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Disinformation II

· Read 03/18/21

  • TL has been interested in conspiracy in media for a while, harkening back to an almost playful time about UFOs and Bigfoot and JFK assassination; now those subreddits are dominated by conspiracy theory (now there's conspiracy-no-pol, internal debates). QAnon is building on a long history of media use in conspiracy: radio, zines, podcasts
  • QAnon popular intro videos: 1) origins, 2) how it propels offline activities and politics

    • Awaiting mass arrest and great awakening
    • Disenfranchised, appealing story, the world is about to change in a big way, they get to take part
  • 1833: conspiracy theory that Freemasons were controlling the world; traction: 10% of Congress
  • "Do you see a point where this goes away?" "No, absolutely not... will be with us for at least a generation"
  • Racism, anti-Semitism infused (blood libel, "save the children")
  • Q rides the tail of long-standing anti-immigrant, right-wing sentiment
  • TL: What I love about CMS is that we try to think about historically.. not much of the Q stuff is historically novel

    • Situate things in a broader frame
  • Visualization linking Q knowledge, forms of conspiracy epistemology
  • Interesting redeployment of academic talk about how to read
  • "It's all Dan Brown's fault"

    • Pre-Dan Brown: Evangelical Christianity, textual apocalyptic analysis of Revelations
  • Idea: Everything that's old about QAnon
  • "Q is people fact-checking" "there's a lot of 'I don't know' out there until it's confirmed" "decide for yourself, which is what America is" "Q has empowered the average individual"
  • These videos were actually really good! like generative for critical thinking
  • Leaderless vs leaderful

    • Microcelebrity
    • How technical objects come to take on a role, e.g. YouTube recommendations
    • Top fan: technology designating leaders in a community
  • What you pick as a search term is always hugely structuring, in academia and in conspiracy theories
  • Empathetic listening: if you take people on their own terms and just keep asking questions, the dissonance will become clear; rather than keep challenging them

Ali's presentation

  • Joe M. @StormIsUponUs
  • Collective expectation
  • All religions are completely rational
  • American Pragmatist bridges religious and comms studies

    • "American pragmatists understand reality in terms of signs, they’re basic reading in comms programs in other parts of the world but in the US not so much"
    • "(Cornel West is an American pragmatist though he no longer really uses the identification publicly)"
  • Idea: Affordance Diaries

    • Non-human actors
  • Partin visiting next Thursday 4pm