Self-styled celebrity super family the Kardashians love their annual Christmas card. Over the years they've built up a smorgasboard of festive snaps, which have become more overblown as the family has slowly risen up the celebrity food chain. Last year's was an all-white number with ticker tape and bubbly, which made it look as if they were trapped in a 2013 version of The Crystal Maze, but this year their yuletide snap went further and almost broke the internet.

Looking like a mix between a scene from Boogie Nights and the interior of a jazzed up Blackpool Pleasure Beach arcade, it's gaudy clickbait replete with thinly veiled digs at celebrity culture. Their subtle subliminal missives are communicated via piles of trashy magazine covers, Bruce Jenner trapped in a tube and graffiti that says stuff like "fame". Most media outlets took the card at face value and instinctively laughed heartily at it, before mocking the Kardashians and moving on, but others looked a bit deeper and started to see the HIDDEN ILLUMINATI MESSAGES.

Conspiracy theorist and shouty bloke du jour Alex Jones summed it up, calling the card "a rather grim and depressing summation of the entertainment world", which most people would happily agree with. But then he went on to add the whole thing was a homage to the "shadowy elite that is turning popular culture into a toxic wasteland". At that point most people switched off, but then even mainstream news sources started to ask; what is the secret Illuminati message? It's a question that has increasingly been asked of celebs linked to hip-hop over the last decade, with artists such as Jay-Z regularly having to bat away accusations that he's part of an occult conspiracy. And Hova is far from the only rapper accused of having Illuminati ties.

An internet search for Canadian cry-baby rap star Drake, for example, will throw up a treasure trove of Illuminati hip-hop conspiracy material. It ranges from Drake being in cahoots with crack-smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford, to the fact that his clothing line features an owl (which is a sure sign of Illuminatiness) and theories that his tracklists contain hidden messages about the end of the world. The rabbit hole goes even deeper with a whole host of theories about the death of Tupac, which mostly revolve around him being murdered by the Illuminati with Kanye West and Jay-Z (of course) masterminding the whole shady operation.

Rappers are just the latest fall guys and they've taken the place of rock stars, who were regularly accused of occult connections in the 70s. David Bowie's interest in the work of Aleister Crowley around the time of his Berlin triptych which manifested itself via lyrical hat tips, and the Beatles' decision to include Crowley on the cover of Sgt Pepper's was enough to have them accused of dark connections.

So are the Kardashians simply the latest celebrity Illuminati messengers? Probably not – it's more likely they are just the latest celebrities to understand the publicity-spinning potential of Easter egg-laden promo shots that can be interpreted as having a darker meaning. But then again I would say that, wouldn't I? I could be part of the shadowy media cover-up squad.

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