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'Gotham': Predictive programming of QAnon?

Television

‘Gotham’: Predictive programming of QAnon?

“The Pilling of Gotham,” Part 4 of 4

In the final installment of our four-part series, “The Pilling of Gotham,” Stephanie Kemmerer blows the lid off this predictive programming “conspiracy,” with comments from Mike Rains of the Poker and Politics podcast.

The Pilling of Gotham Part 1: Suspicious Timing, No Coincidences
The Pilling of Gotham Part 2: Mole Children and Blood Sacrifices
The Pilling of Gotham Part 3: Frazzledrip and Pizzagate

Listen to the latest episode of the AIPT Television podcast!

Gotham characters

The reality is that there’s nothing new in the world of conspiracy theories — it’s all essentially recycled and upcycled nonsense. The core elements of QAnon existed long before QAnon did, and in fact there were many other “Anon” accounts posting similar things on 4Chan around the same time that Q started. If one variable had changed, there might now be a cult of FBI Insider Anons instead of QAnon; it just so happened that the right pile of feces was flung and ended up sticking to the wall.

All speculations aside, I’m not saying that Gotham is responsible for QAnon. What I am saying is that it could be possible that Gotham, weaving old conspiracy theory tropes into its plots, might have had a particularly unethical fan (or fans) who decided to have fun with it.

It’s not crazy to think that two members of the “Chanosphere,” the terrible culture of the Chan image boards, liked the same comic book-based TV show. Paul Furber, the likely originator of QAnon, was a moderator for 4Chan. Q went silent for a while before migrating to 8Chan, where researchers believe a different person began posting as Q. Along with his father Jim, Ron Watkins (most likely the second Q), took control of 8Chan from its creator, Fred Brennan, in 2016.

“The fact that you can find that Gotham predates QAnon and manages to touch on all of these notes, the idea that Ron could’ve seen Gotham and used it for inspiration … it fits the narrative, it fits everything we know about these right wing conspiracy theorists and their worldview,” says Mike Rains, QAnon expert and host of the Poker and Politics podcast.

There’s another, less logical way to view this. Conspiracy theorists can see this repetition of themes as proof of “predictive programming,” that the Illuminati is secretly revealing its future plans to us through films and pop culture.

“Everyone in this right wing conspiracy world is aggressively inspired by media; it’s almost universal that they will claim that movies and entertainment are just narratives of the real world,” Rains says. “If there’s a movie that has a storyline about a shadowy group about maintaining control over people they talk about, this is Hollywood talking about what they’re really doing.”

'Gotham': Predictive programming of QAnon?

Ron Watkins, founder of 8chan, and most likely the man behind Q. Image from HBO’s “Q: Into the Storm.”

Mockery of conspiratorial ideas can be an effective tool when deprogramming cult members, so Gotham‘s efforts in that regard, intentional or not, were good to see. Plus, it was just an entertaining and engaging show. Gotham was originally meant to have seven seasons, but was cancelled in 2019, halfway through season five. Since then, there’s been a movement on Twitter and other social media platforms to #SaveGotham.

AIPT Science is co-presented by AIPT and the New York City Skeptics.

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