ARE QANON SKATEBOARDERS HARMLESS?
Why People Are Addicted to Conspiracies and Why Edgelords Should Be Ignored.
With the 2020 United States Presidential Election in the books, conspiracy theorists have shifted their narrative to a compromised election. They didn’t get the outcome Q predicted (yet again) and it might appear that QAnon is gassed. The reality is that it’s just moving away from platforms banning their content.
As the election got closer, many noticed that people from all sectors of the skate community were getting much more political and that included Maga skaters as well as skaters parroting QAnon conspiracies on their social media handles. I’ve covered this in the past but I think it’s time to look at the future, specifically why these theories resonate and we’ll do it through the lens of skateboarding (of course) as much as possible.
QAnon followers including many people in the skateboard world/industry have turned to alt-right “safe spaces” Gab and Parler, with the former openly welcoming the Q community in the wake of Twitter and Facebook banning Q accounts. Rather than name, shame or amplify any of the skateboarders propagating conspiracy theories, I thought it would be a worthwhile exercise to delve into why they are so into this shit, how it spreads, and also, with members of Government supporting QAnon, how insanely dangerous this all is.
First of all, I’ve had some people comment to me that this is an “American” problem and that Europeans are too intelligent to buy into it. Wrong. QAnon is thriving in Europe, specifically in Berlin, German with many anti-maskers adding to the spread that’s causing more lockdowns. But it’s even gnarlier than that. Since Q is really just a concept that scales to any topic, right-wing ideology, or fear, it’s lead to far-right, anti-abortion, anti-semitic mobs marching around in Trump regalia because he is the savior” protecting us from a “diabolical organized pedophile ring seeing to enact the New World Order.” (I’m paraphrasing)
So just as most of us collectively agree that using racist, xenophobic, transphobic, homophobic, sexist, or any type of hate speech in a skate park or local spot, we should view Pro Skater X reposting QAnon content in the same regard. This isn’t a call to now cancel everyone who does this but we shouldn’t think of it as “just that dumb ass guy from Orange County posting stupid shit.”
It’s more serious than that and being dismissive of the destructive potential of these ideologies is alarming.
Most of us agree the premise of QAnon is laughable and often times annoying as fuck but QAnon is a study on how you actually can control people’s minds and influence them to do scary shit such as kidnapping a Governor or shooting up a pizza parlor that runs a pedophile ring in their non-existent basement. So as ridiculous as it all is, it’s important to have an understanding that QAnon, like COVID-19, will come back and it could be a new form that is more virulent.
This is relevant to us all as humans and specifically skateboarders because big names in skating validating hate speech and more makes skateboarding much more toxic. The reality that someone stoked by the affirmations of this online community could do something violent is real. I’ll remind you of Kyle Rittenhouse, who is facing murder charges for shooting protestors, one of whom was a skateboarder.
Yes, we want to laugh and be dismissive of all things Q but everyone should recognize the threat of this movement and its model and by learning a bit about the whole shit, it hopefully raises some awareness or at least eases some frustration.
What is QAnon? (from Wikipedia)
QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory alleging that a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles is running a global child sex-trafficking ring and plotting against US President Donald Trump, who is fighting the cabal. QAnon also commonly asserts that Trump is planning a day of reckoning known as the "Storm" when thousands of members of the cabal will be arrested. No part of the conspiracy claim is based on fact. QAnon supporters have accused many liberal Hollywood actors, Democratic politicians, and high-ranking government officials of being members of the cabal. They have also claimed that Trump feigned conspiracy with Russians to enlist Robert Mueller to join him in exposing the sex trafficking ring and preventing a coup d'état by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and George Soros.
So right there, most of us are tapping out but for many uneducated and educated people across the world, there’s something intriguing about it, to the point where it has the addictive allure of a video game. Kyle Daly wrote a piece for Axios about this exact phenomenon. With so many people unemployed and for sponsored skaters, a perpetual well of free time, you can see why many get hooked on Fortnite or more sketchily, conspiracy theories.
Here are some bullets from Daly’s piece:
It's an adventure game.
Adventure games are built around puzzle-solving, with players using exploration and trial and error to discover secrets and backstory and progress through the game. Many classics of the genre have the player unravel a sinister conspiracy.
At the center of QAnon are cryptic messages posted online by "Q," who claims to be a Trump administration official with high-level clearance. QAnon adherents pore over these posts, often written in phony spy jargon, to divine clues and secret messages and make fresh links in the grand conspiracy aligned against Trump.
"Do your own research" is a mantra for many QAnon followers. The idea is that QAnon helps freethinkers break from the hive mind — though their research leads them all ineluctably to the conclusion that most Democratic politicians and celebrities are cannibalistic pedophiles.
Now those weird posts that people make are a bit more grounded in something—they’re playing a never-ending, weird, toxic-ass game. And once you’re “in it” you can basically find anything to be sus because anything can scale to a pedophile ring… anything.
Yup, that anything can be skateboarding. (Watch how dumb this is.)
What is the skateboard industry? A bunch of older white people scouting younger white people, taking them in a van, convincing them to drop out of school, taking pictures of them, often shirtless, getting them drugs and alcohol and using them to make money by selling skateboards… to other kids and adults too. There have been proven cases and accusations of pedophilia in skateboarding. But is it organized? Is it part of this cabal? Is skateboarding in on it? A Google search for “skateboarding and QAnon” doesn’t yield much BUT we know how to do our RESEARCH.
Let’s look for some clues.
Is there a subversive brand that formed out of the Alien Workshop’s Sovereign Sect who often employs a Q as their logo? Yep. Quasi. Also, isn’t there a brand called SOVRN?
Q’s messages spread via Bakers described as QAnon Supporters who want to document the process of assembling the crumbs into “dough” or “bread.” Bakers provide an incredible service to the entire movement by supplying insight and understanding to the masses.
Hmmm, would be an interesting name for a brand, right? Check.
You know that famous Santa Cruz Speed Wheels Screaming Hand? Did you know it’s an ancient icon that symbolizes “Eye for an eye” is a legal principle where exact reciprocity is used to mete out justice depending on social status — e.g., free man versus slave. New World Order shit. Also, yeah, World Industries had a video named that as well :) and there was an entire brand called Illuminati that morphed into Silverstar which was a reference to English occultist Aleister Crowley
And Qs love numerology. So let’s see if we can find any examples.
The angel number 917 often represents a confirmation from your guardian angels and the Universe that you are on the right path in life. Know that you are following your Divine soul's mission in this life. This angel number is often a reminder to begin expanding your spirituality and seeking spiritual enlightenment.
We all know what the RIGHT path is, right?
P is the numerical equivalent of 7 and represents power. It carries with it a commanding influence and possesses much knowledge.
Polar. Well, that ties into the Earth’s poles and Flat Earthers of course. Think I’m joking?
Birds symbolize freedom and you know, Birds Aren’t Real because they were replaced by drones by the CIA.
The Dogtown cross, the Independent cross? Gnostic symbols, bro. (Don’t ask me what this really means but you know, it’s ancient and shit and Gnostics “viewed material existence as flawed or evil, Gnostic cosmogony generally presents a distinction between a supreme, hidden God” - there you go, a HIDDEN GOD.
The Foundation logo is a big F. How do you create the letter F in sign language?
Plan B. A literal second plan now that democracy has failed us, playing and subverting the name of a birth control pill. This name is obviously a dogwhistle and we know how some of their pros roll.
And there we go, without really having to do that much we can get the gears turning that skateboarding is part of the cabal and we are all fucked. Oh no.
Do you see how this works now? If you’re looking you can find it anywhere, so in an exercise of about 15 minutes we have extended this nonsense into SkQteboarding or something…
NOW, this is not a theory it’s a full-on joke and many of the brands mentioned have been involved in activism and speaking out against President Trump but you know, people won’t do that “research” and we have to explicitly state that this is just pointing out how you can turn the absurd into “well, that is an odd coincidence” when you’re making shit up.
So you see, this is how they get the hooks in people. And you start threads, and share info, and if I posted this on IG, people would be like “Preach on, brother!” and add to the noise.
This is key. Pre-high speed internet, conspiracy theories were harder to find, spread, and participate in but now they’re mainstream, partly due to YouTube and other platforms but certainly because of entertainment… I’m serious.
We know Q loves to go back to the Matrix movie franchise because it is the ultimate stoner gateway into conspiracies, specifically the Red Pill Blue Pill theory etc. but the advent of QAnon is much more akin to the television show Lost. For those unfamiliar, Lost was essentially a TV fella named Lloyd Braun who was on vacation and had an idea for a show that combined the movie Castaway and the game show Survivor. He brought on J.J. Abrams who wanted a supernatural angle, and ABC suggested Damon Lindelof work on it as well. They got money, they made a pilot and despite their claims the contrary, they most likely made the rest of it up as they went along for six seasons until it ended and everyone was pissed at how unresolved and shitty it was… just like this election for Q supporters.
But people still love Lost and what it gave them. Here’s the interesting part, because Lost was basically a conspiracy theory TV show centered on an island, and with time travel sprinkled in, people loved to talk about it. They’d throw Lost parties, read fan theories at work, post on forums and you know what? The writers saw this and started mining the forums for ideas, easter eggs, and little cheeky nods or “crumbs.”
Ultimately, Lost was just a device to keep people engaged and build a cult that would follow the creators into their other endeavors. That works and resulted in some blockbuster movies and series but like QAnon, the goal wasn’t to do anything but make money. There is no mystery, Q was started by three YouTubers who monetized off fear but you know, that’s the fake news’ take or something.
Make no mistake, these YouTubers who spawned QAnon plucked a bit from Lost and its cult and took it online and now, into the streets. The caution is that when you are basing ideologies on absolutely nothing and making everything part of them, you can suspend reality and that is fucking terrifying. Most of New York City, save Staten Island (sorry) saw Donald Trump as a cartoonish failed businessman but when given his own game show, he projected himself as this witty, successful mogul and that is how his supporters see him… on the tee vee.
No, skateboarding isn’t part of the cabal and I can’t really offer any solution for this but an awareness of how this is happening and why it’s going to be as big of a problem as pandemics going forward is essential to our sanity. Don’t follow this shit, don’t follow skaters who espouse their “ideologies and research,” and don’t give them a pass for being legends.
Part of the allure of this all is attention and like the soon to be former President, not giving them any proves to be the best weapon we have against toxic ideas. Unfortunately, letting this lunacy percolate in forums and rallies might not be helpful either but as you know with any troll, when you refute them, you validate them so without validation, there’s a good chance they move on to some other thing, and hopefully, it leads to this shit becoming a lot less threatening.
Pappalardo you killin’ it.