Friday, January 01, 2021

How to make money from QAnon

According to this Atlantic article, it's possible to make money betting against QAnon. 
There's a gambling platform called PredictIt which allows people to bet on various political events -- not just the outcomes of elections, but also far more extraordinary possibilities. QAnon followers are so thoroughly convinced of their theories that they will back up their beliefs with cold cash. For example, they have wagered that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would be indicted within a certain span of time. 
Yes, they bet real money on that outcome. Q said it, they believed it, and that settled it.
A young fellow named Patrick Cage discovered this market and has prospered by taking those bets.  
Cage has made money every time QAnon has been wrong—which they have been on every bet he’s made so far, he told me. He’s put about $800 in and made around $400 in profits.
Of course, the real money is in trademarks and in merch -- QAnon clothing and knick-knacks.  

And the multilevel marketing possibilities are vast. 
The multilevel-marketing industry isn’t just structurally conducive to spreading outlandish ideas: It also has some philosophical crossover with QAnon. “I can’t say that I’m surprised by ties between QAnon and multilevel marketing,” William Keep, a marketing professor at the College of New Jersey who started studying the industry in the 1990s, told me. “Unfortunately, their popularity and shared sympathy make some sense.” The industry has been at odds with governments “literally for decades,” Keep said. It loathes oversight and regulation. It loves a direct sales pitch. Many multilevel-marketing companies have had close ties to conservative politics, and many have antagonistic relationships with bodies like the FDA, or the idea of authority in general, in cases where products are marketed in ways that flout scientific consensus or medical expertise.

“[Multilevel-marketing companies] claim to sell the way they do, within these networks, because their products are so special or revolutionary that the mainstream marketplace can’t handle it ... the FDA would never approve this company,” says Jane Marie, who hosts and produces The Dream, a podcast about multilevel marketing. “I think it lines up really well with the QAnon attitude of, like, the government doesn’t want you to know this.”
This sort of thing has happened before.
In the late '90s, the anti-Clinton movement presaged the current Q madness. I decided to appeal to that market by writing the ultimate conspiracy book -- Red Phoenix Rising: Bill Clinton and the Illuminati. I actually got a few chapters into that opus -- and let me tell you, those chapters were glorious. Alas, the project came to a halt after I was attacked by two demons: The demon Conscience and the demon Laziness. 

Hi yo, Silver! Hope you had a fine New Years. I spent the eve communing with a bottle of vodka while watching the 1956 theatrical film version of The Lone Ranger, which turned out to be the greatest film ever made. (It became greater as the bottle became lighter.) Unlike the TV show, the movie had an actual budget; it was shot in majestic Utah, not on the overly-familiar Iverson Ranch in the west end of the San Fernando Valley. I found the script to be surprisingly woke: It's about a Trumpian tycoon who schemes to steal land sacred to an Indian tribe -- and in one scene, a racist mob almost lynches Tonto. It takes about three dozen guys to bring him down!
Progressives who never watch westerns think that Hollywood routinely portrayed Indians as savages and murderers throughout the 1950s (the great decade of the western film). That's simply not true. In the 1948-1950 period, three excellent movies -- Fort Apache, Broken Arrow and Devil's Den -- upended stereotypical views of the original Americans. Although Hollywood would still give us plenty of moments likely to make a modern audience wince -- yes, far too many Indian roles were played by White actors -- most western movies after 1950 acknowledged Indians as the victims of White bigotry and aggression. That's an important shift, and we shouldn't let ignorant progs pretend that it never happened. 
(Many arrogant young progs take pride in their expert knowledge of cinematic history even though they have watched only two or three movies predating Star Wars.)
My theory is that, in the 1950s, Hollywood used Indians as a stand-in for Black people. Back then, the studios could not make movies addressing anti-Black prejudice because such works could not get booked in southern theaters. Stories about anti-Indian prejudice did not incur a financial penalty. Thus, the western genre became a way of talking about what was, at that time, a taboo topic.

Movies have always found clever ways to abrade taboos. In the 1930s, a number of films made in India included subtle shout-outs to Gandhi's movement, even though the British forbade direct references to Gandhi. During the Cold War, several films produced by Warsaw Pact nations indirectly criticized the USSR and its leaders -- here's an example -- though playing that game could be dangerous.

1 comment:

OTE admin said...

Television westerns I had avoided for years because I had been ruined by taking American history courses. However, going back to those shows, many of which I am collecting on DVD, not only is it surprising how well-written and acted the shows were, but I was also surprised at how much the theme of racism was depicted on those shows. Not many of them focused on black people, but it was occasional back during the westerns' heydey, but many of them were focused on how Native Americans were treated by society. I shouldn't be that surprised with this, as the 1950s and early 1960s were the height of the civil rights movement. It seems that difficult topics like racism and prejudice were easier to tackle in a western format than in a contemporary one.