Q-Anon and the Politics of Myth

‘Q: The Plan To Save The World’ is a bizarre call to arms

Stealing quietly onto the public scene in a series of 4chan posts starting in 2017, Q-Anon has since burgeoned into a wild nexus of conspiracy theories, online cryptographic puzzles, a large podcast cottage industry and elaborate series of insider jokes. It is, fully and finally, a mass community with political ambitions.

Politics in the latter 20th and early 21st centuries has grown increasingly spiritual and aspirational, and its canvas, increasingly mythic. Film is the medium of our age best suited to portraying myth. The Triumph of the Will and Alexander Nevsky both cast national identity as aspirational myth. Whether rising from the humiliation of Versailles or standing strong against Nazi aggression, both films cast their audiences as heroic participants with a role to play in the story. Q-Anon loyalists are people convinced an evil cabal of super-rich pedophiles run the world, and that they must be overthrown. They believe themselves heroic participants in this struggle. Q-The Plan to Save the World is their call to arms.

 

The film opens with the question: have you ever wondered why we are always at war and you can never get out of debt? (This over a montage of police, rows of tents housing homeless, confusion and chaos.) The questions continue. What if the ones responsible for poverty, crime, division and destruction have ascended to the highest levels of power, controlling our media companies, banks, governments and even the Vatican? The mythic focus is immediate, intended to isolate and demonize the global elites because everything bad is all their fault.

These powerful elites, the narrative goes, have a vested interest in impoverishing and demoralizing the middle and working classes of the west – the USA in particular. The Q-Anon narrative then asks: where are the good guys? A cavalcade of heroic figures follows: JFK … Reagan … JFK Jr … Julian Assange. Each time one got close to releasing us all from the trap of the elites, he got shut (or, in one case, actually SHOT) down. Smash cut to now. Where are the good guys NOW?

“Some good people still held positions of power. They valued humanity and the rule of law. While the criminals discussed their game plan at the annual Bilderberg Meeting, the good guys were making plans of their own.” With the growth of cellphone, Android and worldwide coverage, the argument goes, the more tightly-surveilled our civilization became and the harder it grew for the global criminal elites to hide.

The aspirational myth of Q-Anon is that a high-level, elite military operation is currently underway, scouring the globe to identify and apprehend the guilty. Part and parcel of this is the systematic dismantling of its global webs of political corruption, criminal money laundering and child sex trafficking.

Parachuting suddenly into the middle of all this and complicating everything is the arrest and subsequent death of Jeffrey Epstein. #Q-Anon’s simultaneous growth alongside that of the #metoo movement, the outing of several major Hollywood figures for sexual abuse and subsequent criminal investigations into Epstein, Prince Andrew, Michael Jackson and Hollywood pedophiles have raised the paranoia level in our society to fever pitch. Nothing alarms us more than sexual abuse of children. Nothing offends us more than the strong preying upon the weak. The Q-Anon story has all of these elements and more. Most importantly, it offers a redemptive narrative.

The “bad guys” profiled in Q-Anon–The Plan to Save the World are a mixed bag of Democrats and Republicans, old neoliberals and new New Dealers. No one from Poppy Bush to Killary Clinton is exempt. And thus does Q-Anon assume a new level of myth, one raising it above the realms of partisan politics to a plateau of supposedly elevated moral perspective and judgment.

In the world of Q-Anon, not only are Leftocrats bad. All who came before Q’s Chosen–the Donald himself–are evil incarnate. Thus does the Q-Anon myth move smoothly into that spiritual void, re-asserting Judeo-Christian memories of that whole good/evil thing about which we’d all forgotten.

Donald Trump, according to the film, was specifically asked by the “good guys” to run for president, win big and then preside over the Great Housecleaning promised by Q-Anon. Under the aegis of Trump, who “attended Epstein’s parties” and “knew all the players” of the global cabal, but who refused to join the elite, the world’s good guys will collar the world’s bad guys, right their wrongs, and address their great injustice, once and for all.

Epstein is the wild-card in the deck. His sudden apprehension and demise in the midst of all this meta-mytho-historical-extra-judicial-patriotic-pedo-punishing is jarring–perhaps enough to shake the rationality and judgment of those who might otherwise know better. Could there be some weird grain of truth to all this? Ah, but that way lies Rabbit Holes. Best to pass on. But acknowledge that such events do add just the right veneer of creepy verisimilitude to an organic conspiracy news narrative.

“The good guys with control over the NSA began the Q intel dissemination program to provoke an online grassroots movement that came to be called The Great Awakening” claims the film. Consider that notion the thematic ‘background music.’ Against it, the Q drops roll in on 4Chan, the Q podcast cottage industry booms and election season grinds on.

It’s undeniable that certain criminal elites are falling. Trump has confirmed his own rather awkward, arms-length relationship with the Q-Anon movement itself. But his words are hardly a ringing endorsement. He is not our superman. Or theirs. Nor Laurie Anderson’s.

So far as narratives go, Q-Anon–The Plan To Save the World fills the religious void with a story of patriotic and judicial righteousness. Above all, it offers a narrative about how we wish to see ourselves: as earnest and good. Surely we’d all like to see the grand globo-pedo cabal, if such a thing ever existed, jailed and the key thrown away. Until then, we’ll just have to content ourselves with cool YouTube movies and dreams of a righteous politics.

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Jamie Mason

Jamie Mason is the author of The Book of Ashes, Certain Fury, and The North Atlantic ProtocolThe North Atlantic Protocol. His most recent effort, THE BOOK OF JAMESTHE BOOK OF JAMES, is a historical epic set in Viking-era Britain.

One thought on “Q-Anon and the Politics of Myth

  • November 24, 2020 at 10:27 am
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    Good piece except you categorize the deep state Q. Etc. As myth conspiracy theories etc. At the beginning and question “if such a thing ever existed” at the end. Well when you say “if” you are at least acknowledging the possibility that the gradual loss of our safety, decency, prosperity and freedoms could possibly be being promoted by wealth and power hungry ideologues who have found ways to enslave the masses. Since when in history has this not been going on? Seems to me anybody who looks deeply at what we can all see it happening in Canada and the US and dismisses all the signs is willfully blind.

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