Lisa Marie Presley and conspiracy theories in the age of COVID

Lisa Marie Presley, age 54, passed away yesterday from cardiac arrest. I’m 54, too; so this one definitely reminded me of my mortality.

While a singer and songwriter in her own right, Presley always struggled to establish a professional identity beyond her famous patrimony. This in no way diminishes the personal tragedy of her death. But it’s difficult to think of the younger Presley without thinking of the older one.

I am just barely old enough to remember when Elvis died in August 1977 at the age of 42. I had just turned nine. 

For years, there were conspiracy theories about Elvis. (Yes, Virginia, conspiracy theories existed before the Internet.) Reports of Elvis sightings were common in the 1980s.

Given that Lisa Presley a.) was an ardent proponent of the COVID vaccine, and b.) died from cardiac arrest at a relatively young age, a predictable wave of conspiracy theories have already arisen around her untimely death. Like you didn’t see this coming?

I can tell you all that 50-somethings do die unexpectedly from cardiac arrest; and this was true long before COVID or the COVID vaccine. I personally knew no fewer than ten 50-somethings who met similar, sudden ends between 2000 and 2019. All long before COVID or the COVID vaccine. 

I don’t believe that Lisa Marie Presley died from the COVID vaccine. That said, I have noticed a spate of people significantly younger than 54 dying suddenly in recent months, with no cause of death ever listed.

And yes, that gets me twitchy.

Where conspiracy theories are concerned, my policy is to be neither too skeptical nor too credulous. Likewise,I don’t believe that the medical establishment always lies. But sometimes they do lie. Sometimes, they’re simply wrong. The medical establishment, after all, is made up of fallible human beings. 

Want a concrete example? How about the opioid epidemic of the 2000s? That got started because pharmaceutical companies were pushing opioids, and doctors were too liberally prescribing them. And, of course, everyone was making money along the way.

The problem with the current debate about the COVID vaccine is that the rational actors have left both sides of the room. On one hand, the establishment (and the establishment media) simply doesn’t want to allow any skepticism on the matter. Questioning the COVID vaccine will get you banned from Facebook nowadays a lot faster than marginal “hate speech”.

On the other hand, the conspiracy theorists are so eager to prove their case, that it’s only a matter of time before one of them claims that Elvis died from COVID vaccine complications back in 1977.

When all debate takes place through the filters of the culture wars, it’s hard to know what the truth is.

For the record: I received my two (Pfizer) COVID vaccines in April 2021. I’m 54 years old and I’m still here. 

But 2023 is still young, isn’t it?