As I skipped from live-stream to live-stream on Instagram, examining the multi-splendored way in which lighting can be weird and banter can be pointless, I came across the radio show of a friend from high school. He was giving a sage and stoned-seeming monologue about how, right now, we may not be able to “answer” problems but we can at least “respond” to them. Then someone he knew called in to his broadcast. The screen split in two, and this new speaker began talking about “the Oprah conspiracy.” This phrase sent me to Google where I found that Oprah had just denied a preposterous rumor that she’d been arrested. That rumor had been spread by the conspiracy group QAnon, which generally has been spouting theories that the coronavirus is a hoax cooked up by the global elite to cover up their unspeakable crimes.

That any noticeable faction of people would so impugn Oprah is yet another a sign that we are living through extraordinary and disturbing circumstances, the likes of which have never been seen before. Yet, as the deadly consequences of the coronavirus pandemic ripple worldwide, it’s unsurprising to see paranoia set in. One clear fact, however, might comfort the conspiratorial mind: The celebrities definitely, definitely are not in charge right now.