How can people believe in QAnon?


CNN interviews one of The Others: How can people believe the things which come from QAnon?

Last night, on the Cuomo show, CNN helped us find out. Donie O'Sullivan interviewed Ashley Vanderbilt (no relation), a 27-year-old former QAnon follower.

Vanderbilt was a QAnon adept right through Joe Biden's inauguration. How strongly did she believe? Here's her account of how she felt when she saw Biden sworn in:

VANDERBILT (2/3/21): I was just crying. I mean I couldn't stop like that ugly cry that you do. It just kept going. And I was like "Oh, my gosh!" like I'm seeing the funeral of our country. 

And instantly, I went into panic mode. I had to call my mom. And I just told her it's like "We're all going to die. We're going to be owned by China." And I was like, I might have to pull my daughter out of school because they're going to take her. I was scared to death.

For what it's worth, Vanderbilt seemed completely sincere to us throughout. We admired her for the lack of the posturing in the last part of this answer:

O'SULLIVAN: How did you get into this world and go down this rabbit hole?

VANDERBILT: Well, I started seeing TikToks, and I didn't know that it was conspiracy things. I just thought it was, they were telling me something that nobody else knew. So then, I would reach out to different friends of mine that were bigger Trump supporters.

I would say, "You know? I saw this on TikTok, what you think?" And they'd start sending me YouTube videos. They would start sending me different Facebook Live videos. And one thing led to another, I just went down this rabbit hole learning all this stuff.

But I mean, what have we heard the last four or five years? "Don't watch the news! Fake news! Fake news!" 

I don't watch the news. I don't read newspapers. Like, I don't do anything. I have always been someone that, you just tell me what to do and I do it. I grew up being told we were Republicans, so I have always been that straight red ticket.

Earth to some in Our Town:

Lots of people "don't watch the news." Many people "don't read newspapers."

Lots of people "grew up being told we were Republicans" (or being told that they were X, Y or Z). Many people grew up in relatively narrow intellectual, religious or social environments, perhaps not getting the wider guidance others were lucky enough to receive.

In Our Town, we're so dumb that we routinely assume that everyone else knows the same things we do and shares our basic understandings and frameworks. When they say something we know to be false, we instantly insist that they're lying, or of course we rush to say that they have to be racists.

We're just showing how dumb we are. And we are extremely dumb. Our cable stars help us develop this tribal trait every day of the week.

The Crazy Train is running double shifts through a lot of the others' towns. In Our Town, we're almost as dumb as they are, but Our Town's dumbness almost always turns on issues of gender and race.

We've started exploring those topics this week; it's going to take a long time. No one's dumber than we are, over here in Our Town. We're just dumb in our own special ways. 

We'd give Vanderbilt a gold star for her lack of pretention last night. Not every QAnon adept is just like Vanderbilt, of course. But we thought her self-portrait was instructive and well worth recording.  

This exchange is also worth noting:

O'SULLIVAN: How do you feel now knowing that you believed all this stuff?

VANDERBILT: It's weird. I think I spent a lot of time this year, isolated from everybody. You know, I've just been home a lot. I've lost my job last April, in 2020, and I was super-depressed.

And I think, in a way, I probably lost touch with a little bit of reality and that, almost like common sense. And so, I'm not so much embarrassed for what I believed. But I mean I feel foolish.

We  liked Vanderbilt for her lack of false pride. Also, let's try to put this into perspective. On cable, we see people who have "probably lost touch with a little bit of reality" pretty much every day of the week!

You can watch the interview here. Of course, with her unusual lack of pretense, she'd never fit in Over Here!


  1. "VANDERBILT (2/3/21): I was just crying. I mean I couldn't stop like that ugly cry that you do."

    Dear Bob, all you liberals had a spontaneous head explosion in the morning of 11/9/2016. Including you, incidentally.

    And here your dembot tv finds ONE of The Others (assuming it's a real one) - and this is so mighty exiting? Oh, dear.

    "Lots of people "don't watch the news." Many people "don't read newspapers.""

    Good for them. They are certainly smarter you are, dear Bob.

  2. "VANDERBILT (2/3/21): I was just crying. I mean I couldn't stop like that ugly cry that you do. It just kept going. And I was like "Oh, my gosh!" like I'm seeing the funeral of our country. "

    This is how we Hillary supporters felt. I remember watching the election returns, the way the cameras couldn't stop filming the women in tears realizing that Trump was going to win. It felt so invasive, broadcasting their depair, which mirrored my own feelings.

    The main difference is that we were right about the consequences for our nation of electing that goon. The Q-Anon followers are not.

    Somerby says this difference occurred because Vanderbilt didn't read newspapers. That can't be it because she had to get her information from somewhere. No one conjures up lizard people and Jewish space lasers from a vaccuum. She had help.

    Somerby commends Vanderbilt's lack of pretension, her lack of false pride. About what? Those are the last things I would expect from anyone being interviewed in her circumstances. Where was her apology?

    And Somerby says we shouldn't call her a liar? What do we call the folks who knowingly fed Vanderbilt that false info. They are surely liars and they should be held accountable for it. By Vanderbilt, if by no one else. But why doesn't Vanderbilt blame those who misled her? And why doesn't Somerby call out the people who interfered with the functioning of our democracy by telling lies for power and profit?

    Somerby LIKES Vanderbilt. There is something hugely wrong with Somerby if he is not instead dismayed and angered by Vanderbilt's prior behavior and her equally dumb reaction top finding out that she was duped. Yes, people who have been conned tend to feel embarrassed, but they should also feel angry and determined not to be taken in again. That reaction is missing and that is a cause for concern.

  3. Vanderbilt goes on to say that the only thing that would have pulled her out of it would be if Trump had said something, had said that Q-Anon is not real.

    We all know that Trump not only didn't say that, but that he encouraged Q-Anon beliefs. That means that Trump's lies supported and maintained the Q-Anon hoax and hurt those who believed it.

    Somerby says he doesn't think Vanderbilt lied, but he also says he doesn't believe Trump is a liar. Trump must know that he is not God come back to Earth. It should have been easy for him to disavow Q, even if he is a narcissist and a sociopath. He didn't say anything because the Q-Anon believers were useful to him and he did use them for his own purposes.

    That is why Trump must be held accountable for his actions, including his lies.

    Somehow, Somerby doesn't see that lies were at the heart of this problem and that lies must be confronted, called out, contradicted, especially by someone who is THE PRESIDENT OF THE FUCKING UNITED STATES!

    Somerby has never spoken against Q or Trump. That makes him part of the problem. And I do not see any "lack of pretense" to admire about Somerby. He is a shit.

  4. “When they say something we know to be false, we instantly insist that they're lying, or of course we rush to say that they have to be racists.”

    There is no “we.” There are only individuals. Somerby, who urges liberals not to generalize about the “others”, massively generalizes about liberals. It’s called hypocrisy.

    Aside from that, no one is calling Vanderbilt a liar. On the other hand, some have called Trump and other Republicans and their media liars. You know, the ones misleading people like Vanderbilt. But Somerby can’t help generalizing even about “others”, since he seems to be saying that calling the others’ thought leaders liars is the same as calling their followers like Vanderbilt liars.

  5. In the world according to Bob, we, a pronoun that conspicuously includes Bob, are dumb for not appreciating the extreme ignorance of people like the woman interviewed. Unlike Grouch Marx, Bob would like to be part of a group who he wouldn’t have as members. He uses the word “we” instead of “you” to cement some kind of fake kinship that allows him to lecture himself and all others like him. Only the circles in that Venn diagram do not intersect. Bob is a bubble into his own, incapable of conjuring a “we” that anyone in the other circle recognizes. So, Bob, for the record, we are not buying it, and by “it” I mean the part in which you and the rest of us intersect and someday sit down and josh it up over a few beers about our mutual dumbness, patting ourselves on our backs for our insightfulness about our failings. No, rather, we’ll leave that all up to you. Table for one, please.

    1. That is, unless that fkkr Mao wants to join you.

    2. He would never be entirely alone. His analysts would join him. Perhaps that's why he created them.

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