In our four-part series, “The Pilling of Gotham,” Stephanie Kemmerer wonders if the creators of the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon drew inspiration from Fox’s Batman-based TV show. Today she looks at season 3, full of the weirdest, grossest conspiracy ideas yet.
During season three of Gotham, young Bruce Wayne is kidnapped by the Court of Owls and sent to a monastery that appears to be in Tibet. Bruce is essentially brainwashed and brought back to the city, where he and his monk trainer prepare to aerosolize something called the “Red Queen” virus. The monk demonstrates the absolute obedience of his other minions by instructing one of them to, “Cut off the smallest finger of your left hand.” The minion complies and the monk asks Bruce, “Shall I tell him to eat it?”
This could be a reference to a 1996 performance by Serbian artist Marina Abramovic called “Spirit Cooking,” during which she painted the words “with a sharp knife cut deeply into the middle finger of your left hand eat the pain” on a wall with pigs’ blood. A rather overlooked performance, “Spirit Cooking” found its way into the conspiracy theory realm when an email from Abramovic to Tony Podesta, inviting his brother John (Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager) to a “Spirit Cooking” dinner party, appeared in a Wikileaks stash. Alex Jones somehow decided this meant Clinton was a cannibal Satanist, and the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory was off and running. “Spirit Cooking” is mentioned in four different Q drops.
Jim Gordon also learns that his father, who was a top prosecutor, was murdered by the Court of Owls when they staged a fake car accident. This is similar to another persistent conspiracy theory, the so-called “Clinton Bodycount,” which claims that Vince Foster’s suicide was really a cover up of a murder by the Clintons. Just before QAnon began, during the PizzaGate era, there were rumors that Seth Rich, who was killed in a random mugging gone wrong, was another one of these Clinton victims.
At one point in season 3, the character who becomes Catwoman, Selina Kyle, is pushed from a four-story window. Her prognosis is not good, until her friend (Poison) Ivy steps in to heal Selina with plants and herbs. Again, we see another popular conspiracy theory that medical science is not as adequate as “alternative” therapies. This is a big element in the Pastel side of QAnon. Pastels are also called QAmoms. These are the natural foods, yoga mom, hippie-style people who’ve been sucked into QAnon, mostly during the first “lockdowns” from COVID-19 in 2020.
Perhaps the most bizarre thing in season 3 of Gotham is a murder in which the victim’s face is stolen. Rumors began circulating in the Quniverse that a snuff film called “Frazzledrip,” originally titled Frazzled.Rip, showed Hillary Clinton and the vice chair of her 2016 presidential campaign, Huma Abedin, torturing a child before cutting off its face and wearing it. As you might imagine, no one who’s claimed to see it can ever provide proof of its existence. Still images purported to be from the film are nothing more than edited pre-existing images from restaurants, film sets, and death metal album covers.
The rest of the series involves more ideas later adopted by QAnon: a Deep State government operation meant to destroy Gotham (again), people getting dosed with the Scarecrow’s fear toxin, more dead people returning to life, more human “monsters” and illegal human experimentation.
Check out part 4 right here!
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