Artificial intelligence, or A.I. as it is commonly called, has piqued the curiosity of many. The technology holds much promise and many challenges as it develops and grows. Lately, A.I. generated pictures have been all over social media. Most of the time, people of reasonable intelligence can look at the pictures and tell either by the lack of reality or obvious satirical elements that the pictures aren’t real. But apparently, for conservatives, it isn’t so obvious. Such has been the case over a fake marketing campaign by Target that someone created via A.I.
Conservatives have already been triggered over Target’s very real LGBTQ+-inclusive Pride collection. But now they’re angry over fake A.I. generated images that claim the store is selling “Satanic” clothing.
The images show kids wearing clothes with inverted pentagrams and goat heads and a store display with a red, goat-headed mannequin. The images were created by Facebook user Dan Reese with the A.I. program Midjourney, Reuters reported. A Target spokesperson told the publication that it “has never sold” the pictured items, and the items aren’t available on the store’s website.
That fact isn’t stopping some right-wing Christians from being triggered and outraged. A Facebook page called Christian Patriots posted the images and wrote, “Look at the faces on these children, I feel in my spirit, they even knew there was something satanic with making them be photographed with these clothes on. If you are a Christian and a parent and you shop at target, Lord, have mercy on you.”
Facebook user Linda Vee Sado wrote, “Target has really gone over the edge. Not enough they are making girlie swimsuits for little boys to tuck. They need to go away too.”
Sado is referencing a tuck-friendly adult swimsuit that right-wingers claimed was directed at children.
Conservatives have also been putting the word out through their social media channels that Target was selling Satanic-themed apparel created by a transgender designer, leading to death threats against the designer. Employees at one Arizona store kicked out a bigot who called Target’s Pride merchandise “Satanic Pride propaganda.” This all plays into the spurious beliefs among some religious conservatives and conspiracy theorists that claim LGBTQ+ people and culture are Satanic.
Of course, none of those claims are true, but it seems some in the religious right wing just need something to not only hate, but see as some “demonic force” invading the world and only by joining their ranks can we all defeat those forces. Unfortunately for their cause, what they are outraged over is fake and only serves to expose their gullibility.