Welcome to Halfman, Halfbook for my stop on the Blog Tour for The Storm Is Upon Us by Mike Rothschild and published by Monoray, an imprint of Octopus Books.
About the Book
In 2017, President Trump made a cryptic remark at a gathering of military officials, describing it as ‘the calm before the storm’-then refused to explain himself to puzzled journalists. But on internet message boards, a mysterious poster called ‘Q Clearance Patriot’ began an elaboration all of their own.
Q’s wild yarn hinted at a vast conspiracy that satisfied the deepest desires of MAGA-America. None of Q’s predictions came to pass. But did that stop people from clinging to every word, expanding Q’s mythology, and promoting it ever more widely? No.
Conspiracy culture expert Mike Rothschild is uniquely equipped to explain QAnon, from the cults that first fed into it, to its embrace by Trump and the right-wing media. With families torn apart and with the Capitol under attack, he argues that mocking the madness of QAnon will get us nowhere. Instead, he argues that QAnon tells us everything we need to know about global fear after Trump-and that we need to understand it now, because it’s not going away.
About the Author
Mike Rothschild is a journalist, author, and the foremost expert in this ever-changing QAnon conspiracy theory. He is a contributing writer for the Daily Dot, where he explores the intersections between internet culture and politics through the lens of conspiracy theories. As a subject matter expert in the field of fringe beliefs, Mike has been interviewed by the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and Yahoo – among many others. He is also a frequent speaker, and podcast and radio guest on the topic of conspiracy theories, including NPR’s weekly show “On the Media” and a Vice documentary. Rothschild has been studying the QAnon phenomenon since early 2018 and was one of the first journalists not only to reveal its connections to past conspiracy theories and scams but also to openly address its danger to the American public—and beyond.
Thankfully the maelstrom of the Trump years are behind us and hopefully they won’t ever be back. He is still wildly popular there, his supporters see him as some godlike man who can purge American politics of liberalism and Democrats. His influence on American politics though has left a deep and long lasting scar on their country and it is going to take a long time to heal.
His 2016 campaign about Making America Great Again along with his popularist pitches reached a lot of people who felt that they had lost a voice in American politics. He was also attracting the voters who wouldn’t normally be that interested in politics, those that felt that the state had too much power and believed in the myriad of conspiracy theories that have been around for ages. Then in 2017, President Trump made a cryptic remark at a gathering of military officials, describing it as ‘the calm before the storm’ and then refused to explain himself to puzzled journalists.
A short time after this, a person identifying themselves as ‘Q Clearance Patriot’ started posting messages of the anarchic message board, 4chan. A follow up post hinted at massive riots taking place across the country. It read like the opening paragraph from a techno thriller and was the beginning of the mother of all conspiracy theories that would become QAnon. Q was claiming to be a high level military intelligence office who was there to tell the people that there was a secret war taking place, the culmination of this would be the end of the child trafficking rings, the end of the deep state, the end of all things evil and the beginning of true freedom. The posts or drops as they became known, were prolific at first, hinting at all manner of things happening, referencing the comment Trump had made earlier and hinting at a ‘mind blowing truth’ that cannot be fully revealed and the hell that was about to unleashed.
There was one tiny issue though; none of it was true.
People lapped it up though. What was a niche message board became wider known as more people wanted to read these drops for themselves and a whole cabal of people would interpret and reshare these messages across a variety of social media platforms adding to the myth and conspiracy. It didn’t take long for it to become part of the mainstream and QAnon believers to make up a substantial part of the Republican Party now. Its pinnacle though was the Capitol Hill invasion by its supporters eager to unleash the storm and reinstate Trump to the presidency.
But what is QAnon? In this book Mike Rothschild takes us through its short, intense and tumultuous history, outlining key moments as it grew into the phenomena that it is now. He systematically analyses the points where it went from being the delusions of a few cranks to a significant force in American politics. He tries to answer the question as to what it actually is, a cult, a political part of even a religion and given how it is driving families apart, makes suggestions on how to deal with those that have been sucked into its sphere.
I can’t really say this is a good book, the subject matter is quite terrifying to be honest, but it is a necessary book. Rothschild knows his subject, in particular about cults and the effects they can have of those that believe in them. He writes with empathy about the people that have asked questions about the way of the world and found that QAnon were on the surface, providing those answers to them. There are stories from those that have delved a little deeper into the drop and have come to the realisation that they is no substance to the message. He even goes as far to speculate who the person was who begun this. Well worth reading.
Don’t forget to visit the other blogs on the blog tour:
Buy this at your local independent bookshop. If you’re not sure where your nearest is then you can find one here
My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the copy of the book to read.