Today marked the one year anniversary of the last 'Q Drop', after which the shitposter known as Q disappeared after a singularly low-effort post:
Today marks a year since the last ever Q drop, a YouTube link that no longer exists.— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) December 8, 2021
Q is gone, but Q's conspiracy theories will be with us forever, so will be the millions worldwide who still believe in QAnon, as well as their loved ones whose relationships have been destroyed. pic.twitter.com/HhK1gk8Hmb
QAnon debunker Travis View had a particularly funny take on this inauspicious end. A little over four years after this unified-conspiracy-theory-complex had begun with a failed prediction of Hillary Clinton's extradition to Gitmo for crimes against humanity, the sorry business ended with a link to a scrubbed YouTube video for a decades old song. Countless family breakups and dissolved friendships later, none of the QAnon predictions have come to pass, and the QAnon 'luminaries' (Qminaries?) are engaging in infighting, largely over an increasingly smaller pool of money grifted from an increasingly shrinking base. Ron Watkins, who was probably writing the Q drops at the end probably abandoned the anonymity in order to get his share of the grift money, and is now running for Congress in Arizona.
How did QAnon last for so long, and expand to absorb all sorts of conspiracy theories involving a sinister cabal of Illuminati/Jesuits/Aliens/Communists/Jews? Well, it's very syncretism was a key factor... whether you believed in a Flat Earth, or the imminent return of JFK Jr, or hostile angel/human hybrids, there was a place in QAnon for you. Even if the posters behind the Q account on 4 and then 8Chan straight up told you that you were wrong, Q told his/her/their followers that disinformation is necessary, so any contradictions could be chalked up to Q dissembling to throw off the cabal.
QAnon combined its all-encompassing conspiracy theory with an online puzzle game, offering cryptic clues to be decoded by its adherents, codes which were necessary to thwart the efforts of the cabal to decipher this information. It was the DaVinci code for dullards, and it appealed to Trumpers who could never admit that their hero was a dumbass. All of those spelling and grammar errors? Those were intentional utterances meant to stymie the cabal, or to transmit coded threats to them. There's no way that Donald J. Trump, God-Emperor, could merely be stupid. Solving these puzzles also allowed the 'anons' to feel smart, they were privy to a secret knowledge that their smug, college-educated liberal brother-in-law was completely unaware of. To add a frisson of bloodlust, the QAnon conspiracy theory always ended up with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and that weirdo couple driving a Volvo and shopping at Mrs Green's getting executed for their myriad-though-unevidenced crimes.
Q has been gone a year, but as long as there are bucks to be grifted, rubes to be fleeced, merch to be sold, QAnon will linger. As long as MAGA dead-enders keep insisting that Donald Trump is a super genius playing 17D chess to defeat his enemies, QAnon will linger. Sure, it sounds like a transparent con or hoax, but so does Mormonism, or Scientology, or (truth be told) any sect with a well-remunerated hierarchy. Who knows, maybe we are witnessing the birth of a new religion in realtime.
The fact that it is a wholly bloodthirsty religion, demanding mass executions of its enemies, is disconcerting.