Category Archives: Cultural observations
Until someone you love is sucked into it.
I never completely understood the rules or details of the game Dungeons & Dragons, as I was too distracted by my family and career to follow it much. But I appreciated the attraction it appeared to exert on avid players. Prior to one of the earliest interactive internet-based (but multimedia) virtual universes such as Dungeons & Dragons, there were text-based games like Zork and The Legend of Zelda. My son got into Zelda early on and coached me on it a bit. He obviously was fascinated by it, and used some of those early skills to go on to a successful career as a programmer and virtual-reality training developer with a military contractor.
But I fully appreciated complete immersion in a fictional universe, journeys I often joined in a time of hard-copy serial fiction, like the Dune trilogy and Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” books. Reading late into the night, after wrestling practice in high school, my imagination was fully involved in new languages, strange customs, incredible characters, and alternate worlds and civilizations throughout our galaxy and beyond. These had a common thread of challenging our moral perspectives, and in so doing for the most part, supporting them: courage was courage, right was right, wrong was wrong, moral decisions were tough, with many existing shades of grey depending on your cultural conditioning, no matter your planet or manufacturer of origin (read my short story, “The Hunter Gegenschein,” for an example, in my book, Fantasy Crow: A Collection of Curious Flights, which bleeds over [literally] into what might represent a successful application of transhumanistic artificial intelligence, the cyborg spacer Wally). In my opinion, these are the toughest and most important questions of a young, developing, human mind. And after reading the old-school hard-copy fiction, it took me days to shake off the feeling that I had in that universe—that I was there, in that universe, which seemed as real as my own—and it was a feeling that could last for days after reading the final page and laying the book back down on the bedstand. I loved that feeling.
The point is, a good fiction writer can create an entire universe, that can be as consistent or inconsistent as he or she wants it to be. If it’s good fiction, it takes you there. That’s the lesson that younger conspiracy theorists have forgotten: How real the fictional universes can be that are made of whole cloth in the fertile imaginations of the writers of fiction novels back in the day. Obviously, human authors still possess the ability to construct strange, self-contained universes. But I believe that fewer people are actually reading them, opting for the multicharacter, community-driven, immediately interactive features inherent in a fictional internet-based universe. They create, in fact, an incredible yet cohesive universe policed by peer pressure and a closely curated echo chamber.
The Qanon conspiracy
The recent Q conspiracy as fictional, multiuser, internet-based literature was taken up recently by Kevin D. Williamson in National Review, in his article “There Will Be No Civil War Today.” Jordan Sather—whose previous YouTube channel was wiped clean either by (1) YouTube’s artificial stupidity algorithm or (2) thousands of newly hired YouTube monitors drunk on power—came back with a new version of his channel, Destroying the Illusion 2.0, which recently ran a decent primer of the Q universe. A review of Sather’s post gives some context to Williamson’s hopeful discount of the Q phenomenon—a sort of brushing the fleck of fantasy off his shoulder as if it were that easy. Here’s an excerpt from Williamson’s article:
The conspiracy theory is immersive entertainment, like a role-playing game, and it functions as an audience-participant narrative game, like telling tall tales. As with the Dozens, the African-American insult game, it is not always entirely clear how seriously the participants are taking things. I haven’t heard of anybody canceling their brunch plans for this Sunday out of fear of civil unrest.
By “this Sunday,” Williamson refers to the date that Q said John Podesta would be arrested, March 11. Its is now March 12.
Jordan Sather, for his part, urged followers to avoid gathering information outside of the echo chamber. Everything outside of the echo chamber is suspect.
What Q depends on
The Q conspiracy grows from the following characteristics and beliefs to one extent or another:
- Nothing is a coincidence
- Everything is planned
- There are patterns among events that are not discussed in mainstream media (MSM)
- MSM (and everything else) is owned and controlled by oligarchs, who do the planning
- Everyone outside the Q community is lying; nothing can be believed, so believe no one and nothing
What Q believes
- Pizzagate is real
- False flags are real, and they’re everywhere—every train wreck, every mass shooting; Las Vegas and Sandy Hook were false flags
- Crisis actors are real
- A cabal and/or illuminati, including “bloodlines” and figures like Soros, the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers, the Vatican, Hillary Clinton, Katy Perry, and the Kardashians are involved in satanic cannibalistic pedophilic activities, and the list goes on: John McCain, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Madonna, etc., etc. These people run the world
- Angela Merkel is the daughter of Hitler (although Hitler died in 1945 and Merkel was born in 1954—if you believe the MSM) and other covert relationships exist at the pinnacles of power: for example, Mark Zuckerberg and Ed Snowden are cousins, Bill Clinton is a Rockefeller, Barrack Obama is a Kenyan and a Muslim after all
- Ed Snowden runs North Korea, which is a CIA state
- Trump plays 3D chess with the world, and might very well be Q himself
To understate the situation, not everyone buys the Q story, some claiming it’s a Russian campaign. An article by Paris Martineau in New York Magazine back in December 2017 provides some background on The Storm. She writes:
In this fantasy world, all of the far right’s wildest dreams come true: Q promises that Clinton, Obama, Podesta, Abedin, and even McCain are all either arrested and wearing secret police-issued ankle monitors, or just about to be indicted; that the Steele dossier is a total fabrication personally paid for by Clinton and Obama; and that the Las Vegas massacre was most definitely an inside job connected to the Saudi-Clinton cabal.
They believe all of this will be coming to a head any day now. That “The Storm” — of arrests, political turmoil, and Republican vindication — is coming. Though there have been some, uh, miscalculations as for exactly when.
Those in the Q community, like Jordan Sather, urge you to do your own research; only in that way can you find the truth. I believe I represent the fallacy in that suggestion: my research has done little to convince me of their claims and positions.
Someone you love buys into it
Yes, I’m skeptical of MSM reporting. I watch and read leftist stuff and rightist stuff to try to balance my intake. I’ve come truly to respect some independent journalists. A friend of mine, though, buys the Q story and follows avidly. Maybe if John Podesta is arrested in the next few days, I’ll reconsider my position. But right now, I just worry about her. Some of the Q community’s stories are horrid, and many have tied them into a spiritual story about the ascension of humankind—and that Trump plays a role in that story.
But that’s a subject for another time. Right now, I worry for her mental health, and that of others caught up in this Q worldview. I’m hoping that, for most of them, it’s a joke. I’d like them to know that not everyone recognizes it for the joke it is. And if you don’t mean to expose it as a joke, then it’s a sick joke indeed.