IT STARTED WITH what until recently was a fringe group; a group that inhabited that questionable and murky online world that often seems unable to distinguish reality from make-believe.
But times have changed and when gullibility is so easily exploited on the Internet, fringe can quickly become mainstream.
It is a group that in their tamer moments honestly believes both the Pope and Joe Biden were assassinated and what we now see are simply holograms designed by the deep state to fool us into believing they are still alive.
Holograms are real and admittedly cool. However, if your understanding of how they work is based solely upon knowledge acquired while watching Star Trek TV episodes from the 1960s, you’re in for some disappointment.
It might be a bit like discovering the truth about Santa and I hate being the bearer of bad news but just like Mr. Claus, the Holodeck along with Scotty’s ability to beam you up are all just pretend. No, seriously, it is just make believe.
These same people will also tell you that a large and secret group of Satan worshiping, liberal/democratic politicians and billionaires run a child slave trade out of pizza restaurants. And yes, they refer to it as, ‘Pizzagate.’
I don’t know about you but I’ve often wondered why all make believe evil empire groups have to be Satan worshipping? And in this case, their ungodliness is enhanced 10 fold when we discover they are demonic leftie socialists as well.
And then there’s the business model. I mean pizza restaurants? I’ve never really considered my local pizza joint a likely den for a secret, well-financed, interconnected, multinational slave-trading group of billionaires.
It’s even harder to comprehend since their left leaning politics assures us their despicable criminal behaviour is always overridden by a compulsive urge to feed and provide housing for those in need.
But speaking of despicable, this same group of Pizzagate lefties have also been identified as child-eating cannibals. And if that doesn’t put you off left-wingers and pizzas joints, nothing will.
It should be impossible for anyone to believe this kind of conspiracy nonsense but the group I’m referring to is real, has a large online following and is known as QAnon.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the average membership in the 10 largest public QAnon Facebook groups swelled by nearly 600 percent from March through July of this year.
Their growth can be attributed to an online ecosystem that has allowed, even encouraged them to leverage the likes and views of these algorithmically driven social media platforms. And that growth and the often cult-like followers it has attracted have also proven irresistible to others.
Alex Kaplan, a researcher for Media Matters, notes that politicians of the far right see the numbers and the infrastructure QAnon has built on social media platforms and are asking themselves: “Why not use this infrastructure to get some benefit?”
They recognize the potential for political gain and power as evidenced by the fact that, according to Mr. Kaplan, 20 candidates on the November U.S. ballot “have shown support for or have spoken favourably of QAnon.”
This is not the States and we know this could never happen here in Kamloops or Canada for that matter. I mean, to begin with, we just don’t have the number of pizzerias to back the business plan and besides we’re simply not as gullible as Americans. Right?
Bill McQuarrie is a former magazine publisher, photojournalist and entrepreneur. Semi-retired and now living in Port McNeill, you can follow him on Instagram #mcriderbc or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.