It has become harder to laugh at the Q idiots


Just yesterday, I was saying it brought me great joy to watch Q implode. Today, the joy is gone. I have discovered r/QAnonCasualties. I guess I overlooked the fact that the gibbering twits have friends and family that loved them, and are heartbroken by this devastating disease that has poisoned their loved one.

There’s the woman whose COVID-denying, conspiracy theorist father came near to dying.

I have to admit though. I am upset. I am frustrated in this funked up trap my dad is in. My dad is a Christian, and in many ways it has brought him peace, joy, and love. But he is also a white Christian man in America. And he is brainwashed. There is another pandemic going on and it is that whole clump of right wing, Christian, crap. Even before this all happened I have missed my father, I have felt like in many ways he is gone :( . He raised me to be empathetic and loving. To care for the earth and be responsible. Now, He doesn’t even trust science. He screamed at me in the car about how climate change isn’t real as I sobbed and kept telling him to stop yelling at me. I took many classes in the college he helped me pay for and he still mocks me. Thinks my professors were all alarmist opportunists. And more upsetting he is apathetic about civil rights and believes BLM Is a leftist conspiracy. Im pretty sure in 2016 he voted for trump. I couldn’t even ask him this past year. It’s incredibly sickening and upsetting. Yet I think of everything he has taught me and I think, this can’t be? And this is a minor thing but weird to me, he won’t stop ranting about how wrong evolution is (I keep trying to tell him there’s a way god and evolution to exist as god “works in mysterious ways” but he doesn’t hear me out). Everything circles back to this somehow. He are having a nice day outside? “Look at all this, so much beauty and perfection, how could this EVER have been an accident or a series of mistakes?!!” ..I just want to talk with him about NORMAL THINGS. With sentient clarity!!! Everything circles back to something religious or a conspiracy theory. It’s not living.

Or the woman whose husband was so absorbed in the cult that they divorced.

I divorced my husband a year ago because he became a devout Qanon follower; over the last 3-4 years of our marriage his entire personality changed so much (slowly, of course…it doesn’t happen overnight).

Or the guy whose boss is preaching at him at work.

I can’t do this, y’all. I can’t keep getting cornered for 40 hours of my work week, having my boss aggressively talk over me to share tales of celebrities gene splicing child sex slaves into half-man-half-beasts. I can’t keep hearing about how Michelle Obama is a “tr*nny”, sucking child blood and helping Mark Zuckerberg’s wife run a cannibal restaurant in LA, of which Katy Perry is the top customer. I can’t keep hearing about innocent celebrities diddling kids for eight hours a day, about how Paris Hilton is under mind control by the democrats, about how Johnny Depp is a warlock feasting on fetuses from Planned Parenthood, and about how Michael Jackson “did what he could to save the children from Nancy Pelosi before they killed him”. I am tired of hearing about how ProudBoy figureheads were actually ANTIFA. I am tired of my boss complaining about “the fog war”, and about how “disinformation is spreading like wildfire and poisoning the minds of Americans”, when my boss is an unknowing proponent of that. I am tired of being yelled at in the break room for drinking Dasani or tap water, because it is “birth control and vaccine water”. I. Cannot. Do. This. I don’t even make enough money to do this. I need a new job but I am terrified of not being able to find one, so I’ve stayed for the last year. I am so sick and tired. Someone tell me this is gonna be over soon.

My schadenfreude has been reduced to just schaden. So many lives wrecked by this stupid belief. The site does include a list of resources for people dealing with QAnon fallout, which looks pretty good.

On the brighter side, we can still laugh at the Trump family catastrophe.

Donald Trump returns to his company this week as it faces a deepening crisis, with key properties bleeding revenue and its bankers, lawyers and customers fleeing the company.

Financial disclosure forms, filed by the former president as he left office, revealed that his hotels, resorts and other properties had lost more than $120 million in revenue last year, as the pandemic forced long-term closures and kept customers home.

Those losses were worst in the places where Trump could least afford it: His Washington hotel, which has a $170 million loan outstanding, saw revenue drop more than 60 percent. His Doral resort in Miami — also carrying a huge debt load — saw a 44 percent drop.

On Thursday, the company’s troubles grew: One of its banks and one of its law firms said they would cut their ties with the Trump Organization. They are the latest in a string of vendors and customers who severed their relationships with the company after Jan. 6, when a mob of Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol directly after he addressed them at a rally.

Ely said the Trump Organization is a relatively small operation, which relies heavily on the work of others — lawyers and real estate brokers, and investors who paid to have Trump’s name on their buildings. Now, some of those outsiders are pulling away. “He’s done enormous reputational damage to himself,” Ely said.

Oh yeah, I can watch every member of that ghastly family weep and moan and suffer and, I hope, languish in prison without a moment’s sympathy for them. Bleed, you monsters, so I can laugh harder, and I hope you all end up impoverished and ruined.

I’ll make a provisional exception for Barron, unless he turns out to be a privileged, grasping little shit like his father.

Comments

  1. redwood says

    My Japanese wife seems to have caught the Q bug as well (yes, it’s going strong in Japan on social media). We sometimes talk about it at dinner and I try to listen as openly as I can and prod her for details. She knows I don’t believe in it, so says she’ll stand by me when the “truth” comes out because I’ll be too shocked to do anything. She doesn’t rave or rant or make my life miserable and we get along as well as ever outside of this. I guess I should consider myself fortunate. What I’d like to know is what causes people to fall for this.

    My wife isn’t religious and isn’t stupid except about Q things. She thinks Trump is a decent person and will arrest all the bad people, which will allow him to be president again (because Biden will be arrested). Oh, and Hillary and Bill Gates have already been put in the pokie, along with lots of other celebrities. It reminds me of when I used to speak with my mother when she was in the first stages of Alzheimer’s, before we realized she was being affected. She’d just say nonsense things in a perfectly normal voice and my siblings and I would look at each other, wondering what was going on.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    I’ll make a provisional exception for Barron, unless he turns out to be a privileged, grasping little shit like his father.

    Oh, he will. He will.

  3. chigau (違う) says

    If Barron was 5 years old there might be hope but he’s almost 15. It’s too late.

  4. davidc1 says

    And the donald still has he fans over here in GB ,this word salad was posted on faceache .

    “Not all of them apparently. This was posted on an FB page “We Love Trump UK”. This nonesense isn’t going away soon.”

    “You can spread this: Direct from High – Up Military: According to the latest schedule everything will be exposed some time between Sunday afternoon and Monday night. The timer has been set for those two particular days. During that time the EBS (Emergency Broadcast System) will be activated. President Trump will send out a message, My fellow Americans the storm is upon us. There will be 7 presidential text messages sent from him via Air Force One following the message The Storm is Upon Us. That puts us under full global martial law. Via the EBS, on authorized devices there will be an 8 hour video played 3 times a day for 10 days straight with video confessions of high profile elite individuals being exposed for their crimes against humanity at their military tribunals. While the movie is being played 500,000 plus people will be taken down worldwide. This repeating movie will be extremely painful for most of us because it involves people we thought we could trust committing unthinkable crimes. We understand that no one will be allowed to leave their residence until completion. During this moment in history we will transition to Gesara/Nesara. There will be a full rewiring of planet earth. It is our understanding that media and internet will be shut down. This is not a transition from President Trump to Biden. It is a transition that President Trump in conjunction with the military have composed restoring things back to the we the people. Now you know why General Flynn was pardoned (key asset to this entire process). We are preparing for a brand new future where humanity is free from the constraints of former powers. There will finally be a world free of division amongst the people. Everyone must understand this is serious so please have enough food, water, batteries and necessities for the duration of ten days. It is better to be safe than sorry. You are receiving this message to give you ample time to prepare for what is coming in the next few days.”

    Barking mad ,batshit crazy wackaloon just doesn’t do it justice ,do it .

    Thinking of joining we love trump UK ,just to take the wee wee .

  5. Larry says

    davidc1@#5

    Because when you want your take-over to be a total surprise, you put all the details in the hands of some yahoo who immediately posts them on twitter.

    Now that the days of action have passed, I wonder what is passing for thought in their liquid-filled cranial sacs

  6. davidc1 says

    @7 Larry ,LOL. The worrying thing is they might be a bunch of Barking mad ,batshit crazy wackaloons ,but
    they are Barking mad ,batshit crazy wackaloon with guns .
    They might not try anything against the POTUS or the VPOTUS ,but there are plenty of others .
    Gabby Giffords comes to mind .

  7. raven says

    It’s for sure that the Trump regime and the many conspiracy theories they carefully fed have split friends apart, destroyed families, and ended marriages.
    The FBI has now arrested or is looking for 200 of the Capitol building attackers.
    A lot of those were identified and turned in by their families, former friends, and ex partners.

    Pushed to the edge by the Capitol riot, people are reporting their family and friends to the FBI
    Washington Post

    Anguished Americans are handing over friends and family for their alleged involvement in the Capitol riots, contributing to greater than 100,000 ideas submitted to the FBI and enjoying a job in a minimum of one high-profile arrest.

    For months — typically years — the informants say they’ve watched helplessly as family members embraced far-right ideology and latched onto conspiracy theories, from QAnon to viral-video claims of a coronavirus “Plandemic.” Extremism has thrived in the Trump period and beneath pandemic lockdowns, consultants say, with extra people remoted at house and misinformation rampant on-line.

  8. microraptor says

    I’m shocked to see that Qanon is apparently pushing the batshit idea that Michael Jackson was killed for trying to protect the children, given that he was the far right’s poster child for “evil celebrity child molester” up until his death.

  9. says

    Thanks for this, PZ, and well said! I cannot endorse this strongly enough. I have been quite annoyed about outbursts of social darwinist sentiments amongst otherwise progressive people. Too many seem to take great joy in these deluded people succumbing to their own stupidity, whilst forgetting that these are still people and someone’s close relative or (former) friend or lover. I have known too many close to drift away from my due to the frailty of the human mind to find this amusing at all.

  10. kome says

    Sure, it is important to not forget that these cultists and terrorists are people who are victims in their own right (ha! pun not intended but I’ll keep it) of the powerful white supremacists at the top of our political, business, and media cultures. But they’re also responsible for contributing to victimizing millions around the world who aren’t cultists or terrorists, who just want to live their lives. So, while I pity and feel sorry for the foot-soldier right-wingers becoming the dangerous, reality-deniers that they are at the behest of the Trump, Cruz, Hannity, Ingraham, and Jones types, it pales in comparison to how much I feel sorry for their victims: Victims of their COVID-denying so that this pathogen has run rampant across out country taking almost half-a-million lives so far; victims of their mass shootings, making this the only industrialized country in the world that also has this as an epidemic; victims of their concentration camps and deportations and hysterectomies; victims of their police brutality in response to either non-crimes or crimes that don’t even warrant jail time much less public execution. That’s who I feel most sorry for. Those are the QAnon casualties I find more heartbreaking.

  11. mnb0 says

    “Bleed, you monsters, so I can laugh harder”
    Yeah, that’s so much easier than doing some actual work for structural change.
    Prediction: next time another awful Republican becomes president PZ will start whining again and urge everyone to vote for another Democrat candidate who will change nothing.

  12. pilgham says

    I doubt we will ever reach a point where it will die out completely. You will always be able to find sites on the web pushing this stuff, usually asking for money as well. NESARA, Iraqi dinar investments, birtherism, none of these have gone away. Sovcit, american moors, freeman on the land, all going strong. Well, not strong, really a relatively small group and the people who feed off them. Just like TV evangelism and mega churches. But it is its own ecology and self-sustaining.

  13. stroppy says

    @ 5

    John Frum, David Koresh, and Donald Trump: characters in a comic book origin story who become a singular super villain when they are melted together in a nuclear accident ignited by a FaceAche cargo cult.

  14. says

    Instead of stopping the Republicans when they were weak and it would have been easy, the Democrats kept insisting on bipartisanship and unity — in which the Republicans never, at any time, reciprocated — and now the party has basically morphed into a dangerous cult of armed lunatics who are totally detached from reality.

    It’s not actually completely too late to fix this, but fixing it would mean admitting that the right wing is not a potential partner to be reasoned with but an enemy to be completely disarmed. It would mean admitting that the US military is a force for chaos around the globe which is rotted through with supporters of this cult, and needs to be heavily wound down and defunded ASAP. It would mean taking a stand against the very rich, who have been bankrolling the descent into lunacy for decades. Unfortunately, Democrats decided to nominate a right-winger and self-proclaimed lover of Republicans, who is already mindlessly calling for “unity”, with a VP who has, within the last four months, repeatedly voted to keep the military budget inflating.

    In Germany, they say: if you see 10 people sitting peacefully at a table with a Nazi, what you have is 11 Nazis. It’s very clear that if you have a President who is eager to work with a Republican, you have a Republican President.

  15. KG says

    Barking mad ,batshit crazy wackaloon just doesn’t do it justice ,do it . – dav idc 1@9

    Indeed, it is completely Upminster*.

    *Eight stations beyond Barking on the London Underground District Line; you can’t go any further.

  16. KG says

    It’s very clear that if you have a President who is eager to work with a Republican, you have a Republican President. – The Vicar@22

    So what are you moaning about? You are on record here as wanting a Republican to win the presidential election.

  17. PaulBC says

    There was a point where I would tell my purist left friends that they’ve convinced me there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats, so I think I’ll just go for the real thing and vote Trump. (I mostly stopped that after last year’s impeachment, when it was entirely clear he was clumsily seeking autocratic powers and it was beyond the pale even as sarcasm.)

    I do sort of wonder what they think I am voting for. I will vote for any progressive candidate with a decent chance of winning, but I see poll after poll to suggest that the US is a center-right nation, admittedly with a more liberal electorate than their representatives in DC, but still not a place where going left is a slam dunk or even a good bet.

  18. nomdeplume says

    I’m afraid I have never found the Qloons remotely funny and I have never been tempted to laugh at them. This is serious mental illness on a large scale by armed lunatics .

  19. PaulBC says

    nomdeplume@27 Well, it’s hard for me not to ridicule their shameful “Shaman” but I agree there is nothing really funny. No funnier than Jonestown or Branch Davidians, and the QAnon cult is a lot more dangerous.

  20. outis says

    Ah Professor why take our pleasure away? But it was obvious from the start: apart from the manipulators and profiteers upstream, these are flesh and blood persons and they are deeply unwell. I think the realization is slowly coming, in the US and the rest of the world, that it’s going to be a HUGE task to bring the victims back to reality. And it’s really necessary, as they are too numerous, and sometimes dangerous, to be left to their own devices. You cannot have a functioning society when a double-figure percentage of the citizens are de facto deranged and cannot even recognize reality anymore. If only it had been something on the lines of the Futurological Congress! Too optimistic, eh?
    Here’s some more links about this, so we can get mo’ depressed:
    https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-54738471
    https://twitter.com/_MAArgentino/status/1352085598316748800

  21. logicalcat says

    The Vicar is on the record here for stating he supports Trump stricly to hurt the democrats because they deserve it. He almost got his wish in jan 6 but thanks to some good police officers those democrats were spared the noose.

  22. PaulBC says

    logicalcat@30 Yes, he would read the Hunger Games trilogy and count it as a real shame that Katniss didn’t catch on to President Coin early enough to destroy District 13 before moving onto the Capitol.

  23. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    On the one hand, we definitely need to retain empathy and be ready to build solidarity.

    On the other hand, Kevin Logan swayed me a little last night. He pointed out that wanting these people humiliated is part of beating them. Because if they are happy, there is a good chance the world got more fucked.

    Still, at least we need to make sure to inoculate everyone from the cult that hurt them.

  24. John Morales says

    OK, this is one of those times I waited before commenting, to not derail the thread.

    Basically, the reason given for the cessation of the joy makes zero sense to me.

    Just yesterday, I was saying it brought me great joy to watch Q implode. Today, the joy is gone. I have discovered r/QAnonCasualties. I guess I overlooked the fact that the gibbering twits have friends and family that loved them, and are heartbroken by this devastating disease that has poisoned their loved one.

    Thing is, leaving aside why one would overlook something that’s been widely promulgated, whether one is joyful or not makes absolutely no difference to those friends and family.

  25. PaulBC says

    @32 I think it’s fine for them to be humiliated at the very least. In fact if they’re capable of shame, then maybe they can be rehabilitated.

    I am still surprised that nearly all of them simply stayed home or stayed put or whatever on inauguration day. They could have had actual protests the same way the Women’s March of 2017 was an enormously successful protest that set the pace for the next four years. You assemble and make your voice heard. It’s protected speech, and (for the most part) you can do it without being attacked by police. For whatever reason, one can only conclude that this is not what the Trumpists (QAnon and others) were interested in doing during Biden’s inauguration.

    And what explains this? Not COVID-19. I don’t think that’s a factor, though it would be for me. The answer is that they were never attempting to practice participatory democracy. Their intent was to overthrow our democracy and the sheer presence of security finally hammered into their thick skulls that they weren’t going to be able to do that. Another thing, I guess, is that they weren’t egged on the way they were on January 6.

    What were they expecting to happen on January 6 anyway? Was it like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin? You show up at the pumpkin patch… or Capitol Rotunda or whatever, and wait for the great QAnon to start “The Storm”? Was that it? I have no idea. It’s clear that aside from the homicidal maniacs in their midst, a lot of them really might as well have been there to wait for the Great Pumpkin. They had no fucking clue what they were doing.

    So now, who knows? It is in a pragmatic sense reassuring to think that if you secure an inauguration properly, that you can can scare away the loonies who finally understand that they could get killed. On the other hand, it would’ve been nice, I think, if some other way had worked, like not having stirred up all the loonies to begin with.

    When I read about one lone demonstrator showing up at a state capital, I don’t laugh. I hold back the impulse to feel sorry, because I’m happy they did not succeed. But it is definitely a pathetic scene. I would not want to be them now. I didn’t want to be them then either. So I guess that’s the limits of my empathy.

  26. unclefrogy says

    the only thing that was really missing for that group, the thing that was different was the complete lack of the “Dear Leader”
    the people who are attracted to a fascistic answer for their grievances , threats and fears need “The Leader” they are seldom interested in leaderless mass protests with out the Leader. it is the belonging and the group led by the “great man” (daddy to take care of them and tell them what to think and what to do.)
    without him they are the nothing they were before he arrived .
    uncle frogy

  27. Ridana says

    33 @John Morales: “whether one is joyful or not makes absolutely no difference to those friends and family.”
    If you read through some of those threads, you will see that kindness and support seem to mean quite a bit to those grieving family and friends. Replying to their posts that their loved ones are idiots while rejoicing in their lamentations over the lack of arrests, would not be met with indifference from said friends and family.

    For myself, while I sympathize with those hurt by their loved ones going mad, the Qanoners themselves I feel little but contempt for. These are not people who just want to save the children and see justice done, they’re eagerly longing for torture, mass executions, and iron authoritarianism with drooling anticipation. They were broken before Q got hold of them and weaponized their existing hatreds.

  28. John Morales says

    Ridana:

    If you read through some of those threads, you will see that kindness and support seem to mean quite a bit to those grieving family and friends. Replying to their posts that their loved ones are idiots while rejoicing in their lamentations over the lack of arrests, would not be met with indifference from said friends and family.

    Sure. But one can feel joy about the Q implosion without replying to those posts.

    So that doesn’t address what I wrote, nor what PZ wrote.

    They were broken before Q got hold of them […]

    They might have been frangible, but clearly this conspiracy was the trigger in many cases. So, no.

  29. Tethys says

    The nonsense spread far beyond Q. It crossed into other forms of social media and infected the antivax groups which tend to be white rural Christian moms.

    If you hear constant propaganda coming from your phone , your friends, your preacher, and your POTUS, eventually some of it is going to take root.

  30. microraptor says

    Brony @21: I’m aware of that. I think anyone who can remember back when an armed man walked into a pizza place intent on “saving the children” who were being held “in the basement” is aware of that. I just find it strange to see a right-wing conspiracy that casts Michael Jackson in a heroic light given how long the far-right spent trying to convince people that he was the number one threat to children in America.

  31. KG says

    “Bleed, you monsters, so I can laugh harder”
    Yeah, that’s so much easier than doing some actual work for structural change. – mnb0@17

    What evidence do you have that the two are incompatible?

    Your constant whining and lying (Biden has already changed a number of things that urgently needed changing*, contrary to your claim that he will “change nothing”) are also a lot easier than “doing some actual work for structural change”.

    *A few examples from the link: extending the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, extending the pause on student loan payments, revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and stopping oil and pausing gas leasing at Arctic refuge, halting funding for the border wall, ending the ban on travel from several Muslim-majority countries, mandating that undocumented immigrants be counted in the census, ordering mask-wearing on federal property and various forms of transportation, revoking Trump’s regulations decreasing protections for federal employees. I’ve picked out those likely to have the most immediate effect – many others require action by government departments, or return the USA to international agreements or organizations. Will any of these even begin to solve the deep crises capitalism has led the world into? No. Is Biden intending that sort of change? No. But those I have listed will have real, immediate benefits for real people andor the environment – and the fact that you call them “nothing” says a lot about you, none of it good.

  32. captainjack says

    logicalcat @ #3
    We now have a president who is commited to preventing as many Americans from dying of COVID as possible, and some of those might be people I care a lot about. Vicar can suck my dick.

  33. unclefrogy says

    I am sorry for all those deluded followers of Q
    I pitty those radical racists and ultra nationalist all those corrupt and corrupting authoritarians
    They are dent on a self-destructive path and have lost contact with reality.
    their time has past a thousand years ago if they get killed in their revolution it will be too bad if they are arrested and convicted for their crimes and spend long stretches of time confined in prison.because they have proven themselves to not be trustworthy for living in a free and democratic society I will feel no joy in that, it is their choice.
    uncle frogy

  34. says

    redwood
    I’m sorry to hear. I hope the Q madness will die down and your wife will not have that shit reinforced so often so she may make her way out of it.

    +++
    Speaking of Barron, where is that kid? The whole Trump clan publicly left and Barron was nowhere to be seen.
    Now, I don’t think there is a close relationship in that family, but I can never imagine leaving my kid alone in that moment?

  35. Ridana says

    38) John Morales: “They might have been frangible, but clearly this conspiracy was the trigger in many cases. So, no.”

    Anyone who was not already comfortable with the prospect of televised mass executions would not have been sucked down the Q-hole. As that was touted as a feature of The Plan from the start, only someone already broken enough to welcome that spectacle would buy in. So, yes.

  36. John Morales says

    Giliell, actually, keeping the young’un out of the spotlight is one of the few good things Trump has done.

  37. John Morales says

    Ridana @46, ah, I see what you meant.

    I don’t think of that as “broken”, myself.

  38. littlejohn says

    I’m seeing some nastiness toward Barron, who has been raised by his mother, Melania (and her nannies) rather than Donald. But Barron isn’t even old enough to drive. Let’s give him a break.
    Also, Tiffany, whom we tend to forget about, just earned a law degree. She also was raised by her mother, Marla Maples, and avoided the rest of the family, probably because of the comparisons with her more glamorous sister, Ivanka. Tiffany has done the usual Trump-girl stuff – designing handbags and such, but appears to be interested in social justice. She also is marrying a fellow who spent much of his life in Nigeria, which her father would call a “shithole country.” She may turn out to be, at worst, a harmless party girl, or, at best, a lawyer who represents the sort of people her father hates.
    We don’t know about the two of them, but there’s no evidence yet that they are doomed.
    But yeah, Don Jr. and Ivanka are both talking about running for president, so let’s just impeach both of them now. I guess that would require a constitutional amendment, but I’m for it.

  39. stroppy says

    KG @ 42

    Your constant whining and lying (Biden has already changed a number of things that urgently needed changing*, contrary to your claim that he will “change nothing”) are also a lot easier than “doing some actual work for structural change”.

    What accelerationists really find painful and objectionable is that others doing good things puts the brakes on a massive collapse and conflagration of suffering, thus denying them a spectacle that they would enjoy watching–presumably untouched by what’s going on around them. It’s a sadistic and nihilistic fantasy.

  40. PaulBC says

    stroppy@51 I have a lot of trouble even wrapping my head around the idea that things getting really bad will somehow precipitate them to get much better. I think collapse usually leads to further collapse, and when things get under control again, it’s not likely to be under any better form of government. The incremental improvements that happen occur for other reasons (and that’s a different topic, though I believe human society has made progress over the centuries).

    I agree it seems to be more about a wish fulfillment fantasy than a well-considered strategy. There is no strategy at all to shaking everyone out of complacency. Trump’s election shook me out of complacency, but what we have right now is only a stopgap and a worse kind of incrementalism than if Hillary Clinton could have built on some of Obama’s small gains, e.g. in healthcare, LGBT rights, and religious pluralism.

  41. PaulBC says

    If anyone is still following this thread, I’m curious what you think really stopped Q followers from doing much of anything on inauguration day. The obvious explanation is that they were scared off by the level of security, and I believe that. But another intriguing explanation is that they were told through QAnon channels not to come out. e.g. https://www.newsweek.com/telegram-fake-general-john-hyten-channel-qanon-slogans-joe-biden-inauguration-1562956 and they thought they were following a plan of some sort.

    I read in a Salon article that some QAnon cultists thought the National Guard security was part of “The Storm” and would be conducting mass arrests. Man, anyone who believed that must have felt pwned.

    And another thing, wasn’t “Stop the Steal” supposed to include more than just QAnon. What happened to them? Trump opponents (like my immediate family and nearly everyone I know) didn’t just shut up when he was inaugurated. Where did all the Trumpies go?

  42. stroppy says

    I don’t know. I’m guessing when the coup flopped and the nation didn’t rise up, they were left confused and in disarray, irrational exuberance not being enough enough to carry them through? These aren’t exactly mature, evidence based thinkers who can think much more than one step ahead. That includes their, um, “transactional” leaders. Of course that doesn’t mean they aren’t still out there festering, waiting to be exploited again.

    Need a lot more time and information to tease out exact chains of events.

  43. PaulBC says

    @55 I hesitate to compare MLK, Jr. and Michael Jackson even to make an abstract point. Jackson was clearly enormously talented and creative, but the information that has come out about him doesn’t weigh in his favor. Actually, people have tried to smear MLK with plagiarism charges and extramarital affairs. He was an imperfect man, but he was also a genuine American hero who helped bring the US along the way towards meeting its founding promises. And the grievances against MLK in his lifetime were caused by his success as a movement leader, not his personal failings.

    Jackson, ultimately, was an entertainer, and kind of a creepy, troubled individual. I feel bad saying that because I know he brought joy to many people. I agree it’s very strange that QAnon has embraced him for any reason.

  44. says

    @microraptor
    Michael Jackson is a tool to them. It might connected to the obsession with finding pedophiles among their political opponents. They need that to look serious and one possibility I have considered is that like Trump biasing the audience by projecting his bad behavior onto them, child abusers among the Qanon founders projected their own abuse on their political enemies to create a focus for the “save the children” instinct.
    Or they projected without being pedophiles because society is utterly incompent with respect to sexual abuse. The instincts are reasonable in the deluded but society does not connect them to rational ways of solving the problem of the sexual abuse of children.

  45. lumipuna says

    Giliell 45 – I heard Barron has stayed in Florida since Christmas holidays. Probably started the school semester there. Possibly didn’t want to come back to DC just for his father’s final presidential rally.

  46. PaulBC says

    I’d be shocked if any 14 year old kid would “want to come back to DC” just to watch his dad leave under a cloud, but often one is not given a choice at that age.

  47. Tethys says

    Barron has full time staff that care for him. I believe he is on the spectrum, and doesn’t deal well with crowds and noise.

    News outlets reported that he was already on the plane with his contingent of caretakers and security staff, while his parents took their final waves and posed for photos.

  48. says

    @PaulBC 56
    I knew MLK, Jr. is sensitive in abstract points and I thought about your concern. Appropriation and theft of people for defensive symbolisnm is the broadest category I think.

    While I went from the abstract to possible uses of Michael Jackson I will think about using Martin Luther King Jr. in a more sensitive way.

  49. PaulBC says

    @62 Well, I’m not offended, though maybe someone might be. I think the comparison is flawed, as I said above, for a more subtle reason and one I never thought about too hard before. Both MLK and Michael Jackson were attacked during their lives, but for the most part Jackson was not attacked for being a talented musician or celebrity. Sure, there’s always an urge to drag successful people down, but that wasn’t the main reason. People either didn’t care much about his music or they appreciated it, but elements of his lifestyle raised red flags, and fairly or not he got some grief due to his vitiligo, resulting in a changing appearance over time, as well as I think intentional cosmetic surgery, though I don’t claim to be an expert. Some of that is a personal choice, but allegations of pedophilia are another matter entirely.

    The point is that for most part, Jackson was not attacked for his success, which was uncontroversial. He was attacked over issues that appeared to detract from it.

    MLK on the other hand was an enormously eloquent speaker and effective organizer. The Civil Rights movement was the work of many, but he was a singular part of it. And that is why he was attacked, by people who did not want the Civil Rights movement to succeed. So his detractors (including some in the FBI) dug up a great deal of evidence that they hoped would be damaging. Frankly, some of it bothers me and I wish it weren’t true, mostly allegations that he plagiarized part of his dissertation. I can partly rationalize that by saying, OK, he wasn’t an academic and the degree was a piece of leverage needed for the fight he waged, not an end in itself. I have also heard it spun as “normal” for the kind of theology doctorate he attained. I have no idea about that one. I take academic integrity seriously as well as plagiarism (and still find it odd that Biden shook that one off so easily when it torpedoed his 1988 candidacy). As for the claims of affairs, I mean I see that as between him and his wife, really none of my business and fairly common among powerful people (and I guess other people too).

    So the point is that MLK was attacked because of his success, and the rest, while not necessarily negligible, would never have seen the light of day except that people wanted to take him down for other reasons, and until fairly recently, many were committed to destroying his legacy.

    The MLK holiday is pretty well accepted now, but I remember the negative reception it received among many in when it was first established, and among “normal” people who would get angry if you called them a racist, not just David Duke types. Usually the attitude was either “Who needs another holiday?” or “It’s a holiday for Black people.” I was pretty apathetic at the time, though in years since, it really hit me that MLK is one of the greatest 20th century Americans. The Civil Rights movement was among the signature challenges of the 20th century and reshaped American law and culture. Of course MLK, Jr. deserves a holiday.

    I think the reason the right now embraces King is simply that they can’t afford not too. Generations of Americans have come of age learning of him as a hero. Michael Jackson is a different case, and not a hero. He may be more comparable to Elvis Presley, who had plenty of personal issues of his own. So maybe he enjoys legendary status for that reason, but I admit I still find it odd for him to be embraced by QAnon.

  50. publicola says

    I do feel sympathy for all those who have had to deal with these Qidiots, but not for the Qidiots themselves. I find it hard to feel bad for those who are too dumb to know how dumb they are. If there was a good reason for their lack of common sense, ( maybe they were underfed as kids, or abused, etc.), then I could feel some sympathy. But if they’re too lazy to think, or unwilling to even entertain the notion that they could be wrong, then that’s on them. As far as the imminent collapse of the Trump family’s world, GOOD. They deserve it. They brought it on themselves. Maybe they can all get jobs selling pillows for Mike Lindell. As for my ability/willingness to forgive, I guess I’m just not that good a person.

  51. Owlmirror says

    I’m shocked to see that Qanon is apparently pushing the batshit idea that Michael Jackson was killed for trying to protect the children, given that he was the far right’s poster child for “evil celebrity child molester” up until his death.

    It’s shocking at first, but there’s a counter-intuitive way that it might make sense: QAnon, like trolls, abusers, and other manipulative people, sometimes push boundaries to see what they can get away with. Can they get people to do a complete 180 degree mental flip?

    I think it also might tie in to the way that (as described over in stderr) magicians/mentalists/hypnotists deliberately seek out the most suggestable/manipulable volunteers; those who can imagine themselves in whatever scenario the hypnotist suggests, and shift to that mindset.

    And also, the way that e-mail scams allegedly deliberately use bad grammar and misspellings and other mistakes, as well as strained and unlikely scenarios (why is someone from Nigeria with X million dollars contacting me, specifically, to help move that money out?)

    People with good analytical and critical thinking skills will reject the badly-written text, and the implausible scenarios, and react with skepticism to the hypnotists arbitrary dictates, and reject the idea that Michael Jackson had anything to do with protecting children from predators.

    People with really bad thinking skills will buy into scams, follow along with the hypnotist, and flip their thinking about Michael Jackson without even noticing what they’ve done.

    (There might also be people midway — those for whom Michael Jackson is a sticking point might leave at this point, or try and resolve the cognitive dissonance by not thinking about it, or dreaming up a scenario where Michael Jackson was a hero who was unfairly maligned by the MSM, and/or there was an evil Michael Jackson impersonator, or whatever)

    The troll who manipulated people into this flip will notice the change, and grin with victory, and wonder what else they can get away with.

  52. stroppy says

    Owlmirror @ 66

    There may be something in what you say. Qanon has given people permission to be free to take down their firewalls against the crazy, which opens them up to all manner of trolling. For example Russia pretty much trolls everybody, and since their desire is to tear holes in American society wherever they can and break it down, you can bet they are rubbing their hands in glee at that target rich dump of idiots.

    Ironic that all those rugged individualists are so vulnerable to mass hysteria and group think.

  53. KG says

    If anyone is still following this thread, I’m curious what you think really stopped Q followers from doing much of anything on inauguration day. The obvious explanation is that they were scared off by the level of security, and I believe that. But another intriguing explanation is that they were told through QAnon channels not to come out. – PaulBC@53

    Another likely factor is Trump’s cowardice in disowning the rioters he had called forth and, mid-riot, praised. I’ve read somewhere that among the “Proud Boys” he’s being denounced as weak and useless. And apparently there were disagreements among the more serious factions about whether to focus on the inauguration, or on state capitols. More broadly I think we can expect a period of confusion and internecine strife in both the Republican Party and the Far Right (insofar as those two can be separated!), but it’s impossible to predict how long it will last, or what the outcome will be.

  54. PaulBC says

    (I had seen the gaming analysis of QAnon somewhere and it’s interesting and plausible, but I’m not sure I read that exact article.)

    KG@68

    Another likely factor is Trump’s cowardice in disowning the rioters he had called forth and, mid-riot, praised. I’ve read somewhere that among the “Proud Boys” he’s being denounced as weak and useless.

    In a similar vein, there was some commentary on FiveThirtyEight that far-right groups perceive the police to be on their side and are actually surprised (more that the rest of us, even assuming anti-left bias) when police apply crowd-control methods against them.

    I had been thinking about how this could work, since it seems a little crazy (or maybe I’m just naive). I suppose if you’re a neo-Nazi and your only experience with police is that they keep the counter-protesters away from you, it is possible to misinterpret the situation. Ostensibly, police are there to “keep order.” While there is clear bias, it is part of their training, and a reasonable person expects them to do this. So if the “protesters” have switched from merely demonstrating to forcibly entering the US Capitol, it should seem obvious that police are there to stop them, whatever the purpose of the protest.

    There’s a stock comic scene in which a man meeting a prostitute at a bar is convinced they’re really hitting it off, and is shocked when she starts talking about payment, completely missing the point that she has a specific job and is carrying out a role in that framework. It’s pathetic, though I think almost certainly true that the far-right with this kind of protest experience may have reached a similar conclusion that the police are really into them. I mean, some police are, some police are provisionally, but still aware of their job of “keeping order”, and others (I’d like to imagine the bulk of them but that may be wishful thinking) are professionals who take their job seriously.

    And I don’t mean to compare police to prostitutes, just to kind of emphasize that mature adults understand the difference between people doing their jobs and people doing them favors. It really makes me wonder how childish the minds must be of these people and how shocked they really were when the Capitol Police eventually stopped them, while the rest of us were wondering how the hell they were allowed as far as the Rotunda.

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