RIP Qanon. You Were The Only Conspiracy Worthy Of The Trump Years.
Speaking of Barack Obama eating babies, let’s talk about Qanon.
I know this is late. If you’re anything like me, the first couple dozen times you heard the word “Qanon,” your first reaction was a resigned sigh and “throw it in the pile.” And there’s no shame in that. Compartmentalization was an essential survival tool in the Trump years. We knew from the beginning it was going to be impossible to treat every single outrage or embarrassment with the individual attention it deserved because they’re all going to blur together pretty quickly.
So at a certain point, you just accept that you’ve heard enough and move on. Unintentionally emasculating Tweet? Throw it in the pile. Shameless corruption? Throw it in the pile. Racist comment? Throw it in the pile. Dumbass conspiracy theory that’s also racist? Throw it in the pile. Anything involving 4chan or its offshoots in any way, shape or form? Throw it in the pile and dissolve the pile in lye.
But friends, I come bearing glad tidings, for I am here to tell you I finally got around to learning about Qanon, and it’s the best kind of stupid. It’s a Baskin-Robbins of stupid. For connoisseurs of spectacular brain garbage such as myself, Qanon is funnier than being sucked into a tornado made of laughing clowns.
Yes, everyone’s worried that it’s found some degree of mainstream acceptance, and rightfully so. Yes, it’s been linked to real-world tragedy, and yes, anti-Semitism is a serious problem that’s gotten exponentially worse in recent years, but if we’re not allowed to make fun of hate groups, who are we supposed to be laughing at?
Qanon is, in the most literal, evo-psych sense of the word, the reason laughter exists. It’s a social defense mechanism we adapted to prevent us from accidentally putting “Space Jews from the moon,” and “COVID vaccine rollout” on the same shelf.
On these grounds, I hereby grant us all permission to find this funny. Because it is.
Besides, we’ve earned a laugh, goddammit. We won, and don’t let them claim otherwise. So let’s just savor our victory for once in our lives and appreciate Qanon for what it is: the only conspiracy theory stupid enough to be worthy of the Trump years.
So as a wise man once said, let’s fuck this chicken.
PART I: WHAT IS QANON??? PLEASE TELL ME, AARON.
The origins of Qanon are a deep and surreal rabbit hole that sounds like something you’d accidentally text your friend as the Ambien kicks in. It involves an elderly virgin wizard with no bones, Sonic the Hedgehog, a game of ping-pong with the devil, and a pizza parlor with an international baby-trafficking ring in its back room. Everything about it is awesome, and I can’t do the whole story justice here, so I strongly encourage you to read this writeup on Wired when you get the chance.
The short version is that, much like the League of Shadows, a radical splinter group of exiles from 4chan formed an online community called 8chan, later changed to 8kun, which had a rabid, ideological commitment to “””Free speech.”””
Needless to say, like most “””Free speech””” communities, within a matter of seconds it was overrun by Nazis, pedophiles, and deposed Laotian generals selling powdered white rhino tusks as an aphrodisiac. (Don’t worry, it’s mostly just bath salts cut with trace amounts of white rhino tusk.) It really took off during Gamergate, itself a sad story with no winners, and was also lucky enough to have the honor of not one, not two, but three mass shooters posting their manifestos there.
You know you’re doing something right with your life when “mass murderers keep handing me their manifestos” is a problem you have to deal with. #goals #bestlife
So. An open, unchecked playground for white supremacists, terrorists, kiddie porn enthusiasts, and insane murderers. What better place for James Bond to appear and scream apocalyptic riddles about baby-fucking at no one? Isn’t that the reason God invented the Internet?
That’s right. The central tenet of Qanon is that a mysterious, high-ranking government official/Secret Agent known only as Q (presumably named after his supposed security clearance) thought a 4chan spinoff board would be the ideal platform to share a comical amount of earth-shattering news that will fundamentally upend the entire geopolitical power structure in ways we can’t even begin to comprehend, news so significant that, decades from now, it will be seen as almost a complete reset of history on par with the dissolution of the Soviet Empire or the fall of Rome.
Q is the worst secret agent in the world and I love him for it.
Q is the government informant equivalent of Vincent Adultman. Anybody with enough brainpower to make scrambled eggs without dying can clearly see it’s just three children in a trenchcoat standing on each other’s shoulders. But to Qanon adherents, this is the coolest thing ever! For the first time in their lives, someone important is talking to them. And that’s all it took.
For Qanon supporters, just the slightest sense of belonging or validation was enough to shut down the three-quarters of their brain screaming that this is just a lonely guy looking for attention. It’s like catfishing someone into graphic cyber sex, only after revealing to them that this whole time they’d been talking dirty to some fat old guy, they want to keep going anyway because this is still a step up for me. I mean them. Hypothetically. Moving on.
According to Q, the Democratic party, along with whatever other right-wing boogeyman you feel like tossing in, belongs to a global cabal of Satanic baby eaters AND baby fuckers. (It’s very important they eat the babies AND have sex with them, because if it was just one or the other, people would shrug and say “Well, that’s politics for you.” )
That’s right, Pelosi’s got the “munchies” for a California Cheeseburger!
To counteract this, Donald Trump, working closely with the armed forces, is plotting a heroic, bloody coup known as THE STORM where he will finally bring these monsters to justice by imposing martial law and publicly executing all the former President and First Ladies on TV.
Also, if you try to change the channel, your TV will force it back to the station playing the execution, like in a Creepypasta. This detail is important to them for some reason.
So…wait, Q, why are you telling us this? Which side are you trying to stop here, the brutal military dictatorship or the Baby Sex ring run by the devil? Why are you sabotaging your own plans? Are you really that bad at keeping secrets?
Let’s get something clear right out the gate: at no point will it occur to Q or his adherents that Q is ruining years of careful planning by bragging about them on the Internet. The fact that all of these plans have leaked online has no bearing on their implementation.
Common sense would tell you that if you’re going to orchestrate the simultaneous overthrow of the U.S. government AND arrest multiple former world leaders while surrounded by hundreds of millions of their combined supporters AND organize a boycott against a pizza parlor run by a being powerful enough to declare war on God, you probably shouldn’t tell them the exact time, date, and location of your sting operation. It’s like To Catch A Predator if Chris Hansen revealed his true identity first and then started roleplaying as a 13 year-old girl.
They don’t even try to hand-wave it away with “well, our board is super small and we’re good at keeping secrets” like normal, healthy idiots. No, Qanon wants to go big, go loud, be an international movement talked about on cable TV and retweeted by the President.
Spread the word, everybody! About our secret plans. To end the world’s oldest democracy.
Keep that in mind as we go forward.
When I first heard about this, my first impulse was to find the post where he introduced himself. I had to see how he structured that cover letter so I could steal his format. Say what you will about Q’s everything, but this dude went to a board full of Nazi pedophiles and somehow sold them on the idea that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had wandered in to tell them about his plan to kill Nazi pedophiles.
But alas, the Right owned me once again by being even dumber than I thought.
Turns out Q never formally introduced himself. He just sort of wandered in mumbling the same vaguely menacing rhetorical questions you’ll get from any garden-variety online conspiracy theorist — “Why is POTUS surrounded by generals?” — and his readers naturally assumed this weird homeless guy they found sitting on a urinal eating a tin of creamed corn with his bare hands must be a four-star General.
Why not? Fuck it. Let’s run with this. We’re all gonna die one day. Why not?
And with that, let’s arbitrarily end it here.
(NOTE: This was originally intended to be one long piece, but when I tried to upload it, the Internet Police emerged from my toilet and told me it’s illegal to write anything longer than two pages. Then they stabbed me in the ass and feet with a katana. I’m not sure if these two things are related.
Anywho, because I feel bad about artificially breaking this into pieces for no reason aside from a blatant lack of respect for the reader’s attention span, I wanted to make it up to you by doing something special: singlehandedly deducing the secret identity of Agent Q, which I will reveal at the end of Part III, thereby turning this entire piece into a thrilling interactive whodunnit! And you can play along! Keep your eyes peeled for the subtle clues sprinkled throughout this and future parts and tell us who YOU think Agent Q is on a 3x5 card addressed to “THE GOVERNMENT.”
Don’t worry. They know where to send it.)