The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #36608 Message #4082921
Posted By: Donuel
11-Dec-20 - 10:26 AM
Thread Name: What's the weather like where you are?
Subject: RE: What's the weather like where you are?
The weather is cold, lies and shadows that have been and will be deadly, foolish and insane. She saw shadows. She always had. She was spiritual, not Christian—she’d left that behind when she’d left Waco, in her early 20s. She got into Wicca, “super witchy,” says a friend. “She was fun, happy, a little wild. Just a normal girl.” I’ll call her Evelyn, because she’s in a sense a hostage now, a captive of her beliefs. There are Evelyns everywhere. This Evelyn was in Austin. She worked when she could, sometimes she danced, stripped. She had a boyfriend who took care of her. She’d never had much luck holding on to a job. She’d bounce back and forth between her family in Waco and her friends in the city, right to left, red to blue. She was bright—a good listener, says one friend, a liberal lawyer whom Evelyn called “freedom fighter.” She was gullible, says another friend, the one who introduced Evelyn to QAnon not long into the pandemic, “for shits and giggles.”
Which is how Evelyn came to believe that the shadows she’d seen within Wicca as the nuances of life were actually the satanic forces that Q—thought by devotees to be a government insider “dropping” cryptic clues via chat forums about Donald Trump’s decades-old plan to destroy the deep state—believes control the Democratic Party. She “followed the white rabbit,” as QAnon believers put it, she “went down the rabbit hole.” She came to believe that the darkness to which she’d always been sensitive was not part of the light but at war with it. That the shadows had become flesh and that the flesh had become politics and that the love of Trump she’d embraced because she loved her family, abandoning her once-liberal views, required the hatred of his enemies: the “cabal.” Child-sacrificing Democratic elites, a monstrous network not just of pedophiles but of cannibals, harvesters of children’s adrenal glands (all the better to stay youthful), for an evil concoction one part Botox and two parts blood libel, the old idea that Jews make matzo from the blood of Christian babies.
Do I need to say none of this is true? I do. But the delusion is every bit as dangerous as if it were.
On the morning of August 12, Evelyn decided it was time to #SaveTheChildren, as the hashtag that’s been co-opted by Q puts it. She got into her ancient little red two-door Pontiac Fiero. She’d been drinking—she’d later test at twice the limit—but that didn’t slow her down. She’d been awake for days, researching. That’s what QAnon followers call their hours committed to YouTube videos and podcasts and deep study. The algorithms fed her. She fed the algorithms, making memes for Twitter and Instagram. She’d text her findings to her friends. One tried to warn her: “You’re being us
“I’m seeing things,” she answered.
“Three a.m., 4 a.m., 5 a.m.,” says the friend who now regrets introducing Evelyn to QAnon. Evelyn didn’t realize her friend thought it was funny. Her friend didn’t know Evelyn was taking it so seriously. “One hundred percent,” says the friend now, “like the Bible, like it was gold.” When she realized what was happening, the friend tried to talk Evelyn down. “Go to sleep,” she begged. “I can’t,” Evelyn said. “I’m not sleeping till Trump does.” Like Q, she believed her president was working tirelessly to prepare for the Storm, the salvation of democracy via the executions of the cabalists, all of them.
At 9:22 that morning, Evelyn found one. It was obvious—the cabalist was driving a white van, the kind used by kidnappers in movies. Also the kind used by caterers in real life. The caterer had her young daughter with her. Evelyn jumped out at a light and began screaming. The caterer hit the gas. Evelyn got back in her Fiero and returned to the prowl. Soon she saw another shadow. A young Latinx woman driving a Dodge Caravan. Evelyn veered into the middle turning lane so she could try to force the Caravan over. The driver—a 19-year-old on her way to register for classes at community college—tried to turn into a police station. Evelyn rammed the Caravan. The student saw a cop in a parking lot. She squealed in, honking. “She kept ramming into me,” says the student. Eight times, she thinks, maybe more. “Half my body went numb.”
Had Evelyn not crashed into a concrete pylon, she might have committed murder. And if she’d done that, she might be as infamous as Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old Kenosha killer whose original defense attorney declared that Rittenhouse had fired the first shot of the “Second American Revolution.” Instead Evelyn is just a woman who went too far—or, from the point of view of QAnon, not far enough. That she might have spiraled into some different sort of chaos had Trump and Q not been there to feed her delusion shouldn’t make us feel safe. Because Trump is there, and he sees shadows too.
There are no turning points when the world is spinning out of control, so the Trump interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that aired August 31—displaced by the time you read this by a dozen more distractions and disasters—did not so much mark a new low as erase altogether the meaning of pre-Trump terms such as “new low.” Now there is only the abyss. We’re all in it together, and Trump is down here too. Which is why it’s worth pausing, as we rush toward November and the certain violence that will follow any outcome, to consider Trump’s words to Ingraham.
“Biden,” he says, slumped in a chair, “Biden is, I don’t even like to mention Biden”—(fact check: he does)—“because he’s not controlling anything.” This is Trump boilerplate—he’s been calling Biden a puppet since at least last fall.
Ingraham attempts to normalize. The media of which Trump approves doesn’t just parrot his words, it launders them. Ingraham asks who’s “pulling the strings.” She proposes “Obama’s people,” which is triple-ply: simultaneously a plausible suggestion of continuity; a racist dog whistle; and a bone for QAnon, followers of which know that “Obama’s people” means “pedophiliac cannibals.” It’s the kind of yes, and message that’d usually elicit a smirk from Trump, an insult comic at heart.
Not this time. He tilts forward, his hands uncharacteristically clasped between his knees, and breaks eye contact, glancing away. His voice gathers texture. “People that you’ve never heard of, people that are in the dark shadows, people—”
“Dark shadows,” says Ingraham. “What is that?” It’s not a question, it’s a redirect.
“No,” Trump says, as if he knows how he sounds. “People that you haven’t heard of,” he repeats. In the past when Trump spoke of Biden’s puppeteers, he wanted you to think you knew whom he meant. “Reasonable” Republicans understood it was Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer—just as many Democrats say Mitch McConnell controls Trump. Racists heard him calling out AOC and the Squad, impertinent women of color. And the deeper read was George Soros, maybe the Rothschilds.
But something different is happening with Ingraham. He’s not insinuating that she knows whom he’s talking about—he’s insisting she doesn’t. It’s none of the usual suspects. Nobody and everybody, nameless and everywhere. When he glances away it’s as if only he can see them, an intimate moment not between Trump and Ingraham, but between Trump and his own mind. We’re witnessing a man cross a lin
Not one of transgression—to him, such borders mean nothing—but of belief. “There are people that are on the streets,” he says. “There are people that are controlling the streets.” The “invisible enemy” he’s spoken of before, the one QAnon calls Hillary Clinton or James Comey or John Podesta. But this foe has no name.
He speaks of an airplane “in a certain city,” one full of “thugs” in “dark uniforms.” Indistinguishable; like a virus. This happened, he says, then: “They’re on a plane.” Present tense. “This is all happening.” Right now. It has the dream logic of a nursery rhyme. On the streets, in the air, dark shadows everywhere.
What Trump is describing is no more nor less exotic than the popular evangelical concept of spiritual war, the conflict thought to be raging always, around us and within, between believers and “principalities” and “powers,” according to Ephesians, or demons, in the contemporary vernacular. QAnon has translated the concept from King James into Trumpish, but Trump is no more reading Q “drops” than undead John-John, JFK Jr., is writing them. For once there’s nothing contrived about Trump’s answer. He’s not saying what he thinks MAGA wants to hear. Dark shadows is in fact the wrong answer, as Ingraham tries to signal. But he can’t hear her.
IF YOU LOVE TRUMP, YOU’RE RECEIVING THE SIGNAL. IF YOU FEAR HIM, FEAR HE’LL NEVER REALLY BE GONE, YOU’RE HEARING IT TOO.
Trump used to flirt with and feed morsels to evangelicalism’s spiritual warriors and the rabbit-holers of Q. That’s when they were distinct constituencies, the Christians and the crazies. Lately they’ve been merging, the theology of Q infecting evangelicalism, the organization of the Christian right incarnating Q’s digital power. Together they’re his base; his hope; and now, maybe, his identity. He’s no longer a con artist. Now he’s his own mark, like an email scammer who clicks on his own malware. He isn’t selling a dream, he’s dreaming it. The difference between him and his believers is that he has the power to make the dream real, for them, for him, for us. To summon into being the “American carnage” he nightmared at his inauguration, the cities he said were desolate now set ablaze; the killers in the street recast as heroes, with paramilitary backup; fear a daily given; the plague risen up from legend to fill the land with ghosts. This was his dream. Now we are all nightmaring it together.
When press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked to explain Trump’s defense of QAnon, she insisted neither she nor the president knew a thing about it. But at the close of the interview, apropos of nothing, she said, “There’s a lot of children in this country who have died on the streets of Democrat cities. We’re focused on capturing criminals.” What was she talking about? Maybe she meant gun violence in Chicago, a favorite Trump topic, or the blond girls he describes falling prey to human “animals.” But I heard Q. I heard #SaveTheChildren. Was she signaling, I wondered? A very Q question.
I thought of a Q podcast, Praying Medic, to which I’d started listening. “This information is real, distractions are necessary,” says the Medic, explaining the need for Q’s cryptic constructions. So real it demands the poetry of myth, not the dull prose of politics. “Double meanings,” like loop-the-loops, kairos—sacred time—disguised as chronos, “ticktock,” as QAnon says. Consider the third of November, a date seemingly promised by Q in October 2017 to deliver indictments against the cabal, around which “public riots” (versus the private kind?) would be organized in an attempt to prevent their arrests. November 3, 2017, came and went sans perp walk or broken windows.
But who knows which November 3 Q meant, asks the Medic. I see the answer before he says it—there are riots now, and November is coming! Ticktock. I thought of Rittenhouse’s first shot, and his lawyer’s “Second American Revolution,” and the plastic bag his supporters claimed was a Molotov cocktail; and of Michael Reinoehl, the Portland protester who said his kill shot “felt like the beginning of a war.” I thought of “retribution,” Trump’s term for the police killing of Reinoehl. “That’s the way it has to be,” he explained. Tit-tat, ticktock. I thought of Michael R. Caputo, the Trump aide who on Facebook warned of Bidenaut hit squads and called for supporters to stock ammunition and also spoke of shadows: “Shadows on the ceiling in my apartment, there alone, shadows are so long.”And of Trump, always Trump. Masked, pawing at the window of his airtight limousine outside Walter Reed, driven by Secret Service agents in pale gowns. Unmasked, on the White House portico, breathing disease, visibly gasping. He tells us he feels better than he has in 20 years. The drugs, I thought, the steroids. But what if it’s true? What if he is growing stronger? Not electorally—more unbound? Walking deeper into his own shadow, drawing us after?
I shook it off; insane. But what about McEnany? I started listening to another Q podcast, this one a debunking, QAnon Anonymous. Its hosts also heard echoes in McEnany’s words. It was on this podcast that I learned of the woman I’m calling Evelyn. When I called one of the hosts, an artist named Julian Feeld, to ask how he’d found her, he said a listener had seen the attack in the local Waco news.
The report mentioned nothing about QAnon. But the listener wondered if there was more. Feeld didn’t wonder, he knew. He knew because he’s been listening even longer. In his voice I hear what sounds like pleasure, a kind of frightened delight in piecing together the puzzle of QAnon’s shattered mind. The Praying Medic sounds like this too, a mix of amiable and urgent that’s at odds with the history of conspiracy-mongering. Neither man grabs you by the lapels, demanding you listen. They don’t have to. So many of us already are. If you love Trump, you’re receiving the signal. If you fear him, fear he’ll never really be gone now no matter the outcome, that he’s a chronic condition or maybe a terminal one, then you’re hearing it to
“Blood makes noise,” declares a speaker at a #SaveTheChildren rally in Los Angeles that Feeld attended and recorded, a gathering of the unexpected: white hipsters, Black men, Latin x women, mothers concerned for their children. The speaker says the blood of the children is spilled by the cabal into the earth, where it’s soaked up by the roots of trees—she doesn’t need to mention Thomas Jefferson, the tree of liberty, for patriots to hear the echo—which then grow fruit, which “we” eat. “Their blood is now inside us!” she crows, as if this is a victory. The crowd cheers. “And we cry out with”—can you hear it?—“the voice of the children!”
This is the nightmare: We are the children and the cannibals. The victims and the killers, the innocence and the revenge. Do I need to say that none of this is true? Yes. We are none of us innocent, none of us martyrs. Such words are for faith, and democracy is a practice. Each of our real martyrs are defiled by claims of drinking the blood of infants and pedophilia, people like MLK, Obama, RHG...
Never mind the friends of Trump like Epstein.
Nevermind the Qman behind the right wing think tank curtain.
If this was a Horror movie you would change the channel, but its real.