QAnon may be posting with the frequency of Halley’s Comet (not at all, then a bunch, then not at all), but the industry of merchandise makers, book writers, swag producers, and shirt printers is alive and well. The wagon train of Q-branded merch goes on even as the movement splinters – seemingly finding new ways to slap a flaming Q or a Matrix-font WWG1WGA on just about anything.
A search on Amazon for QAnon brings up over 1,000 items; while a search for WWG1WGA brings up over 500. Most are simple t-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, or an avalanche of self-published and anonymous books. But a few are so weird, so useless, so obnoxious, and/or so expensive that they deserve further scrutiny.
All of these are publicly available, and just waiting for YOU to hit “buy” on:
While not all Trump supporters are QAnon believers, virtually all QAnon believers are Trump supporters. How could one subscribe to a prophecy cult that puts Donald Trump at the center of a massive effort to destroy the Democratic Party if you didn’t believe Trump was smart enough to pull it off?
Since the far left and far right have far more in common than they’d like to believe (distrust of mainstream media communicators, ideological puritanism, reliance on dubious sources and wishful thinking, etc), it’s worth looking at whether or not there’s a far left version of QAnon – and what it has in common with the actual QAnon.
One day Chris is going to accidentally slip into extremely online speak on air for 20 minutes and it's gonna spur MSNBC viewers to start liberal qanon and I truly cannot wait https://t.co/WDiSuHoNAk
As it turns out, there’s nothing that’s an exact match, not the least of which is because QAnon is full of lurid details like baby-eating and ritual sacrifice, stuff that gets pushed hard in conservative circles. Beyond that, the Trump years have imbued liberalism with a sudden distrust of government in general and police in particular, a role that had previously been filled by right wingers gathering guns and ammo for the inevitable great government gun confiscation that was just around the corner.
But there are definite similarities between QAnon and several of the biggest pet conspiracy theories held near and dear by liberals. And it’s useful to examine them, and see why outlandish conspiracies have taken such a firm hold of our politics. Because they totally have.
Some conspiracy theory claims are so ubiquitous and baked into fringe culture that you might assume they’ve been around for decades, or even centuries. This goes particularly for the Rothschild banking family (to whom I am not related!), which has been at the center of anti-Semitic rhetoric since the late 1700’s.
So after the umpteenth occurrence of some conspiracy believer bringing up the Rothschilds “hunting humans” on their vast estate in Austria, I decided to go searching for the source. Not because I feel compelled to defend a wealthy family to whom I’m not related. But because I like tracking things down to their source, where it’s a nutso blog post or a self-published book or just thin air.
The QAnon community is very upset because they believe the Rothschild family literally hunted children on an Austrian estate.
So where did the rumor that the Rothschilds hold great hunting parties where they track down and slaughter children for sport start? Was it some Nazi-era bit of propaganda? An old Napoleonic canard? Something more recent from the poison pen of David Icke or Alex Jones?
Earlier this week, former Arkansas state senator Linda Collins-Smith, 57, was found dead of a gunshot wound in her home. As with most incidents like this, local news was the first to break the story, with conflicting reports about when Collins-Smith was found, the state of her body, and whether she was found wrapped in a blanket or not. Local police have said little, merely that they’re investigating it as a homicide, and a judge issued a gag order preventing the release of medical or legal documents related to the death.
While Collins-Smith’s death is obviously a tragedy for her family and friends, it’s also not the kind of story that would have any real impact on today’s frenetic news cycle. She had a fairly short political career, and her biggest claim to fame as an elected official was authoring a failed anti-trans “bathroom bill” similar to the one that North Carolina passed and immediately regretted.
Oh, and she was a conspiracy theorist who pushed trans panic, sanctuary city hysteria, and at least once retweeted a Gateway Pundit article about the debunked anti-Trump “Spygate” conspiracy. Her biggest dip into the fever swamp came a few months ago when she made an appearance on 24/7 QAnon-themed YouTube Channel “Patriots Soapbox.”
Like digital pilgrims looking for the face of Jesus Christ on a piece of meme toast, QAnon believers have had to spend more and more time dissecting ephemera for clues, because Q is increasingly absent. Since March 29th, Q has made less than 40 posts – leaving his followers to dig deeper and deeper for evidence that they haven’t been abandoned, and that the “great awakening” they’ve been promised is actually going to take place.
Just this past week, we had Q acolytes going crazy over an errant “Q” in a James Comey tweet (which was deleted and reposted,) Fox News interviewing a man wearing a “Q” hat, desperate attempts to parse Robert Mueller’s tone of voice for clues that he “cut a deal” with Trump to pretend to investigate him (he didn’t,) and totally baseless allegations that the horrific shooting in Virginia Beach was actually a false flag signaling an offensive by the deep state against the Q team.
Normally, I’d go through each of these and let people know why they’re bogus signs for a great event that’s never coming. But instead, I want to use this floundering as an opportunity to reach out directly to QAnon believers, who I know read my writing. And what I want to say this: