Kylie Jenner has seen some things, and she has questions.
On Monday, the 17-year-old star of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and daughter of Bruce Jenner and Kris Kardashian, posted a meme on Twitter, where she inexplicably has over 9 million followers. It read:
“Let’s ask ourselves….Why did I see 75 planes spraying white stuff into the sky on my 15 minute drive to work? Who pays for this and why is it happening? Is something being exterminated here? Is that something me? Does this have anything to do with why Honey Bee’s are Dying off really fast. Why are some days normal with no planes spraying and others look like this? Whos is responcible? What effect will this have on our health and our childrens future? WHO THE F#*% THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? Am I the only one who sees this? [sic]”
Jenner has unknowingly stumbled into the chemtrail conspiracy theory, which dates back to August 1996, when the United States Air Force’s university, Air University, published a paper (PDF) titled Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025. Some members of society who are disturbed by and reject the reality that the world is a disorganized, leaderless hellhole took the paper to mean that the government wanted to control the weather. A conspiracy was born.
There is a lot to unpack in Jenner’s grammatically disastrous meme, but seeing as 9 million people have been exposed to it in less than 24 hours, it’s now irresponsible not to try.
Let’s begin with the claim that she sees “75 planes spraying white stuff into the sky on my 15 minute drive to work.”
The first half of that sentence is likely hyperbole and the second half almost certainly a lie. Have you ever seen Keeping Up With the Kardashians? Like 90 percent of it takes place in her mom’s house.
Jenner’s next question is reasonable enough: “Who pays for this and why is it happening?”
Some jets leave white trails, known as contrails, in their paths “for the same reason you can sometimes see your breath,” according to The Scientific American. “The hot, humid exhaust from jet engines mixes with the atmosphere, which at high altitude is of much lower vapor pressure and temperature than the exhaust gas. The water vapor contained in the jet exhaust condenses and may freeze, and this mixing process forms a cloud very similar to the one your hot breath makes on a cold day.”
Then Jenner descends quickly into full-on paranoia: “Is something being exterminated here? Is that something me?”
The next stage of Jenner’s meltdown is wild speculation: “Does this have anything to do with why Honey Bee’s are Dying off really fast? [sic]”
No. There is no definitive answer for why honeybees are dying, but The New York Times reported in 2014 that the deaths seem to be caused by “a complex set of pressures on managed and wild bee populations that includes disease, a parasite known as the varroa mite, pesticides, extreme weather and poor nutrition tied to a loss of forage plants.”
The next inquiry is innocent enough: “Why are some days normal with no planes spraying and others look like this?”
That’s because of a complicated series of factors—whether or not you’re looking at the sky, how clear the sky is on that day, if there happens to be a plane above your head, and if that plane has reached an altitude that would cause its exhaust to condense and freeze and form a trail.
“Who is responcible? [sic]”
Hard to say, really.
“What effect will this have on our health and our childrens future? [sic]”
Luckily most children are resilient enough to overcome all sorts of adversities, like having an unintelligent parent.
“WHO THE F#*% THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?”
I suppose the Wright Brothers.
“Am I the only one who sees this?”
Rejoice, for you are not alone, Kylie. Welcome to the wonderful world of conspiracy theories. Remember to take your iodine drops.