because I’m in Facebook jail for the next 20 days
Underside of Leaves
It’s occurred to me lately that I’m never going to be “discovered.” The phone isn’t going to ring again with someone hoping for my services. Nothing is going to happen that will rescue me from my current situation. That’s not to say my current circumstances are bad, nor am I waiting for rescue. For most of my adult life, I sort of half-expected things were going to get better over time. I no longer expect that.
No, this is it, as good as it’s going to get. If I failed to save for retirement twenty or thirty years ago, it’s not going to suddenly happen now that I’m seventy. The next big landmark in my life will probably be a catastrophic illness or accident, a medical bill I might not be able to pay, a Go Fund Me site, but now with the pandemic, I suppose the line for charity bail outs will be interminable.
On the other hand and possibly on the brighter side, nothing seems to make sense anymore. Merely watching our own government handle the pandemic is an exercise in absurd logic. It’s like watching a Betty Boop cartoon. Nothing follows from what came before, and anything is possible. There’s a chance, albeit a small one, that when I leave my house this morning I’ll bump into Johnny Depp who was just coming to see me to offer me a role in his new film. We’ll go have coffee and he’ll offer me more money than I’ve ever made in my life, just to be part of a fun, new experience. That could happen. I’m not holding my breath, but it could happen.
Or a meteor could land in the vacant lot down the street and I could take it home and crack it open, finding that it contained pure old! Lots of things could happen.
acrylic on canvas 18 x 22 inches
The real problem is not Trump’s addiction to social media – it’s ours.
Keep the focus on yourself.
from the Atlantic monthly
Nothing can stop what is coming
Q is an intelligence or military insider with proof that corrupt world leaders are secretly torturing children all over the world; the malefactors are embedded in the deep state; Donald Trump is working tirelessly to thwart them. (“These people need to ALL be ELIMINATED,” Q wrote in one post.) The eventual destruction of the global cabal is imminent, Q prophesies, but can be accomplished only with the support of patriots who search for meaning in Q’s clues. To believe Q requires rejecting mainstream institutions, ignoring government officials, battling apostates, and despising the press. One of Q’s favorite rallying cries is “You are the news now.” Another is “Enjoy the show,” a phrase that his disciples regard as a reference to a coming apocalypse: When the world as we know it comes to an end, everyone’s a spectator.
People who have taken Q to heart like to say they’ve been paying attention from the very beginning, the way someone might brag about having listened to Radiohead before The Bends. A promise of foreknowledge is part of Q’s appeal, as is the feeling of being part of a secret community, which is reinforced through the use of acronyms and ritual phrases such as “Nothing can stop what is coming” and “Trust the plan.”
One phrase that serves as a special touchstone among QAnon adherents is “the calm before the storm.” Q first used it a few days after his initial post, and it arrived with a specific history. On the evening of October 5, 2017—not long before Q first made himself known on 4chan—President Trump stood beside the first lady in a loose semicircle with 20 or so senior military leaders and their spouses for a photo in the State Dining Room at the White House. Reporters had been invited to watch as Trump’s guests posed and smiled. Trump couldn’t seem to stop talking. “You guys know what this represents?” he asked at one point, tracing an incomplete circle in the air with his right index finger. “Tell us, sir,” one onlooker replied. The president’s response was self-satisfied, bordering on a drawl: “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”
“What’s the storm?” one of the journalists asked.
“Could be the calm—the calm before the storm,” Trump said again. His repetition seemed to be for dramatic effect. The whir of camera shutters grew louder.
The reporters became insistent: “What storm, Mr. President?”
A curt response from Trump: “You’ll find out.”
Those 37 seconds of presidential ambiguity made headlines right away—relations with Iran had been tense in recent days—but they would also become foundational lore for eventual followers of Q. The president’s circular hand gesture is of particular interest to them. You may think he was motioning to the semicircle gathered around him, they say, but he was really drawing the letter Q in the air. Was Trump playing the role of John the Baptist, proclaiming what was to come? Was he himself the anointed one?
one can easily find signs of impending doom—in comets and earthquakes, in wars and pandemics. It has always been this way. In 1831, a Baptist preacher in rural New York named William Miller began to publicly share his prediction that the Second Coming of Jesus was imminent. Eventually he settled on a date: October 22, 1844. When the sun came up on October 23, his followers, known as the Millerites, were crushed. The episode would come to be known as the Great Disappointment. But they did not give up. The Millerites became the Adventists, who in turn became the Seventh-day Adventists, who now have a worldwide membership of more than 20 million. “These people in the QAnon community—I feel like they are as deeply delusional, as deeply invested in their beliefs, as the Millerites were,” Travis View, one of the hosts of a podcast called QAnon Anonymous, which subjects QAnon to acerbic analysis, told me. “That makes me pretty confident that this is not something that is going to go away with the end of the Trump presidency.”
QAnon carries on a tradition of apocalyptic thinking that has spanned thousands of years. It offers a polemic to empower those who feel adrift. In his classic 1957 book, The Pursuit of the Millennium, the historian Norman Cohn examined the emergence of apocalyptic thinking over many centuries. He found one common condition: This way of thinking consistently emerged in regions where rapid social and economic change was taking place—and at periods of time when displays of spectacular wealth were highly visible but unavailable to most people. This was true in Europe during the Crusades in the 11th century, and during the Black Death in the 14th century, and in the Rhine Valley in the 16th century, and in William Miller’s New York in the 19th century. It is true in America in the 21st century.
The Seventh-day Adventists and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are thriving religious movements indigenous to America. Do not be surprised if QAnon becomes another. It already has more adherents by far than either of those two denominations had in the first decades of their existence. People are expressing their faith through devoted study of Q drops as installments of a foundational text, through the development of Q-worshipping groups, and through sweeping expressions of gratitude for what Q has brought to their lives. Does it matter that we do not know who Q is? The divine is always a mystery. Does it matter that basic aspects of Q’s teachings cannot be confirmed? The basic tenets of Christianity cannot be confirmed. Among the people of QAnon, faith remains absolute. True believers describe a feeling of rebirth, an irreversible arousal to existential knowledge. They are certain that a Great Awakening is coming. They’ll wait as long as they must for deliverance.
Trust the plan. Enjoy the show. Nothing can stop what is coming.
Seven Mountains of Societal Influence. Seven Mountains utilizes the language of Dominionism — a theology that believes countries, including the United States, should be governed by Christian biblical law. Its goal is to attain sociopolitical and economic transformation through the gospel of Jesus in what it calls the seven mountains or spheres of society: religion, family, education, government, media, entertainment and business. This blends QAnon’s apocalyptic desire to destroy society “controlled” by the deep state with the need for the Kingdom of God on Earth.
Wagner and Bushey have taught their congregation to stop listening to any media —even Fox News — because they’re are all “Luciferian.” What they provide instead is a road map to QAnon radicalization comprised of QAnon YouTube channels for the congregation’s daily media diet, the Qmap website that lists new QAnon conspiracy theories and Twitter influencers.
“Deep state church”
They further insist that as Trump continues to “drain the swamp” in Washington, it’s “our” responsibility to drain the deep state church swamp. They believe the same deep state that controls the world has also infiltrated traditional churches. As Wagner stated in his April 12 service: “I am here to focus on the deep state church. This goes beyond our church and involves our culture and our politics. Kevin is here to talk about QAnon and the military operation to save the world.”
Like any church, they also run outreach ministries. OKM is currently raising funds for something called Reclamation Ranch, which Wagner describes as a safe place for children rescued after being held underground by the deep state. Children at risk is an ongoing theme in many QAnon conspiracy theories, including the famous fake “Pizzagate” theory.