GQ and Weaponizing Paranoid Delusion

This article is a criticism of a recent GQ article, titled, The Mystery of the Immaculate Concussion. Before getting into it, there’s a concept that I wish to bring to your attention which you may already be aware of: gaslighting.

Gaslighting is the act of causing a person to doubt their own perceptions, usually in an effort to make them easier to manipulate. In extreme cases, a victim of gaslighting may become convinced that they have a mental illness.

Another thing to know about is targeted individuals (TIs, for short). TIs are a community of people who believe themselves to be the victims of sophisticated gang-stalking. Some of them even claim to be the victims of unethical experiments or attacks with acoustic or electromagnetic technologies. Many of them have claimed that these attacks are the cause of headaches or various other maladies.

It’s a tad indulgent, but there is another thing to bring to mind, and that is Hitchen’s Razor. It goes something like this: “What is presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

Having said all that, here’s a link to GQs article.

The story featured a man who went to Russia to spy on Russia and experienced his first major migraine there. Either that, or he had one vodka too many. I know that sounds like a joke, but what he described was similar to what I’ve experienced from two daiquiris and a shot of strong rum right before bed.

Like a Hillary campaign staffer, he blamed the Russians.

The first indication that there is something wrong with the article is the unironic assertion that the 2016 Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theory is an undisputed fact, as though it weren’t thoroughly and painstakingly investigated over the course of years, and was absolutely debunked.

But hey, why would a major publication like GQ have gotten the memo?

Of course, there are more major problems, including their repeated insinuations that Trump is cozy with Russia. What the author doesn’t seem to realize is the conflict of interest this creates: If the Russians were cozy with the President of the United States, it would be absolutely counterproductive to squander that goodwill by attacking Americans visiting their homeland, especially if they are government officials. To attack another country’s citizens is an act of war.

Because it’s conspiracy theorists we’re talking about, they probably already thought of some way to iron this out. And it’s probably quite complicated.

The article’s TI wasn’t without a plan to determine that the Russians were behind the attack: snubbing them on their holiday card tradition. He understood that exchanging Christmas cards was one of the ways Russian bureaucrats express respect, so he decided to withhold cards one year, and watch how they reacted.

And whaddaya know? When you disrespect someone, they get upset. What did this prove? That the TI would make a terrible diplomat, it seems.

You might be wondering whether I believe that there does exist the technology to attack someone with EM waves. And I believe it. One doesn’t have to look into anything classified to know it, since it’s been publicly known for a long time that something similar has been used to generate a sensation of heat as a deterrent, as the article points out.

However, in the article, the author jumps to conclusions, implying connections based on incomplete information. That is conspiracy theorism per se, and any smug sense of superiority over others who practice it on the part of the author is forfeit.

The reason I suspect gaslighting in GQs article is because there is a twisted message that it alludes to: that if you’ve been experiencing strong headaches, Russia may be to blame, and Trump doesn’t care. This makes the article out to be an attempt to prey upon vulnerable adults, weaponizing the TI community and others with paranoid delusions in an effort to swing an election.

If the apparent effort were not deliberate, and the article’s author was sincere, it offers yet another window into the thinking of a kind of person the left and the Dark State attracts: the conspiracy theorists that don’t like to be called conspiracy theorists, while accusing others of the same. Yet, their paranoid delusions are evident: they see racists as around every corner, and secret sexists all around them. Plots congeal in the shadows, and the Russians made them misplace their slippers. Trump! Russia! Possible collusion!

Obviously, the author isn’t stupid, as Julia Ioffe was able to construct a narrative in a lengthy article that’s an interesting read. However, the article was obviously authored in such a way as to try to get the reader to assume connections based on limited or missing evidence.

There’s no shame in engaging in conspiracy theories if you’re honest enough to admit that that’s what you’re doing.

“All things being equal, the correct hypothesis tends to be the one that makes the fewest assumptions.”

Occam’s Razor

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