#QANON’S JFK JR JUMBLE: HOW THE FOOLISH FOOL THEMSELVES
It’s been a tough couple of weeks in the land of pure confabulation: Not only did no-name conspiracy weirdo #Qanon not bring JFK Jr back from the dead as predicted, but he actually somehow managed to kill him off yet again.
I wasn’t planning to return to the #Qanon topic so soon after last time. The #Qooks might be the loudest fringe right-wing Anti-Satanist conspiracy game going, but there’s only so long you can stare into this intellectual funhouse mirror.
But the denominational split in their ranks has proven perversely fascinating. Anti-Satanist conspiracy freaks have chosen a new Messiah, and with true religious zeal they insist on his resurrection.
It is of course easy to snicker at people who believe foolish things. It’s also the proper thing to do, so lucky that.
But most critically, their example teaches us a hard truth: That it’s natural to be a fool when you think you’ll benefit from it.
#Qanon is the nom de merde of an anonymous airhead who claims via far-right plague pit 8chan to be a secret public informant working in the White House. Presumably it’s too late for him to adopt the name Deep Voat instead, which is unfortunate.
This one-letter lunkhead has the Internet’s most tedious people convinced of every cockamamie thing you can’t imagine: That Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Podesta are secret cannibal Satanists; that the UN “worships Moloch” and traffics children; that Donald Trump is going to declare martial law and arrest tens of thousands of cultists any day now, etc.
As conspiracy debunker Mike Rothschild wrote in the Daily Dot, it’s “a Conspiracy Theory of Everything” that “encompasses whatever believers want it to be about.”
A few weeks ago, certain #Qooks believed that JFK Jr would miraculously reappear on the public scene, mysteriously not dead after all.
For reasons incomprehensible for those no exposed to their irradiated reasoning, this idea is very important to them.
As you’ve no doubt noticed, JFK Jr is still dead. But like a jukebox stuck on the same Journey song since 1981, people just won’t stop believing.
Last week, Q told followers in uncharacteristically specific terms that the late son of the late president is in fact still late. And then presumably marinated in a bathtub full of whiskey for at least an hour, because good grief.
But a hilarious thing happened: They ignored him. In fact, in wake of the pronouncement the #Qanon infestation became if anything more convinced than ever in the aliveness of this dead man.
“Q needs to prove he is not alive now, because millions know he is,” one declared on Twitter. Which is a pretty tall order, since the only thing #Qanon has ever proved is that it’s possible to ruin a letter of the alphabet even more thoroughly than Romana Quimby Age 8’s cursive writing lessons.
“I have an unshakable faith in JFK Jr being alive,” another untrue believer insists. “It’s something that I can’t explain, it’s spiritual.” The list of things this lot have trouble explaining didn’t really need to get any longer, but okay.
Another one spells it all out: “I chose faith in Christ. I chose Trump. And I choose to believe that JFK Jr is alive.” The last time anyone worked this hard to save something long dead it led to season four of “Arrested Development.”
The religious language employed here is not accidental. Conspiracy theories are essentially interchangeable with cults. And though most news reporting on the topic appears reluctant to acknowledge it, modern conspiracy culture is profoundly entangled with evangelical beliefs.
Hence the wild-eyed Anti-Satanist themes of the most persistent conspiracy cults. And hence even the cult leader’s inability to cleanse his followers’ minds of faith in an alternative messiah.
These people seem proud of the fact that they’ll believe seemingly anything. And yet they persist in thinking of themselves as skeptics.
If that appears to be a #Qontradiction, well, you’re right. But it’s also to be expected.
“People who suspect conspiracies aren’t really skeptics. Like the rest of us, they’re selective doubters,” William Saletan wrote in Slate in 2013.
“Psychologists have demonstrated that people actively denigrate the information with which they disagree while accepting compatible information. Scholars call this ‘motivated skepticism.’”
This skepticism schism strikes me as particularly critical since, if you’ll pardon the term, Satan is the “god” of skepticism.
In Job, when Yaweh insists on Job’s piety, Satan’s response is, in effect, just “Are you sure about that?”
In Paradise Lost, when Eve contends, “Of the fruit of this fair tree amidst god hath said, Ye shall not eat, nor shall ye touch it, lest ye die,” the serpent again asks very simply how she knows that’s true.
Even in the gospels, the devil demands the ocular proof of Jesus’ miracles. The essence of the Satan myth is to question. But behavioral science teaches us that the human compulsion is to usually only ask the questions that we find convenient.
Most of us are smart enough not to be taken in by things like #Qanon. I mean, we pretty much have to be for fuck’s sake.
But let’s not imagine we’re not all vulnerable to the same failings that lead to #Quackery. Smart skepticism–and Satanism–means knowing yourself.
So with that in mind let’s all at least stop and wonder sometimes, what have I NOT questioned lately?