Last night my wife and I finished watching the sixth and last episode of HBO's "QAnon: Into the Storm."
QAnon devotees are like religious believers. Neither cares about actual truth, while both pretend that they understand reality in a deep sense that eludes ordinary people.
I found the HBO series fascinating.
It shows us the people behind QAnon -- the computer geeks who administer the sites where Q posted his "drops," often enigmatic and usually totally wrong observations about politics and what-not.
We also see the people who interpret Q's communications via podcasts, You Tube channels, and the like. They're akin to high priests who mediate between the Almighty and the mass of believers.
The final episode doesn't definitively say who Q is, but a lot of evidence points to Ron Watkins, including Watkins' own words.
Watkins was the administrator of 8Chan, which morphed into 8Kun, the places that Q chose to host his posts/drops. His father, Jim Watkins, also plays a large role in the HBO series.
Both Ron and Jim are intelligent schemers. They're highly watchable, along with being highly irritating at times.
When the closing credits of the final episode appeared, I said to my wife, "I wonder if the faith of QAnon followers would be shaken if they knew that probably Q is a computer geek who wears a green baseball cap, not a high level government official with a super secret Q security clearance."
She replied, "It wouldn't matter to them. They'd continue to believe what they want to believe and wouldn't trust that Ron Watkins likely is Q."
My wife is right.
After all, there's no demonstrable evidence that the founder of any religion actually knew anything about God, nor that God even exists. Yet billions of people worship that non-existent entity regardless.
A FiveThirtyEight review of the HBO series made the same point. (Cullen Hoback is the director of QAnon: Into the Storm.)
But even if Hoback had managed to elicit a full confession, it likely wouldn’t have much impact on QAnon as a movement. Q followers would do what they always do when confronted with conflicting evidence to their belief system: they would either dismiss it or find a way to fold the information into their worldview.
Even if someone admitted that Q’s posts were a complete fabrication, it would not be enough to penetrate the hard outer shell of belief for many followers. Q, after all, has gone underground. He (or she or they) hasn’t posted since Dec. 8, 2020, the longest stretch of silence since Q first began posting in 2017.
It's interesting that Q's postings started in the first year of Trump's presidency and ended when it became clear that Trump had lost to Joe Biden.
These were dark years for truth-telling, in Washington D.C., at least. Now truth is making a comeback, since the Biden administration is hugely more committed to honesty, science, and transparency.
The final episode of the HBO series ends with footage of the January 6 attempted insurrection at the nation's Capitol, where Biden's electoral college victory was being finalized.
QAnon believers were convinced that somehow Trump would stage a "storm" of a comeback, arresting his enemies, including leading Democratic politicians, and remaining president. When this didn't happen, the QAnon faithful were deeply shaken.
Just like religious believers when, say, the predicted second coming of Christ comes and goes with no appearance by Jesus.
However, the power of mass delusion is very strong. QAnon still has lots of adherents, as does Christianity, obviously. Inconvenient truths aren't going to dissuade people who believe in falsehood that's immune to disproof.
In a brilliant move, Episode 6 of QAnon: Into the Storm shows the Trump rioters breaking into the Capitol as the Jefferson Airplane song, "White Rabbit," plays.
This musical paean to going down the rabbit hole, psychedelic variety, made the attempted insurrection look like the bizarre fantasy that it actually was. Sadly, I couldn't find any clips of the final episode with White Rabbit playing.
But you can hear this classic song by Grace Slick via You Tube video. I'll also share the trailer for the HBO series and a CNN interview with Hoback where he talks about his strong suspicion that Ron Watkins is Q.