Alex Jones seemingly hasn’t been doing so well lately. Things are so tough that he has pivoted to talking about his imminent cannibalism, and how he will kill and eat his neighbors.
“You think I like sizing up my neighbor, how I’m gonna haul him up by a chain? Chop his ass up? I’ll do it. My children aren’t going hungry,” Jones said on a recent episode of his live streamed radio show. He reiterated how he’s ready to resort to cannibalism several times. “I’ll admit it. I will eat my neighbors … I’m just gonna be honest … I’m literally looking at my neighbors now going ‘Am I ready to hang them up and gut them and skin them and chop them up?' and you know what, I’m ready … I’ll eat my neighbors … I’ll eat your ass, I will,” he added, nodding.
The cannibalism clip is a stark reminder of how far Jones has fallen and what Jones always was—a doomsday carnival barker selling outrage to the gullible who, briefly, amassed an outsized amount of cultural cache.
After being deplatformed by Twitter and Facebook after a series of videos in which he questioned whether mass shootings actually happened, Jones faded into irrelevancy. Now, people only pay attention to Jones when he’s arrested for drunk driving or screams about eating his neighbors. He’s a sideshow, a clown. Which is as it should be.
I grew up in Texas and I grew up listening to Alex Jones. He started broadcasting on cable access in the mid 1990s and launched his radio program in the early days of the Bush administration. He was the kind of character I’d put on in the background of a party while my friends got high for us to laugh at. He was mostly dull, but inevitably, he’d get angry and rant about turning the frogs gay or the the clockwork elves that live beyond our dimension.
No one seemed to take him seriously. Everyone laughed at him. He even played versions of himself, ranting in public places, in two Richard Linklater movies. Like a lot of conspiratorial broadcasters, 9/11 supercharged Jones and propelled him from local Texas curiosity to national weirdo. But, even when he was ranting about 9/11 being an inside job, Jones felt fundamentally powerless and funny.
Something changed in the years leading up to the 2016 election. Jones, it seemed, was everywhere, and people were taking him seriously. Piers Morgan interviewed him on CNN in 2013. By 2016, he was the head of an independent broadcasting empire that streamed direct to fans via every conceivable online media. He said he had the ear of Donald Trump and interviewed him on his show.
Suddenly Jones wasn’t funny anymore. As mass shootings mounted in America, Jones would use his platform to tell his audience that it hadn’t happened and the dead and wounded were “crisis actors.” Jones encouraged his audience to harass the parents of shooting victims. He accused yogurt manufacturer Chobani of “importing migrant rapists.” The controversies churned on.
By the Summer of 2018, the major internet platforms were tired of doing business with Jones. On August 6, Facebook, Apple, YouTube, and Spotify had removed Jones’ InfoWars content from their sites. Apple bounced Jones from iTunes a week later. Vimeo, Mailchimp, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter all followed. Cut off from the mainstream, Jones’ celebrity dried up.
A few years ago, Jones was at the center of a dozen media firestorms. Pundits like Tucker Carlson discussed his right to spread misinformation with bated breath. Now, we only pay attention to Alex Jones when he’s getting arrested or saying something so outlandish that it makes us laugh.
In recent weeks, Jones has desperately clung onto some of the "reopen America" protests that are largely being organized by astroturf groups. His cannibalism comments represent the, uhh, far, far extreme of a dangerous and unfounded point of view that quarantine is an existential threat to American freedom that will shut down our food supply and lead us to apocalypse.
Except now, instead of leading a dangerous group of people, he's hanging on to a movement led by others, trying desperately to remain relevant by saying he's currently pondering cannibalism. Jones will always have his hardcore fans, the people who believe every word and spend their money on the various supplements Jones peddles as health cures. But, deplatformed, Jones feels like a neutered tiger in a cage. Bloated, red-faced, he sputters on in the darkness only occasionally breaking through his audience of hardcore conspiracy lovers to reach the masses.
Jones ranting about eating his neighbors is dark and horrifying. More importantly, it’s pathetically desperate.