QAnon, James Charles, and Politicians; When No One Takes Accountability
I don’t know if it’s the sheer levels of hypocrisy, or if there’s some huge undertaking in the realm of misdirection, but nothing makes sense when it comes to accountability in the sphere of American culture. After four years of ex-President Trump, it’s hard to be surprised when it comes to those in power doing whatever they can to shift blame away from themselves. However, it’s in the results during the first few months of 2021 that have been stunning.
Written By: Anton Sawyer
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From Major League Baseball being boycotted by Trump and the conservative party because of MLB’s boycott of Georgia due to their new voting laws ... The tendons on the finger-pointing hand must be terribly injured. What hasn’t been looked at more closely, is how each outcome has ranged from being the complete antithesis of the intention of the complainant to a literal chorus of “who cares.” From the online influencers in the news of late, to those who create laws and run our country, there are a lot of people getting away with … well, not murder but A LOT of bad stuff.
To those of you unaware, it was recently deduced that Q is Ron Watkins, a former site administrator of the imageboard website 8chan. He has denied these claims, but when you see the documentary called “Q: Into The Storm,” it’s all done with a wink and a nod. In one of the final scenes of the documentary, Watkins spoke about his newfound fame as a key spreader of baseless claims about voter fraud after Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 election. He said: “It was basically three years of intelligence training, teaching normies how to do intelligence work. It was basically what I was doing anonymously before …” Realizing his mistake, Watkins quickly added, “...but never as Q.”
If you assumed this information would have broken the websites of every single conservative news and social media outlet, you’d be wrong. Nobody has really cared at all. QAnon followers believe Q is a government insider with close ties to the Trump administration, who has been posting top-secret intelligence in the form of almost 5,000 posts on both 4chan and 8chan, both of which are owned by Ron's father Jim Watkins. But Q supporters outright refuse to believe it at all. An anonymous post on the Great Awakening illustrates the dismissive mindset perfectly. “Q is a group of genius level military intelligence with very high security clearances. There is 0 chance Ron is Q or is directly involved with the operation.” If you are someone who lives in a fact-rich world, this could all be looked at as a bunch of people who are scared of their own shadows doing mental gymnastics to keep the dream alive. Let’s set this aside for a moment.
Beauty guru and online influencer James Charles has been in a heap of hot water recently. If you aren’t familiar, James Charles is a YouTuber who has millions of followers, has multi-million dollar deals with beauty and make-up brands in both America and abroad, and is also no stranger to controversy. His name got strewn through the mud when he got into a heated feud with other beauty influencers in what would be dubbed “Dramageddon.” Where lies, backstabbing, innuendo, and apology videos took center stage. From endorsing the wrong vitamin brand to being accused of sexual misconduct, against all odds, James Charles eventually came out unscathed. Although at one point he had lost over 1.2 million YouTube subscribers, he did rebound when fingers began to be pointed in another direction. This turned the spotlight onto two superstars in the beauty community who allegedly perpetrated the entire mess: Shane Dawson and Jeffree Star. Old videos, vile tweets, and inappropriate statements began resurfacing from the duo. Once it all came to a head, Jeffree Star was mostly unaffected although he was the alleged "ring leader," it was Shane Dawson's career that was completely destroyed.
Fast forward to 2021. This year sees Charles in yet another sexual misconduct scandal, this time involving minors. In his YouTube video titled "Holding Myself Accountable," he admits to flirting and sexting with boys who were younger than 18. He even accepted their validity by saying "These conversations should have never happened." Since posting his apology video, at least 16 boys have come forward with very similar accusations. Of these 16, 10 are minors, with one being as young as 14. When Insider and other industry-related magazines attempted to interview the companies Charles works with, nobody wanted to discuss or even acknowledge the accusations. These companies include Youtube, TikTok, Morphe Cosmetics, Lily Lashes, and Sephora among others. All major players in the beauty game. Dawson and Star quickly had their make-up collaboration pulled from Morphe shelves, and Dawson had his Youtube channel demonetized within a brief period of time. So why are some of these same brands still working with someone who admitted to sharing and receiving inappropriate pictures and messages with minors? Cancel Culture has been there somewhat in trying to make this issue more widespread, but it seems to be having zero effect on the monetary end. For a moment, put this one aside.
The final element I want to look at has permeated the airwaves since Joe Biden took office; the border crisis. First off, what is happening there is truly horrific, and I don’t have any idea how to fix it. I do look at the numbers, and will eventually tackle ideas that could be used to help, but for now, I want to look at the GOP’s response. Yes, the “kids in cages” element has been there since the Obama administration. This means that when Trump took office, all the talking heads did was further the idea that every one of Obama’s immigration policies was a nightmare. According to Republican Senator Ted Cruz on Fox, “This is a humanitarian crisis and it is a direct result of President Obama's lawlessness and unwillingness to enforce the law." Whenever the mouthpieces like Sean Hannity and Glen Beck are asked about "kids in cages," they always remind their listeners that the cages were started during the Obama era. If it was so bad at the border if Trump knew that these programs were so horrible, why did he continue them? If the congressional members had seen these horrific events for years, why wouldn’t they have pushed Trump or his cabinet to abolish them when they had the chance?
You may be asking how those who either support or defend the apparent hypocrisies above are connected. It’s a weak psychological argument known as “Whataboutism,” and the way the brains of the younger generation are biologically changing will make this argument become a standard in the future. In his 2021 paper in Psychology Today, Travis Langley Ph.D. defined Whataboutism pretty succinctly. "Whataboutism, a broader term (that would include tu quoque arguments) for distracting from criticism of one person, organization, or idea by diverting attention to someone else's shortcomings without addressing the original issue at all." It’s the psychological argumentative equivalent of giving someone a raspberry. The best example of this was in the 2016 election when the argument of “Hillary’s Emails” versus “Trump Collusion.” Both sides of the aisle would throw “what about …” and then end with the comparison they felt was most proper for their point, all while never addressing the original question placed before them. As we’ve seen in both online social circles and the political arena, this tactic is not only used ad nauseum but has almost become the standard pivot.
So why is this becoming so normalized? One of the main reasons why the general populace is OK with all of this is due to us becoming completely emotional as a society, and it’s only getting worse. A 2018 study done by the American Psychology Association shows that Generation Z is experiencing levels of stress and anxiety at a much higher rate than any other generation in recent history.
When the human brain receives new information that is going to impact the person, there are two main components the brain uses to determine its next steps. The amygdala (emotional), and prefrontal cortex (logic/reasoning). As a society, during this century, our brains are re-wiring to become more emotional-reasoning. Stanford medicine released a report in 2021 showing that the kind of stresses in our current world can completely re-route a child’s biology. It found that in chronically stressed or anxious children, the brain’s fear center sends signals to the decision-making part of the brain that makes it harder to regulate negative emotions; namely, the amygdala. One of the main takeaways is that signals become stronger, and more re-routed from the right amygdala to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (a region involved in executive functioning) in children with more anxiety or stress.
As we have seen over the last few years between Q, Trump, and the moral superiority of the Cancel Culture movement, all of it is based on emotions. When you can openly lie thousands of times, and still get a third of the nation to think that whatever you say is true, they are clearly running on the emotional context that’s been generated. Nothing more, nothing less. When certain companies like Morphe, YouTube, and others decide that the money from one horrible human person is acceptable over the money made from the actions of another horrible human person, they are picking and choosing what is acceptable. They know they can. After all, they all realize they themselves aren’t going to be taken down because they can emotionally dictate what they need. That’s the problem, logic is becoming short in supply. Oftentimes we viscerally react to something and immediately go on the charge because we have convinced ourselves we’re correct. Whether we are correct or not, the one thing that I hope this article drives home is that we need to find the roots of these hypocrisies. Because if we can get to the systemic issues at the base of these kinds of falsehoods, then hopefully we as a society can eliminate them. If we destroy the branches only, then the poisoned tree that sprouted them doesn't die.
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