Q: Into The Storm
By now, it is probably a commonly accepted fact that the Internet is a pretty mysterious place. You don’t even have to go into the corners of the Dark Web. Social interactions on traditional social media sites are something we don’t understand, and they can get weird soon. Things get even worse when it comes to discussion forums like Reddit and the now nonexistent 8chan (now known as 8kun).
If the past years have taught us anything about politics, it is the fact that human behavior on the web can have strange effects, not only on the Internet itself, but on the real world. The thin line that divides what happens on the web from the real world often seems to be nonexistent. Lines can get blurry from one moment to the next, and strange things can happen.
If you think I’m just exaggerating or don’t believe me at all, go watch HBO’s 'Q Into the Storm' and check it out for yourself. After watching it, I don’t think I’ll be able to see the Internet in the same way.
What Is Q?
If you don’t know by now what Q is, you are probably the type of person who does not like staying informed about what happens in the world.
Q, short for Q Anon, is sort of hard to describe. It is an eclectic blend of conspiracy, spirituality (a combination often referred to as conspirituality), and a bunch of other things that one wouldn’t even think of putting together. And all of this can be found in one place: the Internet. Because yes, Q is, at the end of the day, a profile on the Internet that shares information about a bunch of crazy ideas.
In short, the Q conspiracy theory states there is a bunch of politicians in the USA that have taken the state prisoner in what they refer to as the ’deep state.’ These people are an elite group of Satanists and pedophiles who drink children’s blood to stay young.
Yes, and absurd as this sounds, this is actually a big deal on both the web and the real world. There are accounts of people who reshare Q-related content, some who even define themselves as messengers of Q, Qtubers, and who knows what much more. Remember the storming of the United States Capitol? To no surprise, it seems that many of the people involved were believers of Q.
Q as a Way to Give Meaning
I don’t want to be disrespectful to anyone who believes in Q, but to me, this whole story sounds like way too much. I mean, blood-drinking pedophiles who use the code ‘pizza’ for I don’t know what?
Personally, I find this to be just another case of people who are desperately looking for meaning in their lives. I wrote about this exact situation in a post about the WeWork phenomenon. It’s not like this is something new. Throughout history, there are many examples of people losing their minds around some absurd idea.
However, what is new is that this is probably the first time that something like this happens on such a scale. In part, I believe, this can be traced back to the source of everything: the Internet.
The Amplification of Nonsense in Social Media
It probably comes as no surprise that this sort of thing came out of social media. After all, this is where even the most absurd ideas seem to find people who will blindly believe in them. Anything, as ridiculous as it seems, can be amplified if the right audience is engaged. It is the perfect storm, people searching for something to believe in and crazy ideas just floating around.
The real interesting question with social media is: up to what extent can these platforms be blamed for the whole mess of Q? After all, it’s not like they were coerced to believe anything Q has to say. However, the masses did play a role. This is an interesting question explored by many, including this article.
We might never know for sure the power that recommendation algorithms have in terms of influencing others, but we do know for a fact that they tend to bring people together. However, keep in mind that this is not necessarily a good thing if the people you are helping connect are just out of their minds.
The Q Documentary
There are many theories as to how the Q phenomenon came to be. This and other interesting questions are explored in the documentary ‘Q Into the Storm.’ We sometimes tend to believe that the content and the platforms with which we come into contact on the Internet are nothing else than mere products, 0s and 1s on a server. Nothing can be farther away from the truth.
The Internet and its contents are a human creation. They don’t just pop out of the blue. It is people who create the things we find on the web. That is why it is so scary that something like Q exists. It means that it had to come out of someone.
And that is precisely what ‘Into the Storm’ seeks to do, to find out who is the person behind Q. Filmmaker Cullen Hoback embarks on a journey to find out if there’s even someone; it might as well be a number of people behind all this madness. As the documentary digs deeper, some peculiar stuff starts to see the light.
I won’t say anything else about the documentary; I don’t want to spoil it. The only thing I will say is that it is bizarre, and at times even scary. There were moments where I felt I shouldn’t keep watching, but at the same time, I felt that I could not just ignore one of the most peculiar things the world has seen in recent years.
It feels like the world has gone mad, and maybe it has, but we have not noticed it.
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