The subject of whether conspiracy theory avatar QAnon is actually a Trump administration insider, a naughty prankster, or something else has consumed the right wing infotainment sphere.
While liberals debate whether or not QAnon should be given oxygen (and I think we need to, if nothing else, to debunk it), conservative personalities are doing their best to simultaneously inflame and shoot down the whole thing.
On one side, you’ve got prominent conservative personalities who are absolutely sure Q is a live action roleplaying game that’s snared a massive amount of suckers. On the other side, you’ve got Q devotes who are utterly convinced that Q is real, and that the others are delusional.
They’re arguing a lot on Twitter and reddit, but it’s likely that where a conservative media personality falls regarding Q rests entirely on the makeup of their audience – more mainstream infotainters will be skeptical, while those on the fringes will shift their allegiance depending on what their followers want.
Many of these were the loudest voices pushing Pizzagate, Seth Rich conspiracy theories, and others – so they’ll go where the grift takes them.
As the far right digs into their respective trenches, a number of guesses have emerged as to who QAnon actually is.
I wrote about this phenomenon for the Daily Dot a few months back, looking at the various people put forth to be the mysterious poster – everyone from Donald Trump himself to an online puzzle group called Cicada 3301.
In the end, I didn’t find any of the guesses especially convincing, and pointed out that whoever it ends up being, it’s going to be a letdown to someone – and that true believers aren’t likely to believe it anyway.
But that doesn’t mean the media isn’t guessing away. Buzzfeed put forth the theory that Q is “extremely likely” to be a liberal prank inspired by an obscure Italian novel from the late 90’s – yet offered mostly conjecture and guesswork.
Meanwhile, a number of other people are guessing that Q is something more sinister – either a Russian active measure or some kind of deep cover psyop, designed to inflame online arguments and divide us, while propping up Trump’s sagging administration.
Of course, no conspiracy is needed to inflame online arguing, and it’s not at all clear why an intelligence operation would spend nearly a year posting garbage to irritate people when people already do that anyway.
Personally, I don’t think it matters who Q is. He’s definitely not a Trump insider (nothing he’s posted would require him to be), and beyond that, it’s just not that interesting to guess.
Sure, I’d like to find out, and I expect we eventually will.
But I always go back to the story I talked about in the Daily Dot piece, of the “time traveler” John Titor, who told Art Bell that he came from the future to get an old desktop computer. The Titor story generated a thousand guesses, but turned out to be a guy in Florida just having fun with gullible internet people.
And internet people are gullible, that’s for sure. Thousands – maybe more – have fallen for the QAnon story.
Yes, we can mock them for being crazy or delusional. Some are, without a doubt.
But most probably aren’t. They’re getting what they need from it – a story that puts them at the center of a titanic battle between good and evil, with their “research” talents put to good use fighting on the side of the white hats.
To Q followers, they’re doing nothing less than standing shoulder to shoulder with President Trump against the deep state cabal of pedophiles, saboteurs, and political wreckers.
Yes, it’s fiction. But it’s a powerful fiction, and it’s not hard to see why it’s caught on among tech-illiterate baby boomers who’ve spend decades watching their conservative values get shit on by liberals who tell them everything they think and do is wrong.
While reporters and infotainers argue about who Q is, Q followers are hard at work spinning ludicrous conspiracy theories about a botched assassination attempt against Trump by a woman named Kate, whether or not the fires in California were set by a deep state laser weapon, and some kind of mythical “unredacted FISA report” that will blow the lid off the cabal.
All of this is fake, but who cares?
Facts and logic don’t matter to true believers, nor does it matter to them if Q is real. If he is, then the deep state is about to be destroyed forever. If it’s not, then so what, because millions of people have been turned on to the corruption and filth of Democratic elites.
No matter who Q is, Trump wins. And when Trump wins, they win.
And with beliefs like that, Q’s identity doesn’t matter in the slightest.