On Nov. 22, 1963, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Many people believe that Lee Harvey Oswald, who was arrested and charged with Kennedy’s murder, was not the only person involved in the assassination. Since that time there have been myriad conspiracy theories that run the gamut from a belief that director of the CIA Allen Dulles colluded with organized crime and Lyndon B. Johnson to get rid of Kennedy to the idea that JFK faked his own assassination in order to better fight against some shadowy New World Order from below the radar of the public eye.
The one consistent touchstone in most, if not all, JFK conspiracy theories is that Kennedy himself (and his brother Robert) were creating giant upheavals in the established order of the U.S. government. It is the belief that the Kennedys represented a light in the dark and shadowy world of true power and elitism that drives the conspiracy theory’s staying power. At the beginning of November, QAnon Trumpists descended on Dallas and Dealey Plaza under the impression that one of the many Q-conspiracy theories would be realized: the resurrection of John F. Kennedy, or at the very least the resurrection of his son, John K. Kennedy Jr., who died in 1999 in a plane crash off of Martha’s Vineyard. The MAGA-conspiracists went down to Dealey Plaza on Nov. 2 with the assumption that something big was going to be revealed. It wasn’t.
They don’t care. They’re staying.
Reporter Steven Monacelli and VICE reporter David Gilbert have been following this QAnon crew in Dallas, and found that they’ve been led by an antisemitic QAnon activist, Michael Brian Protzman, to the grassy knoll in downtown Dallas for a reappearance of one of the deceased Kennedys. And while nothing happened to support the wild conservative Christian eschatological theories on JFK and/or JFK Jr. anointing Donald Trump the “king of kings,” their belief in Protzman has not wavered.
But unlike most influencers, Protzman has effectively built a cult within the QAnon movement, where his followers refer to him as a godlike figure, are willing to travel across the country to see JFK resurrected, and most of all, continue to praise Protzman even when the miracle fails to materialize.
His rise within the QAnon world has been rapid. Back in March, his Negative48 Telegram channel had around 1,700 members; today, it has over 105,000 members. But aside from the number of followers Protzman has, what makes him stand out from other QAnon influencers is the loyalty and worship he has engendered in those people.
According to VICE, Protzman has promoted content to his audience like the film Europa: The Last Battle, which purports to explain how Jews created communism and orchestrated both World War I and its sequel, World War II, in order to get Israel created at the expense of the Nazis. True story. Anyways, this asshat has also been able to take advantage of the fact that President Joe Biden recently delayed the public release and declassification of thousands of remaining government documents related to the JFK assassination, which has not helped. Of course, the fact that Donald Trump first delayed the release of these documents in 2017 does not seem to have registered with this MAGA-adjacent QAnon crowd.
The motivations for the assassination in all of these conspiracy theories lead to the same the thing: the protection of a secret world power establishment. In these theories, whether Kennedy’s death allows the escalation of war into Vietnam and Cambodia or it is simply the outgrowth of a sexual jealousy between Kennedy and organized crime boss Santos Trafficante is immaterial in the end. The important thing to understand is that in the end, the government and other secret establishment officials covered up the “truth” about the Kennedy assassination in order to protect their world order.
This unbelievably general and truly unsophisticated view of global power dynamics is at the center of these cult-level conspiracy theories. Are you ready for this? Hold on to your socks!
And after JFK Jr. didn’t appear at the site of his father’s assassination, QAnoners moved their goal post to the Rolling Stones concert that was In town. The irony that these QAnon folks are heading to see a rock and roll group that openly hates Donald Trump is lost on them, of course. In fact, it almost wouldn’t be a story about QAnon if the logic wasn’t so truly wrong-headed.
Guess what? They totally saw all kinds of people you thought were dead, including Michael Jackson, Prince, and Aaliyah. Plus, these QAnon music fans saw the original not dead musician, Elvis!
Sounds like a truly amazing concert. The most important thing to realize here is that while this sect of QAnon seems to be a bit more acutely delusional in their views of reality than maybe other QAnon conspiracists who are a little more shrewd in how openly ridiculous their theories are in practice, the results are the same: The concert these QAnon folks went to was a lot more exciting than the concert that the rest of the people enjoying the Rolling Stones saw.
And that’s the point.