Who is behind QAnon? The Reply All podcast investigates

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/22/who-is-behind-qanon-the-reply-all-podcast-investigates.html




Thanks for this episode

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Thanks for the heads up, I’ll be adding this to my podcasts feed for a listen.

So far, listening to the description of Jim Wakins, I’m thinking “Oh wow! I know that guy!” Okay, not that precise guy, but someone exactly like him in Montreal in the 1980s. I doubt anyone clones those people, so maybe some kind of spontaneous generation that fills the same niche of awfulness?


Given that the whole premise of “QAnon” is that “Q” has some secret, insider knowledge, what does that do to the basis of QAnon when Q turns out to be random dudes spouting nonsense? Obviously, since it’s a cult, the answer is: “nothing,” but it would be interesting to know how Q’ers justify that position, given that knowledge that it’s built on nothing but a mountain of bullshit.


I imagine in the same way any conspiracy adherent justifies their beliefs in light of facts: by believing either that your facts are faulty or that the object of their conspiracy has already incorporated these facts by X, where X represents some even deeper level of the conspiracy.


Remember that they’re already following an insider fighting against an evil cabal who posts on a site whose users have a history of posting child pornography and videos taken by mass shooters. A lot of the Q people also like to add their own nonsense to the Q mythology (e.g., the mole children raised for their adrenochrome in tunnels under Central Park in Manhattan, JFK Jr. is about to reveal himself as having faked his death and replacing Pence as Trump’s running mate, etc.).

So even Watkins being blatantly revealed as Q is not going to do more than peel off a few of them. We can only hope to keep peeling them off until they’re small enough for everyone outside federal law enforcement to ignore.


With apologies in advance to the unlikely event that any of my Subgenii kin may take offense to this but…

If the multiple comings and goings of X-day taught me anything, it’s how good it feels to keep believing in YOUR conspiracy when you know THE Conspiracy is worse.


I keep forgetting just how dumb this thing is. The argument has been made that it’s not really a conspiracy theory because although there’s conspiracies in it, there’s no theory. It’s a bunch of predictions that didn’t come true and insane claims untethered to any sort of reality at all.


Praise His holy Pipe!


Oh yeah. It’s impossible to get across exactly how dumb the whole thing is in just a few sentences or even a few paragraphs. A lot of it came straight out of pizzagate, but I’ve seen them talking about the federal banking system and all kinds of other dumb-ass shit.

I don’t know if Q people came up with the recent Wayfair nonsense, but a lot of them fell for it hook, line and sinker.


Coincidentally we were talking about this the other day.

Long story short, Q is already muddied up enough with multiple participants that I’m pretty sure some other set of posts will simply become the “real” ones. Anything associated with these people will simply get rolled into the many already discounted or exposed “sources”. Likely anything that can’t be proven to come from them will just remain at the core.

The longer more depressing angle on it is that in the short term exposures like this, and direct counter proof, tends to make people double down. They believe harder and dig deeper into the belief system. Over time repeated exposures chip away at people’s dedication. Driving off people who aren’t as dedicated or as deep in. Continued exposures combined with lack of results/proof for extended periods escalate that. Successively smaller and smaller groups of people who are more and more dedicated to it reaching a breaking point and abandoning their beliefs. To the point where it eclipses recruitment and the movement starts to shrink, and communities become less active. Leaving only a small core of the most dedicated.

The time scale on that is decades though. And any new or derivative version, alternate take or sufficient public attention can start the cycle all over. Q is basically the 600th warmed over take on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It’s also grew out of Pizzagate as it petered out and entered the end of the cycle. A compelling new take on dying bullshit that thrust it into another direction, spinning it all back up.

So it’s a conspiracy theory? Just google Majestic-12, or David Icke. Hell dig around Cryptozoology and Psuedo-Archeology. This shit is standard. Including the racism and weird sexual obsessions.


They already believe that Donald Trump, of all people is actually fighting the pedophile cabal as opposed to the more likely scenario of being among their leadership. So this sort of revelation would most likely be dismissed as a lie designed to help hide the “truth”.


This is a masterclass in how cults, then religions, are born.

If you can convince people of completely unproven shit that they will not disavow, you have achieved this.

QAnon idiots finally answered for me how the concept of God and religions actually started. Like, fundamentally. It’s like I’m seeing how the Catholic church was created in real time, except even more vapid.


I’m sure I’ll get jumped all over for stating this, but that’s one view, and I for one don’t think it’s in any way indicative of how more traditional religions formed. Can you give some examples? Do you have a background in religious studies on which this opinion is based? Or just cuz, like, you think so?


I’m going to start spreading these conspiracy theories:

Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK.
The Earth is round.
Astronauts landed on the moon.
A balloon crashed in 1947 near Roswell NM.
Jet planes create condensed water vapor trails.

Yeah, you all think I’m crazy. But just try to prove them wrong! You’ll just be falling into the hands of shady governments that don’t want you to know these truths.

Edit: Something something sheeple something something.


This may not be the analysis you are looking for, but in the June '20 issue of the Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance does draw a few lines between the formation of QAnon and the beginnings of a religion.

BTW, I haven’t listened to the Reply All podcast, but from the summary it sounds like most of what they cover is in the Atlantic article; in case you are somewhat podcast-averse, like me.


So an article in the Atlantic said it, and it was in a podcast?

OK but like – what of the past several thousand years of actual religious history, scholarship, comparative religion?

Where is the discussion of the mystical experience, of the nondual reality at the root of most of the world’s religions and belief systems?

Yeah, I’m going to leave it at – gimme a break.

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Occult America is a great place to start, if you want a light introduction to cross-tradition religious currents historically common in the US. These are well represented in core Qist beliefs.

See also Prosperity Gospel: “a metaphysically inflected Christian theology recognizable by four common themes : faith, health, wealth, and victory.”

Qism isn’t new but it is very much about religion.