Here’s something for your Friday afternoon.

You hear a lot of paranoid, subtly [or not-so-subtly] racist conspiracy theories in Indonesia, but this one is nothing short of a masterpiece. This image (click to see full size) has been doing the rounds on twitter thanks to famous smear account @TrioMacan2000 (see this Jakarta Post yarn for background) since February, it seems, but only recently was brought to my attention through Tom Power. It’s a head-scratcher, to be sure.

The main premise of it, as far as I can gather, is that Jokowi has been able to inspire the United States and China to put aside their considerable differences to participate in a conspiracy to…I don’t know, really. (To sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids?) I’m not sure that’s supposed to matter. The flowchart says that Jokowi is the product of an evil conspiracy of powerful organisations–and if you disagree with the flowchart, well, you’re probably part of the whole scheme yourself.

Anthony Salim is there, as are other prominent tycoons such as Dahlan Iskan, Chairul Tanjung and the Riady boys. Catholics, evangelical Christians and the U.S.A. get a mention, along with ‘China’ (no further details are provided on that one). So far, so good. But some of the choices are, I will say, rather avant-garde–why is Pat Robertson here? What’s the Arkansas Connection–are the Clintons and Riadys up to no good again? Does Jokowi have 60% or 87% of the media in the tank for him? I can’t get a clear reading on that. And what the hell is a ‘seculerism inisiator’?

At the same time, some stalwarts of the Indonesian conspiracy scene are totally absent. George Soros, for instance. Most puzzling of all is the omission of–you guessed it–The Jews, at least as a monolithic entity. They are represented here by Stan Greenberg, former Clinton pollster, who has become an increasingly popular muse for Indonesia’s more antisemitic paranoiacs. Google ‘stan greenberg jokowi’ for a preview of this sort of thing.

Look, put me down as ‘sceptical’ on the China-USA-Riady-Dahlan-Clinton-Greenberg-Seculerism Inisiator Plot To Do Something Vaguely Sinister. To @Triomacan2000 I say: the essence of good bullshit is elegant simplicity. Less, as they say, is more. Looking forward to your next draft.


Liam Gammon is a PhD candidate at the Department of Political and Social Change at the Australian National University, and probably also a party to the China-US Conspiracy Scheme.