Congressional dentist Paul Gosar is tweeting anime beheading videos of his colleagues and the hosts of The Daily Beast’s Fever Dreams podcast have some questions; 1) Where is Human Resources? And 2) “Who on Gosar’s staff is the meme Lord?”
This isn’t the first time Gosar has waded into the country’s culture wars via crappy video editing software; he previously circulated a bespoke meme praising white nationalists. Now, he’s frothing over bloody cartoons involving Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the whole thing, “it’s cringe.” As host Will Sommer notes, “Not a good sign for the state of the country, or the right, to be tweeting your anime assassination fantasies.”
Speaking of fantasies, James O’Keefe of Project Veritas, er, fame has tried to turbocharge his outfit from “rinky-dink schemes into playing spy” and it’s seemingly landed him in hot water with the FBI. The feds raided three locations associated with O’Keefe and Project Veritas in connection with Ashley Biden’s stolen diary, which was posted online by a right-wing reporter. Apparently Ashley Biden’s house had been burglarized during the election, so, as Sommer notes, “one starts to wonder, you know, how did this diary get out there?”
Separately, O’Keefe and his cohorts are facing another lawsuit in court, this time involving a Project Veritas crony who went undercover posing as an intern at a left-wing outfit. Now they’re getting sued.
“O’Keefe is on the witness list, a lot of various Project Veritas people are, I think it could get pretty interesting in what it uncovers about the way Project Veritas operates,” Sommer says. “For a young man who once dressed up as a pimp and tried to lure a cable news reporter onto a boat filled with sex toys, things have gotten pretty crazy.”
Do Gen Z and Astrology TikTok really believe Travis Scott is the Devil? The rapper, whose Astroworld concert turned into tragedy when an excited crowd crushed eight fans to death, has been at the center of a torrent of Satanic panic conspiracies theories on the video-sharing platform. “One TikTok that I saw yesterday had only been online for a day. He received a million views in a day claiming that the stage was a portal into literal hell. So this is the narrative now circulating around this tragedy,” relates host Kelly Weill.
The Satanism conspiracy theory has really taken off on social media, and not just among the usual QAnon crowd—younger users are also getting in on the action. “You’re seeing these weird shades of conspiracy theories—there’s a softer, leftier tinge to all of these. I’m seeing people with, like, anime avatars using astrology to argue this was a Satanic ritual,” Weill notes. “There is sort of a soft spiritualism, I think, among certain Gen Z and millennial cohorts… I think that these audiences are a little bit more receptive to moral panics than older folks might realize.”
Did someone say “moral panic”? Enter Tucker Carlson’s “documentary” for Fox Nation on Jan. 6 trutherism, called Patriot Purge. The Fox News host throws in a lot of implications that the attack on the Capitol was a “false flag” by the deep state—“that not only was the FBI likely involved in setting this up, but that … it’s targeting millions of Americans to become political prisoners in gulags,” says Daily Beast reporter and three-eyed raven of cable news, Justin Baragona.
The film—which is, not surprisingly, filled with falsehoods—promotes Carlson’s belief that “the violence was just a couple people knocking stuff over in the Capitol anyway” and that the riot, which left a Capitol Police officer dead, “was nothing more than a political protest that got a little out of hand.”
Carlson’s core argument, Baragona says, “is that January 6th not only was not an insurrection but is basically being used as the impetus for a War on Terror 2.0, which is targeting what he calls ‘legacy Americans’ over their political beliefs.”
If you think that’s a racist dog whistle, Tucker Carlson would say you’re wrong, but of course that sort of coded language has been used by white supremacists in the past.
Carlson ends the film, Baragona notes, with a chilling, not-so-thinly-veiled threat that “if you continue to keep prosecuting those involved with January 6th, we’re going to see more and more violence...There’s going to be more violence from these ‘legacy Americans’, if you keep pushing.”
Finally, remember those crowds of QAnon fans flocking to Dallas to see JFK Jr. return to life, only to be deeply disappointed? Well…
“The QAnon people have stuck around Dallas. They aren’t leaving the big D despite the disappointment,” Sommer reveals. “Even a few days later, they were forming Q’s in the grass outside of Dealey Plaza, still dozens of them there.”
Meanwhile, the failed appearance of JFK Jr. and his pops has driven a schism among the faithful. Some are doubling down on the prophecy. Others are some calling foul. “QAnon John, who runs all these QAnon conventions—and literally a few weeks ago held an event where not one, but two JFK Jr. impersonators appeared—is now saying the JFK Jr. Movement is madness and it needs to stop,” Sommer notes.
“So people are turning on the JFK crew.”