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June 1, 2021

The Cult Of QAnon


In this episode of Let’s Start a Cult – we will be talking about QAnon, a movement born from an Internet messaging board that – in the space of four years – managed to infiltrate the United States Presidency, leading to a slew of disturbing incidents.

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Sources for this episode include BBC News, Insider, Fast Company, CNN, NBC News, Slate, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, The Guardian, CBS News, Politico, The Financial Times, NPR, and The Atlantic.

Research by: Kayla Deleon

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Transcript

[00:00:00] Josh_QAnon: Hi Fred. My name is Josh Schell host of the Let's Start A Cult podcast. The only podcast that takes two months off and doesn't tell anyone, some people call it avoiding responsibilities. I call it hibernation. Now with that out of the way, let me introduce to you my guests, this episode, they are from the awesome and funny from the middle podcast, a comedy podcast that talks about anything from pop culture to news, with the perspective that somewhere in the middle, please welcome Dylan, Kendall and Kory to the show.

How are you guys doing

Kendall: Good to be here.

Dillion: Doing really good, man.

Kory: Yeah, this is great. I'm super excited.

Josh_QAnon: I love your podcast. You guys are absolutely hilarious. , but before we start, I have to ask you guys, , if you like conspiracy theories and if so, what is your favorite conspiracy theory that you've heard? Or one that you believe maybe?

Kendall: do I like conspiracy theories as in like,

Dillion: think they're ha money

Kendall: Or like,

Josh_QAnon: Yeah. Yeah. Haha. Funny

Kendall: okay. All right. Good, good. I do find them amusing. I don't know if I can come up with a particular [00:01:00] one at the moment, but, I mean, nine 11 was an inside job. Like that was,

it was that isn't, that is a classic. And it's, it's funny to hear. in my head, I chuckle a lot. And when I, when I start reading conspiracy theories and start asking questions to people who believe even little bits of this stuff, because the stories just get crazier.

The more questions you

ask. And so that's, that's a fun activity. If you, if you know a conspiracy theory,

Josh_QAnon: If you're just bored one day you just ask conspiracy theorist

Kendall: just start calling

Dillion: conspiracy theorists. I have to say my favorite. If we're playing that to laugh at him, the game is the flat earthers one, man, I just I'm blown away that there's Pete notes, flat earth. There's all around the globe that thinks it's flat. , and it's, it's ,  it's just funny. I, I don't know what else to say

Kendall: other than

Breathing: it's just funny.

Josh_QAnon: well, have you ever seen a football field? It's flat? I don't know.

How can it be round?

Dillion: Yeah. and I love it. I love the experiments that they do with like the lasers and trying to, and they're still their own math [00:02:00] suggests that there's a curve. And then they're like, but we must've done it wrong. It's like, that's not how it experiments.

Josh_QAnon: we're good. We're going to do our own research and then when it's raw when it agrees against us, then we will disagree with it.

Kory: Okay. That, my answer would be, we've done 103 episodes of our podcast and you'd be surprised Josh, how many times, the fact that McDonald's ice cream machines never seem to be working comes up and it turns out wired magazine did a really in-depth article claiming that there's this huge conspiracy by the milkshake machine manufacturer and crazy.

But ,  no, that's more of a joke when, but,  I think as a kid, even I liked the Sasquatch and UFO late-night shows and. even as an adult man, when I saw Bob Lozar on Joe Rogan talking about his experience at area 51, I was pretty close to being convinced.

Kendall: So

Josh_QAnon: well, didn't they come out, like the government came out with a bunch of UFO stuff. I mean, it could just be to stir the pot, but

Dillion: no, the military

Kory: has [00:03:00] said

Dillion: like, yeah, UFO's are real

Josh_QAnon: yeah, I mean, all that means is its unidentified objects. They don't actually, it might

not mean aliens necessarily.

Kendall: But not if you ask Tom to launch. Yes. that's another one of my favorite pastimes is listening to Tom Dylan.

Dillion: by the way, Josh, before we get started, man, I have to say, I was telling my wife that I was coming on the show and the whole premise to me feels like, Annie or history channel hooked up with Mel Brooks to do a docu-series.

So I love your podcast. That's the best way I could describe it to her. And I mean that in the nicest most complimentary way. So. Fantastic show, man. , keep them Melbrook spirit alive. It's like watching ,  the producers in springtime for him, you know, play out springtime for Hitler. You don't know whether you're supposed to like laugh or like be offended, but it's a beautiful thing.

So keep doing

Breathing: what you're

Josh_QAnon: Yeah. It's like a car wreck. You can't look away,

Breathing: Amazing to

Josh_QAnon: but I appreciate that that compliment Dylan, I will give you more airtime now. So,

Breathing: Thank you. Yes.

Josh_QAnon: so the reason I asked you guys about [00:04:00] conspiracies is because, in this episode of let's start a call, we will be talking about QAnon. A movement, a movement born from an internet messaging board that in the space of four years, managed to infiltrate the United States presidency leading to a slew of disturbing incidents from blatant misinformation to accusations of pedophilia and a deadly capital insurrection.

This movement has affected American society in ways. No one ever imagined. So from your reaction, I can tell you, I have an idea of who QAnon is. and at this point, I don't know if anyone doesn't know who QAnon is.

Dillion: I would say most Americans, probably know have no details, but it's something kind of affiliated with Trump fans. So more people will know more if they're into Reddit and some of the darker parts of the web, but, yeah, certainly familiar with the

Breathing: whole

Dillion: whatever we want to call it. Conspiracy is the best word I guess, but the whole, whole thing,

Kory:  One of my [00:05:00] favorite comedians, now canceled, Chris D'Elia, his brother, Matt Dalea has a podcast called Matt Dalea is confused.

And he did a deep dive into Q Anon, about a year ago. And I was I enraptured. I could not believe what I was hearing. So that was my first exposure to that group.

Josh_QAnon: Now does his brother also texts underage and it wasn't infiltrating his brothers like, cause the

pedophilia Reno,

Dillion: Maybe that's how we have the inside scoop. And that's why he did the write-up. It's all projection,

right? There you go.

Josh_QAnon: That it's all connecting.

Kendall: Yeah. I'm going to say what a connection you got there.

Josh_QAnon: we're starting our own conspiracy called we'll call it from the middle. Let's start from the middle that's. There we go. It joins our names. I got,

Breathing: There we go.

Josh_QAnon: all right, well, let's jump into Q Anon because there is a lot to get to given that QAnon is a relatively new organization.

Its origins remain murky and largely unknown. However many believed that this far-right [00:06:00] group of conspiracy theories can be traced back to an online forum for Chan where sometime around 2017, a mysterious figure known as Q began publishing bizarre posts that claimed the existence of a shadowy state controlling the United States.

There were also posts that, were incredibly inflammatory making descriptive allegations about specific people. For instance, there was pizza gate, a theory that claimed the former United States, secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was running an international child sex ring out of a pizzeria in Washington, DC, which is ridiculous. Why out of a pizzeria, like that seems like you could get, find somewhere that's not as busy. Do you know what I mean?

Dillion: Yeah, why not just go straight for the, like the unmarked white van, if you're going to do that, just

why a pizza shop, at least your mobile, then

Kendall: that's kind of started out as a, I don't know, as like maybe a local rumor of some kind that then. Somebody grabs ahold of there's a, there's a restaurant we're in Columbus, Ohio, and one of my favorite restaurants downtown, like [00:07:00] it's a lot of people believe that there is a ,  there's this back door that sometimes you see employees go in and out of, and it leads to this courtyard outside.

And people are convinced that the mob runs this restaurant. And that's where their meeting is in that courtyard. And I had people telling me that, who I was eating with as people were going in and out of that door. And I'm like, Hey, are you, are you sure? Cause I mean, I've seen everybody who's gone.

Josh_QAnon: There are idiots that work here.

They wouldn't

let them work here.

Dillion: is, is this like the whole idea of shadow organizations? Does this feel a little bit like the sandpits and like the the lava floor a kid, you thought you were going to grow up and these were going to be problems all the time. Are there really Spectre organizations around the globe or is it more like Dr. Evils? You know, I, I just, I think we all think it's shadow organizations are going to be a much bigger problem when we grow up than they than they [00:08:00] actually are. I think there's just wealthy people who like power and they just kind of want to keep the power and money that they have. I think it's much simpler than that

Kendall: shadow organizations in quicksand are

the

Josh_QAnon: One

Kendall: two biggest disappointments in adulthood

Dillion: and internet.

True.

Josh_QAnon: yeah, I think you're right, honestly, cause I always lean on the side of people are dumber than you expect them to be usually like to play it safe. You know? Like, like you think of the most average, like smart person, you know, like the most average intelligence there's like half the population that's dumber than them.

So like

it's just, it's playing the numbers and, and to have everything line up in this shadowy state that's run perfectly and executed without, without a flaw. It just seems a little bit too out of like it's out of the, out of the realm of possibility, I

believe.

Kendall: Yeah. The bottom just dropped out of my self-esteem now,

Dillion: right? Yeah. We, I think we can err, on the side of idiocrasy, I think that's [00:09:00] that that film was a very enlightening, so we can go that route.

Josh_QAnon: Perfect. There we go.

Kendall: Yeah.

Josh_QAnon: This idea may seem preposterous, but it was quickly spread across the internet. Thanks to other high profile far-right figures like political commentator, Mike Cernavich and radio show host, Alex Jones, both of whom brought it to the attention of their thousands of followers. In fact, it became so influential and believable that it spurred a 28-year-old North Carolina man named Edgar Madison Welch to drive 360 miles to the nation's Capitol, where he stormed the pizzeria in question armed with an AR 15 assault rifle, a Colt revolver, and a shotgun, because if you're going to do it, do it right.

Yeah.

Dillion: Yeah. Now for anyone listening outside the US that sounds like a lot of guns, but that's kind of par for the course for a lot of America. So those, those could've just as easily been on a park bench near where he ended up and he just grabbed him to use them. So I wouldn't necessarily read [00:10:00] into that one too much.

Josh_QAnon: He, he went to, he went to the local mall, Walmart right beside it, pick

them up and then went next door.

Dillion: yeah, that's also very likely.

Josh_QAnon: But yeah ,

Dillion: And did you say

Podcast 4 - USB: Colt,

Kory: C O L T revolver or cult C U L T revolver.

Josh_QAnon: was a double entendre where ,  I, yeah, Colt. just so everyone knows ,  I'm not part of the shadowy

organization. I'm recording in my closet right now, so they're not paying me enough if

I am

Dillion: that is what you would say if you were in the organization though, I'm just going to point that

Josh_QAnon: that's fair. You've got me backed into the corner of my closet. Upon finding no trace of set child sex slaves, Welsh surrendered to law enforcement and was ultimately sentenced to four years in prison. so you kind of feel bad for the guy, like he was on a quote-unquote noble quest ,  in his mind, which ,  if there was pedophilia, he was doing the right thing, but,

You know, maybe do some recon first before you, before you run in there with guns, ablazing.

[00:11:00] Dillion: yeah. I mean, I don't even know that that place had a basement. And, and frankly, it's hard to run any kind of organization out of a pizza shop. They're too small. I think. I seriously though. It's, it's easy to see how, if somebody is convinced that they're doing a noble thing, that it would feel worthwhile to at least go investigate.

And I empathize because I think it's, it's much easier. With 24-hour news networks and social media, it's much easier to be convinced of things when you're looking for things that validate what you want to be true.

And I, I think it's, it's much easier to feel ,  to, to not realize you're being radicalized and feel emboldened to, to go do what you feel is right. so I do empathize to a degree ,  but he also could have gone without guns. So

Josh_QAnon: Yeah. There's, there's a level of empathy and then there's just stupidity and it's somewhere in the middle, you know,

like,

Kendall: I don't know, man.

Dillion: I mean, realistically, you've got $8 an hour, like workers at the [00:12:00] pizza shop. They probably could have just walked behind the counter, took a look around and then left. No, one's going to say anything. It's not worth button up a fight. So, you know, he, he could have just taken a look around and then left

Josh_QAnon: They'll be like, oh, it's the meth addict again. He's coming back. Yeah, you're exactly right. It definitely could have been handled better. So you feel a little bad, but it's definitely not the smartest move. Please don't do that. Well, QAnon is often associated with pizza gate. It only really emerged in the wake of this issue on October 28th, 2017, the anonymous user queue made his first post on fortune claiming to be someone with high-level government security clearance, AKA Q level clearance, which meant that he was privy to the nation's top secrets in a thread titled the calm before the storm.

he further made cryptic references to an incident that he referred to as a storm saying that it was about to come. This coincided with comments made on October 5th by then-president Donald Trump, whom the media cited as saying that quote. [00:13:00] Maybe it's the calm before the storm and quote, when pushed for answers, though, he only vaguely replied that the people would soon find out what he was talking about.

So ,  Trump definitely fed into this narrative. I don't know if he knew or not, but ,  is, is very cryptic and the weird wording of languages definitely fit in with internet culture. So it could just be a coincidence. I mean, they're pretty, it's a pretty well-used phrase, calm before the storms. It's definitely, probably more of a coincidence

than anything,

but

Dillion: I, you know, I could see them jumping on board. He seems to be more of a hamburger taco salad kind of guy anyway. So, you know, I could see him sort of, you know ,  kind of care for pizza, so fine, you know, just run with it. So

Breathing: that's very possible.

Kendall: I think, yeah, there's you get a, you get a large enough group of people  that all listened to the same person speak. And ,  if that person has any kind of power, chances are like, somebody is going to start a cult ,  based on [00:14:00] something that you said, which was completely innocuous, but enough people were like, this is what he meant.

Josh_QAnon: Yeah, we must follow this word by law.

Kendall: I still can't get over the pizza place thing. Cause it's just, pizza is something that is so personal to me near and dear to my heart. I don't want it. I don't want to say that I'm part of a pizza Colt

Josh_QAnon: Do you love cheese pizza

Kendall: stay away from the cheese pizza. Oh, from what I've heard, one of the cheese pizza get arrested,

Josh_QAnon: in trouble. Yeah,

Kendall: but now we talk about pizza all the time on our podcast,

Dillion: like in a normal way though, in a normal, like, not like we're trying to like

kind of way

Josh_QAnon: yeah,

Dillion: we have the words,

Kendall: underground pizza, an episode title.

Josh_QAnon: yeah. Kendall is making it seem weird. So I don't know. I think we should all go back and download your episodes

and see if we can put together some,

Kendall: I'm saying. That's all [00:15:00] I'm saying.

Dillion: That's a

Kendall: great idea. Everybody do that.

Dillion: Yeah.

For purposes of investigation, make sure our YouTube channels on repeat until you're sure you've heard every word.

Josh_QAnon: Rate and review

Dillion: That'll show

us

Josh_QAnon: interactions.  it didn't take long for Q's post to make waves across four Chan with many referring to as publish messages. As Q drops, his claim about a storm took a life of its own too. And soon it led to theories about public executions and widespread arrests of high-profile figures, proven to be child traffickers and pedophiles.

This included Hillary Clinton who was still believed to be involved in an international child sex ring, even though the pizza gate thing was a dub, they still, they still somehow wrote Hillary Clinton into this, even though bill definitely has, you know, Jeffrey Epstein and inappropriate sex acts. Like he seems like he'd be the one with a target on his back.

You know what I mean?

[00:16:00] Dillion: Sometimes if you play in a set long enough people will just, maybe people think he's dumb. I don't know. We just said half of people are less smart than you think they are. So maybe he's just trying to play by dumb a little bit, and people don't accuse him of anything. I think Hillary is more outspoken and ,  she takes, you know, she takes politics.

I don't want to say more seriously. He was the president, you know what I mean? But like ,  she's still more involved than he seems to be at this point. So maybe it's just easier to put a target on her back.

I think,

Kendall: Yeah, if you run for president, there is a target, like no matter what people are going to come after and say all kinds

Dillion: of things.

Yeah. If you're, if you're high profile in our country, Democrat or Republican, you've already got a target on your back. So ,  from the bare minimum, from the other half of the country that you don't represent at the bare minimum,

Josh_QAnon: true. she wasn't the only focus of that year's conspiracy theories though, for instance, the billionaire investor and philanthropist George

Soros was said to be the mastermind of the movement called purple revolution, [00:17:00] which aimed to topple the Trump administration. Additionally, football player, Colin Kaepernick, kneeling protests were allegedly Soros.

His brainchild to with far-right talking head, Tommy Lauren tweeting quote. Congrats to Colin Kaepernick for popularizing the hatred of America. Good work, bro. Your buddy George Soros is so proud. Hashtag I stand and

quote

Dillion: Yeah. First of all, I don't think anyone really listens to Tommy Lauren second.

That's where I don't buy this anymore. Purple revolution. Sounds like a new prince album and second it ,  If George Soros really was behind Colin Kaepernick thing, he would have found a quarterback job somewhere.

It wouldn't have been hung out to dry, you know, whether you agree or disagree with them or not, George Soros would have got him on another team.

So I don't, well, if you're,

Kendall: if you're coordinating the whole thing like you need Kaepernick to be a victim, don't

Dillion: you? Yeah. Yeah. But only for like a year, he doesn't, he doesn't need to sit out five seasons or however long he could have, wait, if he didn't need the money, he's got Soros money.

Now I don't, I don't buy [00:18:00] that. That, that to me is where the whole, well, that, and the, the new Prince album is where it all falls apart. This is,

Kendall: This is the thing with this stuff. It's like, the things that I just said, somebody could take and just be like, okay, well, that's the answer. It's actually believed

it.

I made that up

Dillion: just now.

Kendall: I just made that up. Like, I didn't read it

Josh_QAnon: It's going to be clipped and

just repeat, thrown on

Breathing: I don't,

Kendall: I don't,

I don't,

have, I don't even have a fake phone call I literally made that up just now.

Josh_QAnon: and it's going to spiral and become the

next insurrection.

Dillion: Yes, I do agree if you're willing to suspend logic and reason, that would be a great point. And ,  I think anyone could get behind that, that wants to get behind it. So that's totally fair. If you already don't like Colin Kaepernick, you literally just need somebody to say something that kind of makes sense.

And then you're like, yep. That's what I believe now. And you can [00:19:00] flip it around just as easily. If there's something that you don't like on the other side, then you can just, as easily, all you need is half of an excuse to not like somebody

Josh_QAnon: Yeah,

Breathing: jump on it.

Josh_QAnon: no, exactly.

Kendall: And I've

Dillion: got to, I got to give Tommy Lauren a hard time because her, she just gets throttled on Twitter. Like everything that she says it's just nonstop. Some people probably do like her. I don't even know when I said I have no idea, but she just gets throttled. God bless her. She needs to stay off Twitter and just keep doing our new show if, if that, because ,  they're, they're not kind of the Twitter versus not kind to her.

Josh_QAnon: Yeah. I don't know if

 

She's making a lot of money

just

Breathing: oh,

Dillion: I'm sure. I'm sure she

does it. And I'm sure it's working very well. The the whole entertainment aspect to what she does, but ,  yeah, it's, it's sometimes it's still hard to watch, even if, you know, it's kind of a planned thing.

 

Josh_QAnon: Yeah. It's like my show. It's a car wreck. You can't look away. You're not sure whether you should laugh or cringe.

It's

Kendall: that's not true.

Dillion: this

Kendall: just show us a bright young girl with a future.

[00:20:00] Josh_QAnon: Who's going to get railed in college.

Kendall: I don't even know what that means.

 

I don't know what,

Josh_QAnon: we're going to leave it at that. I'll let you visualize that however you

want.

Dillion: We don't need to visualize it either. We can

just.

Josh_QAnon: I need you to ,  kinds of theories continuing to spread throughout the internet ,  through the fall of 2017, the following year and investigation conducted by NBC news discovered that the dissemination was facilitated by Tracy Diaz, Paul Ferber, and Cole Rogers, all of whom took credit for transforming the cue drops from obscure messages into public accepted facts.

All three individuals were incredibly influential in the world of the far-right Coleman and Ferber were both moderators on four Chan while Diaz was a popular YouTuber. Who's conspiracy theory channel drew in millions of views. Ah, the early times of YouTube ,  for them building, following for Q Anon seemed to be a one-way ticket to success, which is why they did everything they [00:21:00] could to ensure that the Q drops were spread. This was a mere foreshadowing of the role that the influencers would play in the rise of Q Anon by 2018. Its massive following had already outgrown fortune and it was forced to move to another online messaging board called eight Chan, which was later renamed to eight Kuhn. This platform was owned and maintained by American businessman, Jim Watkins, along with his son, Ron.

 They're terrible people in their own. Right. But we don't get into them much more. They just kinda own four H N and I will say this, there is conspiracies that they are now Q Anon because they own the messaging boards that he posts from. And they're the only ones that can confirm or deny his identity

quote-unquote.

So it's a little bit.

Kendall: has conspiracies

Josh_QAnon: Yeah.

Dillion: Do you think we have some kind of new timey wisdom, like give a man a conspiracy he'll be engaged for a day, give a man eight Chan he'll be engaged for life, like as this, some kind of new warning that we have

[00:22:00] that we can,

Josh_QAnon: engaged. He'll be

single for life, but

Kendall: well,

Dillion: I didn't mean married, but engaged in the conspiracy.

I ,

 I,

don't know. I, it feels like some kind of new warning that we have now that we can use somebody can meme it and then we can share it

around.

Josh_QAnon: we'll, we'll work on the the wording. I like

where you're going with it. That's

definitely, a good start. We'll put a poll out and see what we can get going for the

new warning.

Kendall: Yeah,

Dillion: I figure

I'll have time. Cause I'm getting kicked off my podcast after this, so I should have plenty more time to make memes and share articles and things.

Josh_QAnon: we got, we got tons of room over here. You guys are all

Welcome on my podcast.

Dillion: it's a closet. I wouldn't say tons of

room, but

Josh_QAnon: that's true.  I could pull up another chair that we can all fit into two chairs.

Breathing: cool.

 Josh_QAnon:  The year 2018 was marked by Q1 on making it into the mainstream from our fringe group, spreading conspiracy theorists on the internet.

It had grown to an actual movement whose paraphernalia and merchandise became increasingly visible during pro-Donald Trump gatherings across the United States. In fact, a rally that took [00:23:00] place on July 31st, 2018 in Tampa, Florida saw several people wearing the shirts emblazoned with the statement we are Q. So,  I don't know if you guys have seen these shirts they're there. It literally just says we are Q like it's not a very creative shirt.

Dillion: is like T public or what kind of merge site you think that they use?

Kendall: I.

think that used Haynes

Dillion: and Sharpie.

Kendall: Okay.

I think that's there.

Josh_QAnon: Meredith on their Cornerstore made them for

Kendall: These people do, these people have a name, these, we are Q people, like other than the, do they call themselves Q or do they call themselves Q drips?

I want to call them Q drips.

Josh_QAnon: cuties. They should be Cuties.

Kendall: Cuties. They're the Q drips

Josh_QAnon: yeah, I like that.

Kendall: dropping Q dropping Q drops everywhere

Josh_QAnon: I don't know. I don't want any of those drops on me.

That sounds

disgusting.

Kendall: Just trying to spread those drops

Dillion: That's

Kendall: the nature of the keel.

Josh_QAnon: Yeah. This,  this podcast has become more

sexualized than I thought it was going to be, but

okay.

Kendall: do that. [00:24:00]

Josh_QAnon: With Q Anon, increasingly becoming popular, those who had initially written it off as some kind of online prank were finally forced to face it. Head-on according to journalists, Adrian LA France on the Atlantic quote. Q Anon is an emblematic of modern America's susceptibility to conspiracy theories and its enthusiasm for them.

But it is also already much more than a loose collection of conspiracy minded, chatroom inhabitants. It is a movement United in a mass rejection of reason, objectivity and other enlightenment values. And we are likely closer to the beginning of that story than the end, the group harnesses, paranoia to fervent hope and a deep sense of belonging.

The way it breeds life into an ancient preoccupation with end times is also radically new to look at Q Anon is to,  see not just a conspiracy theory, but the birth of a new religion and quote, very dark quote

Kendall: That is interesting. So I guess as a conspiracy theory and having a connection to in times like that might be new, but if you look at [00:25:00] it as a cult,

it's par for the

Josh_QAnon: It tracks. Yeah, it's, it's a hundred percent. It hits all the movements. It's got a leader, it's got a set of beliefs,  people that will follow it to and fight tooth and nail for it. And it does have end times, which we will get to eventually. So it hits all the main points of a, of a cult, which is scary that so many people are in it.

Kendall: Yeah.

Dillion: It's fun being able to come on and kind of, you know, poke fun. And, but there is a, there is a very seriously scary side of,  you know, what, what. Part responsibility is on news network slash can't even call it news. Cause it's got to legally be called entertainment.  What part of that falls on social media platforms.

You've got people,  isolated and they want a sense of community and they, they found people who echo their beliefs. And then there's this overlap with all this fringe information and anyone can go start. I can go to any social platform and make a hyper [00:26:00] progressive or hyper conservative age and share memes and literal fake news all day.

And it's, it's genuinely scary. And then all it takes is one person reading something, and they go to somebody that they trust and tell them. And that person trusted them enough that they believe just enough of it. That, that stuff can spread very quickly, whether it's in a religious group or,  it not, not a Q a non-religious group, like a normal religious group, but community group,  some kind of social thing.

Like it can happen anywhere. But it's genuinely terrifying and there's, there's plenty of fault to go around.

 

It's fun to poke fun at a little bit and have some laughs, but it is, it is genuinely a bit scary that this could be the beginning of, of something that grows and gets much more gnarly over time.

Josh_QAnon: Yeah. and to further your point, if you put it on Facebook or Twitter and you throw a hundred bucks at it, you could have that posts that meme in front of thousands of people,  [00:27:00] within the day, like, you know what I mean?  So I agree with, with everything you said there,   this one perfectly encapsulates what Q Anon had become in 2018.

It was clear that it was no longer a far right group whose conspiracy theories were fueled by the internet. Rather it was now an actual movement that had managed together. Thousands of members, all of whom staunchly believed in this message, no matter how ridiculous they sounded to the rest of the world. The core beliefs of Q Anon were hinged on three main concepts with the first being an ongoing battle between good and evil in which the former was represented by former president Trump, along with his closest allies together, they were locked in an endless yet secret war against the country's most elite, most of whom worshiped Satan and practice pedophilia, which,  I dunno, pedophiles are worshiping Satan since.

If they believe in it, that he's going to be the one torturing him once he gets down one thing once they get down there. So,  don't know if they thought that all the way through, but it's believers also awaited two major events, the storm, which were referred to [00:28:00] widespread arrests of influential figures in high power positions and the great awakening, which was said to be the time when the entire world would recognize Cunanan's messages as real and accurate afterwards society, we would finally be able to enter the age of utopia for which it was truly meant.

So if I just read you as that last two, those last two paragraphs there, you would instantly think cult, like it instantly sounds like a cult.

With the great awakening and, and these, these names that just scream a religious,  belief almost,  for

Dillion: Yeah. I mean, I think a lot of what I said still applies,  and I don't want to, I don't want to rehash it too much, but it's, it certainly has evolved in interesting ways. And, I think a lot of these finer details of the kind of the story would be unknown to most Americans. I mean, people that spend a ton of time on social media or deep dive YouTube and follow video, video video to get to some, you know, [00:29:00] conspiracy stuff.

Maybe I think a lot of this information would feel far out like, well that couldn't have been happening,   I think it would genuinely be surprising to a lot of people, but,  doesn't make it less. Scary. But it, I think it would be surprising to a lot more people than they realize 

Josh_QAnon: you're right, exactly. Right. ,   for those who followed Cunanan, its leader was a Patriot who had dedicated his entire life to exposing those who were attempting to undermine the Trump administration. He also allegedly said coded messages about his existence, which could only be cracked using the number 17. Age of consent, I don't know, just random number, but the next few months saw Cunanan and its beliefs increasingly becoming ingrained in American society. When COVID-19 outbreak hit the country, it proved to be instrumental in dismantling medical misinformation, which then brought more followers into the fold and a September, 2020 investigation launched by BBC news.

It was found that the majority, if not all of the diffs information surrounding the pandemic had been the work of Q Anon among these were death rates, which were made out to be lower and [00:30:00] much less severe than they were. There were also baseless assertions regarding vaccines as well as allegations that the outbreak had actually been caused by a shadowy forces in the government who sought to sow chaos and anarchy in the world to further their own interests.

 Given the vast reach of Q Anon and the internet, it didn't take long before the movements beliefs had gone international. During the height of the pandemic people across the United Kingdom, Germany, and more began espousing the group's beliefs, particularly about the, virus being nothing more than a conspiracy that aim to oppress the public. According to many experts, this spread was unsurprising due to the uncertainty that COVID-19 outbreak had caused. So it's not a surprising thing to see that they were the biggest influence in the misinformation,  online to the COVID and probably led to thousands, if not

millions of deaths, ,

Dillion: I want to know where the 5g conspiracy came into all of this. Like when did, when did a cell phone tower upgrade get roped into like Donald Trump and pizza shops? Like, I don't [00:31:00] understand.

Josh_QAnon: and bill gates.

Dillion: I don't understand the segue and you have bill gates. Here's a guy who's trying to give away tons of money to like, make the world better.

And all of a sudden he's trying to, I don't even, I don't even know. I don't even know what they're saying. He's trying to do. I've just heard it's bad things. Well, th

Kory: this is the part Josh, that I've kind of been waiting to chime in on, because I think like if you were to draw a Venn diagram of a couple of different circles, so I don't know if it's, it's something different than van Ben might just be two, but anyway,   of like extreme right wing conservative is

like extreme, super extreme.

And then like COVID fears in the ways that, like you mentioned earlier in the episode, like the ways that this just exploits people's desperation and fear, and then like it just in the middle is where this cue in on thing

Josh_QAnon: yeah.

Kory: actually shared an article on his personal Facebook page a while ago.

Josh_QAnon:  

[00:32:00] Dumb.

Kendall: yeah, no,

Kory: it was,  it was from Politico magazine and they had Elizabeth Newman. She was a top official at the department of Homeland security. And she said that Q Anon was this fringe thing. And it was certainly concerning, but then in 2020 with COVID, it went on steroids because you had all these people that are now scared and down with the man.

And then you mix that with faith and, and times, and, then no matter what the government does, this is further suppressing us. And so now we're panicking and we can't leave our homes and this is all government

Dillion: oversight and it's just like a perfect storm

Kory: of all these things back to that Venn diagram.

And that's, that's when I was really getting concerned

Dillion: about it.

Josh_QAnon: oh, absolutely. And that, and that mixed in with the political aspect, which, just through people to either side, you had to pick one side or the other, I'm not even American. And I got, I heard about it all the time. Like all the fucking time it was nonstop in the news, but   [00:33:00] like you said, the Venn diagram and the far right. Q Anon overlaps a lot with that one. And, and so then moderate right. People had to side with them and then you're on that side. You have to kind of fight with them. And then that starts indoctrinating more and more people,  who may have just been like regular normal people who didn't believe in it.

But once you start associating with one side or the other advertisers, fire those,  those messages that you and all your friends and supporters of the same group are, are saying the same messages over and over again. And you have no other choice, but to succumb almost to them, to the virus that is

the mind virus.

Kendall: Okay. Yeah. That's why, like you gotta be so careful about, what you even appear to subscribe to. So there, I mean, there, there there's a thing that was happening. Like it, it was,  were once before, when, when people would, would make the claim that, the virus was, a synthetic virus of some kind created in a lab and it leaked,  that statement has been attached [00:34:00] to this whole big government conspiracy that included,  like various liberals in the United States.

and now we're on The other side of that, where now we're on the we're you have liberal leaders who are saying, we're going to investigate this very thing over here and. so like a, I sympathize a little bit, because I do see that there was that there was a switch that had happened, but the problem is, is that anybody who wanted to make that point last year, if they looked anything like these crazies over here, no one was going to believe

you. Like you have no credibility at that point. And so it's, it's no wonder that, that the media ignored you ,  because you were an ignorable person

Josh_QAnon: Yeah.

Kendall: that's, I think we all know who I'm talking

about. And like, you don't have any credibility,

Josh_QAnon: Yeah.

Kendall: believe you. you. don't have authority in these situations.

Josh_QAnon:  Yeah, absolutely,  due to this disturbing and [00:35:00] astronomical increase of Q non-believers, the internet was forced to finally take action, Twitter, disabled,  accounts,  related to the movement while Facebook closed down large private groups that disseminated its messages, thousands of Instagram accounts were also removed.

And even tick-tock began banning hashtags related to the conspiracy theories that were associated with it. Unfortunately, these efforts were far too little and far too late. Q Anon was only forced to figure out more creative ways to attract believers. And soon they had pivoted to using new slogans and new hashtags, which ultimately enabled them to increase their movement on the streets. In addition to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Q Anon also turned its attention to allegations of pedophilia and child abuse. During the summer of 2020, they created an advocacy called save the children, which purportedly claimed to work towards ending human trafficking, but was actually so unhelpful that genuine nonprofit organizations had to publicly begged them to stop clogging up their hotlines with useless advice and fake tips.

[00:36:00] So, so in their effort to make the world a better place, they actually made it worse and probably harder to locate kids, which the irony just just oozes off this store,

Dillion: Like a cheese pizza.

Josh_QAnon: like a cheese pizza. No, I wish that was the end of the episode. That would have been perfect. But there's way worse stuff coming up. So,

Kendall: good Lord.

Josh_QAnon: Do you guys know the company like the furniture

company, Wayfair, have you guys

ever

heard of it? Have you guys heard of this story?

Oh, okay. This is a great one. So Wayfair was even dragged into this mess with Q Anon conspiracy theorist, claiming that human children were being sold on its website, disguised as expensive cabinets and pillows while it sounded ridiculous to many, it spread like wildfire throughout social media.

Kendall: I'm sorry,

Dillion: how do you even start to make that into a coherent argument? They're acting like they are the furniture. Is this like Pinocchio or like

 

I think [00:37:00] its like code word.

Josh_QAnon: you order

Kendall: this piece of furniture, but they're actually going to send you as a sex slave

Josh_QAnon: because

Wayfair they have those ridiculous, ,  furniture that's has a stupid price on it it's just $10,000 for a cabinet. And it's like, well, I'm not going to pay for that.

But some rich asshole might, you know what I mean? And they each have, those dumb, like, it'll have like a girl's name or like some sort of name. Right. And so people started looking up names and finding, missing children, linked to those names and assuming that, because they were naming these cabinets after missing children names and the price was so high that it had to be children inside the cabinet, or, oh, I don't know if it was children's side of the cabinet, but children, not the cabinets.

You know what I mean? So that kind of backwards jump rope you have to do to get to Wayfair selling children

is ,  is

Kendall: Boy,

Dillion: I mean, does this, does this feel like the pizza place solution again, like I can't, can't somebody concerned with enough money, just buy one and see what [00:38:00] shows up and, and like, Really quickly figure out whether this is a thing or not, or would they tell you they would then likely move the goalposts?

Josh_QAnon: 20.

Dillion: I have.

Kendall: I,

no, I, I, no joke have a couch and a chair sitting in my family room, both ordered from Wayfair.

Josh_QAnon: Oh well, and there was no kids in it that you

Kendall: There were no kids in them. I checked, I looked just because

I knew about this story when they th they're relatively new. So like this, I know this story had already been a thing. And so when I, I didn't actually think there was going to be, and that's why I looked at making a choke here.

Josh_QAnon: I'm glad you clarified.

Kendall: well,

Dillion: that's what I said, enough creepy

Kendall: things already that I, I wouldn't blame people for thinking whatever,

Dillion: but yeah, that's what we're here for. This is Mel Brooks.

Josh_QAnon: Yeah.

Dillion: serious things funny. That's why I said that at the beginning. If people don't know that they need to chill out,

Josh_QAnon: That's why I, that's why I had you guys on, because this was going to be a dark episode

anyway. So

yeah. That's true.

Kendall: for choosing

  1.  

Josh_QAnon: Well, it's dark and it's not because they're making [00:39:00] things way darker than it should be. You know what I mean? Like it could just be like, oh, Wayfair's ripping people off and that's shitty.

Like, that should be where

Kendall: Yeah.

Josh_QAnon: ends, but they're like, no, there has to be children involved. And it's

Kendall: I mean,

Dillion: it, it used to just be a bad company, was like, Coca-Cola something with Colombian drug Lords or something. And that was the worst thing a company did.

And now we're shipping children across the world.

Josh_QAnon: let's go back to Coke. And our

Coca-Cola, you know what I'm saying?

Kendall: Yeah. were the days

Josh_QAnon: This is where the

days,  In the end, the theory was traced to a , Twitter user named amazing Polly who went by the handle 99 free mind based in Ontario, she is largely considered to be one of the biggest Q Anon influencers, which was why her tweet about Wayfair storage cabinets names quickly went viral.

According to journalists, Rachel Greenspan, quote Alexander Reid, Ross doctoral fellow at the center for analysis of the radical, right, who tracks white nationalism told an insider that pizza gate Wayfair and other Q Anon [00:40:00] theories, where I misplaced moral crusade against,  pedophilia that targeted wealthy elites.

He added that the crusade was commonly used to target and take down political opponents, particularly in Russia. End quote. Moreover Ross' claim that such tactics were used to exploit and weaponized by far right. Organizations all over the world. But do you guys know who doesn't exploit or weaponized conspiracy theories for their benefits?

The products and services that support this podcast. They're going to love that intro. Thank you for your money. I'm sorry for what? This is

Dillion: I can't think of, I can't think of a better press release our company.

Josh_QAnon: I'm telling you they don't do it.

Kendall: These companies are off limits

Breathing: Q Anon.

Josh_QAnon: ,  the mythology of Cunanan is largely hinged on Donald Trump remaining in the white house, which [00:41:00] was why the 20, 20 presidential election saw them attempting to disrupted at every turn, by sewing, even more lies and misinformation as polls began to close.

And as states started releasing their initial results,  the group increased its efforts. So this is where we started to get into the political side of things. And,  I think read over all this is going, but yeah ,  I don't know, cause I'm, I'm from Canada, so I don't actually know how the voting works down there.

Did you guys notice,  like a different field for this election than any other election,

Kendall: Well,

Dillion: it was in the middle of a pandemic. So there were huge pushes to vote by mail, which doesn't normally happen.

And that's the only thing I would say. I felt, and at least in our state, I don't know that there was any sort of bipartisan bickering over voting by mail. I know that did happen in some states.

But,  I never noticed, it seemed pretty uniform that Ohio was like, yeah, everyone can just vote by mail if they don't want to vote person. And, and that was it.

Josh_QAnon: and you guys are like, we're too lazy to get off our couches. We're good with that.

[00:42:00] Breathing: Yeah.

Dillion: I mean, we do my wife and I do that anyways. It's just easier, you know, it it's at your house a month before or something, and then you drop it back in the mail.

But I don't know. Corey Kendall, did you guys notice any, did it feel different other than the added push for vote by mail?

Kendall: Not for me. I've voted in person, the way that I always have done before. It was kind of that simple for me. It was a it's interesting to me that Ohio wasn't really, to my knowledge ,  a big battleground for how are we going to vote?

I mean, there was some discussion around it, but it wasn't a national issue for the state of Ohio and Ohio is, is one of those. Like, they call it a swing state because we can go

either way. As a state. So we have plenty of representation from both sides to fight over things like this. But I don't remember it being much of an issue here.

Dillion: And I'm just over here, right?

Kory: Realizing that not only do we have an episode with the words underground pizza in the title, we also have one called fake election results. So we're looking

Kendall: over here.

Josh_QAnon: Oh, [00:43:00] no.

Kendall: And we

Kory: only meant that because we weren't saying that the election results were fake. We were just making up our own because there were no results yet.

So we just went off on a crazy tangent about. You know what had happened, even though it hadn't, and then it got flagged by like YouTube it's one of our least viewed and downloaded

Dillion: episodes.

didn't we joke that like Florida became its own country as one of the things we were joking about

Kendall: and became their own country.

Yeah.

As, As, a result of the

election

Dillion: making up totally bizarre things that had happened. Just, just for fun. Not the one in North Carolina merged,

Josh_QAnon: Oh

Dillion: realizing in hindsight, we should go back and like retroactively change the name of that episode or thing. Or just nobody will ever listen to

  1. And that's fine.

Josh_QAnon: Keep it up for the controversial clicks. That's what you need. You'll have Q and guys going there too, to get mad at you and you'll have everyday people going there to get mad at you. And then they're all

just disappointed. know what's happening.

Breathing: Yeah.

Dillion: And if we

Kendall: see, if we see a new [00:44:00] Q Anon conspiracy theory, it's like, did you guys know that the Carolinas are actually just one state now?

Dillion: Then we'll know I'm going to be so proud.

And this is all based on the assumption that more than like 20 people listen to our podcast, I was just getting ready to say

Josh_QAnon: I'm sending them all your way and go, everyone, go listen to that.

Dillion: you're giving a significantly more poll in the United States than we have let alone in the city of Columbus, Ohio.

Josh_QAnon: there we go. All right. Where were we? So one of the conspiracies they had was they claimed that the dominion voting system, which manufactured the voting machines had intentionally deleted millions of votes that were meant for Trump. This was quickly debunked by Chris curbs, the director of the cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency. But by then, then president Trump had already tweeted it out on his official account.

Dillion: You know, it's not up for debate a libel and slander against private companies because they'll see you very quickly

and try to get you to reverse course on those kinds of claims

[00:45:00] and,

Josh_QAnon: he?

Breathing: oh, well,

Dillion: well, so what happened with dominion? I think they like immediately were suing Trump and Giuliani for the claims that their systems were like hacked or whatever.

And they immediately had to like turn and, and they couldn't keep saying that cause like that was just going to play into a lawsuit. So it's one thing for four different sides of the political aisle to bicker about something. Cause you can, you can make things up or lie or whatever, and kind of get away with stuff and.

Not worry about being fact checked, unless you're going to go and do some kind of interview with an anchor. But yeah, you can't do that against a private company.

Josh_QAnon: no,

Kendall: you quick.

Josh_QAnon: Yeah, which is good. You know, I don't think that should be allowed.  Q Anon supporters also began tweeting the hashtag subpoenaed Obama in the belief that the Obama administration had done all that they could to undermine Trump before they left the white house. According to the network, contagion research Institute, which tracks misinformation across social websites.

This hashtag racked up approximately [00:46:00] 4,000 tweets per hour with high profile conservative influencers like radio hosts, Glenn Beck, even adding their voice to the discussion to quote CNN. Rather than a nebulous group that amplifies messages organically at the grassroots level, Q Anon appears  to also be an occasional architect of the messages that through corded behavior make their way to most powerful factions of the Republican party and quote. And we've seen that  , they're started, there are Q Anon senators now I believe, which is that it's ,  it started to spread everywhere where  it's not funny anymore. ,   it's like when you're getting tickled at you're like, ah, ha. And then it gets to that middle point where you're like, get the fuck off me. It's almost too much at that point.

  from the chaos of the 2020 presidential elections emerged Joe Biden,  whose victory left Q1 on dumbfounded and furious, largely because their beliefs had depended on Trump getting reelected and remaining in the white house for another four years.

This spurred them to create the stop, the steel movement, , which focused on [00:47:00] voter fraud allegations. It became so widespread that even Donald Trump, himself, along with his lawyer and former mayor of New York city, Rudy Giuliani , tweeting about it. Adding fuel to the fire was the conspiracy theory that Trump had secretly watermark, several mail-in ballots so that he could have evidence of the deep state and the democratic party committing election fraud.

So he's just sending in fake ballots watermark to see how they go through, I guess. I don't know. I don't

know.

Kendall: Committing an election fraud to prove election fraud?

Josh_QAnon: Yeah. That's awesome. Yeah, that is what's happening. Yeah, exactly. Are you a lawyer, Kendall? Cause you could do, you could do this.

Kendall: No, again, I just made that up.

Josh_QAnon: You're like no one take me seriously. I don't want to be

sued.

Kendall: I believe a thing I

say.

Josh_QAnon: A few months afterwards, do you know  Villa tan   high profile figure of the far right tweeted a video of workers in Maricopa county, Arizona, allegedly scanning ballots under blue [00:48:00] light. He accompanied that by saying, quote, Donald Trump told us the 20, 20 election would be stolen via fake printed ballots,  the media and left labeled us as conspiracy theorists.

The Maricopa county audit is confirming the rumor that a special watermark is on the real ballots. No wonder  the Democrats tried to stall and quote. Armed with these false facts from Q1 on the Trump administration tried its best to undermine and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. For instance, they questioned the results filed by Georgia. A state that has historically belonged to the Republicans while Georgia isn't traditionally considered to an electoral ballot battleground.

It became one during the campaigns final few weeks and ultimately ended up flipping in favor of Joe Biden. Naturally this set off a wave of conspiracy theories regarding the fake ballots, forgery machine hacking and collusion, which led to the Trump administration filing several lawsuits against the state.  In November, 2020, the Trump campaign and Georgia Republican party alleged that [00:49:00] late ballots were illegally counted. However, this case was dismissed without prejudice. Another lawsuit claimed that votes were miscounted due to a software glitch. Although this was later voluntarily dismissed.  One of the more popular conspiracy theories to emerge from this involved, a  Georgia election worker named Ruby Freeman, who was accused of producing thousands of fake ballots that ultimately swung the boat to Joe Biden. All of Trump and Cunanan's claims may have been systematically debunked by both government officials and experts alike. However, their supporters weren't swayed. This staunch belief in conspiracy theories that were spreading across the internet, came to a head on January six, 2021 when the unthinkable happened.  On that day, a mob of angry Americans of which at least 34 were confirmed Q Anon supporters storm, the United States Capitol building and disrupted the certification of  president elect Joe Biden's victory, which was taking place at the time.

Nearly all of them had come directly from Trump's save the America rally that had occurred that [00:50:00] morning  on the ellipse, which was a park located near the white house during this gathering Trump, along with his sons  and lawyer spoke about how the election had been stolen from them, which unsurprisingly fired up the crowd.

He further urged them to head over to the Capitol where the electoral college votes were being counted in the house of representative chambers ,  to end his speech. Trump reportedly said that quote, we fought like hell, and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore. So we are going to walk down to Pennsylvania avenue.

I love Pennsylvania avenue and we were going to, to the Capitol end quote, I feel like I missed that an opportunity to do a Trump and Breslin, but I feel I would have just made everyone angry at me if I tried. But to, to the point of. Us hating each other, like right. And left ,  people in the middle of like, yeah, I feel we can hate the leaders of these organizations and be justified in doing so, like Trump knows this way he has over these people.

He knows what he was doing [00:51:00] when he sent these people to the Capitol. Like he knew it had to escalate like with, with the words he was using. So as I say, for most calls, you can't necessarily blame the victims of the cult, but you can sure as fuck blame the leader. So  that's going to be my catch phrase, I think, for the, I'm going to make that a shirt maybe.  So yeah, so I feel bad for the people that were so brainwashed that they did this, but to a degree it's the same degree as the cheese pizza guy. You know, it's a, , you take responsibility for your own actions, but I can see how you were turned so far to this, this side of things where you let it escalate  And

eventually stormed the capital, so

Breathing: Yeah.

Dillion: I mean, innocent until proven guilty is, is obviously an important phrase in America. And I, I frequently say ,  something to the effect of everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt except politicians. And so ,  I, I, it's funny because that's a sentiment that would be shared by virtually every American that if you just say in general, politicians are corrupt or aren't good people, [00:52:00] unless you're maybe talking about a local council person, you know, that's your neighbor.

If you're talking about Washington as a place and you're referring to all of them, almost everyone agrees

Kendall: on that until you start actually holding people accountable. Right. Yeah. The moment you start naming names, you're gonna, you're gonna piss them off for Damon a name on some of this on their side, right?

Yep. Yes.

Dillion: So,

yeah,

as soon as as, soon as you start talking about somebody with an R a D beside their

name, that's when you polarize people. But if you talk about in general politicians, the, the disapproval ratings are like 90 plus percent

Josh_QAnon: yeah.

And,

Dillion: people it's

insane,

Josh_QAnon: to your point, it's because when you just say politicians are dumb, everyone thinks of a different politician when they think of

that, person's dumb. And so, so we got this like almost we're on the same side, and then you realize, oh, okay. We're not really on the same side, but  All right back to a capitalist.  By 1:00 PM that happened. Writers had already begun clashing [00:53:00] with authorities station on the steps of the Capitol buildings. An hour later, they were able to breach the police line. Allegedly helped by several officers and began , scaling its walls before continuing inside all the while photos of the mob on the Senate floor and inside the offices of congressional leaders were released to the public.

The insurrection was over by 8:00 PM. Thanks in part to Donald Trump who tweeted a video of him saying, quote, I know your pain. I know you're hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side, but you have to go home. Now we have to have peace.

We have to have law and order. So go home. We love you. You're very special. I know how you feel, but go home and go in peace. End quote. It almost sounds like you're all my special little children, please take your time for bed. Like almost has that air to it, which is funny.

 

Dillion: If any of the, I wonder if anybody was stationed outside of the pizza shop and then watch that video and turn around and went home,

Josh_QAnon: just ready.

[00:54:00] Dillion: like final stand. Was that the pizza shop? Like, just wait, something's going to happen here. Something,

Josh_QAnon: He's like ,  where are the

kids? Where's the basement. Yeah. This may have ended the Capitol siege, but the incidents ramifications were severe and extremely disturbing. Five people lost their lives that day, including 35 year old military veteran Ashley Babbitt, who was shot by police officers and was allegedly a recent Q Anon supporter. At least 68 arrests were also made with 41 of them taking place on Capitol grounds, given that so many participants in the mob were tied to Q Anon. It didn't take long for the movement to emerge as one of the driving forces behind the insurrection. Even FBI director, Christopher Ray was forced to assure the American public that the agency would soon be preparing a public report regarding domestic threats from the organization and its believers. The aftermath of the siege also saw law enforcement, given a document that contained a list of online indicators that could be used to identify Q1 on supporters, which included the hashtags and phrases that [00:55:00] they use regularly across the nation. Authorities were also warned about potential violent incidences that could occur in the wake of the Capitol insurrection and the publicity that Q1 gained from it. So they were like ,  well, this happened to America can happen anywhere, which is very true. I was very worried. Cause I mean, as much as we make fun of America, ,   we, we do look up to you guys cause you guys are like the, the. Guide for freedom, kind of in the modern world. You know what I mean? Like ,  and when you guys start fucking up, it's scary. Cause we're like, well then we're, we're actually screwed. Like we got China over here and Russia doing their thing and you guys are just fighting each other. And the rest of us are just ,  just watching with baited breath, hoping you

guys figured it out.

Dillion: I remember

Kory: a lot of comics and memes around that time that were like, Canada's the one now that wants to build the wall,

 

Dillion: Because

Kory: of all the crazy tomfoolery going on over

Kendall: here.

Josh_QAnon: been saying that for years, I said, we should build a bridge to Mexico and [00:56:00] just a walk over. But ,  no, I mean, yeah, it's tough because I mean, Canada is not innocent in any of this and neither is Mexico. They're like our UK, we all have Q1 on supporters now. And it's all, it's all of our problems now.

 It doesn't matter where it started  ,

Dillion: and to be clear, we like making fun of ourselves. Nobody else is allowed to make fun of us in front of

Josh_QAnon: right, right.

Dillion: but it's totally fine if we do it,

Josh_QAnon: That's fair. Yeah. I mean, you guys can make fun of Canada if you want. There's there's lots to

make fun of right now.

So.

Dillion: wouldn't, there was a video and I'll reference it quickly. The American hockey team was playing in Canada and the singers Mike went out during the American national Anthem and without skipping a beat, the Canadian crowd, I'm sure there were some Americans there too, but the Canadian crowd instantly picked up and saying the rest of the American national Anthem.

And that was, I think I cried actually, when I watched that video, it was a very sweet [00:57:00] moment for our brethren to the north. And ,  not that I didn't like Canada and that made me like Canada. I've always had fond feelings towards our Northern neighbors, but that, especially, it was like, That's not one Canadian doing something nice.

That's like 50,000 Canadians doing something really cool

that transcended like political, international borders. And so it was a very sweet thing. I w I can't, I couldn't bring myself to make fun of me, Canadian friends.

Kendall: I just had the mental image of, of Dylan seeing that occur on TV ,  on the wall of a hole in the wall Canadian pizza shop, and then turning

Dillion: around and walking out.

Yeah.

I, I mean, it was a beautiful moment and like, you know ,  Tommy boy, where they're singing the song in the car together with the top-down sobbing while they're singing, that's probably how I looked watching this video. It was just so sweet and we all know that sports have these moments that can like bring people together.

And I think it was just one of those.

I feel like we're going to have to [00:58:00] share it ,  off of, you know, our, on our social page, just because it's so sweet,

Kory: which is saying something, because if you Canadians got my brother to cry, we joke that he's a robot,

Dillion: so that's good.

Yeah.

Kendall: Beautiful.

Josh_QAnon: awesome. That's good. That's nice to hear.  I I can only imagine they were doing it in fear that you guys would storm the border in retaliation,

but we'll go with

your

Kendall: All right. All right. We like, we like Canada. I mean, you gotta, you guys gotta get your bacon situation straightened out, but

other than that

 Josh_QAnon: .

Oh,

you don't like

Canadian bacon.

Kendall: It's just not bacon.

That's

all. I don't know if that's, if this is the forum to talk about that, but

Josh_QAnon: We need a podcast called bacon or

not bacon.

Kory: you made up with your bacon issues with poutine. Thank you so much for

Kendall: that.

Josh_QAnon: True.

Dillion:  If anyone wants to know what our podcast is like, this is very much in line with this right

here.

Josh_QAnon: just, just, just, clip this whole section and

Kendall: it

[00:59:00] Josh_QAnon: episode then

Kendall: could,

Dillion: it could be a section on the absolutely.

If you feel like we're off the

Kory: rails, we're

Kendall: doing it right.

That's exactly right. We talk about mashed potatoes at some point.

Josh_QAnon: Yeah. We'll we'll get there.

Dillion: Perfect. Probably have domestic terrorism to cover something.

Josh_QAnon: yeah. Well, we're at the end of that. We're at the end of the domestic.

 It's hard to fully comprehend the impact that Q Anon has had on American society. The country is widely perceived as fragmented with people, fighting about everything from wearing face masks inside of stores, to the policy that  the Biden administration has introduced so far. Unfortunately, these conflicts are bound to continue given how Cunanan and its supporters seem to be far from ready to stop. And that my friends is the end of Q Anon. Well, not really. It's still going, but,

Kendall: Yeah,

Josh_QAnon: Yeah. How, how are you guys feeling? I know that was a heavy episode.

Kendall: No.

Josh_QAnon: how are you

Kendall: She's

Josh_QAnon: About,

Q Anon?

Dillion: well, how many, how many call episodes do you walk away from [01:00:00] feeling light? Josh?

Josh_QAnon: Ah, maybe was a John from one, if anyone wants a happy one, go check that one out. It was

Breathing: Yeah.

Josh_QAnon: but.

Dillion: You know, it's funny, the last part that you said about a lot of infighting or whatever over everything ,  that's kind of par for the course for America. And I don't mean that in a bad way.

Like we are a very, it's, it's a very large country indivi, specifically built to allow regions or our

Kendall: states to

Dillion: dramatically influence how people can live in that state versus another state. I mean, New York state and West Virginia and Florida and Texas, and California and Washington are all very different from one another.

And, and it's, it's built that way for a reason. So I think a lot of what appears to be infighting, which don't get me wrong, certainly happens in it's concerning a little bit, but a lot of what appears to be infighting from external. [01:01:00] Sources is also kind of just normal. Like, I mean, we even get down to the nitty gritty of like Cincinnati chili is trash.

You got to go there. I mean, you gotta, Cleveland has this and that's way

better than

Columbus.

Josh_QAnon: dish is way better than New York.

Breathing: I mean,

Dillion: like we are overstuffed like the New York slice versus wet, nobody thinks west coast pizza is pizza except the people on the west coast. And so it's like ,  you know, a lot of that is normal. And, and it's almost, it's almost like how siblings fight, but you still love each other, but it, because you know, I mean your family, but like, you know, you're, you're also, sometimes they're a little more harsh because it's your family.

That feels true to me. Yeah.

Kendall: America have a poutine that like, everybody can just say

Dillion: Knights. Yeah, that unites the whole country. Cause it's big. Canada's huge too. But a lot of your population is very close to the border where ours is very spread out in a lot of different types of environments and cultures and foods.

And so I think some of it seems a lot worse than it might be, but some of it is [01:02:00] legitimately concerning.

Josh_QAnon: Yeah.

 

It's like you said, it's, it's par for the course. I mean, it's in your constitution, you know, like number one, we can say whatever the fuck we want, and then number two, we can have guns to back up, whatever we say. So it's like, it was, it was going to happen. Like it's your, your country is based off of rebellion and ,  and trying to be  your own people.

So it, it does make sense. I like that sentiment that  maybe it's more normal than we think, and it's just a little hyped up.  Kind of comforting.

Dillion: Yeah, well, hopefully that's true. And to me it always feels a little bit like Europe. It would almost be like saying the whole EU is kind of the same.

And it's like, that is, that is a wildly different group of independent countries. Now take an even bigger landmass, spread people out even further.

and

Josh_QAnon: they were trying to kill each other 70 years ago. So

Dillion: yeah, certainly have ancient history involved there too.

But ,  yeah, I think that's one of those things that ,  that people forget the U S is very big and purposefully set up to let people [01:03:00] live very different lives depending on where they choose to be.   ,  and it's, it's in some ways what makes us special? I think special,

 Not the only country in the world like that, but it is, it is unique

Breathing: to us.

So

Josh_QAnon: no, I like that. That's a, that's a great almost uplifting point. If we

can,

Dillion: it makes me

Josh_QAnon: an uplifting bar.

Dillion: it gives you something to end on a more positive note

Josh_QAnon: Yeah.

 

Dillion: Maybe you don't need the wall after all?

Josh_QAnon: Well, well, we'll keep it in the back pocket, but ,  before we go ,  I do like to end off my show with a segment called cult critique. Basically my guests and I take a look at the cult we just discussed and we give it a rating out of five stars as if it were a Yelp review. And then we give comments on why we gave that rating.

 so are you guys

Kendall: Oh, geez,

Josh_QAnon: cult?

Kendall: indeed.

Josh_QAnon: Okay, go ahead. Corey, let me take it away. want to see what you rate.

Dillion: A clarifying question. What constitutes five stars versus one star is like,

Josh_QAnon: yeah, this is why I

had to put in

Dillion: crazier is the

higher [01:04:00] star or the more threatening is the higher

Breathing: star

Josh_QAnon:  I leave it up to interpretation. That's why I added the comments

after the rating is because I felt the rating itself was just a little bit too

vague.

So yeah. So you can be like one star, too many conspiracies or not enough

poutine or whatever.

Kendall: that's Roscoe

staring.

Josh_QAnon: it. Oh, cut it out.  So Corey, take it

away.

Dillion: All right. I'm going to go with

Kory: four because ,  for a cult who we don't know who your leader is, you've never identified yourself and almost everything you've predicted. Hasn't come to fruition. You've gotten a couple of our family members, so

Podcast 4 - USB: you're

Dillion: pretty darn effective.

Josh_QAnon: Okay. I love it. All right. Kendall. Okay.

Kendall: I was going to say that, well, I was going to use mashed potatoes. I was going to say one star, no mashed potatoes. Yeah,

Josh_QAnon: That's perfect. We'll

Kendall: that's it.

Josh_QAnon: We'll leave it at that. I love that. Dylan, go ahead.

Dillion: I'll say two out of [01:05:00] five. Love the mysterious leadership. Don't like that you knock pizza. Wouldn't insurrection

Kendall: again.

Josh_QAnon: That's awesome. I love that. I love how you guys mostly incorporated

food in every one of your ratings. So

I appreciate that. Thank you, Fred, for listening. Corey, if you don't mind, please tell the listeners where they can

find your podcasts.

Dillion: We are

Kory: at from the mid pod everywhere. We are not political. We are three middle-class guys living in the middle of America and the middle chapters of our lives with a point of view that somewhere in the middle, that's kind of our shtick. If you like hard pivots and tangents and rabbit trails, we are the show for you.

We've had professional comedians. We've had New York times bestselling artists. We've had ,  news anchors ,  kind of all over comedy culture entertainment. The occasional interview about once a month, to have a lot of fun, keep it lighthearted and family-friendly and ,  yeah,

Dillion: we'd love to have you.

Josh_QAnon: That's awesome guys. Yeah, definitely go check out their podcast. It's it's [01:06:00] hilarious. Sometimes informing  lots of talk about food and  ,  and I love it. So definitely go check them out. Links are in the description. So go, go give them a listen and subscribe.  Thank you. Every one for listening and thanks to ,  Dylan, Corey and Kendall for coming on today and we will see you next time.

Kendall: That was fun

From the Middle

Podcasters

"From the Middle" is a podcast hosted by Dillon Hubbell, Kendall Eilola, and Kory Hubbell. They're middle-class guys, living in the middle of America, in the middle chapters of their lives, with a point of view that's somewhere in the middle. FtM is a comedy, culture, entertainment, & interview podcast with new episodes released every Wednesday! Want to reach out to the guys? E-mail fromthemiddle@protonmail.com, they’d love to hear from you!