Flat-Earth convention leads to lesson about the future of post-truth life

John Ingold
The Colorado Sun
A globe is displayed in the exhibit hall at the Flat Earth International Conference, held Nov. 15 and 16 at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center. More than 600 people were registered to attend.
John Leyba/Colorado Sun

My new friend Russell is an impressively cheery human being, even as he is accusing me of playing a role in a vast, sinister conspiracy.

Right around 6 feet tall with a graying beard and a dad belly, Russell Kanning wears stylishly square glasses, a ballcap that says “Flat Earth” and a smile that never seems to leave his face. That smile’s there as he looks around the exhibit hall at the Flat Earth International Conference, which ran for two days last week in Denver and drew hundreds of people to a hotel near the airport — the nation’s biggest convention of flat-Earth believers in at least recent history.

The smile’s there as he tells me how buildings are visible on the horizon that should be hidden by the Earth’s curvature. It’s there as he heads off my questions by telling me that he doesn’t know exactly how the dome covering all of creation works. It’s there as he explains to me calmly that every politician is an actor, controlled by higher authorities.

“Trump,” he says, “is obviously an actor.”

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