Palpable desperation and schadenfreude


One of the things bringing me great joy right now is watching QAnon implode. None of the predictions came true! It was all a lie! It’s sinking in for some.

Despite attempts to keep the hope alive, QAnon followers watched in dismay as Trump left Washington, D.C., for Florida Wednesday morning while Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. With no military coup, no dramatic scenes of revolution, and no mass executions or retaliatory violence as prophesized, QAnon adherents began to wonder if they had been deceived.

“It’s over. We were played,” one follower said on a QAnon Telegram channel with more than 30,000 subscribers. “I’m going to throw up now.”

“[Q] has left me here looking out over the sea watching and waiting,” a QAnon disciple said on Telegram. “No word, no letter, no sign. Nothing tangible on which I can depend. I could wait forever but no true sign.”

“I’m crying and tired of this pain,” said one post on a QAnon channel. “All the evil is being praised right now while we sit and watch. No arrests, no swamp reveal. Nothing.”

With Biden officially inaugurated, one QAnon follower was clearly disgruntled. ​“We all got arse fucked,” ​he told the channel.

It’s great that I can laugh now, but these people haven’t changed. Give them time, and that gullibility and loony conspiracy thinking will have to bust out somewhere else. That’s already happening, and this is ominous:

Some QAnon channels attempted to maintain optimism by theorizing that “Biden will be the one who pulls the trigger” that leads to “The Storm”, that “Biden is Q,” and even that the 17 flags at Trump’s farewell speech—Q is the 17th letter in the alphabet—was a sign to “trust the plan.”

No, no, no — you’re supposed to have learned to be more skeptical, not to reach harder for goofy rationalizations.

Comments

  1. weylguy says

    The groundbreaking 1956 book When Prophecy Fails by social psychologist Leon Festinger comes to mind.

  2. kome says

    Death cults are all the same.
    Here’s my prediction: Either this one is going to get far more dangerous very soon before there is real effort to stamp it out, or it’s going to persist as a relatively low-level evil that our country does nothing about (read: only a few mass shootings per year, but only targeting powerless people like black people in church or women in yoga studios). Without actual effort to squash this stain on humanity, it’s not going anywhere, and the only way the United States is going to put effort into squashing it will require these nutcases to go overboard and succeed in murdering elected officials on the right-wing, but just not right-wing enough for Q.

  3. PaulBC says

    I was an early adopter of the theory that letting Biden enter the White House as president was all part of the plot to trip him up (“give him enough rope…” as the saying goes). Maybe QAnon will regroup under this expectation.

  4. raven says

    Just going to repeat myself from yesterday.

    The Biden administration could out Qanon in a day or two max.
    The alphabet agencies DHS, FBI CIA, DI, NSA etc. have multi-billion dollar budgets and a lot of cyberwarfare knowledge.
    It’s $52 billion/year for DHS/FBI and $100 billion/year total with the other spy agencies included.

    Compared to them, Qanon is a mouse.
    It is likely that it is the creator of 8chan/8kun, the American porn provider living in the Philippines.

    When you are wrecking lives and a society, you don’t get to claim a right to privacy.

  5. robro says

    Another version on the same theme: ‘We All Got Played’: QAnon Followers Implode After Big Moment Never Comes.

    And this is Sen. Ben Sasse’s take on the GOP party’s embarrass of QAnon: QAnon Is Destroying the GOP From Within. Sasse describes himself as an “evangelical” Christian, although he doesn’t seem like the pulpit pounding type particularly, so he seems to believe that the failure in American life that produced QAnon, Trump, and other faults on both sides of the aisle is the result of not being Christian enough. In addition, he gives a nod to social disruption, the power of big tech, and spending too much time on the internet.

  6. Snarki, child of Loki says

    @raven
    “It is likely that [Qanon] is the creator of 8chan/8kun, the American porn provider living in the Philippines.”

    So one drone-strike, and the traitorous insurrectionist conspiracy is decapitated? Worth a try.

    Meanwhile search the skies! for a nice bright comet for the Qanoners to Heaven’s Gate their way onto.

  7. raven says

    The obvious comparison for Q is the xian Rapture. The xians have killed me dozens of times in one Rapture or another. The afterlife always ends up looking…just like our life was.
    They never give it up, just keep setting a new date.

    Buzzfeed
    How QAnon-Like Conspiracy Theories Tear Families Apart
    January 15, 20214:02 PM ET

    QAnon has ruined lifelong friendships and alienated family members. Those who still speak to one another say their relationships have changed, often beyond repair.

    Nobody said any of their loved ones had returned to reality.

    “My mom has fallen into the conspiracy beliefs of QAnon,” Samantha, 30, who lives in Texas, told BuzzFeed News. “For months I’ve been trying to bring her back to reality, and I’ve really tried it all.”

    The false fantasy of Q has torn families apart, torn friends apart, and ended some marriages.
    Some people like the NC pizza place shooter are in prison because of it.

    It’s definitely done a lot of harm to a lot of people.

  8. PaulBC says

    “Not with a bang” but yesterday was the whimper heard ’round the world. What’s that expression I remember Trump using about Al Franken? Folded up like a wet rag. Or maybe a wet QAnon banner.

    I know it’s not really the end, but I am relieved that they didn’t show. They’ll be back, or someone will. I hope we’re not blindsided like we were with the Tea Party. Biden has two years where he stands a chance to get anything done.

  9. says

    They’re splitting the republican party. Does anyone think they’d fall for R-anon next?

    I know a guy with ab R-level clearance who says the Biden admin is staffed with animatronics and Dr Fauci is going to use science to unmask the whole thing and make, ummm, Joe Exotic president using Area51 tech.

  10. cates says

    From “End of the World” sketch.
    “Well, it’s not quite the conflagration I’d been banking on. Never mind, lads, same time tomorrow… we must get a winner one day.”

  11. says

    It was like “The Wave” in reverse. The dupes expected the big reveal of national fascism taking away their freedoms, only to realize their opposition to a new leader was the fascism.

    There was no “external threat”, but fanatics wanted there to be one, to justify their desires and actions.

  12. says

    Maybe I’m just overly suspicious, but I keep recalling that the plural of anecdote is not data. I don’t doubt that there are at least some, but I also realize that this is just the kind of story that the media loves, and that they would search out. There is probably a fair bit of selection bias going on. I do hope that this phenomena is widespread–I just prefer to take a wait-and-see attitude over whether it is, and whether it helps change anything.

  13. says

    @#8, raven:

    Actually, this bears a lot of resemblance to the original Rapture, also known as the Great Disappointment, the whole Millerite thing. Which is, in a selective way, good news, because a lot of people who were True Believers left the Millerite movement entirely… but on the other hand, the idea of The Rapture stuck around, and there are at least 3 large-enough-to-be-recognizable-by-name denominations which are still around who are basically attempts to explain why Jesus didn’t show up in 1844. So we may well have people a century from now claiming that Q’s Apprentice is just waiting to lead an insurrection against the evil, evil government.

  14. zetopan says

    Note that Charles Mackay had his “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds” published clear back in 1841 and it still isn’t out of date today (about 180 years later). Flat Earther’s are still among us and organized religion guarantees that credulity will considered a different way of “knowing” well into the future (or as long as they can continue to control education).

  15. davidc1 says

    I feel sorry for the person who was the sole person to turn up at a demo .
    Who am i kidding hahahaha .

  16. thrymskvida says

    @raven, #5

    Just a small correction: Jim Watkins (the skeezy old porn hoster who lived in the Philippines but has now been declared an “undesirable alien”) did NOT found 8chan/8kun. That was Fredrick Brennan, a young man who has since “reformed” and been instrumental in the constant shutting down of 8kun.

    I also think that even if the current Q was removed and never posted again, that wouldn’t stop QAnoners. Like The Vicar said, it’s like the Millerites, and the movement has long since shed its dependence on its prophet. It’s self-sustaining at this point.

  17. Callinectes says

    No, what’s ominous is that several white supremacist groups have descended upon the QAnon community with the explicit intent of taking advantage of their confusion and loss, stoking their hate and anger for the purposes of recruitment.

  18. whheydt says

    Re: The Vicar @ #16…
    And the Great Disappointment spawned the JWs and SDAs that plague our doorsteps to this very day.

  19. John Morales says

    whheydt, plague? More like diversions.

    I used to enjoy chatting with them (outside the house, on the porch).
    It was quite entertaining. And, I mean, they did ask for it!

    (After some time, they stopped coming. Aww)

  20. John Morales says

    Callinectes:

    what’s ominous is that several white supremacist groups have descended upon the QAnon community with the explicit intent of taking advantage of their confusion and loss

    Heh. What’s ominous about that?

    (They’re clueless, after all)

  21. PaulBC says

    @23 @24 I don’t find JWs to be either a plague or a hobby. Sometimes they come to the door and they leave after about 30 seconds of polite conversation, handing me a tract as they go. They strike me as well-intentioned. I’d rather not know if they’re not. Actually, I just remembered, I got a long handwritten note from one just the other day. They couldn’t come to the door because of the pandemic. Thoughtful, eh? Very neatly printed. I can’t imagine doing that. I hate writing anything by hand, even a shopping list, which I scribble with as few words as possible.

    The best answer I had was spontaneous. They had a tract with a question that they asked me directly (I might have the wording a little off) “Who controls the world, God or government?” I said “Well, I don’t think anyone is really in control.” probably way too pleased with myself that my kids were in earshot and I could set an example of being pleasantly forthright.

    I will stand by those words. I felt there is a lot of insecurity wrapped up in a false dichotomy that somebody is in control. Governments do try to govern, and I prefer when they’re successful at this, but uncertainty is a fact of existence and will remain so. I mean, maybe just because my life isn’t all that bad… though I have faced deaths in the family and multiple medical adventures with my daughter… I just think I hope it stays good, but there are no guarantees, and it’s a lot worse for many other people. No, there is nothing to control any of this. The best we have are contingency plans, not guarantees.

    (I didn’t elaborate as above, since I was not the one proselytizing and they were politely on their way after less than a minute, as I said.)

  22. John Morales says

    Paul:

    [JW’s] They strike me as well-intentioned.

    They don’t really get a choice; it’s part of their religion and it’s expected of them.
    If they don’t do it, they get into trouble within their closed community.
    Like a Catholic who doesn’t go to church, only worse.

    The ones who are born into it? I pity them. It’s a cult, for real.

    (I didn’t elaborate as above, since I was not the one proselytizing and they were politely on their way after less than a minute, as I said.)

    Heh. I like to make sure they’re gazing into the abyss.
    Who knows, perhaps I plant a seed of doubt.

    (Which is to say, if they want to proselytise at me, they get to be proselytised by me.
    Fair’s fair)

  23. whheydt says

    The irony of the JWs is that they believe (or, at least, used to…I don’t spend time keeping up on their theology) that exactly 144,000 people are going to get into Heaven, and that they–the JWs–are the ones. Yet, they keep trying to recruit members which–logically–would dilute the chances of the existing JWs.

    They also used to be big into predictions for the End of the World. One of the ones they picked was 1914. When that came and went and the world was still here, they decided that it was the “generation” (for which I read “cohort”) of 1914 and the world would pass away before that cohort did. Since the oldest age at death that we have good records on is 122 and some days (and is an amusing in its own right), that means that the world has to end under that condition no later than 2036.

    In one sense, though, they were correct that end of the world would start in 1914. Just ask the families of all the Eastern European monarchies that were swept away at the end of WW1.

    So far as I know, within the last 20 or 30 years they’ve gotten out of the “end of the world prediction” business.

  24. PaulBC says

    whheydt@28

    The irony of the JWs is that they believe (or, at least, used to…I don’t spend time keeping up on their theology) that exactly 144,000 people are going to get into Heaven, and that they–the JWs–are the ones. Yet, they keep trying to recruit members which–logically–would dilute the chances of the existing JWs.

    What happens to the rest? If it’s oblivion, then fine, the nice lady who took the time to write me the note can go for the brass ring. I’m just not all that ambitious. If it’s eternal damnation, then I really have to wonder what kind of insane despot they worship.

  25. PaulBC says

    @30 Wikipedia:

    Jehovah’s Witnesses believe salvation is a gift from God attained by being part of “God’s organization” and putting faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice.

    I see, some sort of protection racket. You make your bones to get in with the big boss.

    (Not that this distinguishes them from many other religions.)

  26. Anton Mates says

    whheydt @28

    The irony of the JWs is that they believe (or, at least, used to…I don’t spend time keeping up on their theology) that exactly 144,000 people are going to get into Heaven, and that they–the JWs–are the ones.

    Not exactly; the 144,000 anointed go to Heaven but the rest of the faithful (possibly including some non-JW Christians) get resurrected in an earthly paradise. There’s no limit on the latter, so recruiting as many people as possible is the charitable thing to do.

    I suppose recruiting people might decrease your chance of being among the anointed…or it might increase your chance, since God will reward your zeal. Either way I doubt that JWs think it’s virtuous to obstruct others’ salvation in the hope of enhancing your own.

    PaulBC @29 It’s oblivion. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in hell.

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