I’m often introduced to new topics in the fringe world by ways that people find my writing. So I was especially interested when a spike in searches for the name “Somerset Belenoff” brought increased traffic to my piece on the “Rothschild human hunting lodge” hoax. The name wasn’t familiar to me, so the search traffic couldn’t have been because of the content of the piece. Was it embedded in a tweet? A comment?
And most importantly, who is Somerset Belenoff, and why are people searching for him/her?
Well, the answer to the first question is easy. The search traffic comes from a comment on the piece, by “2CrayCray” that goes [sic] “Conspiracy is Truth: And how do we know you arent a plant or paid informant working for somerset belenoff or her stooges the Rothchilds? How will you expose this eveil i ask you? Of course you wont because you are working with THEM. you are probly also a reptellion lizard and a cannable.”
One of the great contradictions of the QAnon conspiracy theory is that they crave the attention of a mainstream media that they simultaneously believe is the enemy of free people everywhere. QAnon gurus and followers constantly complain about the “hit pieces” run by the “Mockingbird media” that point out the failings and violent ideation of the conspiracy, and at the same time, complain that the media writes them off as a LARP.
The most frequent way that this complaining manifest itself is in QAnon followers whining that the media will not “ask the question” of Donald Trump – ie, getting the president on the record having to confirm or deny whether QAnon exists.
This isn’t new, of course. The Q poster themselves started the whining drumbeat in June 2018 with a drop calling it “the ultimate question.”
One of the reasons belief in QAnon has persisted is that constantly renews itself. The conspiracy theory that President Trump and a small military intelligence cadre are on the verge of purging the deep state has a built-in ability to pull items out of the chaos of the daily news, and suck them into its mythology, and spit them back out as “research.”
This is how you keep a conspiracy theory going when the guru behind it has been silenced, as Q has been with the collapse of 8chan. And given that much of the daily news is terrible for Trump, it’s vital that Q followers reinterpret what’s happening not as a cornered presidency careening toward collapse, but as the final stage-setting before the glorious mass arrest and destruction of the deep state. Remember, Q holds Trump up as a God-given savior of America and freedom. Such a person can never look bad, in any capacity.
Conspiracy theories are like Pringles. They’re delicious to consume, full of short-term hits to the pleasure centers of the brain, and you can’t eat just one of them.
We know that people who believe one conspiracy theory usually believe more than one. So if you believe that the Mafia and CIA worked together to assassinate JFK, you probably also believe that the Twin Towers were stuffed full of explosives that triggered after a terror attack the US allowed to happen. And on and on.
In fact, if you believe these conspiracy theories, there’s no reason to disbelieve any others. Why would you? Sure, some are more outlandish than others, but all are outlandish, depend on unseen evidence, dissolve under scrutiny, and fall into the realm of wishful thinking.
QAnon, the mysterious avatar claiming to be a small team of military intelligence officers and Trump officials using 8chan to leak information on an upcoming purge of the deep state, hasn’t posted since August 1st. With 8chan down, and Q’s own posts instructing followers that there are “no outside comms,” no new posts seem to be forthcoming, either.
What’s more, Google searches for QAnon have crashed, hitting their low over the last year. A movement with no new material to research, no communications from its leader, and slackening interest among newcomers would seem to be a movement that has little left in the tank, and is near death. Right?