Thursday, August 02, 2018

Who is Q? Or The Latest Right-Wing Fringe Conspiracy Revisited.

Remember Pizzagate?  That was just a prelude in the genre of truly nutty right-wing conspiracy theories.  Now meet the Storm*, the perfect storm, the conspiracy theory to rule over all right-wing conspiracy theories!

It explains the whole world!  The Las Vegas massacre was an inside job.  The Mueller investigation is just a cover for an actual investigation of Hillary Clinton and other similar vampire bitches and godless commies, and will end with most of the liberal-left in American politics in prisons.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy is alive, leading the conspiracy (and probably cohabiting with Elvis), and any day now Trump will institute a coup which ends the power of the deep state in American politics.  He is protected by the military, because the FBI and the CIA are part of the deep state, and it's the military which will launch the coup on his behalf and on the behalf of all those who believe in the Storm.

MS-13 murdered Seth Rich.  The people ruling the world through deep state in the US  might be the Rothschilds or the Illuminati, depending on the specific nuttiness and bigotry among the hoax creators.  And don't worry, pedophilia, as speculated in the Pizzagate is still part of this vast intertwined explanation and it is still run by the political left and the Hollywood left.

We hear about this wonderfully inane conspiracy theory now, because several people in the audiences of Trump's election campaign rallies (they never end as his need for adulation is a bottomless well) wore t-shirts with a large Q in the front or held up signs saying "We Are Q."

To understand both the roots of this conspiracy theory and to see why it's rubbish, to begin with, we need to understand what Q is And for that we need to go back to last October:

As most terrible things do, this story begins with a post on /pol/, a sub-board of the more-or-less-anonymous, anything-goes website 4chan. Over the last few years, /pol/ — which technically stands for “politically incorrect” — has slowly but surely become a top contender for the ever-coveted title of the most upsetting community online. It’s the sort of place where neo-Nazis and people who believe women shouldn’t have basic human rights used to meet before we started verifying them on Twitter and electing them to public office. And as of late, it’s expanded its ranks to include fringe members of all shapes and sizes.

On October 28, someone calling themselves Q began posting a series of cryptic messages in a /pol/ thread titled “Calm Before the Storm” (assumedly in reference to that creepy Trump quote from early October). Q claimed to be a high-level government insider with Q clearance (hence the name) tasked with posting intel drops — which he, for some reason, called “crumbs” — straight to 4chan in order to covertly inform the public about POTUS’s master plan to stage a countercoup against members of the deep state.

This, my friends, is the beginning of the whole conspiracy.  Someone called Q, supposedly a very high level government employee with a very high security clearance, chose the nuttiest site on the whole wide Internet to inform the populace about what Trump is really planning!

That, alone, should ring warning bells in the brains of those reading Q's ramblings, and it should strongly suggest that the messages are just from yet another sadistic troll who likes to cause chaos and tweak people's noses.

And tweak them Q did.  After the first long message, the person posted all sorts of short cryptic messages which the new acolytes then interpreted as important clues to Trump's future behavior.  An example:

Q once posted in entirety:
Nonsense? Probably, but later that same afternoon in November, Trump tweeted, “Happy #SmallBusinessSaturday” Small and small. To devotees, it’s proof that Trump really is working with Q.

If you have read Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, you already know the sort of "evidence" these conspiracy theories are based on.

But, in fact, the real clues about Q were embedded in the first long comment(s) he (or perhaps she) posted.  The one from November 1, 2017 begins like this:

My fellow Americans, over the course of the next several days you will undoubtedly realize that we are taking back our great country (the land of the free) from the evil tyrants that wish to do us harm and destroy the last remaining refuge of shining light. On POTUS’ order, we have initiated certain fail-safes that shall safeguard the public from the primary fallout which is slated to occur 11.3 upon the arrest announcement of Mr. Podesta (actionable 11.4). Confirmation (to the public) of what is occurring will then be revealed and will not be openly accepted. Public riots are being organized in serious numbers in an effort to prevent the arrest and capture of more senior public officials. On POTUS’ order, a state of temporary military control will be actioned and special ops carried out. False leaks have been made to retain several within the confines of the United States to prevent extradition and special operator necessity. Rest assured, the safety and well-being of every man, woman, and child of this country is being exhausted in full.

This is written by someone who has trouble with the use and meaning of long words and is not accustomed to the kind of writing the post attempts.  Note, in particular, the nutty last sentence in my quote:

Rest assured, the safety and well-being of every man, woman, and child of this country is being exhausted in full. 
High-level government operatives with high-level clearance simply do not write like that**.  Or, rather, if they do, well, then something pretty bad has happened to their minds.  In either case, we should not place much reliance on such messages.

My point in elaborating on the weakness of  Q as a source is that the whole giant edifice is based on something which cannot be viewed as reliable by any reasonable person.  And if Q falls of the pedestal, then the whole conspiracy theory collapses.

But for the true believers, Q cannot fall off the pedestal!  Even the fact that the coup mentioned in the above quote did not happen at the predicted date has not shaken their faith.  And anyone criticizing the conspiracy theory is going to be viewed as part of the deep state or as its supporter or possibly part of a pedophile ring or something else quite monstrous.  The conspiracy theory circles are impenetrable by logic, because they are not based on it in the first place.


My reaction to all this is mixed. One part of me gets a kick out of the weirdness of the connections the conspiracy theorists have developed***, another part of me is angry at those who are manufacturing all this just for lols, but most of me is worried about the stench of potential violence in such beliefs, especially given how the Pizzagate ended, with an armed man entering a pizzeria in Washington, D.C., to look for pedophiles.

And already there's the chance that this "perfect Storm" will leak into reality, with possibly dire consequences:

The Newport Beach Police Department said recently it was looking into the presence of a man outside Michael Avenatti’s law office after a link to the lawyer’s website and images of his office building appeared in QAnon threads. This spring, armed members of Veterans on Patrol stumbled on a homeless camp and demanded that authorities investigate it as a site of child sex-trafficking, NBC reported. They later thanked QAnon followers for taking up their cause.
That conservative pundits like Sean Hannity have given the QAnon (those who believe in Q) movement a signal boost is also of great concern.  He provides the lies with some legitimacy, and the viral nature of the Internet does the rest.

*  When I checked my archives I found an earlier post which is shorter and clearer than this one.  Duh.

Not sure if forgetting my own writings means that I have exhausted my well of creativity.

** And no, it's not a wonderfully deep plot of someone trying to write less well than that person's usual style, because I can spot those attempts, too.  The quoted piece is not that different from the writing style in various phishing attempts I have seen:  An attempt at official text (or here a political speech) by someone who has not had practice in that kind of writing.

*** Only because of the wonderful creativity some of the unlikeliest cause-and-effect chains demonstrate.  But it's probably true that many who create the bits in the conspiracy theories or who disseminate them also don't believe in the theories at all, and a few might enjoy the nuttiness of it all.  Others want to use all weapons in the war for Trump.

Still, it's all exploiting the gullible.  That people like Sean Hannity and Alex Jones do this is truly despicable.