Those voices are discussing QAnon, the right-wing conspiracy theory that makes believing in lizard people seem like a reasonable centrist policy.
Like Timothée Chalamet, Q Anon came onto the scene in 2017, and just like spelling Timothee with two Es, the whole thing deeply weird and incredibly unsettling.
From his or her humble beginnings as an anonymous 4chan poster, Q is believed to be a powerful government insider working to reveal the secret “deep state plot” against Mr. Trump and his supporters, in which shadowy establishment figures are executing nefarious behind-the-scene actions that will undermine the will of the people, like engineering ways to make him lose the popular vote by three million and somehow still become the president.
Disciples of Q believe that the very election of Mr. Trump disrupted the so-called global network of Satanic pedophiles who run the world at large — and only an evangelical such as himself could be cast as the savior working to take down what sounds like the Catholic Church.
And indeed, just like speaking in tongues, Q communicates the “big picture” through coded clues left online and secret messages delivered by the President — an offhanded press conference remark about “the calm before the storm” wasn’t the incoherent rambling of a man wondering aloud whether or not his foundation was waterproof; for careful observers, it was the revelation of a yet-to-occur event known as “The Storm,” in which criminals like Hillary Clinton, George Soros, and Chrissy Tiegen will finally be arrested and sent to Guantanamo Bay for their role in “Pizzagate.”
Jeffrey Epstein, Oprah Winfrey, Adam Schiff — it’s like a round of Cards Against Humanity came to life — did John F. Kennedy Jr. fake his own death and return on the 4th of July, or should you have played Kenny Rogers instead?
Conspiracy theories are nothing new to the United States — they’re as American as apple pie or whatever you’d call the opposite of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
And I’m not just talking about the radio hits, like the JFK assassination, the moon landing, or that Johnny Depp was secretly replaced with a hologram and nobody noticed because nobody cares.
I’m talking about the deep cuts and B-sides — for example, did you know that some believe that FDR “arranged” the attack on Pearl Harbor, or that the number 666 is hidden in every UPC code and foretells the apocalypse?
Some even believe that hearing the song “Love Shack” just once can cause a brain aneurism — and while I’m not inclined to believe this or any of these other conspiracies, we should probably ban this track from public airwaves and streaming services just to be safe.
In terms of speed and IQ, the global pandemic has accelerated the spread of new conspiracies from zero to sixty.
In May, the widely discredited “Plandemic” film, in which the filmmakers claim that vaccines kill millions, the coronavirus was created in North Carolina, and that wearing a mask “literally activates your own virus,” was taken off of YouTube and Facebook after being watched more than 8 million times — making it more influential than every Quibi show ever made combined.
Some believe that 5G technology is increasing the spread of the virus, and if that’s true, AT&T users have likely been infected with a fake version of the disease since 2017.
And despite years of philanthropic efforts from Bill Gates, working to eradicate infectious diseases all of the world, a recent poll has found that 44% of Republicans believe the man is preparing to use coronavirus vaccines to implant microchips into billions of people — a completely implausible notion, especially since the coronavirus leaving people without any taste will likely lead to more people using Microsoft products.
It’s easy to laugh these things off as internet garbage, but one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. And if concerns about fake news and misinformation weren’t bad enough online, these fringe theories are beginning to spread across the body politic.
In Oregon, a QAnon supporter and insurance agent called Jo Rae Perkins is the Republican party’s official candidate to be the state’s next senator — which would sound crazy enough, if not for the fact that the country’s Republican president is believed by some Q Anon supporters to be Q himself! For one, if that’s true, the Q stands for Qdoba.
Because of course it makes sense that he’s Q — in the past two weeks, he’s ushered in at least two major conspiracies of his own: Obamagate, which he himself can’t even explain, and the notion that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough committed murder, a puzzling accusation that leaves you more mystified than his 2017 indie-rock EP called Mystified, which to me is the most serious and credible crime that I’ve shined a light on in this entire episode.
It’s not easy to separate fact from fiction, but we’ve got to keep trying. We’ve had to learn not to click links in our spam folder, because even though Dr. Jason Pandemic is offering a tempting deal on N95 masks, it turns out that Anazon.com doesn’t offer free shipping.
When it comes to sharing something like “Plandemic,” or supporting someone who thinks that Steven Spielberg and a Mexican cement company are running a child sex ring, we should give it the Joe Scarborough test — even though it kind of sounds like music, do I really want to share this with my friends?