Wither Q?

 

Q is a cult, and its prophet and instrument of salvation is Donald Trump. As of last Sunday the faithful were still insisting that the Plan would be fulfilled. What’s the Plan? Why, it’s a brilliant, complex, breathtaking long-game effort to take down the hydra-headed pedophiliac crime syndicate that controlled The Swamp. While things may have seemed dark on Sunday, the faithful were assured that everything was still working. The president was not in Washington, but in Texas; the White House videos had been filmed in front of a green screen to distract the enemies. Trump was actually directing the military from a secret base. 

Later in the afternoon, some people on Twitter started a story about DC’s air traffic shut down completely, with massive numbers of troop-carrying planes on the runway. Debunkers posted shots of air traffic from flight-tracker apps; people whose accounts had lots of numbers in there names and eagles in their bios noted that jets had flown over their house very low and loud, so yes, it’s happening. 

Except it didn’t, and it won’t. Donald Trump will leave office without making the Q prophecies come true. You have to wonder what that means for the cult. There’s a precedent, after all. Some recalculate the date of the Rapture; some turn on the person who was supposed to lead them to heaven; some fall away, disheartened, and pull a caul over the episode in their life and move on, abashed. 

In a way, it already happened. After the election, Q had to revise its predictions to accommodate events, and for some the Stolen Election was proof of the existence of powerful contrary forces. But moving on past the inauguration means losing faith in Trump as the powerful force that will sweep away iniquity. Obviously, he wasn’t, and didn’t. The Deep State wasn’t supposed to win. Pelosi was supposed to be in Gitmo wearing Clockwork-Orange eyelid-spreaders watching film of all the things her minions did to children in the catacombs under a pizzeria.

The left is not burdened with Q-type nonsense. The Putin-Puppet stuff came close. Fitzmas was another. But compared to Q, those are garden-variety political-scandal narratives with an institutional conclusion. I wonder if the left can move past these things easier because they have deeper narratives that offer solace. They can always fall back on the comforting certainties of American sinfulness, the knowledge they are virtuously embroiled in a long twilight struggle against the idea of American exceptionalism. The country is fatally corrupted by racism, sexism, and capitalism, with slavery the Original Sin that taints every atom of ink in its founding documents – but that somehow this uniquely immoral construct can be redeemed by a devotion to a slow-grinding, never-ending rearrangement of its fundamentals,  punctuated by violence to encourage the stragglers.

Marxism is Q without the “best by” date printed on the label.

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  1. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    This is one that always perplexes me. Somehow, though I read quite a bit and try to stay informed, I have managed never to read anything purported to be by this Q, I’m blissfully ignorant of it, and I’m barely aware that it exists. Perhaps it’s that I eschew YouTube videos other than for entertainment. Anyway, I wonder how many normal people actually have a clue what this thing is or give it the least credence. Are we talking chemtrails levels of buy-in here? Or 9/11 Truther? Or is it more like the Catastrophic Climate Change level of broad commitment?

    Whatever. That InfoWars guy has been around a long time and I’ve never read his stuff either. I probably need to get out more.

    • #1
  2. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Anyway, I wonder how many normal people actually have a clue what this thing is or give it the least credence. Are we talking chemtrails levels of buy-in here? Or 9/11 Truther? Or is it more like the Catastrophic Climate Change level of broad commitment?

    All of the above. Plus Satanic ritualistic child abuse from the day-care panic in the 80s. 

    • #2
  3. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Thank you. That’s the closest to a reasonable explanation of the whole Q thing I have come across. The Left writes of them as if they were SMERSH and I see nothing about them on the Right. The lurid Left has convinced me more than once that QAnon is their own false front disinformation thingy.

    • #3
  4. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    This is one that always perplexes me. Somehow, though I read quite a bit and try to stay informed, I have managed never to read anything purported to be by this Q, I’m blissfully ignorant of it, and I’m barely aware that it exists. Perhaps it’s that I eschew YouTube videos other than for entertainment. Anyway, I wonder how many normal people actually have a clue what this thing is or give it the least credence. Are we talking chemtrails levels of buy-in here? Or 9/11 Truther? Or is it more like the Catastrophic Climate Change level of broad commitment?

    Whatever. That InfoWars guy has been around a long time and I’ve never read his stuff either. I probably need to get out more.

    I’m not so sure about you getting out more.  I could’ve written your first paragraph; they have absolutely no meaning in my life.  My guess is, to the extent that they are significant at all, it’s mostly because the left focuses on them in an effort to discredit the right.  I’m aware that a woman associated with them was elected to Congress but I simply don’t trust the reporting  enough to know if she’s a real wacko or just well on the right.  I really do think we need to look at whether a group such as this has any real influence, which I doubt.

    • #4
  5. Joseph Eagar Member
    Joseph Eagar
    @JosephEagar

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    This is one that always perplexes me. Somehow, though I read quite a bit and try to stay informed, I have managed never to read anything purported to be by this Q, I’m blissfully ignorant of it, and I’m barely aware that it exists. Perhaps it’s that I eschew YouTube videos other than for entertainment. Anyway, I wonder how many normal people actually have a clue what this thing is or give it the least credence. Are we talking chemtrails levels of buy-in here? Or 9/11 Truther? Or is it more like the Catastrophic Climate Change level of broad commitment?

    Whatever. That InfoWars guy has been around a long time and I’ve never read his stuff either. I probably need to get out more.

    I was just thinking the same thing.  How widespread was Q really?  I never read any of Q’s stuff either.  I don’t even know if Q is supposed to be one person or a group.

    • #5
  6. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Q is a big fat no big deal. People hoping that someone, anyone, knew what the hell was going on. 

    Not worthy of a post, actually. But as I’ve said before – who needs the left. Republicans are worse than Catholics when it comes to self flagellation.  

    I have a great idea. Let’s spend the next couple of years exposing all the whacka doodles on our side, while the people on the other side consolidate power! You first!

    #winning!

    • #6
  7. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Q craziness may be deeper than leftist craziness, but leftist craziness is much broader.

    • #7
  8. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Let’s do this. Let’s list every whacka doodle thought, and save the left the trouble.

    I think it’s high time we discussed “the meadows” 

    • #8
  9. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Of course social media is blamed.

    • #9
  10. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    I have to laugh when our brothers and sisters of the Right say that Q isn’t real, Q doesn’t exist…but Pizzagate, you know, wasn’t crazy, because, uh…Podesta and…Hollywood and…Jeffrey Epstein! Where do they think this slime is coming from? 

    Face it, gang, we’ve got kooks, just like they’ve got kooks. 

    • #10
  11. I. M. Fine Coolidge
    I. M. Fine
    @IMFine

    Joseph Eagar (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    This is one that always perplexes me. Somehow, though I read quite a bit and try to stay informed, I have managed never to read anything purported to be by this Q, I’m blissfully ignorant of it, and I’m barely aware that it exists. Perhaps it’s that I eschew YouTube videos other than for entertainment. Anyway, I wonder how many normal people actually have a clue what this thing is or give it the least credence. Are we talking chemtrails levels of buy-in here? Or 9/11 Truther? Or is it more like the Catastrophic Climate Change level of broad commitment?

    Whatever. That InfoWars guy has been around a long time and I’ve never read his stuff either. I probably need to get out more.

    I was just thinking the same thing. How widespread was Q really? I never read any of Q’s stuff either. I don’t even know if Q is supposed to be one person or a group.

    I think QAnon is more widespread — and more potent — than many of us realize. Its adherents are zealous and passionately committed. The OP is correct; their “plan” has not been realized and their apocalyptic clock is ticking. Some may indeed move on, but others may elect to take the long-anticipated “storm” into their own hands. Their presence in Washington on the 6th was extensive.

    Here are some reliable numbers reported in a recent issue of Forbes. 

    According to NBC News, a recent internal investigation by Facebook determined that QAnon had millions of members and followers on the social platform, and the Wall Street Journal reported that membership in ten large Facebook groups devoted to QAnon had grown by more than 600% since the start of Covid-related lockdowns. In late August, Facebook announced it removed over 790 groups, 100 pages and 1,500 ads connected to QAnon, while also restricting over 10,000 accounts on Instagram.

    • #11
  12. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    I. M. Fine (View Comment):

    Joseph Eagar (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    This is one that always perplexes me. Somehow, though I read quite a bit and try to stay informed, I have managed never to read anything purported to be by this Q, I’m blissfully ignorant of it, and I’m barely aware that it exists. Perhaps it’s that I eschew YouTube videos other than for entertainment. Anyway, I wonder how many normal people actually have a clue what this thing is or give it the least credence. Are we talking chemtrails levels of buy-in here? Or 9/11 Truther? Or is it more like the Catastrophic Climate Change level of broad commitment?

    Whatever. That InfoWars guy has been around a long time and I’ve never read his stuff either. I probably need to get out more.

    I was just thinking the same thing. How widespread was Q really? I never read any of Q’s stuff either. I don’t even know if Q is supposed to be one person or a group.

    I think QAnon is more widespread — and more potent — than many of us realize. Its adherents are zealous and passionately committed. The OP is correct; their “plan” has not been realized and their apocryphal clock is ticking. Some may indeed move on, but others may elect to take the long-anticipated “storm” into their own hands. Their presence in Washington on the 6th was prominent.

    Here are some reliable recent numbers reported in a recent issue of Forbes:

    According to NBC News, a recent internal investigation by Facebook determined that QAnon had millions of members and followers on the social platform, and the Wall Street Journal reported that membership in ten large Facebook groups devoted to QAnon had grown by more than 600% since the start of Covid-related lockdowns. In late August, Facebook announced it removed over 790 groups, 100 pages and 1,500 ads connected to QAnon, while also restricting over 10,000 accounts on Instagram.

     

    Compared to what? People that believe the Russia collusion hoax was real? 

    Spare me. 

    • #12
  13. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    I have to laugh when our brothers and sisters of the Right say that Q isn’t real, Q doesn’t exist…but Pizzagate, you know, wasn’t crazy, because, uh…Podesta and…Hollywood and…Jeffrey Epstein! Where do they think this slime is coming from?

    Face it, gang, we’ve got kooks, just like they’ve got kooks.

    Who is denying that ? Bueller?

    edited to add: I call straw man

    • #13
  14. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    The Q types are the ones who, during the 2008 and 2012 Republican presidential cycles, would jam up the votes in every post-debate online poll to claim Ron Paul won, mainly because he was the primary candidate they favored not because they were all into libertarian positions and monetary policy, but because he was the candidate most likely to stir shirt up. And that’s also why they quickly glommed onto Donald Trump in the 2015-16 election cycle, with the difference there being Trump gained support outside of that group from people attracted to him both because of his 35-plus year celebrity position in the public spotlight, and the fact they also wanted things to be shaken up after eight years of Barack Obama, and felt more comfortable doing it with someone they felt they knew a little bit, because of his 35-plus years in the public spotlight.

    Supporting the guy who best expresses anger at the system was what gave Trump his base of 25-30 percent support during the primaries to win the nomination. But if you come to the candidate primarily for the anger he expresses, you can get so wrapped up in that anger that when things don’t go your way you lash out with your own anger and are willing to accept a lot of crazy explanations to justify that anger.

    That explanation works just as well, or even better, for the angry Antifa and other radicals on the left as it does for the angriest of the people in Washington last week. But we all know the difference, which is violent expression on the right is framed by the media as the dark night of fascism descending on America, while violent expression on the left is framed by the same people as justifiable anger at an unjust system, where any and all violence has to be looked at through ‘root causes’ (something that the media of 50 years ago also was doing). It’s a double-standard, but one the Q types exacerbate with their actions.

    • #14
  15. ape2ag Member
    ape2ag
    @ape2ag

    The black conspiracy subculture is probably the left equivalent of Q.  It can’t be discussed though because reasons.

    • #15
  16. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    The fringes are more well known now, simply because of social media.  It’s not a surprise that their presence would grow on a facebook, or during COVID, which is simply conspiracy bait for wing nuts.

    The left did a pretty good job on stomping down on a large bloc of “extremes”, in one sense, with Bernie being introduced to the party meat grinder.  But AOC and her team of fellow chowderheads are still doing a decent job of extolling the magical benefits of socialism/communism, and most of that crew was in support of the anarchy of BLM and Antifa at various times.

    It’s not a shock that 5-10% of the population might be off their beams a bit, and latch onto these things, in varying degrees.  That someone would actually travel to DC during a vote and plan to break into the Capitol and smash things tells you all you need to know.  No rational adult throws their life away on something with no upside.  A picture of me pooping on Pelosi’s desk only goes so far, and is hard to collateralize for a mortgage.

     

    • #16
  17. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    I think Russia-Gate was Q level, it was just Q normalized.

    • #17
  18. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    I think Russia-Gate was Q level, it was just Q normalized.

    As are a few other wacko ideas from the left that are popularized by the uncritical.  Crazy ideas become popular so they don’t seems so crazy or threatening? Weird.

    Oh, and I think that point is also being made by the O/P.

    • #18
  19. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    I have been pondering why this feels different.

    So a family has 2 sons.  The first son gets good grades, reads a lot, has a pretty and smart girlfriend, his boss at his part time job at the library is very happy with him, and is crushing it on his SAT prep.  The other son, well he’s a good boy underneath it all.  Sure he has a drug problem, and doesn’t quite fail, he has a lot of girlfriends but none of them really stick around, and his work habits are sketchy.  So, one day while bailing the other son out of jail for a scuffle that wasn’t his fault really, you come home to find your house on fire and the first son ODed on sleeping pills.

    I mean there were warning signs, its just that he always had his stuff together so there wasn’t ever a reason to worry.

    • #19
  20. ape2ag Member
    ape2ag
    @ape2ag

    I think about conspiracy theories like fairy tales.  Someone told a story to a bunch of people, and those people would tell that story again, perhaps changing or embellishing it just a bit.  The most interesting changes are propagated and further changed so that the story evolves over generations.  Fairy tales ultimately provide genuine insight into the human condition without being true in any real sense. 

    Conspiracy theories evolve the same way, and become simpler and more psychologically satisfying than the messy and mundane reality.  As media has progressed technologically, the cycle has accelerated.  Now with the internet and social media, conspiracy theories develop  with warp speed.

    The first I heard of QAnon was when it popped up as a target of the lefty media.   It seems to fill a void left open by our corrupted sense-making institutions.  People can’t really understand what is going on, but they have learned that the narrative imposed by openly hostile elites is wrong.  I spend enough time around elite type people and within elite institutions that I have some understanding of how they work.  Many people without that sort of exposure can’t understand how the depravity manifests itself.  There must be demons.

    Election fraud is broadly perpetrated by low level hacks incentivized by leaders with plausible deniability.  They’ve been doing this for years so the game plans are well practiced and not very sophisticated.  It’s difficult for people to understand how this works.  Most people don’t understand how political machines operate or what lefty non-profits actually do.  And no one is telling them.  So we end up with wild theories about servers in Germany. 

    • #20
  21. Weeping Member
    Weeping
    @Weeping

    I. M. Fine (View Comment):

    Here are some reliable numbers reported in a recent issue of Forbes. 

    According to NBC News, a recent internal investigation by Facebook determined that QAnon had millions of members and followers on the social platform, and the Wall Street Journal reported that membership in ten large Facebook groups devoted to QAnon had grown by more than 600% since the start of Covid-related lockdowns. In late August, Facebook announced it removed over 790 groups, 100 pages and 1,500 ads connected to QAnon, while also restricting over 10,000 accounts on Instagram.

    I’d be interested in knowing what number they started with? A 600% increase starting with a million is quite different from a 600% increase starting with ten.

    • #21
  22. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The Communist Manifesto was clearly marked ‘not to be sold after Feb. 1849.’

    • #22
  23. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Weeping (View Comment):

    I. M. Fine (View Comment):

    Here are some reliable numbers reported in a recent issue of Forbes.

    According to NBC News, a recent internal investigation by Facebook determined that QAnon had millions of members and followers on the social platform, and the Wall Street Journal reported that membership in ten large Facebook groups devoted to QAnon had grown by more than 600% since the start of Covid-related lockdowns. In late August, Facebook announced it removed over 790 groups, 100 pages and 1,500 ads connected to QAnon, while also restricting over 10,000 accounts on Instagram.

    I’d be interested in knowing what number they started with? A 600% increase starting with a million is quite different from a 600% increase starting with ten.

    Yes, and the Covid lockdown aspect should not be overlooked either.  It’s an abnormal point in time to use as a baseline–aggravated people who can’t do a lot else but roam around Facebook.

    • #23
  24. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    ape2ag (View Comment):

    The black conspiracy subculture is probably the left equivalent of Q. It can’t be discussed though because reasons.

    Bing! When Q-Anon aren’t breaking up child trafficking rings, they’re blowing up levies and spreading drugs in black neighborhoods.

    • #24
  25. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Girls will be boys and boys will be girls

    It’s a mixed up, muddled up, nonQ world.

    • #25
  26. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    I. M. Fine (View Comment):
    the Wall Street Journal reported that membership in ten large Facebook groups devoted to QAnon had grown by more than 600% since the start of Covid-related lockdowns.

    Whenever reporting includes just the ‘shock’ percentage change and not the raw numbers I get curious.   “grown by more than 600%”.    And the sentence before that mentioned “millions”.    So just how many people are we talking about?    Not very many it turns out…

    “ Membership in the 10 largest QAnon Facebook groups swelled by nearly 600% from March through July, to about 40,000 from about 6,000.”     

    There were, for instance, 60 million Trump followers on Twitter.   75 million Trump voters. So even if those 40,000 are real, individual, hard core Q’ers…40,000 isn’t very many.    And, in reality, most of those are likely people who are casual observers (for the comic value or Lefties monitoring ‘the enemy’) not adherents. And that’s not making any allowance for double counting people who are members in multiple groups.  
    Yeah, we have kooks.   Every large group does.   The Left hasFarrakhan, Sovereign Citizens, Earth Firsters etc.   So what?    Are the kooks driving policy?    That’s the question.    

    • #26
  27. Eridemus Coolidge
    Eridemus
    @Eridemus

    Now the BBC is reporting that there is a media crackdown on ”Trumpism” as if all Trump supporters are the same as the fringe group Q-Anon. I guess that is what Europeans will think, to hellp dull the deeper issue of loss of freedom of speech.

    • #27
  28. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Face it, gang, we’ve got kooks, just like they’ve got kooks. 

    They have party leaders and media figures calling for lawless vengeance and destruction of rightwing figures every week. It’s a world of difference.

    • #28
  29. Ed G. Member
    Ed G.
    @EdG

    James Lileks: The left is not burdened with Q-type nonsense. The Putin-Puppet stuff came close. Fitzmas was another. But compared to Q, those are garden-variety political-scandal narratives with an institutional conclusion.

    If only we had institutional conclusion on the Russia Collusion Hoax! “No collusion” isn’t good enough. Exposing the depth of the weaponization would be conclusion. That no one seems to care about it is a huge deal, to me.

    By the way, CNN, MSNBC, and the rest of the MSM are absolutely purveyors of fakery and conspiracy. Who needs some obscure organization that no one ever heard of and no one actually knows any members of when you have most of the cable news, big tech, and the newspapers?

    • #29
  30. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Eridemus (View Comment):

    Now the BBC is reporting that there is a media crackdown on ”Trumpism” as if all Trump supporters are the same as the fringe group Q-Anon. I guess that is what Europeans will think, to hellp dull the deeper issue of loss of freedom of speech.

    The nice thing about a word like “Trumpism” is that it’s so ill-defined you can expand its coverage at-will.  I don’t think he should be impeached, ergo I’m probably a Trumpist.

    • #30