Earlier this week, I tweeted a few screen caps of #QAnon believers announcing that they had foregone sleep, housework, and family responsibilities in order to research the fusillade of “breadcrumbs” that Q had left in the past few days.
I added a sarcastic comment that the movement isn’t a cult – because not feeding yourself or sleeping in order to read internet posts seems pretty culty to me.
With all the new #QAnon drops, believers are neglecting sleep and basic family responsibilities to "research" more.
I was deluged with responses by Q believers mocking me for calling it a cult, when Q apparently encourages members to think for themselves, asks for no money or adulation, and has no coercive mechanism by which to make members stay.
The news of August 24th that Senator John McCain would be ceasing his treatment for brain cancer has brought a slew of tributes to the long-serving Arizona politician, presidential candidate, and naval aviator.
But in the conspiracy theory world, it’s brought an outpouring of what could only be described as joy at the imminent death of the Senator who QAnon has described as “we don’t say his name.”
The far right’s beef with McCain is complicated, and based on a mix of fraudulent news stories, personal animosity, conspiracy theories, and misplaced patriotism.
It seems like a waste of time to debunk a dumb meme, but it’s the hottest post on r/greatawakening right now, and likely will get more traction in the QAnon movement.
It’s also a good example of how to manipulate words and numbers to make them tell whatever story you need them to tell, as well as of the logical fallacy known as “proof by verbosity” – hoping that dozens or hundreds of dubious examples will outweigh their individual dubiousness.
The CIA has been the subject of innumerable speculated conspiracies since its founding in 1947.
Some, such as covert shenanigans in Iran, Guatemala, Syria, Indonesia, and Cuba; are absolutely real. Others, such as their purported involvement in assassinating President Kennedy, or shooting a missile at Air Force One from a stolen submarine in Puget Sound; are not.
But did you know that the very term “conspiracy theory” was invented by the CIA, in the late 1960’s.
On April 9th, 1988, a lieutenant in the US Navy was off his naval base for furlough, stopped at the Lil’ Pengiun sandwich shop and ordered a turkey sub with cole slaw and Russian dressing. He finished it quickly, and returned to base.
Exactly 30 years later, a photograph uploaded to image board 4chan showed what many internet researchers believe was a US Navy sub that had run aground on the Sandwich Islands. That sub was speculated to be carrying Nazi gold to a secret base in Antarctica – where the government was preparing to ride out supposed nuclear strike from Russia.
The captain of the submarine? S. Cole.
And the young lieutenant who ordered that sub sandwich? Nathan Gold.
N. Gold = Nazi gold. Submarine. Sandwich. Cole. Russia. Antarctica = penguins.
Obviously, I made that up, and no such person or submarine or sandwich exists.
But it’s a decent example of one of the logical fallacies that powers the conspiracy theory movement in general, and QAnon in particular – the mistaken belief that nothing happens by coincidence or accident, that everything is planned, everything is connected, everything has meaning, and being able to game out what the connections mean is the difference between those who are awake and those who are asleep.