How The QAnon Far Right Conspiracy Theory Went From 4Chan To Major Merchandising
Reports are in and QAnon is hot. It’s so hot right now that people are making money hand-over-fist off of it, yet most people have no idea what it is, or how it got so big.
Reportedly, QAnon is a rambling kind of free-form far-right conspiracy theory that stars Donald Trump as the hero and liberator, and Hillary Clinton as the evil villain. According to these popular conspiracy theorists, the government has been investigating Hillary Clinton and all of her “elite” cronies, and one day the Justice Department will round them all up and they will face “punishment.”
It may sound far-fetched to a lot of people, but QAnon has many believers, including Roseanne Barr and former baseball player Curt Schilling.
According to the Daily Beast, QAnon started on 4Chan. Someone named Q began posting cryptic clues on the boards, and before long there were dozens of clues that people began piecing together to create a narrative that some call “The Storm.”
No one knows who Q is. It is entirely possible that Q is one person, but it could just as easily be two people. Or thirty people. There’s no way to know. As dozens of clues became hundreds of clues, a video was uploaded to YouTube “explaining” it all. Then discussion groups popped on Twitter, where people compared notes.
A speaker named “Dead Cat” takes the stage. Apparently a big internet character for this crowd, which cheers him multiple times. “The deep state — we’re going to kill them bastards!” pic.twitter.com/YbWaufoxB4
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) April 7, 2018
As referenced by the New York Times, Roseanne latched on to the story and enlarged Q’s audience. Then QAnon shirts started showing up at Trump rallies and the story spread some more. When Schilling professed he had been following the theory, as reported by Inquisitr, the audience grew some more.
Apparently, now people can find QAnon shirts at Trump rallies in about a 1 to 15 ratio compared to MAGA shirts. This reportedly shows that it is becoming more accepted by mainstream supporters of Trump, and not just people hanging around 4Chan and Twitter.
Over time, billboards for QAnon appeared in Florida, then Georgia, and began popping up across the country. Online search traffic for QAnon began to rise. Suddenly a whole new group of people began asking, “What is QAnon?”
The version of QAnon that Curt Schilling linked to is, somehow, even crazier than regular QAnon. It features Miley Cyrus. https://t.co/sZVWeZeneK
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) June 27, 2018
But why does it work? Will Sommer of The Daily Beast gave his theory on this to Poynter.
“I think the appearance of ‘Q’ shirts at Trump rallies is playing a role, because it’s making it feel like more of a real-life thing. Finally, with the Russia investigation apparently heating up over the past few months, I think more Republicans are getting interested in finding a counter-narrative, which QAnon certainly provides.”
Regardless of how the theory grew or why so many people latch onto it, you can now buy QAnon shirts and ballcaps online in dozens of styles, from more outlets than can reasonably be listed. They are showing up in malls, and regional chain stores.
The odds are, if you go out for weekend of shopping and keep your eyes peeled, you’ll see a few QAnon shirts or hats. Since there is no information available regarding a QAnon trademark or copyright holder, it would appear that anyone who wants to cash in on this conspiracy theory trend is going for it.