”: Characterizing Hateful Users on Twitter. arXiv preprint arXiv. 2017; 1801.00317.
  92. 92. Ribeiro MH, Calais PH, Santos YA, Almeida VA, Meira Jr W. Characterizing and Detecting Hateful Users on Twitter. arXiv preprint arXiv. 2018; 1803.08977.
  93. 93. Ottoni R, Cunha E, Magno G, Bernadina P, Meira Jr W, Almeida V. Analyzing right-wing youtube channels: Hate, violence and discrimination. In Proceedings of the 10th ACM Conference on Web Science New York, NY: ACM; 2018. pp. 323–332.
  94. 94. Caetano JA, Magno G, Cunha E, Meira Jr W, Marques-Neto HT, Almeida V. Characterizing the public perception of whatsapp through the lens of media. arXiv preprint arXiv. 2018; 1808.05927.
  95. 95. Cunha E, Magno G, Caetano J, Teixeira D, Almeida V. Fake news as we feel it: perception and conceptualization of the term “fake news” in the media. In Staab S, Koltsova O, Ignatov IG, editors. International Conference on Social Informatics, Springer International Publishing; 2018. pp. 151–166.
  96. 96. Lin Z, Salehi N, Yao B, Chen Y, Bernstein MS. Better when it was smaller? community content and behavior after massive growth. In ICWSM; 2017. 132–141.
  97. 97. Sekulić I, Gjurković M, Šnajder J. Not just depressed: Bipolar disorder prediction on reddit. In Proceedings of the 9th Workshop on Computational Approaches to Subjectivity, Sentiment and Social Media Analysis. Association for Computational Linguistics, Association for Computational Linguistics; 2018.
  98. 98. Levandowsky M, Winter D. Distance between sets. Nature. 1971; 234(5323): 34–35.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  99. 99. Blondel VD, Guillaume JL, Lambiotte R, Lefebvre E. Fast unfolding of communities in large networks. Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment. 2008; 10.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  100. 100. Swami V, Barron D, Weis L, Voracek M, Stieger S, Furnham A. An examination of the factorial and convergent validity of four measures of conspiracist ideation, with recommendations for researchers. PloS One. 2017; 12(2): e0172617 pmid:28231266
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  101. 101. Byford J. Conspiracy Theory and Antisemitism. In: Conspiracy Theories. Palgrave Macmillan. London, UK; 2011. pp. 95–119.
  102. 102. Wood MJ, Douglas KM. “What about building 7?” A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories. Frontiers in Psychology. 2013; 4: 409. pmid:23847577
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  103. 103. Wood MJ, Douglas KM. Online communication as a window to conspiracist worldviews. Frontiers in psychology. 2015; 6: 836. pmid:26136717
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  104. 104. Alfano M, Carter JA, Cheong M. Technological seduction and self-radicalization. Journal of the American Philosophical Association. 2018; 4(3): 298–322.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  105. 105. Gaffney D, Matias JN. Caveat Emptor, Computational Social Science: Large-Scale Missing Data in a Widely-Published Reddit Corpus. PLOS ONE. 2018; 13(7): e0200162. pmid:29979741
    • View Article
    • PubMed/NCBI
    • Google Scholar
  106. 106. Gilbert R, Thadani V, Handy C, Andrews H, Sguigna T, Sasso A, et al. The psychological functions of avatars and alt (s): A qualitative study. Computers in Human Behavior. 2014; 32: 1–8.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar
  107. 107. Haimson OL, Brubaker JR, Dombrowski L, Hayes GR. Digital footprints and changing networks during online identity transitions. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. New York, NY: ACM; 2016. pp. 2895–2907.
  108. 108. De Choudhury M, Kiciman E, Dredze M, Coppersmith G, Kumar M. Discovering Shifts to Suicidal Ideation from Mental Health Content in Social Media. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems—CHI ‘16, 2098–2110. New York, NY: ACM; 2016. pp. 2098–2110.
  109. 109. De Choudhury M, Counts S, Horvitz E. Predicting postpartum changes in emotion and behavior via social media. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. New York, NY: ACM; 2013. pp. 3267–3276.
  110. 110. De Choudhury M, Gamon M, Counts S, Horvitz E. Predicting depression via social media. ICWSM. 2013; 13: 1–10.
    • View Article
    • Google Scholar

We live in a time where it’s tragically impossible to separate conspiracy from fact, from fiction, from news and the real world. Conservatives will call real news fake, while Qanon supporters peddle batshit conspiracy theories as government cover-ups at the highest level.

It’s exhausting. It’s problematic! It’s not healthy!

But there is a long and fascinating history of conspiracies when it comes to celebrities in the entertainment industry. Sisters aren’t actually sisters, mothers aren’t mothers, pop stars are actually government operatives, Reggae legends were killed by the CIA, rappers are living in secrecy in Cuba, and it’s all being controlled by an ancient international organization that claims to be working toward the greater good.

These are are the best (Most shocking!? Most insane!? Most bullshit!?) celebrity conspiracy theories of all time.

Steve Jobs is discovered alive and living in Egypt! pic.twitter.com/V7de4wOT5P

— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) August 27, 2019

Steve Jobs 2.0

The theory: In mid 2018, nearly seven years after he tragically died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 56, someone on Reddit posted an image of a man in Egypt who looks a hell of a lot like Steve Jobs. “Steve Jobs hiding in Egypt after faking his death,” the post title reads.

The proof: While the guy does have the classic Steve Jobs thoughtful chin grab. Some people have pointed out that he’s not wearing an Apple Watch. Now, ask yourself. If you were the head of a global technology corporation known for inventing a very identifiable wrist accessory, would you wear said watch after faking your own death and escaping to Egypt?

Who believes it: A few thousand anonymous people on Reddit, The Daily Mail, and anyone who camps outside of an Apple store before every new iPhone is released.

She Was a Sk8r Gurl

The theory: Sometime between 2002 and now, Avril Lavigne died and was replaced by an actress.

The proof: There are a number of before and after photos that show different marks on her body and an altered shape of her nose and face. Oh and also clues in her lyrics from the Avril actress trying to tell the truth to her fans.

Who believes It: Early 2000s Hot Topic-wearing emos and people who follow oddly specific Brazilian blogs.

Rune Hellestad – CorbisGetty Images

Lorde of Eternal Youth

The theory: No 20-year-old is this emotionally intelligent and has such a vested interest in grammar. That’s because Lorde is actually a 40-something-year-old woman who faked her age to sell herself as a young musical prodigy.

The proof: Along with her talent and her maturity that’s well beyond her years, Lorde has shared birth certificate that looks pretty doctored by some accounts.

Who believes it: To be honest, anyone who’s unwilling to accept that Lorde is the best pop star of her generation—which, to be clear, is the millennial generation.

I Just Called to Say I Can See

The theory: Stevie Wonder, the legendary blind singer-songwriter, is not actually blind—he’s just been pretending for the last six decades for some reason.

The proof: He frequently attends basketball games, he once caught a falling mic stand, he is interested in photography and once took a photo, and he does other things typically reserved for people who can see.

Who believes it: ESPN’s Bomani Jones, people who read this blog, and anyone who’s gotten bored with Stevie Wonder’s otherwise remarkable career and needs to spice it up with a little bit of scandal.

Britney Spears, the George Bush Operative

The theory: Britney was on the White House payroll. Every time the Bush administration screwed up, they distracted the sheeple with another Brit scandal.

The proof: On November 6, 2007, Britney Spears and Kevin Federline announce their split the day before a key midterm election.

Who believes it: The part of the venn diagram where Michael Moore, Britney Spears, and Us Weekly fans overlap.

Keanu Reeves’s Excellent Everlasting Life

The theory: Keanu Reeves is an immortal soul who has lived thousands of years through a number of (famous!) identities.

The proof:

Who believes it: This very credible webhost, whom you can contact “if you have any additional information about the identities that Keanu assumed during his everlasting life or any theory about the source of his power please tell us ( infokeanuisimmortalcom ).”

Is This Murder?

The theory: The CIA murdered Bob Marley because he and other Reggae musicians were working to alert the public of the CIA’s attempt to bring down Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley.

The proof: This exhaustive High Times article which notes that Carl Colby, son of the late CIA director William Colby, visited Marley in 1976.

Who believes it: Anyone who just tried their first edible.

Beyoncé Mother Pt. 1: Not a Sister

The theory: Beyoncé (born 1981) is actually Solange Knowles’s (born 1986) mother. The Knowles family covered up Beyoncé’s early pregnancy by claiming they were sisters.

The proof: Beyoncé was actually born in 1974 because her family also faked her birth certificate.

Who believes it: The writers of Lifetime original movies.

Beyoncé Mother Pt. 2: Not a Mother

The theory: Beyoncé was never actually pregnant with Blue Ivy Carter. She and Jay Z used a surrogate.

The proof:

Who believes it: That man who did the obnoxious voiceovers for TMZ.

Cuba Love

The theory: Tupac’s death was an elaborate hoax so the artist could escape to Cuba from his increasingly dangerous celebrity status.

The proof: The shooters were never found. Suge Knight was never hit. Pac always wore a bulletproof vest. The man who cremated Tupac retired immediately afterward.

Who believes it: Anyone who was freaked out by the final track on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly.

Dial M For Mistaken Oscar

The theory: Newcomer actress Marisa Tomei wins Academy Award in 1993 (for the comedy My Cousin Vinny) against four other well-respected actors nominated for heavier rolls. Then 74-year-old presenter Jack Palance reads the wrong name.

The Proof: This March 22, 1994 Hollywood Reporter article, which reads, “A rumor is currently making the rounds in Manhattan, fanned by no less than the former son-in-law of a distinguished Academy Award winner, to wit that last year Marisa Tomei received her Oscar statue by error, with a resultant scandal about it soon to be exposed, much to the shame of the Academy.”

Who believes it: Anyone who consistently fills out an office Oscar ballot.

Lovers, Both Ex and Current

The theory: Taylor Swift cheated on Calvin Harris and used the Tom Hiddleston relationship to cover it up. Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston are filming a music video. Taylor Swift placed the Tom Hiddleston relationship to distract from Kim Kardashian’s comment about Kanye’s “Famous.”

The proof: The posing of the picture. The forced nature of the “I (heart) T.S.” shirt. The timing of the relationship and how quickly it’s moving. All point to all conclusions at once.

Who believes it: Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift’s cats, Dr. Meredith Grey and Detective Olivia Benson.

A Moon Landing Odyssey

The theory: One year after he filmed sci-fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, the U.S. government hired Stanley Kubrick to fake the moon landing in 1969.

The proof: Though Kubrick’s daughter and all known science has proved otherwise, filmmaker Patrick T. Murray claims to have a video confession from the filmmaker days before his death in 1999.

Who believes it: People who watch too many Stanley Kubrick movies.

Katy “JonBenet” Perry

The theory: JonBenet Ramsey was not murdered in 1996, and actually grew up to be multi-platinum recording artist Katy Perry.

The proof: Overlapping photos of Katy Perry and JonBenet Ramsey. Overlapping photos of Katy Perry’s parents and JonBenet Ramsey’s parents.

Who believes it: This one guy.

Paul Is Dead

The theory: Paul McCartney was killed in a car crash in 1967 and replaced by a lookalike.

The proof: Playing “Revolution 9” backwards. Various song lyrics. Various album covers. Hundreds of other clues found by fans over the decades.

Who believes it: At this point, probably Paul McCartney.

Bonus: Illuminatigateghazi

The theory: Basically all celebrities are members of the Illuminati, which, according to its own website, “is an elite organization of world leaders, business authorities, innovators, artists, and other influential members of this planet” who are tasked with ensuring the survival of every human on the planet.

The proof: Literally everywhere.

Who believes it: If you have to ask…

Matt Miller Culture Editor Matt is the Culture Editor at Esquire where he covers music, movies, books, and TV—with an emphasis on all things Star Wars, Marvel, and Game of Thrones.

KeepReading…

(Major spoiler alert: Do not read on if you haven’t seen “Us” or want to know anything about it.)

Alright, you’ve seen Jordan Peele’s “Us,” and all you want to do is call your friends and dissect every detail and plot point. We’re here to help and to take you through some of the theories that have been floated on the world wide web since its debut.

There’s so much to comb through in this film, from obvious imagery to not-so-blatant thematic explorations. Of course, writer and director Peele wants to point out the two sides to our personalities, that we often have an animalistic side that we can’t always push down.

“Us” stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Alex Evans. It follows a family that goes to their vacation house in Santa Cruz to discover they are being confronted by their doppelgängers — and madness ensues.

Also Read: Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’: What Does the Bible Passage ‘Jeremiah 11:11’ Say?

Once again, these are all just theories. Everyone might have their own, so feel free to jot them down in the comments below.

We repeat — do NOT read on if you don’t want to know anything about “Us.”

Rabbits

Many fans walking out of the theater were wondering about the significance of the rabbits in the tunnels. There are a couple of explanations: mainly, rabbits are associated with mass breeding. For people living underground, that would mean they would have a good, continuous source of food. After all, Nyongo’s “Red” says The Tethered feed on them, mostly raw. Also, rabbits have become synonymous with experimentation — in the film, the government tried to clone people but soon halted the experiment after they realized they could only clone bodies, not souls.

According to The Ringer, rabbits have also had many roles in cinema. In “Bambi,” for example, a rabbit symbolizes good, while in “Donnie Darko,” the rabbit means pure hostility.

At SXSW, Peele told Rotten Tomatoes that Rabbits, on paper, “are adorable, loving animals. Have you ever gotten close to rabbits? You can tell in their eyes, they have the brain of a sociopath. If you put a rabbit brain in a human body, you have Michael Myers, the killer. They’re no empathy.”

“Rabbits… they have the brain like a sociopath.” @JordanPeele explains how nature’s cuddly creatures are the most terrifying animals around. #UsMovie pic.twitter.com/94FYwPRjvF

— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) March 21, 2019

Duality

Reddit users have gone absolutely crazy with the idea of duality. One fan mentioned the Rorschach test, where inkblots are presented to a subject and their responses are analyzed through psychological interpretation. In the trailer, inkblots are part of the credits, which begin the idea of duality for the whole film. There are always two identical halves that make up a whole.

A pair of doppelgängers, a pair of scissors, a pair of bunny ears. Throughout the movie, there are two things that make up a whole thing. The Reddit user even points out the song “I Got 5 On It,” that is sung by a duo named Luniz. He even analyzed the lyrics of the movie: “I got 5 on it, Partner let’s go half on a sack.”

Also Read: Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’: Yes, Hands Across America Was a Real Thing in the ’80s

Peele also used references to Michael Jackson throughout the film. He weighed in on the Jackson nods, telling Mashable, “Everything in this movie was deliberate, that is one thing I can guarantee you. Unless you didn’t like something and that was a complete accident.”

“Michael Jackson is probably the patron saint of duality,” said Peele. “The movie starts in the ’80s — the duality with which I experienced him in that time was both as the guy that presented this outward positivity, but also the ‘Thriller’ video which scared me to death.”

Scissors

Speaking of scissors — why did Peele choose this particular tool as the terrifying murder weapon? The director himself explain the literal duality of scissors in a movie where people are being attacked by themselves.

“There’s a duality to scissors — a whole made up of two parts but also they lie in this territory between the mundane and the absolutely terrifying,” he told Entertainment Weekly.

Social Inequality

Many fans have theorized about the theme of social inequality in the film, as well. Reddit user Rydizzle234 said he thought the movie was about exactly that because the “shadow” figure represented those who were born less privileged. He explained that throughout the movie, The Tethered expressed how they had struggled in their lives, wishing they led a better version that was handed to the people above. He specifically pointed out when Abraham took Gabe’s glasses and placed them on his own face, and Elisabeth Moss’ doppelgänger applied lipstick to herself in the mirror.

The Reddit user also pointed out that Adelaide’s “Red” was chosen to lead the group because she was different and she could break the barrier between the world and what lies beneath, once again hinting to the rich and the poor. Plus, the appearance of The Tethered referred to maybe less access to health care and just general hygiene, once again a reference to social inequality.

11:11

We posted a whole article on the meaning of the Bible verse “Jeremiah 11:11,” which you can read here. But if you watch closely, you will see many references to that particular number throughout the film. When Gabe is watching baseball, the announcer says “we’re tied at 11:11” (once again, “tied” plays into the duality theme in the movie). The clock reads 11:11 in Adelaide’s bedroom.

And how many times have you heard the saying, “11:11, make a wish!” when the clock displays that time? There’s a superstition that that particular time grants our deepest wishes.

Jason and His Doppelgänger

This is one of the more far-fetched theories, but still worth mentioning. Some fans believe Jason and his doppelgänger also switched places, and most of it is credited to the magic trick he can’t seem to nail.

For some reason, he can’t do his lighter trick anymore, although he used to be able to. Meanwhile, his Tethered’s face is burned. However, this could also mean that the magic trick wasn’t working in the above world, but in the tunnels, every time Jason tried to do the trick, it worked and actually burned his Tethered’s face.

Also Read: Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’: Are There Really Thousand of Miles of Hidden Tunnels All Across the Country?

Another reason why people believe they actually switched places is because Jason doesn’t build a sandcastle at the beach, but actually builds a tunnel. Why?

“At the end, he has realized that his mother, at one point, has also switched bodies. She gives him a look almost like ‘I also know what you know’ and then he puts on his mask, as a symbol of the masks they will now wear for the rest of their lives,” wrote the user.

Have and Have-Nots

SlashFilm pointed out that the film comments on the “haves and have-nots” of our society. There is always someone who has more than us. The Wilsons are doing fine financially — they have a summer house at the beach, and Gabe buys a boat. But their friends, the Tylers, have a nicer boat, a nicer house, etc.

This also applies to The Tethered, who are the ultimate “have-nots.” They don’t have anything the Wilsons have, and aspire to have what their clones above have. They spend years trying to come up with a plan to take what they’ve been deprived of. It seems like Peele was trying to make another social statement with this one.

Adelaide’s Shirt

Maybe less of a theory, but something to point out — have you guys noticed Adelaide’s white shirt gets more and more red throughout the movie as blood gets on it?

‘The Gift’: A Great Thriller (Almost) Ruined By a Terrible Ending

(This article contains spoilers for “The Gift.”)

As Criticwire noted last week, Joel Edgerton’s “The Gift,” whose main claim to fame had previously been an advance publicity campaign that edged close to crossing the line between generating viral buzz and outright stalking, has ended up being one of the best reviewed movies of 2015: It currently sits in 28th place on Rotten Tomatoes’ year-to-date ranking. And yet, once the opening weekend had passed, it became clear that “The Gift’s” ending was striking a seriously sour note with some critics and viewers, in some cases turning what had previously been admiration or enjoyment into white-hot anger.

Edgerton, making his feature directorial debut, is a sure hand behind the camera, slowly tightening the screws as the movie constantly shifts the audience’s allegiances, and even our sense of who the protagonist might be, as deftly as anything since David Twohy’s “The Perfect Getaway.” We start off sympathizing with Jason Bateman’s Simon, who’s just moved back near his childhood home to start a new job, and especially his wife Robyn, a designer who’s taking it easy as the couple recovers from a miscarriage and tries to conceive another child. And we’re creeped out by Edgerton’s Gordon, a high-school classmate of Simon’s who seems to be nursing a grudge over some mysterious past wrong (or perceived wrong). It’s a movie that can make you start at what might be the sound of a footstep in a light-filled California house, where you’re constantly aware of the edge of the frame and what might be lurking just outside it. Edgerton isn’t afraid of jump scares, but he doesn’t rely on them either, preferring to build tension slowly and even ambiguously, as we’re never quite sure whether the real threat is from Gordon or from Simon’s reaction to him.

And then, just as “The Gift” is lining up its knockout punch, the bottom falls out. By now, we’ve realized that, far from being a victim, Simon is and always has been a manipulative creep: in high school, when he started a malicious rumor about “Gordo the Weirdo” that ruined his life; and as an adult, where he manufactures evidence to sabotage his rival for a professional promotion. (Although “The Gift” doesn’t make much of it, there’s a neat resonance between Simon’s penchant for manipulating information and his job in the digital security sector.) We realize that he’s been gaslighting Robyn, and that he may even have been drawn to her in the first place because she’s a recovering addict and thus prone to self-doubt.

Simon was within an inch of having everything he wanted: A high-powered job, a beautiful wife who can be convinced to give up her career and raise the child she’s once again carrying in her womb. But as Robyn’s pregnancy comes to term, she starts to realize who Simon is, and that she wants no part of it. Still lying in her hospital bed after giving birth, she tells Simon their marriage is over, and he returns the last in the series of presents Gordon has been leaving at their house since the beginning of a movie — and that’s when things get really messed up. Along with a collapsible baby carrier, the package contains a DVD that shows Gordon creeping into the couple’s house, drugging Robyn into unconsciousness, and crawling into bed with her, with the implication being that he raped her and may even be the father of her newborn son. Just as Gordon had to live with the malicious rumor Simon started about him in high school, so Simon will have to live with the knowledge that his wife may have been raped, the “poison in your mind” that never goes away. Of course, Gordon says, he didn’t really go through with it. But maybe he did.

Our spoiler-averse culture doesn’t allow first-wave reviewers to discuss a movie’s plot in depth, especially one that relies on tension and twists as much as “The Gift,” but few of the critics who talked up the film even hinted that its ending might be booby-trapped. (ScreenCrush’s Matt Singer threw up a red flag, and The Playlist’s Katie Walsh warned that “Robyn, who is the emotional core of the film throughout, is reduced to a psychological revenge battleground between two men.”) But once opening night had passed, the gloves came off. The Mary Sue’s Rebecca Pahle wrote that after nicely maintaining the ambiguity of whether Simon or Gordon is the movie’s villain, “the twist resets ‘The Gift’ back to the same old territory. Creepy Gordo is a monster. And Simon still gets to be the victim. He may have been a bully who habitually lies to and psychologically manipulates his wife, but hey, he never sexually assaulted anyone! And he’s never confronted with the fact that his behavior is wrong, either…. And Robyn, who’s had the most development up to this point, gets demoted to an object that two guys can fight over.” At Comic Book Resources, Kristy Puchko said, “Edgerton concocted an interesting concept. He gave a compelling and creepy performance. His cast did a wonderful job of breathing life into these deeply flawed characters, ratcheting up the tension and drama to a dizzying peak. And then he chucked it all away with the kind of conclusion you’d expect out of brainless soap operas. He fouled the whole film in its final moments, leaving this critic disgusted.” And Flavorwire’s Jason Bailey concluded:
As far as twists go, it’s a pretty stupid one; as a critic friend noted in the lobby after a press screening, the film seems willfully ignorant of the existence of DNA tests. But even without that objection, it’s still a mighty seedy button to hang your movie’s hat on — yet another example of (usually male) TV writers and filmmakers using rape as a shock button that’s pushed too frequently, and too carelessly. In “The Gift,” it’s not creepy, and it’s not clever; it’s just plain cheap.

It’s also, one could argue, part of the tradition of domestic thrillers that “The Gift” seems to pattern itself after; “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” uses a sexual assault as a plot point, to pick the most obvious example, while the narratives and tension of films like “Unlawful Entry” and “Sleeping with the Enemy” are doubtlessly fueled by the threat (explicit or otherwise) of rape. But they made those movies in a different time, and in a different culture, and for a movie like this to trot it out as some kind of crude, bullshit “gotcha” leaves an otherwise commendable picture with a decidedly sour aftertaste.

“The Gift’s” ending is a grievous misstep, and I wonder if it’s not the reason why the movie has been relegated to the dog days of August. But I don’t think it’s quite a catastrophic one. For one thing, it’s fairly clear that Gordon did not, in fact, rape Robyn. It wouldn’t fit the movie’s tone, which is uneasy but not utterly batshit, and it wouldn’t mesh with his intention, which is to visit on Simon the same kind of imaginary horror with which Simon plagued him in high school. If Simon were a more truthful person, Gordon points out, he’d be able to believe Gordon when he says he didn’t do it. But Simon has built his life on deceit, and simple trust is beyond his grasp. (You can argue, as some colleagues have, that it doesn’t matter whether Gordon raped Robyn, and that’s certainly true as far as “The Gift” exploiting the fear of rape as a plot device goes. But it makes at least some difference as to how we understand Gordon’s character, if only to know precisely what kind of monster he is.)

As for the climax stealing the focus away from Robyn, I’d argue that “The Gift” is consistently slippery about who its protagonist actually is. It’s a movie about points of view, about what we see and don’t see, in literal terms (What’s that shape in the dark?) and figurative. Edgerton frequently uses the trick of ending scenes in medias res and later making us question how they ended. After Robyn passes out in her house, the movie cuts to her waking up the next morning, and we assume she must have woken up just enough to drag herself into bed — an assumption the movie’s final minutes prove horribly wrong. Likewise, a confrontation between Simon and Gordon ends with the latter sprawled on the floor of a parking garage, humiliated but apparently unhurt. The next time we see him, he’s got cuts on his face and his arm in a sling. Did Simon do that?

In “The Gift’s” final shot, we see, through the blurred glass of a hospital door, Gordon shrugging off the sling as he walks away from the camera, and we remember that we don’t know him at all. We’ve been encouraged to see him first as a socially inept weirdo, then a menacing stalker, then a sympathetic victim of bullying, and finally some combination of the three: a monster, yes, but a monster Simon made. But has that vulnerability, too, been a trick to gain our sympathy? Perhaps he’s the one we should have been following, instead of a wealthy white couple with money and too much time on their hands — you know, the kind movies usually focus on. One of the few things we learn about Gordon is that he’s worked as a limo driver, and later a karaoke DJ: both facilitators of other people’s good times, rather than the subject of them. Just the kind of person, in other words, we might walk right past without noticing them, or casually injure and then go about our lives. But by the time the movie’s over, any chance of empathizing with Gordon has passed.

A rape scare is, to be clear, a pretty crude and queasy way to get us to the point; as Bailey and Pahle point out, it’s like something out of the misogynist domestic thrillers of the 1980s rather than a movie released in 2015. But if “The Gift” would have been a better movie without it, there’s still enough worth poring over not to let the bitter taste of the ending foul the entire thing.

Popular on IndieWire

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

A ‘Joker’ crew member said Joaquin Phoenix gave everyone a personalized joke book suggesting the movie was terrible and it was all their fault

  • In a series of now-deleted comments, a Redditor purporting to be a lighting technician on “Joker” wrote that Joaquin Phoenix gave the entire film crew personalized wrap gifts.
  • According to the comments seen by Boy Genius Report (BGR), the unnamed technician wrote that Phoenix gave everyone on the crew a copy of his joke book from the movie, addressed to each individual member.
  • Instead of jokes, the books were apparently full of writing about “how the movie was gonna suck, and it was all of our faults.”
  • The Redditor stipulated that the gift was “clearly a joke and the best wrap gift I’ve ever gotten in my career.”
  • A photo he posted of himself on set, as well as all of his comments, have since been deleted from the forum.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A Redditor claiming to be a lighting technician on “Joker” said that the movie’s lead actor, Joaquin Phoenix, gave him the best wrap present he’s ever received in a now-deleted AMA (Ask Me Anything).

According to the comments seen by Boy Genius Report (BGR), the unnamed technician wrote that Phoenix gave everyone on the crew a copy of his joke book from the movie, addressed to each individual member.

“It was just like the one from the movie, but it was just talking shit about how the movie was gonna suck, and it was all of our faults,” the technician reportedly wrote.

“It was clearly a joke and the best wrap gift I’ve ever gotten in my career.”

The Redditor known as SilverbackBRC started the conversation by posting a picture of himself on set, writing: “I was a lighting technician on Joker. Had to put on a wig and full costume for 8 days and then ended up being right outside of frame in the final cut, haha. Just wanted someone to enjoy my 70’s look.”

Joaquin Phoenix receives direction from Todd Phillips on the set of “Joker.” Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.

Read more: ‘Joker’ director says he stopped making comedies like ‘The Hangover’ because of ‘this woke culture’

A Redditor known as scottish_princess, who claims to work in the film industry, speculated that the studio behind the film (in this case, BRON Studios) probably prohibited crew from taking photos on set and may have requested that he remove the image from the forum.

The image was saved by a user known as AbortedOne and shared in the thread, however.

According to BGR, SilverbackBRC also wrote that Phoenix “never entered set the same way,” on one occasion climbing through fake windows behind his costar Robert De Niro.

Robert De Niro plays Murray Franklin, a late-night talk show host, in “Joker.” Niko Tavernis/Warner Bros

Read more: Joaquin Phoenix made surprise appearances at ‘Joker’ screenings in LA and took photos with fans

While neither representatives of Phoenix nor BRON Studios immediately responded to Insider’s request for comment, the actor’s purported actions would not be out of character in light of comments made by other crew members.

“Joker” cinematographer Lawrence Sher told Business Insider’s Travis Clark that Phoenix was a “super playful guy and loose.”

Sher is also the “Larry” in the viral video, which aired on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last Tuesday, that appeared to show an outtake of Phoenix yelling at Larry, who is off-camera, telling him to “shut up” with the “constant whispering.”

It turned out the outtake originated as a prank on the movie’s director Todd Phillips.

Phoenix is “such a good actor that nobody even got it on set,” Sher said. “He played it too straight.”

Representatives for Joaquin Phoenix and BRON Studios did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Insider has also reached out to SilverbackBRC via Reddit.

The director explains his coda: “I thought it was being real and honest with the audience.” Photo: Neon

This article was originally published in 2019. We are republishing the piece ahead of the 2020 Academy Awards, during which Parasite will compete in the Best Picture field, among other categories.

Bong Joon-ho movies tend to end where they begin: The detective in Memories of Murder returns to the ditch where he discovers one of the serial killer’s first victims; the titular mother in Mother dances, her arms swaying like wheatgrass; the little girl Mija returns to the countryside after saving her pet from a slaughterhouse in Okja. The world appears unchanged, but they are no longer the same. Instead, there’s a disquieting dread. Despite the unspeakable horrors each character has witnessed, the world still spins, impassive and unmoved by the preceding events. As with many of his films, Bong Joon-ho has his eye on the superstructure that binds society together and continues to grind down the bones of its protagonists long after the final frame.

Parasite, Bong’s latest, gut-twisting, Cannes Award–winning film, is no different. Just as he called Snowpiercer — his film about class revolution set in a dystopia — his “hallway movie,” he has called Parasite his “stairway movie.” It is an upstairs-downstairs film that explores every available rung on the ladder of class aspirationalism. The movie starts in the half-basement apartment of the Kim family, with windows that barely peer above the ground. Half-basements are distinctively Korean spaces in urban centers like Seoul, and while the Kim house is firmly below ground, it still “wants to believe it’s above the ground.” Their home is an architectural purgatory that just meets the threshold of acceptable living and a fitting reflection of their psychological states: mean, but still hopeful.

In the opening scene, the family son Ki-woo (Choi Woo-sik) hunts for a Wi-Fi signal to leech off while the rest of his family folds pizza boxes for cash. They let the smoke from the public fumigation into their apartment for some free disinfectant. They’re scrabbling to survive, but catch a lucky break when Ki-woo scores a job tutoring the daughter of the wealthy Park family, Da-hae. The fun of the beginning of the film comes from watching Ki-woo and the rest of the family infiltrate the Park house as individual workers pretending to only know each other through vague networks: Ki-jung (Park So-dam) becomes an art therapist to the young boy Da-song, Chung-sook the mother (Jang Hye-jin) as the Park’s housekeeper, and Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho) the father as their driver. In the age of extreme wealth disparity, the Kims’ striving and scheming is thoroughly relatable: After all, who wouldn’t suck on the teat of the rich if given the chance?

Then, as with so many of Bong’s films, there’s a moment about a third of the way through when the bottom drops out and Parasite morphs into something else. A story about two homes — the upstairs family and the downstairs — reveals yet another lurking underneath. The original housekeeper Mun-kwang (Lee Jeong-eun) returns and confesses that her husband, Kun-sae, has been stowed away in a secret bunker underneath the Park house for four years. The Kims are shocked by the state of his living conditions. When Mun-kwang begs the Kim mother to allow her husband to continue hiding there, she calls Chung-sook “older sister” and says that they are both “neighbors in need.” Chung-sook huffily refuses both labels. How could the Kims even compare to this lowlife who has been subsisting off the runoff of a wealthy family?

Instead, the two families fight for their place at the trough. Temporarily the Kims win out, trapping Mun-kwang and her husband, Kun-sae, in the bunker. That is, until the Kims are asked to sacrifice a weekend off to throw a birthday party for the Parks’ baby boy. In the final act, Bong carefully constructs the Parks’ carefree spontaneity onto the backs of the Kims. During the festivities, Kun-sae, the mad, entrapped husband, emerges from the bunker and stabs Ki-jung, creating total pandemonium. The Park child faints, and his parents demand the father, Ki-taek, drive them to the hospital, even as his own daughter is bleeding to death. That moment clarifies what they should have known all along: that their lives are still constrained by servitude, and that they work merely at the whims of their employer. So Ki-taek stabs the wealthy Park patriarch and runs away.

The coda of the film was the second epiphany Bong had while working on the script. (The first was the very idea of a third family hidden underneath the house.) He was waiting at a crosswalk in Vancouver when he suddenly realized how to end the movie after a sensational, bloody climax: The father would become the new resident in the bunker, hiding from the police in the last place they’d look to find him. The Parks would move out, only to be replaced by a German family. The particularities may have changed, but everyone’s station has remained the same. There would always be another wealthy person to live upstairs, just as there would be another poor person positioned beneath them.

The film ends with Ki-woo narrating the aftermath: He awakens in the hospital from head injuries only to have his Miranda rights read to him. He’s charged and on probation with his mother; his sister, Ki-jung, has died; their father long disappeared and his whereabouts unknown. On a hunch, Ki-woo hikes a mountainside that overlooks the Park house where he notices a flicker of light that registers as Morse code. His father, using a method Kun-sae perfected, is tapping out a message to him. The film ends with Ki-woo writing a reply. As he speaks in a voice-over, we see his fantasy take shape: He has a plan. He’s going to go to college, and get a job, and make a lot of money. He’s going to make so much money that one day he’ll be able to buy the house himself, and all his father will have to do is go up the stairs and walk out into the sun.

Parasite’s penultimate shot is swathed in fantasy: father and son hugging on the bright, green lawn of the Park house that is now rightfully theirs. Bong could have ended the film on that note of dreamlike ambiguity, but instead he returns to the half-basement where the movie started, descending from the cramped window space down to Ki-woo writing the letter to his father. There is no mistaking what the reality is. His desire to continue striving is Sisyphean and is the boulder that will eventually crush him. Hope is the emotional parasite in the film: the thing that keeps us going but sucks our marrow dry.

“It’s a surefire kill,” Bong tells me about the final shot. During our few days together in Los Angeles, we discussed the many filmmaking choices he made for Parasite, including the ending. He’s using a Korean phrase (확인사살) that essentially describes the final gunshot you take to make sure someone is good and dead. Imagine an action flick where a trained soldier shoots down an enemy and then walks up to their body and shoots them once more in the head. That’s the surefire kill. The ultimate insurance. And that’s what he wanted the ending to do.

“Maybe if the movie ended where they hug and fades out, the audience can imagine, ‘Oh, it’s impossible to buy that house,’ but the camera goes down to that half-basement,” he says. “It’s quite cruel and sad, but I thought it was being real and honest with the audience. You know and I know — we all know that this kid isn’t going to be able to buy that house. I just felt that frankness was right for the film, even though it’s sad.”

Bong Joon-ho’s worldview comes through most clearly in his endings: clear, bleak, and unrelenting. While his films aren’t necessarily autobiographical, they are personal in the sense that what he wants the audience to feel is the same dread, terror, and anxiety that he feels about the world: the impending climate catastrophe, human-rights abuses, and the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor. The detail in Snowpiercer of the small children being used as labor to keep the engine running, for instance, was inspired by news of child-labor practices. Parasite, too, took some inspiration from the Papin sisters, two live-in maids who killed their employers in 1930s France. The horrors in his films often mirror what he sees in the world.

“There are people who are fighting hard to change society. I like those people, and I’m always rooting for them, but making the audience feel something naked and raw is one of the greatest powers of cinema,” he says. “I’m not making a documentary or propaganda here. It’s not about telling you how to change the world or how you should act because something is bad, but rather showing you the terrible, explosive weight of reality. That’s what I believe is the beauty of cinema.”

This article is a stub.
You can help The Good Place Wikia by expanding it.
End of statement

❝ Welcome to eternal mediocrity. Welcome to The Medium Place. ❞ —Beadie

The Medium Place is a realm of afterlife existence created specially for Mindy St. Claire.

History Edit

The Medium Place has at most only been around since the 1980s, when Mindy St. Claire died, and both The Good Place and The Bad Place argued for an unknown period of time over who should get her. Eventually they came to a compromise, and created a new realm of mediocre existence for Mindy to live in by herself for the rest of eternity. Since it has only one resident, there isn’t even a neighborhood as such, just one house and a railway station, the nameboard of which reads “Neighborhood: “. The medium place can only consist of one person, because if it has multiple people, it “isn’t medium”.

Although the events of Chapters 16 move the setting on by a few hundred years, Mindy St. Claire is still the only resident. This is because of the Jeremy Bearimy timeline that led to it being the same time as before.

Inhabitants Edit

Mindy St. Claire is the only person that resides in The Medium Place.

Through their various iterations, the main characters have visited 30 times in various combinations, and frequently considered staying so as to escape from Michael. However they have always chosen to return to Neighborhood 12358W.

In Chapter 22, Derek is sent to the Medium Place as both a diversion in the escape plan and a present to Mindy.

It is unknown if anyone else has ever been admitted to the medium place. Eleanor and the gang were offered one, but for each of them by themselves. They denied it, stating that they had to stay together.

Life in the Medium Place Edit

The Medium place was created to be neither comfortable nor painful for Mindy. It has the appearance of a single beige house with one small garden in the middle of a barren plain resembling that of the Great Plains in America or the Australian outback.

When Mindy was first admitted to the Medium Place, she gave The Good Place a list of the things she wanted and the Bad place made a few modifications to the list, like how they gave Mindy her favorite beer but it is always warm, or how her jukebox has every song ever but only by the Eagles (live versions only), as well as spoken word poetry by William Shatner, which Trevor describes as deeply terrible. Of course there is more, like only unsalted pretzels. Mindy also has no drugs, which is something she loves.

There is no sign that the Medium Place has its own Janet, though it is known that there are different Janets for the Good and Bad Places, and a Neutral Janet who resides in the Neutral Zone. Since Mindy is the only occupant of the Medium Place, it is possible that a Medium Place Janet was not created for the sole use of one person.

In the end of Season 2, it is revealed that if the Medium Place would house multiple humans, they would all be in different realms and have no interaction with each other, in order to have a perfectly mediocre afterlife personalized for the individual. Eleanor and the gang turn down this offer.

THE SHOW “The Good Place” series finale

WHEN | WHERE 8:30 p.m. Thursday on NBC/4

WHAT IT’S ABOUT The 90-minute series finale, “Whenever You’re Ready,” is described as: “Various conversations occur.” While a review screener was not made available, the contours are obvious — Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), Janet (D’Arcy Carden), Jason (Manny Jacinto) and Michael (Ted Danson) are at last in the Good Place. (Yes, the real one.) But if they want to leave, they have to walk through the green double doors. What lies on the other side?

MY SAY “The Good Place” was about four dead people who were sent to the bad place, then ended up at the medium place and are now finally in the good place. Any questions? Perhaps a few.

Over four seasons and 52 “chapters” (episodes), all the while collecting awards and fans and achieving cult status, this strange little comedy stuffed the equivalent of an elephant into a shoe box. Swirling with ideas — elephantine ones — “The Good Place” was largely consumed with just one: Can people become better? The whole spread of western philosophy was enlisted in the effort, while Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) took a central if not quite starring role. Less comedy, more thought experiment, “Place” sometimes succeeded, sometimes stumbled and sometimes, of necessity, threw its hands in the air.

You often wondered whether NBC even knew what it had on its air Thursdays at 9, and if so, what the “network notes” must have looked like. (Suit: “Do we really need to have Hypatia of Alexandria in this? She’s, I dunno, so last millennium.”) But the elephant survived, the shoe box was shredded and “The Good Place” ends as one of TV’s most exhilarating sitcoms.

But why? Newcomers to this show would be baffled and should be. Veteran fans were at times. The show’s roots conspicuously reached back to the Age of Enlightenment (1715-1789), and Newton’s clockwork universe, which almost seemed to abdicate the idea of human freedom because if the universe was a clock, then human fate was already predetermined. “The Good Place’s” beloved Kant stepped into the breach with his “categorical imperative” — that actions do indeed matter, good and bad choices especially, and that people can deduce those simply by thinking them out, or subjecting them to “pure reason.”

As did poor Chidi, the only self-appointed Kantian in the long history of prime time. But Chidi understood that one choice begets another and another after that, until a certain moral butterfly effect takes hold. What initially seemed a good or moral choice, could lead to a bad or immoral outcome down the road. Chidi thus became paralyzed with inaction, drove friends crazy, and ended up in the bad place as punishment. And … welcome to “The Good Place!”

Over four seasons, questions of morality were pulled apart with rhetorical tweezers. Complex rules with an infinitely complex points system were uncovered. Punishments were meted that did not match the crime which then became the foundation for entire seasons (or the third one anyway). While Chidi was stuck on Kant, “The Good Place” bravely pushed forward into Nietzsche, and his eternal recurrence (each character was rebooted some 800 times), then on into existentialism, with its own lonely, wind-swept preoccupations. If life is meaningless, then imagine how meaningless the afterlife must be? Last week’s “Patty” with Lisa Kudrow as Hypatia explored some of that.

But the show found comedy in the central paradox, pathos as well. If to become “better” is impossible — the prevailing philosophical position circa 2020 — then what hope has Chidi? Or anybody?

With its big heart and boundless optimism, “The Good Place” forged ahead. “We’ve been asking the wrong question,” Michael said in an earlier chapter this season. “What matters is, are trying to be better today than they were yesterday? You ask me where my hope comes from? There’s your answer.”

And there’s your show — a beautiful one.

BOTTOM LINE Maybe more intellectually satisfying than comically, “The Good Place” still ends as a triumph and future classic.

By Verne Gay [email protected]

A Goodbye To ‘The Good Place’

Kristen Bell as Eleanor, William Jackson Harper as Chidi, Ted Danson as Michael and D’Arcy Carden as Janet. Colleen Hayes/NBC hide caption

toggle caption Colleen Hayes/NBC

Kristen Bell as Eleanor, William Jackson Harper as Chidi, Ted Danson as Michael and D’Arcy Carden as Janet.

Colleen Hayes/NBC

Endings are sad, but without them, nothing matters.

That was only one of the lessons of the thoughtful, emotional finale of NBC’s The Good Place, which itself ended after four seasons and only 52 episodes. But, as the show itself stressed in its last couple of installments, heaven is not continuing forever: It’s leaving at the right time, when you’ve done your work. When you’re ready.

Creator Michael Schur, who also was behind Parks & Recreation, has a kind of grudging, aggravated optimism that echoes in a lot of his work. The Good Place was full of reminders of how petty and nasty people can be when they’re not specifically trying to discipline their worst instincts. It was also emphatic about the fact that it’s almost impossible to successfully weave your way through the complicated world of trying to be decent, given the way our current systems of commerce and government work. Similarly, the people we knew in Pawnee, Ind., were constantly besieged by smallness and disappointment — remember how Leslie Knope’s beautiful dream of elected office ended the first time.

But The Good Place, like Parks, became a show about the fact that even given those setbacks and disappointments, people can be good, can do good, can grant each other grace. And more than Parks, The Good Place became a playfully direct and explicit exploration of that idea.

Earlier on, the show was more about Eleanor, a self-proclaimed dirtbag in life trying in the afterlife to become good through concerted effort, with the help of her friends: Chidi, her teacher; Tahani, her nemesis-turned-friend; Jason, the Floridian dingdong DJ she adored; Janet, who is not a girl or a robot; and Michael, her tormentor-turned-ally. She learned to sacrifice, to tell the truth, to be better, to persevere. And she became a leader. She learned to step in when no one knew what to do.

This season, though — especially the last few episodes — seemed less about learning what it means to be good, which all of our friends on the show already were, and more about accepting what it means to be human. Longstanding notions of heaven, on which Schur and his extraordinary writers were riffing throughout the series, have a very particular weirdness to them that I think was ultimately too much for that limited, humanist, often frustrated optimism to swallow: that paradise is doing whatever you want, forever.

One problem with a traditional heaven (pardon me while I critique ancient notions of the afterlife; it’s that kind of television show) is that while it works well as a reward, as a carrot to dangle as the payoff for being good while on earth, it is so far removed from human experience that it doesn’t say very much about humanity. It’s a very flat, all-the-flavors-of-ice-cream, I-want-a-pony notion of heaven. But when we long for happiness on earth, is it for that? Is it because we want all the flavors of ice cream and a pony? Doing whatever we want forever?

In the penultimate episode, “Patty,” the group reached the real Good Place, where they learned that, indeed, it’s fun to do whatever you want. But they also learned that a frictionless existence is meaningless. They learned, as the show explicitly stated in the finale via a cameo from the philosophy professor Todd May, that mortality gives meaning to human life, so some kind of ending is necessary to make even the afterlife a place of true happiness. To be human is to know you are not forever; to know you are forever is to lose your humanity. Thus, Eleanor and friends developed a system in which even people in heaven could decide that the time had come for it to be over. Again: Heaven is not never leaving; it’s leaving at the right time, when the work is done.

Jason was the first to realize, after playing a perfect game of Madden with his father, Donkey Doug, that he was ready to go. He said goodbye to Janet, coming to terms with the deeply relatable fear that he’d be forgotten, and he went into the redwoods where the show put its last door. And then, in true Jason fashion, he just kind of hung around, chilling, waiting for one last chance to see Janet. Like a monk, she pointed out. He didn’t get it.

Tahani went a different direction. Like the party planner she always was, Tahani decided to become an architect, designing entire afterlives in her peacock bow tie. She likes to plan, she likes to design, she likes to do for others — and now, she figured out how to do it from a place of generosity (as well as, sure, a desire to continue to get credit for her great ideas; she’s only post-human, after all).

And then Chidi. Eleanor’s selfishness was now translated through love, and she tried to tempt him to stay with trips to Athens and Paris, asking him over and over to tell her all about philosophy again. He was willing to stay for her, but inevitably, because he had taught her well, she realized — and explained very clearly, in specific language of moral philosophy — that this was selfish of her, and that she had to let him go. So she did.

If there was a part of the finale I didn’t quite think resonated, it was the visit to Mindy St. Claire to persuade her to go through the system and attempt to qualify for the Good Place. I’ve always found the idea of the Medium Place very funny, and Maribeth Monroe is always marvelous in the role. But here, the idea that this was part of Eleanor’s final work that needed to be done didn’t quite seem of a piece with the rest of the finale, even if her explanation that Mindy was the person she might have been if she hadn’t met her friends was very sweet.

What did seem spot-on was that Eleanor couldn’t leave until she saw to Michael. One of the show’s best swerves has been its reversal of the relationship between Michael and Eleanor from one where he was like a benevolent father to one where he is more like her well-meaning but disoriented teenage son. And Michael had the same problem that all of Eleanor’s friends had in the afterlife when they first got to the Good Place: he had no end in sight. He wasn’t even able to walk through the door, as he learned in the finale’s funniest sequence, in which Michael discovered that he didn’t disappear after passing through, even if he tried to hide behind a tree to make it seem like he did. (If all this show had done was bring out this dopey, broad part of Ted Danson’s comedic talent, it would have been worth it.)

No, Michael needed a chance to be human. Human, with all the annoyances and limitations and — this was perhaps what was stressed the most — uncertainty that humanity brings. And, granted his humanity, he delighted in burning his hands on a microwave dinner and playing with his giant dog (named Jason) and all the dumb, ordinary things he had never gotten to experience.

And then Eleanor could pass through the door, completing the journey she took when she died after being hit by some grocery carts … and then a truck. She began as a fraud, or so she believed, and ended up saving the world. She learned humanity from a bunch of very flawed people, none of whom understood it perfectly themselves.

What a weird, often extremely goofy, ultimately very profound 52 episodes those were. Not everything worked: I don’t think the new humans introduced this season as test cases ever clicked at all, despite good performances from the actors. At times, the systems of demons and trains and places and tests became so convoluted that I gave up, and I still probably couldn’t ace a test on exactly what happened in some of those systems.

But I understood its final philosophical stance perfectly. Fragility and preciousness are not paired out of some regrettable irony; they are reliant on each other. It’s because we know our time with people will end that we can find ourselves flooded with gratitude for their presence. The friction of our limitations is what necessitates effort (of all kinds), and effort — rewarded and not — is where we find meaning. Surround yourself with friends who love you and love them deeply, and you will grow. It’s worth applying every part of yourself, including your intellect, to the question of how to do the right thing.

There was so much in this series to admire: outstanding performances from the core cast and tons of guests, wonderful writing, weird jokes (Knish From A Rose 4-ever), a positively divine official podcast, glorious production design, inventive visual effects and, yes, the decision to exit when it was time. Maybe too early. Maybe. But isn’t that the way it goes?

Schur has talked about the fact that after the end of Parks, NBC was willing to try just about anything he wanted to make. So naturally, he made a philosophical comedy about decency that regularly quoted philosophers, took strong positions on frozen yogurt (suitable only for a fake heaven), pulled off some remarkable surprises and packed a year of sobbing into a 75-minute finale.

Humanity is beautiful and weird and frustrating, and joy and loss are twins. That’s a lot to get out of a show that also taught me to yell “BORTLES!” when I’m trying to get out of trouble.