Kyrie Irving started the flat Earth thing during NBA All-Star weekend . He claimed he believed the Earth was flat. He then tried to frame it as some weird commentary about the media taking things athletes say too seriously. Shaq agreed with him about the Earth being flat on a podcast. Today, he confirmed that he was joking.
“The first part of the theory is, I’m joking, you idiots. That’s the first part of the theory. The second part is, I said jokingly that when I’m in my bus and I drive from Florida to California, which I do every summer, it seems to be flat. When I’m in my plane, and we’re getting ready to land, and I open up the window, and I’m looking at all the land that we’re flying over, it seems to be flat.”
Here’s the thing. This isn’t funny. It does not even cross the low threshold into athlete “give him a chuckle for trying” funny.
Famous athletes finding it absurd how seriously people treat what they say is absurd. Kyrie, Shaq, and many others earn millions in endorsements based on the premise that what they say has import. Kyrie saying this as Pepsi was doing an Uncle Drew marketing push probably was not coincidental. Why should I buy Gold Bond if I can’t take what Shaq says seriously?
Even if that were a cogent point, flat Earth jokes don’t really make it. It’s not skewering something. It’s not offering a sly commentary on media members twisting your words. You say something stupid. Everyone reacts wondering why you said something stupid. You got them because they had the rational reaction to the stupid thing you said?
We aren’t at a point as a society where famous people can throw stupid, obvious falsehoods into the marketplace. Facts have been battered into irrelevance. Reason can’t be presumed. The realm of possibility is expanding. Crazy, fringe ideas on all sides are gaining currency. People believed Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of a pizza establishment. Flat Eartherism could certainly become a thing.