In a QAnon-related development that sounds as rational as anything else about QAnon, some believers in the conspiracy theory are convinced that the person behind it all is John F. Kennedy Jr., who is not actually dead and is a real Trump fan.
To review: QAnon is an elaborate fantasy that began unfolding last fall on 4chan and Reddit. There, someone claiming to be a high-ranking government official named Q claimed there was no Russian conspiracy and that special counsel Robert Mueller and Trump were actually focused on taking down a secret league of liberals who run child-trafficking rings, rig elections and manipulate the weather. In this narrative, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are about to be arrested. Always about to be arrested, very soon. For months.
“The key to QAnon’s theory is that it encompasses many existing theories, from Pizzagate to Sandy Hook trutherism to the belief that the DNC arranged the murder of its employee Seth Rich. This means the group was able to draw on existing pools of conspiracy theorists, rather than having to make converts from scratch,” notes Esquire. “Q’s outright predictions—Hilary Clinton’s extradition, or reports of John Podesta’s imminent arrest—of course never come true, but believers hang on, like members of a doomsday cult awaiting their fifth or sixth forecasted apocalypse.”
The latest topping on this loony layer cake: Q is JFK Jr., who faked his death in a plane crash in 2000 and joined Trump’s secret effort to take down the liberal deep state.
The Washington Post unpacks it: “The cryptic author went conspicuously silent for several weeks in July. During Q’s absence, another mysterious prophet, named R, began to post on the same forum, claiming that JFK Jr. faked the plane crash and then began secretly working to put Trump in the White House and destroy the Clinton/Illuminati/vampire cabal.”
The conspiracy theorists’ proof? JFK Jr.’s grave is kind of shaped like a Q.
— Michael ST 2256 (@MichaelSt222195) May 4, 2018
Also put forth as evidence: JFK Jr. and Trump were once photographed together when the Kennedy scion was alive.
Others QAnon-ers have claimed they frequently see a middle-aged man, who is about the age JFK Jr. would be, at Trump rallies. “The man was unshaven, bespectacled and had entirely different facial features than Kennedy,” reports the Post. “The similarities did not exactly leap out to the casual observer.”
Says the Daily Beast: “In fact, the man looks nothing like Kennedy. But QAnon supporters ran wild with the theory anyway, trying to use facial aging programs to prove that he was Kennedy, who would be 57 today.”
YouTube now hosts several videos on the theory, which have amassed hundreds of thousands of views. There are T-shirts for sale on Amazon that read “JFK Jr. = R.”
But … why? Esquire takes a stab at psychologizing it: “As conspiracy theories go, QAnon is strangely optimistic,” writes Gabrielle Bruney. “Unlike chemtrails or JFK theorists, who believe that incidents that appear explainable or even benign are secret covers for widespread corruption and abuses, QAnon posits that what looks like the chaotic flailings of a mean, small-minded president is actually a perfectly executed plan that will end with justice being meted out to those who, in believers’ eyes, deserve it.”