Memory is a funny thing. We assume our brains are categorizing an accurate remembrance of past events, despite all evidence to the contrary. Things get even murkier when a whole group of humans starts to remember things that never happened. You know, like our collective shock that our favorite childhood bears spelled their name BerenstAin and not BerenstEin. Enter the Mandela Effect, which posits these false collective memories are the result of a glitch in the Matrix and not, you know, just humans being wrong. Normally events like the Berenstain Bears is a funny blip on the Internet radar that hurts no one. But then along came Shazaam (no, not the DC Comics superhero).
Earlier this week, NewStatesman writer Amelia Tait revealed her descent into a part of Reddit that is convinced comedian Sinbad made a genie movie entitled Shazaam in the 1990s, despite there being no record of said movie ever existing. The article interviewed several Shazaam “truthers” individually. Their memories are vivid and exacting and — truth be told — I too thought this movie existed. But unlike many on the Internet, I’m willing to accept my child brain probably combined Shaq’s turn as Kazaam with both Sinbad’s movie First Kid and his penchant for flamboyant outfits on The Sinbad Show to create a false memory.
But because this is the Internet, instead of collectively shrugging our shoulder and saying “Huh” before moving on with our lives, everyone decided to get Sinbad involved in the imbroglio. Over the last 48 hours, the comedian has been inundated on Twitter by people convinced he played a genie in film lost to time and/or space. At first, he did what anyone of sense would do; he ignored it. Then he tried to deny it. Finally, he (jokingly?) realized he should be capitalizing on it. It’s the American way!
So good job, Internet. It looks like in the near future we’ll be getting a reboot of a film that never existed in the first place. And if that isn’t the most 2016 thing to happen this year, I don’t know what is.