Those who can make you believe absurdities...
September 13, 2020 9:46 AM   Subscribe

QAnon is just a remix of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion "A secret cabal is taking over the world. They kidnap children, slaughter, and eat them to gain power from their blood. They control high positions in government, banks, international finance, the news media, and the church. They want to disarm the police. They promote homosexuality and pedophilia. They plan to mongrelize the white race so it will lose its essential power. Does this conspiracy theory sound familiar?"

"The plot, described above, was the conspiracy 'revealed' in the most influential anti-Jewish pamphlet of all time. It was called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It was written by Russian anti-Jewish propagandists around 1902. ... The same narrative has been repackaged by QAnon. ... Genocide Watch and the Alliance Against Genocide, the first international anti-genocide coalition, see such hate-filled conspiracy theories as early warning signs of deadly genocidal violence."
posted by Artifice_Eternity (98 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
 
There's no reason it can't still be a Russian disinformation campaign. If the old playbook is still good, run it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:36 AM on September 13 [24 favorites]


Russia has had a long, long history of treating Jewish people horrendously.

Por que no los dos?
posted by deadaluspark at 10:45 AM on September 13 [12 favorites]


Looks to be less Russian, and more amoral techbros pumping their platforms
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:46 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


OTOH, the slogan “where we go one, we go all” does sound as if it was translated word for word from a language other than English. Perhaps the task was entrusted to a troll-house intern who thought they knew English well enough, and they All Your Base'd it.
posted by acb at 10:56 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


I'm going to be blunt: if your first reaction to an expression of American bigotry is to blame it on Russian manipulation, as if no one could hold these views if they weren't tricked into it, you are part of the problem. You're upholding the myth that American society has moved past blind hatred into an age of enlightenment. Modern racists and anti-semites depend on this myth in their rhetoric to launder their libel into tragic secrets.

(On preview: "where we go one, we go all" is a quote from the Ridley Scott movie White Squall.)
posted by skymt at 11:00 AM on September 13 [146 favorites]


The Kremlin and/or private enterprises owned by Putin-loyal oligarchs may not have originated it, though they're not above giving it a push:
Frank says she spends most of her free time researching child sex trafficking, while Arthur adds that she often finds this information on the Russian-owned search engine Yandex. Frank’s eyes fill with tears as she describes what she’s found: children who are being raped and tortured so that “the cabal” can “extract their blood and drink it.” She says Trump has seized the blood on the black market as part of his fight against the cabal. “I think if Biden wins, the world is over, basically,” adds Arthur. “I would honestly try to leave the country. And if that wasn’t an option, I would probably take my children and sit in the garage and turn my car on and it would be over.”
posted by acb at 11:15 AM on September 13 [9 favorites]


Maybe it's American bigotry being manipulated by Russians
posted by Flashman at 11:17 AM on September 13 [24 favorites]


The blood libel is much older than the Protocols. Yes, that pamphlet has become the ur-text of 20th and 21st century antisemitism, but it was building on literal centuries of bigotry.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:20 AM on September 13 [38 favorites]


Well, obviously the Russians didn't trick innocent Americans into doing a racism. The documented methodology of both FSB/GRU spooks and Kremlin-linked private troll farms has been to find fault lines in American society and hit them hard, and race is a pretty obvious target.
posted by acb at 11:22 AM on September 13 [17 favorites]


I follow the QAnon thing reasonably closely and I'm not even sure what where we go one, we go all is supposed to mean. "We go one" what?

In better news, qmap.pub has gone offline.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:23 AM on September 13 [8 favorites]


“I think if Biden wins, the world is over, basically [...]"

It's the damnedest thing, but I feel actual pity for this creature. I, too, think "the world is over, basically" if the election doesn't go my way, but I base it on the experience of real human beings instead of imaginary cult activity. Even so, it's a point of contact. But if and when she harms someone, I'm not going to make excuses for her, no matter what circumstances gave her such a bonsai sense of reason that she could believe such a thing.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:26 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


deadly genocidal violence Isn't ongoing, deadly, genocidal violence why people are in the streets?

Despite our problems, fires, genocidal violence, we aren't the only game in town, but still a very popular destination. However, if anything, this should make the Northern Europeans want to stay home. I think the Q conspiracy is what Bannon has been working on in Europe all this time. ( I know this is gross speculation on my part.) If anyone is 37 devils in a skin suit, busting to get out, it has to be Bannon.

But, I am going to join the facebook Patriot site, that demands libruls and others do not join, it is a site for police and firefighters and patriots, and there are 3500 members and 146 posts per day. Gotta be some Q in there, gotta be run out of Macedonia, or at least some basement in Weedpatch.
posted by Oyéah at 11:26 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


I'm going to be blunt: if your first reaction to an expression of American bigotry is to blame it on Russian manipulation, as if no one could hold these views if they weren't tricked into it, you are part of the problem.

That's a bit of a bold, dichotomous read of the material in the article.

I'm watching my just-older-than-a-minor son—who grew up in a polyracial, religiously mixed family with three dads and one mom—fall into conspiracy minded space that we never saw coming and don't know how to address. He spends an enormous amount of time on social media platforms, like just about all of his peers, and it's clear that's where his source material is coming from. I have no idea how I'm supposed to not consider disinformation campaigning and targeting as an enormous variable in this sad equation.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 11:30 AM on September 13 [38 favorites]


Dan Olsen, an excellent YouTuber (I know, a contradiction in terms) released an over-an-hour Ted-Talk-styled video that, halfway in, changes gears from Flat Earth Theory to Qanon and fairly succinctly explains the Q phenomenon (and anybody who can do that in 37 minutes without me tuning out is truly masterful).
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:36 AM on September 13 [32 favorites]


I suspect in part that it is distance from the atrocity that was the Nazi regime. Younger people now have such a separation from that timepoint that they can’t believe it was really as all-bad as the old folks say it was, after all history is written by the winners right? So they fall into the trap of listening to the assholes who are expounding on Fascism Light until they are indoctrinated and have become full-on brownshirts without even realizing it.

The same way many adults in the 1960s and even still today argue that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, because they can’t believe that their righteous cause could ever have been about anything that morally bad. So they trick themselves into believing it was States Rights and keep saying it even when what they really want is a return to the time when brown folks “knew their place”. The actual war in question happened so long ago that they CAN pretend it was about something different, after all no one they know physically lived through it and is there to tell them they are wrong. The “evidence” can clearly be faked right?
posted by caution live frogs at 11:41 AM on September 13 [8 favorites]


There was a large Q type demonstration in Auckland NZ last week - and they are lockdown* with no more than 10 allowed to gather. One of the organisers is an unstable National Part who has strayed off the path, the other a Maori blues musician, the later makes no sense as racism is inherent to Q. It truly feels like a hieronymus bosch painting [link random art blog for appropriate lampooning image].

But these people worry me. So far they seem contained to Auckland but they have supporters in the provinces.

That fasces essentially meant to bundle together (I suppose many opposing differences) that is certainly what is happening here.

*mainly because a (not that fringe IMO) pentecostal church were Covid-deniers.
posted by unearthed at 11:47 AM on September 13 [5 favorites]


Years ago I saw an interview with a southern "gent" and when asked what he feared concerning race relations, and what Blacks would do, he said "They'll want to get EVEN", his spot on analysis was so clearly stated and insightful I never forgot it. The Q folks are just tapping that same rich vain of fear, hate, and bigotry just expanded to cover anything handy. Like a Swiss Army Knife of anti-reason.
posted by Freedomboy at 11:47 AM on September 13 [6 favorites]


So they fall into the trap of listening to the assholes who are expounding on Fascism Light

A lot of the people currently being pulled into the QAnon orbit are being baited in with "think of the children." It's white Facebook Moms. The bits they're listening to don't sound like fascism, it sounds like stranger-danger, which is not new.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:48 AM on September 13 [19 favorites]


I for one am getting sick of these constant remakes, and I'm not afraid to say it.
posted by eagles123 at 11:55 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


The folding ideas video linked above is pretty good. To steal its thunder a little bit, it joins Flat Earth and QAnon ideologies together by pointing out both are the desire to smash the world flat through sheer force of will, to make complexity and knowledge and expertise disappear by making them conform to a worldview that gives them power and makes everyone else shut up, outs everyone who disagrees with them as conspiratorial evil liars.
posted by fleacircus at 11:57 AM on September 13 [8 favorites]


I'm curious. Are Jews the main villains for Q-anon?

I haven't gone through a lot of the primary sources, and I'm relying on others who have way more time than I do for the secondaries (fans, groups, etc).
posted by doctornemo at 11:58 AM on September 13


Pretty much. It's like any other conspiracy theory. It may be obscured as "We don't think Jews run the world, we just think reptilians control Jews, and *they* control the world", but then blood libel & everything else gets mixed in & reveals the lie.
So for QAnon it's "a shadowy cabal who happens to be primarily Jewish runs the world and harvests the blood of gentiles to keep themselves young (or use it as a sex drug, depending on who you ask)"

Scratch a conspiracy theory fan/enthusiast, find an anti-semite.
posted by CrystalDave at 12:06 PM on September 13 [10 favorites]


To be honest, this is why I wish we'd stop using the word "cabal", the etymology of which is explicitly linked to Judaism.
posted by trig at 12:06 PM on September 13 [12 favorites]


That's a bit of a bold, dichotomous read of the material in the article.

I took that comment to be in response to the first several comments in this thread.
posted by hoyland at 12:14 PM on September 13 [12 favorites]


The bits they're listening to don't sound like fascism, it sounds like stranger-danger

More like Satanic panic.
posted by acb at 12:15 PM on September 13 [17 favorites]


Scratch a conspiracy theory fan/enthusiast, find an anti-semite.

Yeah. A great deal of 9/11 truther conspiracy theory is dripping with antisemitism as well. We can also include people who are way too enthusiastic about telling you there are THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW about central banks, fiat currency, and a return to the gold standard.

It's a pretty unifying feature.

Marc Levin's 2005 documentary Protocols of Zion takes a good look at these commonalities.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:19 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


In the spirit of improvisational sketch comedy, QAnon is a "Yes, and...." big tent conspiracy theory. It welcomes and absorbs any less ambitious conspiracies. Sure, it's about Jesus and Trump fighting satanic pedophiles protected by the Deep State, but it can embrace old fashioned anti-Semitism, time travel, alien lizard people, anti-vaxxers, gang-stalking and all manner of new age woo.

Their warm open gateway of "who will save the children?" should scare us.

The other noteworthy aspect of QAnon is there is no single charismatic leader. Often the human failings of the cult leader eventually bring the cult down. Without a single leader to spin out on megalomania, die, or go bankrupt and walk away, is QAnon more invulnerable than other cults?
posted by tula at 12:21 PM on September 13 [8 favorites]


The thing I dread about this Q insanity is that a Trump loss in November will be a gift from heaven to them, as his losing would be irrefutable evidence of the conspiracies they are on about.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:22 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


The bits they're listening to don't sound like fascism, it sounds like stranger-danger

More like Satanic panic.


Tomato, potato.
posted by stevis23 at 12:24 PM on September 13 [11 favorites]


I mean, there are ACTUAL CONSPIRACIES, with things BASED IN ACTUAL FACT that these people could be freaking out about, instead. There *are* groups of rich people who've engaged in child trafficking for child rape - Epstein et al. MK-ULTRA was a thing. But instead of getting mad about that stuff, these people are playing an asinine online-augmented-reality-game where they try to extract signal from things that are literally made up of line noise and 4chan bullshit.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:25 PM on September 13 [33 favorites]


I'm curious. Are Jews the main villains for Q-anon?

The theory of a circle of rich powerful Jewish bankers who finance the evil-doers is at the root of many conspiracies. With QAnon, the Saudi royal family are in there too. And the Pope. And Tom Hanks.
posted by tula at 12:26 PM on September 13 [7 favorites]


There is extreme antisemitism in QAnon world but it seems to be a slightly newer development -- not part of the original narrative.

Part of it may be old-school white supremacists continuing their longstanding strategy of online recruitment -- QAnon groups and hashtags being a good place to promote existing antisemitic narratives.

There also seem to be QAnon people who simply believe every conspiracy theory ever created, and spend a lot of time researching new conspiracy theories to believe: and they've stumbled onto Protocols of Elders of Zion, Rothschilds, Soros, etc. so are now antisemites.
posted by vogon_poet at 12:27 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


his losing would be irrefutable evidence of the conspiracies they are on about

Martyr for the cause or savior, the faith of a true believer will show them the way to keep believing.

One of the tenets of Q is that there will be an attempt at a mass "re-education" of Q believers. I feel like that's something we could make happen for them.
posted by Revvy at 12:31 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


I don't think antisemitism is the motivating force of Qanon. The point is that Qanon is constructed along the same lines as historic antisemitic conspiracy theories, with a similar blood libel at its heart. Qanon is a kind of postmodern version of this phenomenon, with a much wider group of villains, who are defined more by their social positions than by their religion or ethnicity. I mention this not to suggest that there is zero actual antisemitism in Qanon -- the demonization of George Soros is certainly creepy -- but that its resemblance to historic antisemitic tropes doesn't hinge specifically on making the Jews into the primary villains.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:31 PM on September 13 [9 favorites]


But instead of getting mad about that stuff, these people are playing an asinine online-augmented-reality-game where they try to extract signal from things that are literally made up of line noise and 4chan bullshit.

The fact that they relied on, and brought traffic to 8chan and other putrid recesses of the web for information shows you how out of touch they are with the real world of real pedophiles.
posted by tula at 12:33 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


doctornemo: kind of, it's murky, but there is a lot of antisemitism both coded and explicit (and "coded" but explicit; we all know about the parentheses). Pretty much everyone who isn't a white straight cis Christian man is The Enemy, but *The* Enemy in the narrative is vague Deep State Actors and Globalists (Jews). There is heavy overlap between QAnon and online white supremacy groups like Daily Stormer. A lot of online fascism is structured such that there are tiers - someone can be initially radicalized through e.g. Facebook posts invoking moral panic or online videogames and then get slowly pushed by their friends into further tiers of radicalization until they're a full-throated white supremacist. The tiers are helpful because a lot of people are not critical thinkers and those in the lower tiers will defend the entire structure by pointing out that their friends aren't Nazis, they never talk about Nazi stuff, they just talk about [innocuous subject]. Boiling Pepe the frog is a slow process. There is also some benefit in having a single white supremacist/fascist network perceived as a disparate constellation of unrelated groups. The more extreme, blatant facets can be disavowed by the more "centrist" or "apolitical" facets.

What frightens me about QAnon (or other propaganda campaigns, death cults, etc.) in 2020 is that the US has become so destabilized that state actors or fascist plants don't have to work nearly as hard as they during the 2016 campaigns. I follow several propagandists, and they're 1) everywhere suddenly but also 2) lazier this time. There is so much 100% homegrown organic outrage - both among the racist far right and the anti-racist left - that all propagandists need to focus on at this time is throwing out enough quick, short, low-effort incendiary comments to get the snowball fire tornado rolling.

Things are bad enough that, unless it's really obvious (and sometimes it is), I'm finding it difficult to distinguish between legitimate accounts of real users and propagandist accounts. Many, many, many people are running with talking points being pushed by fascists and state actors. Please be aware that narratives of a second US civil war are being pushed very hard right now... What scares me about that is that I do believe there is some risk of a second US civil war in near future, actually, and the sheer number of organic accounts either falling for the propagandist bait or independently worrying about worst cases tells me I'm not alone.

More specific to QAnon, yeah, the parallels with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and with the Satanic panic of the 80s and 90s, are pretty obvious. This stuff has been around for a long time. It just...makes me so angry and heartbroken to have grown up being told by my parents' generation to be a careful and cautious reader and verify anything read online, not to take anyone online at face value...to watching so many of very likely those exact same people embracing antisemitic, far right fascist hogwash promoted on Facebook. Living through that experience did real and significant damage to my belief in human goodness.

It also blows my mind in a bad way that so much of QAnon is centered on a conspiracy of ruling class men harming children, but when presented with actual conspiracies of ruling class men actually harming actual underage girls (Epstein/Maxwell), they don't care. The fig leaf is dried up and full of holes.

PS Popular Ethics' links way up above are both well worth reading, especially the second one. A lot of people latched onto Watkins pretty hard (which is understandable; his involvement makes sense) but he's unlikely to be the original Q, if there is one single person (effectively doesn't matter now; there are several primary sources of Qrock now)... even so, he's done a lot to host and disseminate Q propaganda and likely has been heavily involved with pushing this poison (which, again, makes sense) but he's not the only one and a lot of it has taken on a life of its own among followers.
posted by Lonnrot at 12:33 PM on September 13 [19 favorites]


My sense is that QAnon is radically decentralized, and there are probably people that are explicitly antisemitic, but there are also people who are using antisemitic tropes without having any clue that they are antisemitic tropes. And that's honestly a thing that I have seen a lot among people I know in Iowa: they basically don't know anything about the history of antisemitism, and they completely don't recognize antisemitic tropes, even (and maybe especially) when they are using them. And truly, if you don't know anything about the history of antisemitism, it sounds really far-fetched. Like, I will explain to people that there is a thousand-year-old myth that Jews kill Christian babies so that we can drain their blood and bake it into crackers, and they look at me like I'm nuts. Nobody could actually believe that. But they did, and they killed Jews for it within living memory, and I'm sure some people still do believe it. And I sound alarmist (and paranoid in that special way that Jews get accused of being paranoid) when I point this out, because it sounds so completely implausible.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:34 PM on September 13 [24 favorites]


I mean, there are ACTUAL CONSPIRACIES, with things BASED IN ACTUAL FACT that these people could be freaking out about, instead. There *are* groups of rich people who've engaged in child trafficking for child rape - Epstein et al. MK-ULTRA was a thing.

And, those are the sorts of true events that are pointed to in an "And those are only the things we know about! Imagine what they else they're capable of!" manner that makes it easy for otherwise intelligent people to softly ease into the Q world
posted by Thorzdad at 12:38 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


One thing that watching QAnon has made clear to me is that it's a great gift to not be caught in the grip of conspiracy theories -- to be free and able to make sense of the world as it actually is. It can be easy to get caught up looking for simple, personal enemies and malicious plans, but it is worth resisting this -- it destroys something really valuable.
posted by vogon_poet at 12:41 PM on September 13 [9 favorites]


What gets to me about Qanon is the commitment to nonsense, to being evidence-proof.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 12:43 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


adrianhon's analysis is also very incisive in re QAnon
posted by chavenet at 12:44 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


This is the point in history where, if the humans make it another forty, fifty years, people would be talking about "If we could go back to (Germany in 1933) the United States in 2020, we would tell the Jews to get out now."

Except that today, there's nowhere for the Jews to go. There's no escape.
posted by tzikeh at 12:46 PM on September 13 [10 favorites]


I'm not even sure what where we go one, we go all is supposed to mean.

I interpret it as "whatever conspiracy theory any one of us puts out there, we must all stand behind it, no matter how ridiculous it sounds."
posted by jeremy b at 1:02 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


I'm not even sure what where we go one, we go all is supposed to mean.

I interpret it as "whatever conspiracy theory any one of us puts out there, we must all stand behind it, no matter how ridiculous it sounds."

Yes... and it brings to mind a key passage of the article I linked to in the post:

"Many people are perplexed at how any rational person could fall for such an irrational conspiracy theory. But modern social science shows that people in groups don’t always think rationally."

Mob psychology is a hell of a thing.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:06 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


One thing that watching QAnon has made clear to me is that it's a great gift to not be caught in the grip of conspiracy theories -- to be free and able to make sense of the world as it actually is.

Still stuck in the grip of the delusion that the world makes sense, I see.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 1:06 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


In the past this same conspiratorial thinking has led to mass murder.

Persecution of Jews during the Black Death, Wikipedia

The Black Death, JewishHistory.org
Once the Jews were accused of poisoning the wells, a wave of pogroms ensued. In January 1349, the entire Jewish community in the city of Basel was burned at the stake. The Jewish communities of Freiburg, Augsburg, Nurnberg, Munich, Konigsberg, Regensburg, and other centers, all were either exiled or burned. In Worms, in March 1349, the entire Jewish community committed suicide. In Cologne, the Jews were forced to flee.

In Mainz, which had the largest Jewish community in Europe, the Jews defended themselves against the mob and killed over 200 Christians. Then the Christians came to take revenge. On one day alone, on August 24, 1349, they killed 6,000 Jews in Mainz.

Of the 3,000 Jews in Erfurt, none survived the attack of the Christian mobs. By 1350, those Jews that survived the Black Death itself were destroyed by the ravages of the mobs. The Jewish communities in Antwerp and Brussels were entirely exterminated in 1350. There were almost no Jews left in Germany or the Low Countries by 1351.

The impact of the Black Death on Jewish history cannot be underestimated. It accelerated the movement of from Western Europe to the east, especially Poland, which was almost exempt from the Black Death. Even though the Jews will eventually move back to Western Europe, it will never again be the center of Jewish life it had been for almost four centuries
Finding a Scapegoat When Epidemics Strike, Donald G. McNeil Jr., New York Times, Aug. 31, 2009

History shows that epidemics can carry dangerous side effects for Jews: deadly anti-Semitism, Henry Abramson , JTA.org, March 6, 2020
posted by MrVisible at 1:09 PM on September 13 [25 favorites]


I am more and more convinced that a readiness to believe in conspiracies is part of the human condition, sort of like your microbiome; whether you want them or not, hundreds of billions of microorganisms will always be living on your skin and in your gut — and they are not necessarily unrelated to the conspiracies you might believe in either, which is very weird.

So then the question becomes: what are the healthiest conspiracies to believe in?

Believing in conspiracies which happen to be true would be a beginning, but I don't think that could ever be enough. Something like myths and religions will always be essential, in my opinion.
posted by jamjam at 1:18 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


That is actually a very nice metaphor, in that good diet and simple hygiene can help keep your microbiome from becoming unbalanced or making you sick.

A lot of people's relationship with news and politics is as though they eat nothing but fast food and refuse to wash their hands after they shit.
posted by vogon_poet at 1:25 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


Yesterday's Calvin and Hobbes rerun (from 1990) provided a good example how Qanon thinking starts (minus the bigotry).
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:30 PM on September 13 [7 favorites]


Literally five minutes ago a friend called, someone who doesn't call by phone very often, freaked out that his formerly-mainstream Republican next-door neighbor in a comfortable Seattle-area town just started flying a QAnon flag in front of his house.
posted by PhineasGage at 2:06 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


It sounds a lot like the Larouche cult, except with smarter marketing (adrenochrome instead of non-Euclidean geometry).
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark at 3:06 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


...there are also people who are using antisemitic tropes without having any clue that they are antisemitic tropes. And that's honestly a thing that I have seen a lot among people I know in Iowa: they basically don't know anything about the history of antisemitism, and they completely don't recognize antisemitic tropes...

Yeah, I just want to underscore this. I am a person who, in terms of my ethics and personal morals, has no patience AT ALL for antisemitism, but I grew up in the Midwest (not in Iowa exactly, but not far away) and I realize more and more every year that I am unaware of its exact contours.

I've actually thought to post about this on MeFi for some time, but I just never knew where: even now I still feel like I'm basically clueless about antisemitism, and thus hindered in effectively opposing it. We pretty much just didn't talk about it when I was young. Like, "we" won WWII, which involved "saving the Jews," so we were the good guys, and that was that - no need to examine it further. As an example, I am a 40 year old man and I never understood that the image of an octopus taking over the earth was an antisemitic trope until, like, 1-2 years ago.

So, yeah. I feel like this is fertile ground for QAnon to exploit. Many people are ignorant of antisemitism, and may even perceive that they are "totally not antisemitic" as a result of this ignorance, which leaves them wide open to slow, incremental insertion of antisemitic content into their daily conservative media diet. I'm not even sure where I'm trying to go with this observation, other than the fact that you can really just never be sure - even people who seem totally not inclined to lean this way could unexpectedly go way down a rabbit hole. It's scary.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 3:18 PM on September 13 [12 favorites]


You know I feel like this is ultimately a failure of the original QAnon movement which was very much an anti-Hillary movement based on purported insider intelligence leaks and now it's just a "Democrats eat children"movement. Which seems a lot less meaningful or believable on its face. I fell like the people eating the new QAnon poison weren't likely to ever vote anything but Republican anyway, this is just a whole lot of confirming whatever stuff they already believed. I don't feel like the new QAnon is likely to win anyone new over. It does suck that it's a new voice for old shitty antisemitic garbage.
posted by GuyZero at 3:32 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


The other noteworthy aspect of QAnon is there is no single charismatic leader.

Good point; that's certainly true vis-a-vis its current incarnation.

But what's fascinating is that if we rewind the tape to its formative era in 2017 and 2018, QAnon did possess a . . . well, I don't know if you'd call him or her charismatic, but it did possess a leader . . . in the person of Q.

Q would drop fragments of wisdom--I believe they were called breadcrumbs?--into 4chan, and they'd be analyzed at length in the QAnon subreddit (which was subsequently banned).

And, even though pedophilia was present from the early days--in the form of Pizzagate--the QAnon cult was mostly concerned with "the storm," an event in which Trump and his secret ally, Robert Muller, would team with the military to round up and arrest deep state operatives in the government.

QAnon in this period had a James Bond-y, Robert Ludlum-y feel, with Q and his or her cryptic missives playing a central role. Q's drops were written in a terse military-slash-spy style that was dense with terminology and army slang and acronyms, and it certainly appeared in reading them that they came from a hand gifted in this trolling enterprise. Looking at the subreddit posts, it was clear that the vast majority of Q-worshippers were spy novel fanatics--a far cry from the pedophilia-obsessed QAnon-ers of today.

Fast forward to 2020. QAnon has morphed into a movement against satanism and pedophilia, and the expectation of "the storm" and the military takedown seems to have vanished. Additionally, nobody seems to be interested in Q-the-person anymore. The identity of Q isn't talked about or discussed very much by QAnon followers, and attempts by the anti-QAnon faction to out or doxx Q seem to have faded.

I'm disappointed by this last point, because Q has always struck me as the Internet's historically most successful troll (or trolls plural, possibly). How many trolls have sparked a movement of this scale while remaining undoxxed and in the shadows? Revealing the identity of this personage would be a coup of historical scale.

QAnon in the past, QAnon in the present . . . the two seem like entirely separate movements.

Does the Q of yore still exist, and are there any ongoing attempts to doxx this incredible and indefatigable troll?
posted by Gordion Knott at 3:36 PM on September 13 [18 favorites]




Every April 1 in San Francisco, there is a thing called the St. Stupid's Day Parade. Years ago, me and a friend got up in the morning and took the bus across town to watch it. I hadn't seen a flyer for it, or internet event listing, I just knew when and where it happened. Well, we got there mid- to late-morning and found pretty much nobody around, maybe a few clowns or someone carrying a wig.

Then it occurred to me that it might not be a traditional parade.

In my imagination, somebody puts out word every year that there's going to be a parade, then a bunch of people show up in costumes with beer and weed and whatever (possibly almost entirely rubes like me), wandering around trying to find the starting area...and that's the parade. I'm under the impression that this is not actually how it works and we simply missed the whole thing, which is real.

This is basically my sense of QAnon. You put out the idea of Q, create some initial essays and imagery, and anybody predisposed to believe in something like that starts contributing to a shared delusion. Sure, there are manipulators who are in on it, they're probably the Original Content creators, but they probably don't have to do much to keep the ball rolling. Why would they? Everybody who shows up to the party gives it a nudge. But there is no (single) Q.

I'm sure the CIA and FBI know plenty how these movements work, but do they pop their heads out saying, "hey, you know we've seen like 99% of this as common patterns in other cults and this is how you defend against it..."? Nope.
posted by rhizome at 5:08 PM on September 13 [13 favorites]


QAnon's SaveOurChildren hashtag seems to be remarkably successful. I see people who ridicule QAnon sharing posts with the hastag, not realizing its origin, and the posts themselves are just variations of "I hate pedophiles!" I mean, pretty much everyone hates pedophiles, right? People aren't likely to look into the hashtag and see that it connects to posts claiming that crates full of body parts of American children are being sent to China.
posted by LindsayIrene at 5:11 PM on September 13 [6 favorites]


Except that today, there's nowhere for the Jews to go. There's no escape.
posted by tzikeh at 3:46 PM on September 13


Yeah, we black folks and other people of color are stuck as well. I've been in low-grade terror that no matter what happens in November, black and non-white Hispanic people in the US will be soon targeted for picking off in the streets, if not worse, by Boogaloo/Proud Boys/"I can't wait for The Storm... Oh, wait, I'M The Storm!" QAnon-types.
posted by droplet at 5:50 PM on September 13 [15 favorites]


The author may have studied genocide for forty years but it sounds like they are sort of new to the online conspiracy world? As other people have pointed out in the thread, modern conspiracy theory is nearly always a few degrees from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, because anti-semitism is a whole subgenre of conspiracy theory that has never gone away and conspiracies cross-pollinate very easily on the Internet. And QAnon is an exceedingly ecumenical conspiracy framework. The article is not wrong, exactly, but it feels oddly without deeper understanding of the dynamics in play.
posted by atoxyl at 6:44 PM on September 13 [10 favorites]


Jesse Walker:

One of the pre-Q strains of fearful folklore that fed into QAnon was moms on Facebook swapping urban legends about sex-trafficking rings stalking parking lots and Walmarts. So in a sense this is a homecoming.
posted by doctornemo at 6:50 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Thank you for addressing my question, CrystalDave, tula, vogon_poet, Artifice_Eternity, Lonnrot, ArbitraryAndCapricious, and anyone else I missed.

Q seems to be shambling rapidly through numerous forms and foci now as its membership and contents morph. Open source conspiracy, a la John Robb.
posted by doctornemo at 6:56 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


In response to this comment:

For a lot of suburban women, this might be the first time in their lives that right-wing white Christianity has allowed them to speak out about the sexual abuse of children. As with the late-20th-Century “stranger danger” moral panic, it’s still an obvious deflection; it isn’t your trusted relative, clergyman, scoutmaster, or teacher doing it, it’s now foreigners and Democrats and The Hollywood Elite (see again, anti-Semitic dog-whistles).

Still, the hijacking should fascinate all and surprise no one. QAnon remains a dangerous cult, but it was started by young men who thought paedophilia was either “funny” (because it mainly happened to other people) or an “easy button” to get people wound up (because what willing 8chan participant really cared about children getting abused?). Naturally, better-organized grown women with buried trauma (or at least conditioned fear) would take it over.

It’s like The Crucible meets Beavis and Butthead.
posted by armeowda at 7:57 PM on September 13 [11 favorites]


> I see people who ridicule QAnon sharing posts with the hastag, not realizing its origin, and the posts themselves are just variations of "I hate pedophiles!"

That reminded me of this article, Why Are Conservatives Obsessed with Pedophilia Right Now? by David M Schell.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:59 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


rmd1023, I think the Folding Ideas video recommended by fleacircus will answer this question about why they don't focus on actual conspiracies right in front of their faces. In Search Of A Flat Earth It starts off with a more lighthearted subject [flat earth] and gets into Qanon stuff around the 27 min mark. This is a very thoughtful Youtuber so it is worth watching the whole thing.
posted by RuvaBlue at 10:12 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


The Auckland demonstration had people fly in from Chch and Wellington, unearthed. There have been marches in both cities over the past couple of weeks at the same time as Auckland. Smaller populations, smaller marches. I can't speak for other towns but boy did I get an earful from someone at the Motueka farmer's market about a month ago. Protests also went on simultaneously in Brisbane. There seems to be an effort to sync up these protests globally, on Saturdays.
posted by rednikki at 12:29 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]


I see the Qanon stuff as part of an overall strategy to 'flood the zone with shit' as Steve Bannon used to boast. Unleash a torrent of misinformation, lies, and outright delusional nonsense knowing that the media, incapable of seeing beyond tomorrow's headline, will devour it all like starving dogs on a moldy sausage.

Here's the truth being obscured: the sitting US President is a rapist and a pedophile who was friends* with pedophile and child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. The policy of family separation and detention carried out by ICE at the instruction of the executive has led to rampant sexual abuse of children by ICE agents, and many children have simply vanished.

How do you make these truths go away? You can't, but what you can do is place the topic of child sex trafficking and pedophiles in high places so firmly in the domain of deranged conspiracy theorists that regular people automatically sigh and roll their eyes whenever the subject arises.

* using the term loosely again because narcissists and sociopaths don't have friends in the usual sense of the word.
posted by um at 2:03 AM on September 14 [36 favorites]


What happened with the men who wanted a spy story and were the dominant Q group? Did they complain about women moving in and changing the tone? Did they go somewhere else?
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 5:08 AM on September 14


Perhaps they have a Gamergate-style movement to take their treehouse back from the girls.

"It's all about integrity in extremist conspiracy theories."
posted by acb at 5:46 AM on September 14 [8 favorites]


I don't think antisemitism is the motivating force of Qanon.

As others have mentioned, terms like globalist, Soros, Hollywood elite, and liberal media are pretty much catch-all dog whistles for anti-Semitism. All it really takes is a little digging here or there, and you’ll find people willing to drop the mask (wear the hood?) and flat out say that the problem with those groups is that they’re run by Jews. Hell, listen to Fox News (no, seriously, don’t) and you’ll hear the fun ways they pronounce names of Jewish people, heavy, almost comical stresses on parts that typically signify Jewish heritage.

For my own self, this article put me back in maybe elementary school during Passover in southwest Michigan. There I am, munching on utterly flavorless matzah while my classmates are sharing their massive Easter candy stashes, and a kid, not really a friend, but someone I’ve known for years, comes over and tells me I’m a monster because the matzah I’m eating is made with the blood of dead Christian children. I had never heard of anything like that before, and couldn’t even process it. The closest thing I could think was that of course it wasn’t true, if it was, you’d be able to at least taste something aside from the styrofoam cosplay that is matzah. I went home and told my mom about what had happened, and that’s when she sat me down and told me about the blood libel, that untold thousands of Jews had been murdered over centuries whenever a scapegoat was needed. That throughout the years, any time a child from the village died, the terror that Jewish families must have felt isn’t something that’s ever left me.

Idiot that I am, I posted this article to Facebook, to let people I know that if QAnon is their thing, to let them know it’s lifted from the same damn playbook as the Protocols and the Libel, and that disagreement is for stuff like how taxes get spent, or schools get funded, but that this, it’s not something we can agree or disagree about. If I see someone with a Q badge, to me, they are a threat, one that would see me, my family, and many of my friends dead if they ever feel they can get away with it.

And of course, maybe an hour later, a guy I knew years ago, and have largely blocked/unfollowed/whatever, chimes in. A guy who is almost what you’d think to be the left wing version of a conspiracy nut, and he’s there to tell me about how Soros *is* actually a bad guy, and the trilateral commission and so on, and fuck, it’s tiring.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:35 AM on September 14 [30 favorites]


Not to make your day that little bit worse, but I just read something from a left-wing friend about left wingers getting into Q by way of concern for children. They claim they're totally not into Q.

Is anyone else seeing this happen?
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 7:10 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Not yet, Nancy Lebovitz.
posted by doctornemo at 7:29 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I have heard about non-right-wingers (maybe not specifically left-wingers, but people who vote for Democrats and whatnot) sharing Q-related stuff out of concern for children, but it seems like they mostly don't realize it's QAnon stuff and haven't made the leap to QAnon support. So it's concerning, but it doesn't necessarily mean they're going to go full conspiracy theory. But it does worry me.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:35 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]


Mob psychology is a hell of a thing.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:06 PM on September 13


"Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it.

A person is smart. But people are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

posted by The Notorious SRD at 9:44 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


I’ve been listening to the QAnon Anonymous podcast for a while and they’ve been mentioning encroachment of Q stuff among new-age granola type people who are stereotypically left-leaning. At the ‘Save the Children’ march they covered in CA, there was a racially diverse crowd, younger people, and gay participants. My mother says a black coworker came up to her a few weeks ago, made Q like claims about Biden and Obama and said that was why she couldn’t vote for anyone besides Trump. I think this is going leftwards. The fact that it’s like a katamari for other conspiracy theories helps.
posted by Selena777 at 10:59 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


A dear person in my life is part of the older hippie crowd in Northern California. For several years now he has been warning that the New Age Left and the Conspiracist Right are meeting up at the far side of reality. He hasn't yet been able to crystallize (no pun intended) what is driving the New Agers into the same mental neighborhood, but in some ways Q-type thinking makes even more sense from that side, since they have been moving from "all natural," to anti-GMO, to anti-vaccine, to "don't trust any authorities" for a long time.
posted by PhineasGage at 11:25 AM on September 14 [7 favorites]


A leftist facebook friend of mine who lives in Canada reshared a long, fairly coherently written post about child trafficking that managed to hit a bunch of QAnon talking points. It was very clearly in the QAnon-verse, it wanted you to know that a horde of rich Epsteins were using secret pro-pedophilia symbols ("red shoes") etc, but to a casual reader who is already inclined to want to eat the rich, I could absolutely see how it would worm its way in.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:34 AM on September 14


Interesting Global Voices story about a Brazilian New Ager getting into Q.

Cesa’s videos stand out for the spiritualist, supernatural spin. He often offers live meditations for his followers. His worldview is underpinned by the idea that Trump, along with allies such as Bolsonaro, is a member of an “Earth alliance” who is helping a cohort of benign aliens to clean up dark forces and ultimately “transcend” to the Age of Aquarius...
posted by doctornemo at 11:44 AM on September 14


I am dropping in to say only that I have been seeing articles everywhere about the "sudden" rise of Qanon as a political force targeting lefties or Democratically-important electoral demos (particularly white women! and apparently hispanics in Florida!) on social networking sites, and other articles about Putin's continued interference in the election, and nary an article even asking "is Qanon the new Putin ratfucking tactic?"

and it makes me feel like I'm taking crazy pills. like...look, I know it's not good journalism or whatever, but it is at least a very credible hypothesis, no? that the Kremlin, just as they did last time, and as we've been consistently warned they'll do this time, might be propagandizing to targeted groups seen as crucial (white women) or vulnerable (poisoned lefties who drank that fucking kool aid last time) for the election? And also, come the fuck on. Like of course they're using it. It would almost be authoritarian ratfucker malpractice if they didn't.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:48 AM on September 14 [8 favorites]


Well, obviously the Russians didn't trick innocent Americans into doing a racism. The documented methodology of both FSB/GRU spooks and Kremlin-linked private troll farms has been to find fault lines in American society and hit them hard, and race is a pretty obvious target.

Yes, these fault lines around race and gender have always existed, but it's critical to note that the exploitation of them by both Americans (who form an actual secret group of evil people known as hyper-wealthy conservatives) and non-Americans (like Russians and whomever else) has been hyper-scaled by ad-driven social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

There is no singular driver for all of this horror show. The underlying conditions have always been there, but the tools needed to make conspiracy theories really take off like they do now have only existed for a decade.
posted by Ouverture at 11:48 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


One of the most powerful tools, being operated in plain sight: Fox News. When James Murdoch resigned from the Board of News Corp "citing 'disagreements over certain editorial content'," it was clear nothing is ever going to change there, and it felt like dropping one more level down into the Inferno.
posted by PhineasGage at 11:58 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


(To not abuse the edit window...) What's the over-under on how soon Fox "News" will be peddling straight-up Q-Anon material?
posted by PhineasGage at 11:59 AM on September 14


Four weeks.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:01 PM on September 14 [5 favorites]


One of the most powerful tools, being operated in plain sight: Fox News. When James Murdoch resigned from the Board of News Corp "citing 'disagreements over certain editorial content'," it was clear nothing is ever going to change there, and it felt like dropping one more level down into the Inferno.

What's interesting is that Fox News isn't a hyper-scaling tool in the same way as the social networks. Fox News can only reach people watching it, but Q Anon has been able to go way past the mostly old/white viewership of Fox News.

Its real impact is being able to legitimize this under a patina of journalism. And then it feeds right back into the social networks for wider dissemination.
posted by Ouverture at 12:04 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


OTOH, the slogan “where we go one, we go all” does sound as if it was translated word for word from a language other than English. Perhaps the task was entrusted to a troll-house intern who thought they knew English well enough, and they All Your Base'd it.
posted by acb at 7:56 PM


Sounds like the same intern who came up with "be best".


...is ...is ...is everything connected?
posted by ouke at 12:07 PM on September 14


that the Kremlin, just as they did last time, and as we've been consistently warned they'll do this time, might be propagandizing to targeted groups seen as crucial (white women) or vulnerable (poisoned lefties who drank that fucking kool aid last time) for the election?

this is sort of plausible, but looking at the scope of previous manipulation campaigns that were discovered makes me think it isn't likely. The way those previous campaigns worked usually involved the fake accounts bandwagoning onto existing causes, and they didn't seem to be all that skilled at it, based on what was discovered by Facebook and Twitter. I don't think viewing QAnon as primarily a Russian disinformation campaign is the right way to look at it.

Most of QAnon just seems to be homegrown and American. I bet there are foreign actors running QAnon accounts and Facebook groups, but it seems like it mostly is just ordinary people who truly believe it, and will say so under their real names to people who actually know them. And the ecumenical "mix of all conspiracies", accepting community is something that seems hard to fake without mostly real people involved. This is just my own view from getting blasted with this stuff by old friends and acquaintances.

I do think Russia played a likely role in the DNC leaks, which were what inspired "Pizzagate", which was sort of the beta version of QAnon. And I also think that the obsession with nefarious plots by George Soros is a particularly Russian one -- propaganda claiming he was behind protest movements in Eastern Europe and Russia started over there years before it came over here -- and that the spread of Soros-related conspiracy theories are probably due to Russian meddling, and this shows up in the QAnon community.

But to me, based on my own limited perspective, it seems like at most some Russian propaganda was one of a few small brushfires that sparked the whole thing.
posted by vogon_poet at 12:09 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


A left-wing friend of mine started sharing Q stuff on Facebook. He believes children should be in school, and that vaccines can be dangerous (his kids are vaccinated but they are not vaccinated on the schedule the state wants, which has lead to public school problems).

He's a typical Santa Cruz modern hippie who works in education as an admin and hates Republicans, but both Anti-Vax and Open the Schools are doorways to Q.

One of the most interesting things about Q is how many doorways they have, and how many overlapping conspiracies and subgroups are involved. Basically, if you don't trust the Government, Q might be for you.

The idea that this has anything to do with Russia is farcical. The power of Russia's online trolls has been grossly exaggerated. Homegrown Antisemitism and Anti-Soros, Rightwing hatred of the Clintons, etc etc. does not need Russian help.
posted by chaz at 12:30 PM on September 14 [5 favorites]


Doesn't mean they aren't getting help. Any acceleration of the spread of these tropes in the coming few weeks is IMO a clear and present danger.
posted by goinWhereTheClimateSuitsMyClothes at 12:51 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


For anyone who hasn't already seen it, here's local news coverage of an anti-mask protest in Utah. Comments from the crowd pull it all together nicely:
- flu kills more than than COVID
- asymptomatic carriers don't exist
- it's my constitutional right not to wear a mask,
- George Floyd said 'I can't breathe,' so why do I have to wear a mask when I can't breathe,
and (ta dum!)
- pedophiles love masks.
posted by PhineasGage at 1:44 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


It's been documented by numerous internet researchers over the past couple of years that the Russian bots and trolls are now focusing most of their energy on amplifying, rather than originating, divisive content. So I have no doubt at all that Putin's minions are pouring all the gasoline they can on this fire, even if it was started by Americans.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 2:04 PM on September 14 [11 favorites]


What's interesting is that Fox News isn't a hyper-scaling tool in the same way as the social networks. Fox News can only reach people watching it...

While true, it’s the “only reach people watching it” part that somewhat scales out from an individual’s home. How many doctor/dentist/whatever have FoxNews playing in their waiting rooms? Heck, there’s a McDonalds nearby that has the indoor seating area set-up like office cubicles for people to work at. And, on the walls, monitors tuned to FoxNews.

It’s not internet-level scale, but Fox’s reach scales far further than just your uncle’s man cave.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:55 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


It's been documented by numerous internet researchers over the past couple of years that the Russian bots and trolls are now focusing most of their energy on amplifying, rather than originating, divisive content. So I have no doubt at all that Putin's minions are pouring all the gasoline they can on this fire, even if it was started by Americans.

I'd like to examine this a little bit. The scale of QAnon is now vast, we're talking estimates of 1m to 5m people taking part in the online aspects of the conspiracy theory. How do Russians even fan the flames at this point? Why would they need to? Can 100 people in a troll farm even have an impact when there is so much organic activity and how would it benefit them?
posted by chaz at 3:30 PM on September 14 [1 favorite]


For anyone interested in the weird growing intersection between the alt right and the New Age crowd I cannot recommend the podcast Conspirituality highly enough. First episode has some amateur audio issues but they get better. One of the hosts is a cult survivor and so comes with a unique perspective to analyzing the QAnon phenomenon.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 4:37 PM on September 14 [6 favorites]


An awful lot of the anti-maskers going into stores just so they can make videos of themselves pitching fits over being asked to wear a mask seem to be New Age-y types--yoga instructors, holistic healers, pitchers of various sorts of woo. And they support Trump. I never trusted New Age types and now I know my intuition was right.
posted by LindsayIrene at 5:04 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


Out here in the 'burbs of Long Island, the suburban white women--almost always angry--are a real force. The same women who forced a school district to shut a school shortly before the Covid outbreak and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to prove that the school wasn't poisoning their children with chemicals are also the anti-vaxxers claiming vaccines are some sort of plot, that masks are a plot to take away their freedom, that 5G cell towers are going to kill us all. Tonight, a different school district decided to make one primary school all remote for two weeks because a teacher--probably phys ed or music--became ill last week with Covid, and because he had had contact with nearly every kid in that school, not just one classroom, the district and the county health department concluded that the only way to prevent a possible spread was to shut it down temporarily. You can argue that decision, I suppose, but it wasn't done without a great deal of examination of how to contact trace but was found to be impossible given the wide exposure. And the superintendent happens to be an extremely thoughtful and cautious person.

That didn't stop the mothers of the first school district from popping over to the other school district's Facebook page to insist the super wasn't following protocol. These are the same women accusing Gov. Cuomo of being a communist, or carrying signs finding Satanism at every turn, shouting "We're the media now" while shouting at reporters, and posting relentlessly about how children are in danger of being kidnapped and that men--random men--should be escorting women and children through parking lots We are in scary times.
posted by etaoin at 10:07 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]


I would not be surprised if Q himself is a committee of salaried trolls sitting in an office park outside Sankt Petersburg. The goal of disinformation is to make people distrust reality, and as this recent NY Times Op-Docs video series on how the KGB trained its people points out , as a young KGB agent Putin was graded on the efficiency of his disinformation reports. Vladislav Surkov served as Putin's advisor using theories derived from avante-garde theater to promote distorted public perceptions of reality. His theories are required reading for the Russian military command staff. Those KGB - FSB disinfo guys are trained virtuosos at what they do. As far as propaganda goes, the Republicans have only produced clowns like Roger Stone, Alex Jones, Steve Bannon, and Trumpito.

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was not the first use of Blood Libel- Jewish cabal mega theory, but it showed remarkable staying power in Europe. Versions of it have influenced right wing and anti-Semitic groups from the 1880s to today - including the Russian pogroms, the Dreyfus trials, early Arab nationalism, the Holocaust, and its current popularity on Identitarian web sites. Yet the Protocols never really caught on in the United States, despite efforts by Henry Ford to publish and propagate it in the 1920s. It remained a feature of neo-Nazi forums, something passed around by the old guard on Stormfront. As an anti-Semitic organizing tool, the blood libel accusation just never gained any real traction in the United States. For it to be so cleverly repackaged and re-branded as a political tool with its explicitly anti-Jewish themes watered down into Pizzagate... during an election campaign featuring Trump at its center... makes me smell something bigger and more sinister than some right wing blogger sitting in his basement logging onto the Tor network.
posted by zaelic at 3:59 AM on September 15 [6 favorites]


An awful lot of the anti-maskers going into stores just so they can make videos of themselves pitching fits over being asked to wear a mask seem to be New Age-y types--yoga instructors, holistic healers, pitchers of various sorts of woo. And they support Trump.

The horseshoe horseshit theory.
posted by acb at 6:59 AM on September 15


For an example of Russian propagandists at least accelerating local conspiratorial thinking: "Right-Wing Conspiracists Linked Antifa to the Wildfires. Then They Got a Big Boost From Russian Media. How overlapping false claims about the wildfires ricocheted around conservative social media thanks to a bogus story from Russia." (Mother Jones)
posted by PhineasGage at 8:04 AM on September 15 [5 favorites]


Protocols of the incels of QAnon.
posted by jimfl at 6:41 PM on September 15 [5 favorites]


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