From Kensal and Kilburn Better 2021
Thursday 25 March 2021 7.30pm to 8.30pm
19:30 – 20:30 GMT
LRB contributor James Meek, QAAnon's Annie Kelly, psychologist Alexandra Stein & former QAnon believer Jitarth Jadeja talk to Tom Lennard
When QAnon shaman Jake Angeli became the face of the storming of Congress on January 6th this year, the wider world was exposed to this worryingly influential conspiratorial sect. For many, QAnon seemed to appear from out of nowhere. Not so. Conspiracy theories have proliferated in recent decades, aided and abetted by digital technologies and social media platforms.
How worried should we be about conspiracy theories, and are they a threat to democratic norms and digital freedoms? Who benefits from these theories, and how do we help to stem their proliferation and draw people away from such destructive beliefs? How can we distinguish between "conspiracy fact", such as Watergate or MKUltra, and "conspiracy fiction", such as chemtrails and vaccine-microchipping?
Joining the discussion will be Jitarth Jadeja, a former QAnon believer-turned-spokesperson for those re-emerging from conspiracy-led beliefs, Booker Prize long-listed James Meek, author of the recent LRB essay Red Pill, Blue Pill that looks at the power of conspiracy theories in the UK, educator and social psychologist Alexandra Stein, author of Terror, Love and Brainwashing: Attachments in Cults and Totalitarian Systems, and QAnon Anonymous Podcast's UK correspondent and researcher Annie Kelly, writer of the article Mothers for QAnon.