A Few New Gods
Special Note: As before, this is both a readable column and a video. If you want to hear my dulcet tones, and see some cool graphics, click on the image before. If not, just keep reading.
I’m been struck lately by how the QAnon fantasy has mutated and morphed. Increasingly, it looks less like a rather turgid conspiracy theory and more like, well, a religion. It has believers, and tenets, and a dogma. It posits a massive, Manichean struggle between absolute good and absolute evil. God and the Devil, or something like them, loom over everything. There’s even a Messiah, of sorts—either Trump, or possibly (no, really) one of the Kennedy clan. In some quarters of the QAnon universe, it is believed that the late John F. Kennedy Jr. did not die in a plane crash but is still alive somewhere, having faked his death, and is waiting the right moment to appear and save our ailing nation.(1)
Further, if it is a faith, then it is a surprising successfully one. According to at least one poll, QAnon is now “as popular as some major religions.”(2)
Click on the image above to see the video version...
What does all this mean? I mean, other than that an extraordinary number of Americans are in severe need of critical thinking skills and/or mental health care? Well, it means that QAnon’s real appeal is that it meets the human need for myth and drama. It is less political than it is Jungian.
Which means, in turn, that somehow our traditional religions are not giving people what they want. Or, to steal and modify a line from a terrific alternative history novel I read long ago and far away, the country is in very great need of a few well-disciplined gods.(3) We need something…maybe Jedi Knights or “Maiar” (like Gandalf from LOTR)…to provide a bit of color to our theology, or at least our mythology.
That being the case, and given that I am such a noble fellow, always eager to turn a buck…I mean, serve humankind…I will shortly be offering my own religion. It’ll come complete with a god, a devil, angels, and all that, but also dragons, caped crusaders, wonder women, and crossdressing, tap dancing, sentient aardvarks for comic relief.
Stay tuned for the Patreon page where you’ll be able to purchase holy books and donate lavishly to the cause. The cause in question being, of course, my retirement to some location that has Swiss banking law and no extradition treaties.
Oh, and speaking of sins. Have you ever heard of Indulgences? I’ll let you know when mine are on offer at e-Bay. Or maybe Etsy. Well, six of one, and the highest bidder on the other.
Until next time…
Onward and Upward.
P.S. Quick aside. The idea that JFK Jr. or whoever is in hiding…a.k.a., Occultation…puts QAnon inside a long tradition of hidden or sleeping leaders and heroes. In folktales, such concealed saviors include everyone from King Arthur to Georgia’s Queen Tamar. They are all said to be sleeping under various mountains, just waiting the call.(3)
If you go into actual religions, you will discover that some Shias hold that the final Imam (seventh or twelfth, depending on your view point) is somewhere…in this world or maybe out of it …waiting to return as the Mahdi, who will sweep away Greater and Lesser Evils, and thus pave the way for utopia.(4)
I do find it somewhat amusing that QAnon, whose followers so often detest Islam, has actually copied a Muslim belief, almost word for word, albeit with a Kennedy rather than a Caliph.
Copyright©2021 Michael Jay Tucker
See, “QAnon Followers Think JFK Jr. Is Coming Back on the 4th of July,” by EJ Dickson, Rolling Stone, July 3, 2019 , https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/qanon-jfk-jr-conspiracy-theory-854938/ and “JFK Jr. didn’t die! He runs QAnon! And he’s No. 1 Trump fan, omg!!!” By Avi Selk, The Washington Post, August 5, 2018 at 12:37 p.m. CDT, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/08/05/jfk-jr-didnt-die-he-runs-qanon-and-hes-no-1-trump-fan-omg/
(2) “Poll suggests QAnon as popular in US as some major religions,” by Brian Todd, CNN, https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/05/28/qanon-poll-conspiracy-theory-republicans-election-todd-pkg-tsr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/
(3) Specifically, it was Pavene (1968) by Keith Roberts. I believe it was in the “Brother John” section.
(3) “King asleep in mountain,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_asleep_in_mountain
(4) Daftary, Farhad. Ismaili History and Intellectual Traditions . Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.