THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2021
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!