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It seems that the right-wing has found its own brand of atomizing identity politics, its own purity test; yet unlike the online left, the academic left, the paralyzed left, the right has rallied behind its darkest angels. Every one of Q’s predictions have failed to come to pass, but the seeds of doubt and mistrust it planted have bloomed a thousand rotten suns. The Anons are a living manifestation of the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness, wherein the vampire reified is a literal vampire. As fake and cynical as the Q myth has been from the start, we will live in new voting districts, we will install new representatives, and we will bend to cops and judges that are the direct result of a racist internet scam. Hobbled by a broken democracy and an intractable social web, where we go one, we go all.
While in 2018 one would have had to be extremely online to be aware of the wild and contradictory set of conspiracy theories propagated by an alleged government operative going by “Q,” in 2021 its adherents, The Anons, have gone mainstream. With 36 Q followers set to run for Congress in the 2022 midterms, the right wing’s fixation on a shadowy cabal of literal blood-sucking pedophiles is now a baked-in feature of the Republican party.
In the midst of 2020’s Covid-19 lockdown, our time online made QAnon a near household name. Podcasts, documentaries, and social media bans exposed normies to the Great Awakening that Q had repeatedly and incorrectly predicted. The Liberal media responded predictably: depicting Anons as marginal, unhinged, and stupid. While the moderate left congratulated its own sense of balanced reality, Anons ran for school boards, local government, and Congress. Anons level blanket charges against the Mainstream Media. It’s the MSM that aids and abets the trafficking of children through secret tunnels under pizza parlors and art galleries. The MSM is an arm of the Clinton Crime Family. The MSM thinks you’re too stupid to distinguish fact from fantasy. Q, however, wants you to “do your own research,” to draw your own conclusions. Historically, the mainstream media has indeed been a cog in the war machine; for every Watergate bombshell, there are a hundred calls to arms against the terrorists, the communists, the demagogues (foreign; not domestic). Jeff Bezos, the owner of The Washington Post, signed a $600m cloud computing deal with the CIA through Amazon in 2014. In 1977, Carl Bernstein wrote in a Rolling Stone expose that “more than 400 American journalists… have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency.” So is the CIA another arm of the dreaded Deep State that Q warns us has secretly run America for years? Well, if the Deep State is a web of unelected parapolitical organizations executing U.S. Foreign and domestic policy, then yes. Otherwise, how do we maintain a consistency of action on the global stage when our duly elected heads of state have to hit the campaign trail every four years?
The discerning skeptic would be absolutely within her rights to now ask how possibly could, as Q states, a reality star billionaire turned president be an outsider to a political system that designed the very tax environment that established him as a billionaire? Occam’s Razor suggests the cult of celebrity is deep and wide in America’s culture of temporarily embarrassed millionaires, we who are only thousands of “likes” away from our very own product endorsements. A great white savior speaking a dubious truth to absolute power appeals to the fears of an aging white population in decline; a population weened on political assassination and televised Vietnam. Depending on one’s perspective, baby boomers have seen two coups on American soil in their lifetime: the assassination of JFK and the Forever Wars initiated in the wake of 9/11. The nagging specter of “trutherism” persists on the right and left, as does the mere mention of the inside job spark cries of conspiracy wingnut. The American government, however, has proven time and time again that civilian casualties, foreign or domestic, will not stand in the way of Manifest Destiny.
Q stopped posting to the message boards after Trump lost 2020’s election, but no matter: the Anons rallied under the banner of Save the Children. Who could disagree with the sanctity of our children? Especially if one no longer has to agree that we’re saving the children, specifically, from coastal elites who literally harvest adrenochrome from the blood of children enslaved and trafficked by the hundreds of thousands.
The footage of armed self-described “Patriots” storming the capitol on January 6th made mainstream America aware that the reality of Q Anon had moved from online into the “real world.” As of this writing, 638 people have been charged in the insurrection. Media outlets love to show the Q Shaman, face painted under a Viking helmet and wild beard, yelling into the blank heavens; but are these “patriots” all crazy? Are they all stupid?
Hollywood and the government are both full of sexual predators. The majority of our elected leaders answer not to the people, but to lobbyists, indeed. Industrial-scale agriculture is killing the planet and poisoning our bodies. The mainstream media (and its unaccredited cousins in the substacks and podcasts) do omit and mislead for survival and profit. Yet in the world of Q Anon and Save the Children, this white light of noble truth is almost never trained upon the sexual predators of law enforcement, the monocratic force of the arms industry, or even known liar, Tucker Carlson.
It seems that the right-wing has found its own brand of atomizing identity politics, its own purity test; yet unlike the online left, the academic left, the paralyzed left, the right has rallied behind its darkest angels. Every one of Q’s predictions has failed to come to pass, but the seeds of doubt and mistrust it planted have bloomed a thousand rotten suns. The Anons are a living manifestation of the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness, wherein the vampire reified is a literal vampire. As fake and cynical as the Q myth has been from the start, we will live in new voting districts, we will install new representatives, and we will bend to cops and judges that are the direct result of a racist internet scam. Hobbled by a broken democracy and an intractable social web, where we go one, we go all.
– Mike Taylor, 2021
All contents by Mike Taylor, 2021.
Printed and bound by hand in St. Augustine, Florida
1. Eris and The Golden Apple of Discord, Adjusted for Deflation. The story begins with Eris, the Goddess of Discord, crashing a lavish banquet of McDonald’s takeout and Oxycontin hosted by the 45th President of the Former United States. In attendance are Steve Bannon, disgraced chief strategist in the early months of Trump’s cabinet, as well as co-founder of Breitbart News and board member of the since-renamed Cambridge Analytica; Robert Mueller, ex-head of the FBI, who somehow made liberal America believe he could save them from political corruption and Russian election meddling; Rachel Maddow, who, enjoying 4 years of explosive ratings, helped establish a narrative that a little under half of the American population is simply stupid, and that’s why we can’t have nice things; Roger Stone, a Richard Nixon cosplayer; under the table, Q peddling lawyer for the corrupt and insane, Lin Wood tries unsuccessfully to log into his deleted Twitter account; Ron and Jim Watkins, a father and son pig farmer/internet porn team who popularized the cult of QAnon on their imageboard, 8kun. Ron Watkins, who may actually “be” Q, is also a key figure as a self-styled “internet security expert” in the Stop the Steal movement. We see Jair Bolsonaro, fascist President of Brazil, seeking refuge from prosecution and Covid, under the banquet table; Former National Security Adviser and known liar Michael Flynn stands at attention, while directly to his left is Michael Aquino, former military psychological warfare operative and founder of The Temple of Set, a literal Satanic Cult. As the appearance of Eris presaged the Trojan War, her presence at this party is frankly unsurprising.
2. How Did We Get Here? It’s a good question. People who are radicalized tend to do so early in life, as their sense of identity is still being formed. The Q phenomenon is surprising in its attractiveness to Baby Boomers, which could possibly be attributed to the Facebook divide: as social media tends to self-select among age groups, older people are left in something of an echo chamber. However, this generation watched the United States, under the aegis of numerous intelligence agencies, wage war against not only North Vietnam, but Sukarno’s Indonesia, Salvador Allende in Chile, Patrice Lumumba in the Congo, Guatemala, The Philippines, El Salvador, South Korea, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and on and on and on. The Pax Americana ran on disinformation and covert operations. It’s not hard to imagine that the parapolitical government that fought the Cold War internationally would open a domestic theater of battle. The Baby Boomers are an ideal target for a disinformation campaign promising that the good guys have finally arrived to deliver us from the shadowy cabal that has shaped our lives.
3. Enjoin the Show David Icke, ex-footballer-turned-broadcaster is one of the biggest names in pre-Q conspiracy culture. His fusion of new-age spiritualism and dog-whistling is the foundation of much of QAnon’s belief system, to the extent that it has one. Icke may be the progenitor of the reptilian/Anunnaki theory; This belief, among others, has given many in the conspiracy community cause to believe Icke is a shill, planted by parapolitical operatives to discredit their ideology.
4. The Lost Boys Johnny Gosch disappeared in West Des Moines, Iowa, in 1982 at age 12. He was the first child to be featured on a milk carton, a cultural meme. Mystery surrounds the still-unsolved case to this day. His mother claims that in 1997 Johnny visited her, telling her he had been abducted by a pedophile ring. The man couldn’t be positively identified as Johnny and was never seen again after that day. Many, including the boy’s father, don’t believe the visit even happened.
Gosch’s case is a book unto itself. His mother, Noreen, spoke nationally about the dangers of “organized pedophilia,” and her testimony before the Senate led to the establishment of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Conspiracy-prone corners of the internet speculated years later that Jeff Gannon, gay military escort-turned White House Reporter, may have been a grown-up Johnny Gosch. Gannon’s gushing softball questions to GW Bush during press conferences and speculation surrounding his possibly having spent the night in the White House on more than one occasion weave a tantalizing web connecting Gosch and the highest levels of state with organized pedophilia.
As with all conspiracy thought, it’s the negative space between facts that matters. That’s why Edgar Maddison ended up with a rifle at Comet Ping-Pong and Pizza, looking for a basement that never existed, hoping maybe to find Marina Abramovic and John Podesta sucking the blood from a child over the corpse of Seth Rich.
5. Stop or Start the Steal, Depending on Your Perspective Ali Alexander, promoter of Stop the Steal who famously said of the Jan. 6th coup attempt as it was unfolding, “I do not disavow this,” foregrounded by Paul Gossar and Andy Biggs, Az. Representatives who supported the coup attempt, as well as Mo Brooks of Alabama, who urged the crowd to “start taking down names and kicking ass!”
6. The Recount As of this writing, the Arizona election audit is still happening, and has still failed to show evidence of voter fraud.
7. The Black Hole Here we see Marjorie Taylor Greene and Sidney Powell personally witnessing the widespread theft of pro-Trump ballots by way of Nancy Pelosi’s ass.
8. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? The Clinton Foundation’s neoliberal approach to “rebuilding” Haiti since the mid-’90s has resulted in increased dependence on American agricultural exports and projects such as Caracol, a $300m, 600-acre industrial park designed to attract foreign investment. The $21bn (in 2021 dollars) debt France levied against Haiti to secure its independence in 1804 made it a permanent debtor nation. Since the 70s, the US has flooded the country with cheap rice and other agricultural overstock rebranded as “food aid.” Unable to compete with the prices, Haitian agriculture floundered. Farmers became factory workers, producing cheap goods for export.
By 2019, USAid had spent $2.9 bn in Haiti, mostly paid to American corporations, resulting in projects like the luxury Marriott in Port-Au-Prince.
9. The Great Reset “The Great Reset” is the theme of the World Economic Forum’s 2020 meeting. Klaus Schwab, center, says that Covid-19 represents an opportunity to “reflect, reimagine, and reset our world.” As Jeff Bezos saw his fortune blow up to $201.3bn in 2021, there was little doubt about what Schwab meant. While the Q Anons heard the WEF’s prediction that in the near future “you will own nothing and you will be happy” as a dog whistle heralding the rising Socialist Threat, the actual meaning behind The Great Reset seems to be an expansion of the gig economy type exploitation of workers and greater concentration of wealth into the hands of billionaires like Bezos and Bill Gates. The WEF uses the term “stockholder capitalism” publicly to advocate for greater corporate responsibility to the environment and the global community; however, what that tends to end up looking like is wholesale deregulation, freedom from litigation, and tax exemption in exchange for “philanthropic foundations.” In other words, not neoliberalism, but neofeudalism.
10. Ruin and/or Repair This is a tableau from a table in my studio. I enjoy the dystopian fiction of Philip K. Dick and Ursula K. Le Guin, the misanthropic utopianism of power-violence-band-Man is the Bastard, and I read Behold a Pale Horse, all because I believe in the power of metaphor and fiction to illustrate larger truths. Like Tarot cards or psychotherapy, art is a system of symbols that can be arranged to direct us to ways of thinking we may not arrive at through logical means. However, as the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness explains, when the metaphor is confused for the thing itself, a disastrous failure to perceive fundamental reality can occur.
. Haiti and the Failed Promise of USAid, by Jacob Kushner, The Guardian, Oct 11, 2019