We’ve long suspected that Donald Trump lives on another planet, but who ever thought it had such low gravity? Our favorite felonious punk may not actually be 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weigh 215 pounds on Earth—as his Fulton County booking info indicates—but anyone can spin this obvious fib into gold and make him look like a conquering hero. Anyone who’s a QAnon adherent, anyway.
Yes, QAnon is still alive and unwell, and its advocates are still waiting for that storm to come. And it turns out Trump’s latest arrest—and the release of his mug shot—are all part of the plan.
After being mugshot (mugshooted? mugsharted?) yesterday, Trump returned to X, which is what nobody calls the platform formerly known as Twitter, to send an X, which is what nobody calls a post formerly known as a tweet, to his supporters in the death cult, which is what many of us call the party formerly known as the GOP. The xweet included Trump’s mug shot and a grift summons.
Remarkably, QAnon folks saw something in it other than a surly, glowering weirdo who looks like he’s on Day Two of a three-day Strawberry Yoo-hoo cleanse.
As Vice News reports, within minutes of posting the mug shot, Trump was deluged with “supportive” comments from folks certain that the Big Reveal—i.e., the arrival of the long-promised “Storm”—was nigh.
[S]upporters quickly claimed there was a secret code within Trump’s tweet, pointing out that the three letters at the beginning of each line spelled out END. This was then linked to a message posted by Q in 2019, that reads: “There is no step five. End.”
For QAnon fans who have been waiting for years for the conclusion of this conspiracy, this claim was too enticing to ignore. “The crime is complete, they have finally arrested the president after they stole the election, now the military can't ignore this anymore,” one user of a QAnon-focused message board wrote. ”Their job is to protect the constitution and not the politicians. Now the crime is complete, the entire bait has been swallowed. Brothers and sisters... Welcome to act III.”
Yeah, “act III” is here all right—but it looks like it’s gonna teach us a lot more about hubris than heroism. Meanwhile, for those of us not watching “Sound of Freedom” on an endless loop while popping psychedelic toads like so much Fiddle Faddle, the xweeted photo—Trump’s first activity on the account in over two years—looks conspicuously like the same asshole that’s been relentlessly shoved in our faces for the past eight years, only 10-20% more assholish.
This interpretation ignores the fact that for years, QAnon influencers have been predicting that Trump would signal his return by returning to Twitter and writing: “The storm is upon us.” They have also told their followers that Trump was going to return to the Oval Office. Now, millions of people continue to believe in this conspiracy despite all the evidence to show that it was not orchestrated by a government insider revealing top secret information, but was instead run for the most part by a former pig-farmer in the Philippines and his son.
Right. Like anyone who supports Trump is ever going to be dissuaded by anything that happens in consensus reality. It’s nothing but 24/7 conspiracy theories with this lot. Some of them even think JFK Jr. is still alive and working with Trump, even though his plane was clearly shot down by Jewish space lasers nearly a quarter-century ago.
Yet even among conspiracy theorists, the QAnon folks are too much. In an Aug. 4 New York Times story aptly titled “Even Conspiracy Theorists Are Alarmed by What They’ve Seen,” conspiracy theory researcher Dr. Annie Kelly asked folks who’ve long done their own research—since “the pre-social media era”— about the impact the internet has had on their culture of conspiracy.
Unsurprisingly, QAnon came up.
Many expressed discomfort with and at times outright disgust for QAnon and the related theories claiming the 2020 election was stolen, and said that they felt as if the very worst elements of conspiracy culture had become its main representatives.
[E]ven those who pride themselves on their openness to alternative viewpoints — Sept. 11 truthers, Kennedy assassination investigators and U.F.O. cover-up researchers — have been alarmed by what they’ve seen.
The belief that the incentives of social media had shorn conspiracy research of its serious, scholarly edge was a common theme for our interviewees. “The things that we’re describing are not really the same thing,” [author and parapolitical researcher Joseph E. ] Green declared to me flatly, comparing the salacious videos of QAnon influencers with the archival work and conferences that he had been involved with. The scholarly work “is never going to have that commercial appeal,” he said. “You know, just like if I try to get somebody to watch a film by Ingmar Bergman, it’s much more difficult than to get them to watch a film by Michael Bay. It’s almost not even the same thing, right?”
In the minds of many conspiracy theorists, [Alex] Jones and his imitators don’t deserve the title. In his 2017 book, “Trumpocalypse Now!: The Triumph of the Conspiracy Spectacle,” Kenn Thomas, a towering figure in the world of 1990s conspiracy, termed the recent crop of opportunists looking to profit from the hard work of researchers “conspiracy celebrities.” And the conspiracy celebrity in chief, Mr. Thomas said, was Donald Trump, who referred to conspiracy theories he hadn’t researched and didn’t understand.
Which brings us back to QAnon’s mug shot messages. And they were just as dangerously fun as everybody’s favorite Michael Bay movie.
“It’s always darkest before the storm,” one Trump supporter xweeted in response to the mug shot. “Tsunami Trump is coming for the swamp.”
Wouldn’t a tsunami make the swamp immeasurably worse? Shouldn’t that be Wet Vac Trump? Or Intracranial Stent Trump?
There were also folks desperately parsing the xweet for hidden meanings that simply had to be there.
As Vice News noted, some posters seized on the time the xweet was xweeted: 9:38 PM ET. As anyone with eyes can see, that’s 21:38 in military time, and Q drop 2,138 reads, “Battlestations ready. WWG1WGA.” (WWG1WGA is the shorthand version of the QAnon mantra “where we go one, we go all.”)
Apparently the notion that Trump is a “self-reported” 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds is risible enough to give even QAnon cultists pause. Yet! Yet! Yet! Those numbers do make sense in the context of the Q conspiracy, obvi. After all, if you add 6, 3, 2, 1, and 5, you get 17—and Q is the 17th letter of the alphabet.
Others—shall we call them mug-shot truthers?—were convinced the photo wasn’t real, because there was no shadow, the Fulton County insignia was smaller in his photo than in his co-conspirators’ shots, and he looked thinner in the photo than he did outside the jail. Not 215 pounds thin, of course, but thinner.
Clearly, some QAnoners will never relinquish their febrile fantasies. Soon they’ll be finding veiled messages in the way Trump holds his government-issued slipper full of toilet gin. But hey, they’ll cross that bridge when they come to it.
Because, as Kelly and her study of conspiracy theorists note, the fact that there’s nothing on the other side but more buried clues is kind of the point.
Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.