This Week in Discourse - QAnon Movie vs Meme Stocks
You survived another week! Congrats! Your reward is a jumbo-sized This Week In Discourse, because the internet was absolutely loaded with malarkey this week. Time to jump in!
QAnon Movie vs Meme Stocks
We’ve covered how strange meme stocks are as a social phenomenon before, and it continues to fascinate me as an instance of a leaderless cult and conspiracy movement. Heavily online cults and conspiracy movements are of course well known for playing nice with others and having fully rational worldviews. Which is why you will be shocked, shocked that the QAnon-adjacent-child-sex-trafficking-moral-panic-movie people are now fighting with AMC Ape Memers.1
Sound of Freedom is a movie about child sex trafficking making its way through conservative circles. The movie has been heavily criticized for being misleading (and the organization2 it’s based on been known to lie, a lot), but none of that has stopped it from being a word-of-mouth phenomenon and sleeper hit. The movie is also uncomfortably QAnon-adjacent. Star Jim Caviezel believes people are harvesting children’s blood and has appeared at QAnon events, and the real life characters from the movie are linked with QAnon as well.
Naturally, whenever conservative conspiracy content breaks through the mainstream, it begets more conspiracies. Rolling Stone documents how Sound of Freedom fans on social media believe there are a high number of ‘incidents’ happening in theaters playing Sound of Freedom - no air conditioning, technical failures, etc. ‘They don’t want you to see this movie’ is the general tone of the conspiracy here. They specifically believe that this is happening at AMC Theaters, and some have begun pushing for a Bud Light-style conservative boycott of AMC.
Where this runs into trouble is that there’s a pre-existing conspiracy/cult around AMC stock. That ground has already been claimed! The subreddit for AMC stock discussion has half a million subscribers, somehow. They call themselves ‘apes’3, believe that AMC stock’s value is going to explode upwards, and have the same sort of distributed-cult behavior we saw with BBBY a few weeks ago. And let me tell you friend: they did not take well to the idea that a different conspiratorial group might initiate a boycott to hurt AMC’s business.
AMC posters rapidly began theorizing that the whole thing was a false flag attempt by hedge funds to target AMC and drive down their stock price. Both AMC and the film’s actual distributor have tried to defuse tensions, saying publicly they support one another. And over on the Q sites, the AMC conspiracy has gained traction but there’s also pushback from AMC Apes who wander in and protest the whole thing is FUD.4
The whole incident is fascinating because it shows how the conspiracy landscape is fractured and not entirely cohesive. There’s evidence that conspiracy theorists of different stripes all share similar psychological traits, but that doesn’t mean they all get along. At least for now, the meme stock cultists seem to be more anti-authority and anti-system than explicitly politically coded left or right in the way that QAnon is, and so they’re not willing to be sucked into the QAnon universe of beliefs.
This Week In Elon, because Holy Shit this was a lot even by his standards
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