Common sense ain't so common anymore. That's the overriding message of Trump, QAnon and the Return of Magic, a lively, but distressing portrait of our current state of disrepair. The film issues a scathing critique of our cultural and sociopolitical climate, which is being driven by harmful and irresponsible rhetoric, social media proliferation, and lack of distinctions between truth and fantasy.
Conspiracy crackpots have always existed, but social media has provided them with a more dominant and attention-grabbing public forum. This has also greased the wheels for larger numbers of followers who are perhaps similarly disenfranchised or susceptible.
At the center of this mayhem is QAnon, a social movement started in 2017 which alleges a widespread operation of child sex trafficking led by Satan worshipping pedophiles. Supporters of QAnon overwhelmingly stand in strong support of current U.S. President Donald Trump, a figure they view as the hero who will stand against the cabal of perverted degenerates. Their mission is bolstered by the president's frequent retweets of their conspiracies and general disinterest in condemning their actions on a public stage.
Unfortunately, QAnon is not an anomaly. Conspiracy movements are gripping the public consciousness like never before. It seems to fulfill a primal human need. The film outlines the motivations behind this disturbing phenomenon.
It begins with the notion of magical thinking - a relatively harmless exercise characterized by fable and superstition. Taken to the extremes in our current environment of unprecedented fear and anxiety, this kind of thinking can deepen divisions and actually place lives in peril. The film reviews the tenants of conspiracy-minded perceptions, including their reliance on symbols and patterns, how they prey upon our basic need to find comfort through our search for meaning, and the social conditions that allow for the easy spread of their misinformation campaigns.
Utilizing reels of footage from pop culture spectacles, news reports and other popular media, the film itself represents a theory of where we have gone wrong as a society. But it's one that's deeply rooted in common sense thinking, and a firm belief in the work of scientists and other evidence seekers.
Directed by: Kirby Ferguson