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4 comments

1
Patricia Kayden  Nov 13, 2020 • 4:46:33am

If they strike out, the police should deal with them just like any other domestic terrorist group.

2
Khal Wimpo (not drinking damn fish tank cleaner)  Nov 13, 2020 • 9:19:31am

re: #1 Patricia Kayden

If they strike out, the police should deal with them just like any other domestic terrorist group.

Indeed. The cops are somewhat overwhelmed these days; viz the skyrocketing crime stats in Minneapolis, which is trending back to its “Murderapolis” dark days of the crack wars.

Defunding the police there has killed morale and about 1/3 of the force is looking to retire at GTFO.

3
The Ghost of a Flea  Nov 14, 2020 • 10:00:37pm

So…what Qanon is putting out into the world can be read in many different ways, and one of those ways is further radicalization that leads to planning or excuting violence.

But I’d propose there are at least two other ways this goes, that are intertwined: they both suck and they’ll both attract crappy people that aren’t worth your time, but don’t have a path to radical action because both are fundamentally about the feeling of participating in something momentously important while doing very, very little.

The first are the people for whom Qanon is a sinkhole equivalent to dozens of other conspiracy sinkholes in which the apophenia is the point: there is a deep gratification in the self-directed search for “meaning” that buoys the ego. Just as people from other conspiracy quadrants have drifted into Qanon, Qanon people will now drift into other conspiracies that provide the same gamification of reality and the social bonding of collaborative storytelling. These people would be better off finding a D&D group, but that doesn’t incorporate the frisson of narcissism they get from thinking they’re heroes (while doing nothing concrete).

The second is the people for whom Qanon is effectively pornography, where the point is not the “game” of discerning meaning from Barnum statements and noise, but rather than individual and shared rush of heightened emotion, excitement, and anticipation…arousal. Much like penny dreadfuls and the Satanic Panic, Q provides not just vistas of titillating , bizarre narrative, but license to freely engage imaginatively and emotionally with exceptional dark subject matter, lashed through with sexual prurience and sadism, while maintaining a facade of performative outrage and deep, deep concern.

The depressing part is that both of these kinds of participants are likely to just keep going on the same track: the Internet means infinite possible spin-offs, and the augmented-reality narrative put in place by Q will be simple to propagate because its elements are incredibly trite and the viewers have yet to notice that they’re in a game of improv where they’re actually doing most of the worldbuilding. Indeed, we’re probably not even done with Q: their current silence is not an indicator of a final defeat, because as per Festinger and his cave full of cultists, the adherents will generate an explanation for the failed prophecy that allows to maintain their sense of coherent worldview. By inauguration day, they may have talked themselves into just continuing the existing pattern with no changes.

4
John Vreeland  Nov 15, 2020 • 9:10:58pm

re: #3 The Ghost of a Flea

Interesting take. I was always more concerned about the knuckleheads with angry firearms, but I guess that’s a tiny minority.


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