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problem of child sex abuse and ascribing it to a theoretically infinite universe of evildoers. While Q’s forerunner Pizzagate focused its allegations pretty narrowly on the Clinton orbit, one byzantine QAnon project claims to have identified more than 176,000 indictments. Enemies are everywhere: Could be Huma Abedin, could be Chrissy Teigen. Which, for the anons, basically translates into a breathtakingly high-stakes game of Go: Gotta catch ’em all.
When Q publishes a “drop,” it’s often just a link to an article or a long string of unrelated words. One Q watcher has compared them to CVS receipts. (Q’s posts currently appear on an opaque message board called 8kun and are then made accessible via a handful of searchable follower-created aggregators.) This so-called Socratic posting style encourages maximalist interpretation, which occurs on YouTube shows, in Twitter threads, on livestreams, and in books. To choose one of 4,751-plus examples: Q’s 100th drop, from November 2017, began, “Who is the Queen of England?,” and moved on to Princess Diana, then MI6, then Angela Merkel, then migrants, then upside-down crosses, then spirit cooking, before ending with:
For three years, Q has predicted the imminent arrests of government malefactors. When, inevitably, the arrests do not occur, anons posit that Q is intentionally sowing disinformation, or that Trump is waiting to install better judges. Like some never-ending, ultradark improv-comedy exercise, the only response to a Q drop is “Yes, and …” This open-endedness gives QAnon a flypaper quality, attracting all manner of suspicious thinkers.
As Vice’s Anna Merlan has pointed out, Q became part of a larger “conspiracy singularity” this summer. “UFO conspiracy theorists and QAnon fans are advocating for drinking a bleach solution promoted by anti-vaxxers. QAnon groups and Reopen America groups alike promoted [the truther video] Plandemic,” she wrote. “We’re all trying to make sense of the same massive global event, which seems to drive an urge towards a grand unified theory of suspicion.” In mid-September, with forest fires engulfing the Northwest, Q began posting social-media profiles of alleged antifa arsonists, folding another layer into the larger plot.
Q also cribs from a number of classic conspiracy clichés identifying George Soros, the Rothschild banking family, and the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia as an unholy triumvirate pulling the strings of the pedo cabal. Basically, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, if it had been marinating in speculation about the Clinton Body Count, plus any number of outré paranoid fantasies that have grown up on the farright fringe in the decades since—from Barack Obama’s being a Muslim to Michelle Obama’s being a man.
All that said, the thread that links the Q candidates I spoke with comes from real life: the Jeffrey Epstein case. “The reason I’m leery of people saying Q is a conspiracy theory is I’d heard for years about Epstein and the Lolita Express, and he has this island,” said Raborn, the Chicago candidate. “I always thought it was a conspiracy theory. And then he got arrested. And we found out about the plane. I’m going, Okay, whoa. How many things do I think are conspiracies that really aren’t?” Tracy Lovvorn, a physical therapist running for a seat in central Massachusetts, had practically the same conversion experience, marveling at “everything the FBI knew back in 2005, 2006,” and then, she said, “for him to die the way he did?” Ditto Cargile, whose interest in Q stemmed from Epstein’s suicide (his alleged suicide): “Who caused this to happen? Who doesn’t want him to talk? Who is at most risk by Jeffrey Epstein being on the stand and naming names?”
As a case study in elite failure, you could do worse than to wonder why, when he was first charged with having sex with minors in 2007, Epstein received a sweetheart non-prosecution deal from Florida’s then–U.S. Attorney, Alexander Acosta— later Trump’s Labor secretary. (Or why Harvey Weinstein or Michigan State gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar or the hierarchy of the Catholic Church evaded prosecution for so long.) Seen from this perspective, the real conspiracy theory isn’t an invented pattern of sexual misconduct but a tacit agreement among elites to protect one another at the expense of the innocent. In this vein, pedophilia works as a particularly visceral symbol of predation—a synecdoche for an Establishment that screws over ordinary people.
(Of course, you can see evidence of conspiratorial machinations well outside the message-board fever swamps these days, from the Panama Papers’ portrait of global tax avoidance and big-bank money laundering, to the president’s attempt to blackmail the Ukrainian government into giving him dirt on Joe Biden, to Purdue Pharma’s lucrative business model of addicting as many people as possible to its opioid product OxyContin.)
Q disciples take such plots as reasons to mistrust basically everything they hear. “When Bill Clinton was being accused of all these extramarital affairs, the rape cases, Hillary Clinton was one of the first ones to use the term ‘vast right-wing conspiracy,’ ” Lovvorn said. Now, “that is the go-to term to hide stuff.” And once you’ve reached that conclusion, anything goes. “This is going to sound crazy,” she said, “but Epstein met with Fidel Castro a few times and also, I think, with the president of Venezuela, but I’m not sure. That rings in my ear a little bit because my opponent, Jim McGovern, he’s gone to Cuba 17 times—pictured a handful of times with Fidel Castro.” (I held my tongue, but part of me was tempted to remind her what the 17th letter of the alphabet is.)
For these candidates, invoking shadowy ruling-class schemes would seem to be the logical populist gesture. Yet what they mostly fixate on are Q’s grotesque allegations of occult sexual behavior. Dustin Nemos, a QAnon YouTuber, characterizes Q as a big tent that includes “the healthfreedom movement,” “normal Christians tired of being censored,” “elements of Drain the Swamp,” and other factions. But “human trafficking is the emotional anchor point.” Lovvorn thinks this is a smart PR strategy on Q’s part. “If it wasn’t for all that craziness, you wouldn’t pick up the phone and call me,” she said. “I appreciate that crazy because at least it’s giving these kids a platform.” She cited a (misleading) news item, which went viral in the Qniverse, claiming 39 missing children had been found in a trailer in Georgia. (There was no trailer, and they weren’t all in Georgia.)
And this illicit subject matter, of course, engages the anons themselves. Fascination with ritualistic perversion is a hallmark of conspiratorial thinking. AntiCatholic and anti-Mormon writers of the 19th century obsessively conjured images of “licentious orgies and fearful punishments,” wrote the historian David Brion Davis, which wound up “endowing even the worst offenses of their enemies with a certain fascinating appeal.” While QAnon’s outward emphasis on innocent children may explain its apparent popuactual
larity among unsuspecting suburban moms, it’s naïve to think the fascination with demonic sexual behavior isn’t also tinged with prurience. Precisely by claiming the mantle of moralism, QAnon grants itself license to broach some of the weirdest, most verboten shit on the political internet.
get into this stuff? Marjorie Taylor Greene’s biography begins innocently enough. She grew up outside Atlanta, where her father ran a successful construction business whose ads would have been familiar to any talk-radio listener in the region. She attended the University of Georgia, where she majored in business administration and met her husband, Perry Greene. Sometime after they graduated, they bought Taylor Commercial from her parents and eventually ran the company together. The Greenes raised two daughters and a son, settling in a comfortable suburban home in Alpharetta, north of the city. She attended an Evangelical megachurch called North Point, where in 2011 she received a public baptism in a large tank of water suspended off the ground.
On the campaign trail, Greene portrays herself as the boss, with her husband, of Taylor Commercial. But it’s not clear how involved she has been in the business; in 2012, her name stopped appearing on the registration forms the company filed with the Georgia secretary of State. (Greene and her campaign didn’t respond to my interview requests.) Around that time, she was working as a part-time coach at a CrossFit gym in Alpharetta. “She was going around the five different gyms at that point, working out obsessively, hanging out in paleo restaurants, like, drinking frozen drinks in green spandex,” said the gym’s then-owner, Jim Chambers. “As far as anyone could tell, she was a rich lady that [was] bored.” Politics did not seem to be on her radar. Chambers is a member of the billionaire Cox broadcasting family, which has been a player in Georgia Democratic politics for decades. He knew her from the gym and had been to her house for a dinner party, and the subject never came up. (Chambers assured me that he bears no partisan animus toward her, as he deplores all “petit bourgeois” politics.)
Greene eventually left Chambers’s gym to start her own, which became a hub for competitive CrossFitters. I found an old WordPress blog Greene started in 2013 tracking her workouts and diet program in exhausting detail. It is a monomaniacal document that could be of interest only to a CrossFit nerd. It can also feel very human. She wrote of a bout with skin cancer, of needing to wear braces for a spell.
H“I’m really bad at listening to that negative voice when it gets hard,” Greene wrote in 2014. “I want to silence the chatter. Confidence is also an area that I struggle in.” Working out gave her a sense of purpose. “It’s not about belonging, or really anyone else. It’s all mine and I love it.”
The blog ended in 2015, after which she discovered a new outlet for self-expression. Around 2017, she became a prodigious right-wing livestreamer, complementing her Facebook presence with blogging gigs and YouTube appearances. Her interest in QAnon was piqued by the seminal Q chronicler Liz Crokin, a former gossip reporter. But she was clearly predisposed toward the paranoiac wing of Trump world, which amplifies an entire portfolio of new and vintage conspiracy theories— Seth Rich was assassinated at Obama’s behest by the MS-13 gang, Charlottesville’s Unite the Right rally was staged, 9/11 was an inside job, the Las Vegas massacre was hatched by gun-control activists, the package bombs sent to prominent liberals in 2018 were a false flag. Writing about this last scheme on her Facebook wall, she adopted the oracular, acronym-heavy vernacular of Q: “Look deeper into the ‘victims’ of this. Who are they? Understand what deflection means. Then again look at the victims and ask what are they hiding?? Obama. HRC. CNN. DWS.”
Themes of invasion and subversion are constants in her videos. I found one fascinating livestream she recorded at a public library as she walked around with her leg in a protective boot. She was there to document a “Drag Queen Story Hour,” which she had campaigned to cancel. For most of it, she is hanging around outside the library waiting to catch the drag queen on-camera. Wearing a nice romper and a big rock on her ring finger, she makes like a Phyllis Schlafly. It’s hard for her to go five minutes without saying something offensive. At one point, she pans the camera to a woman in a hijab. “Our library is full of that,” she whispers, before citing the Women’s March coorganized by pro-Palestine activist Linda Sarsour and concluding offhandedly that “they all go together.”
What I find telling about the video isn’t just the bogeypeople Greene sees all around her but her sense of euphoria and purpose in combating their supposed agendas. Throughout the livestream, she urges her audience to find and share the real name of the drag queen, before then tracking down the branch manager (whom she pegs as having organized the event), plotting to spam him with phone calls, and creating a hashtag to get him fired. A transition to gonzo political activism, if that’s the right term, seems natural. In 2019, she began appearing regularly in Washington, D.C. She chased the Parkland shooting survivor and gun-control activist David Hogg around the halls of Congress. She tried to force Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib to retake their oaths of office on the Bible (rather than the Koran).
While on vacation in late 2018, she escaped her family to do an uninterrupted 90-minute stream from her hotel room. “Many women I know, they’re too busy playing their tennis, their ALTA [Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association] tennis, they’re into their hobbies or their book club, or they’re too busy with their ‘career’ to have time to participate and stand up and pay attention to what’s going on with America,” she said. “Most of my friends on social media find my posts inconvenient and annoying because they would rather see babies and puppies and something funny on social media. And I think that’s sad.” Greene’s entry into the political space is, in this way, inseparable from her discovery of an audience. Unlike the alienated, basement-dwelling stereotype of a conspiracist, Greene was in fact a kind of microinfluencer, surfing the wave of engagement. Which, as with the participants in QAnon’s collaborative adventure, made her at once a believer and an evangelist.
In spring 2019, Greene began running for Congress in her moderate home district, which is represented by a Democrat. When it became clear she was going to lose the Republican primary, members of the House Freedom Caucus, she said, encouraged her to move her campaign to a more conservative part of the state, where the tea-party Republican Tom Graves had announced he would not seek reelection. “I’d never heard of her,” said Luke Martin, an attorney and the GOP chair of a county in the district. The first thing Martin saw when he Googled Greene was a Southern Poverty Law Center article chronicling some of her greatest hits. “Nobody thought she had a chance,” he said. In a debate, her opponent, John Cowan, told her, “I was praying for your soul, actually,” when he heard her recent vow not to remove a statue of Hitler or “Satan himself” so she could teach her children about them.
Martin told me Greene’s bubbly retail politics shares none of the vitriol of her online persona. Money doesn’t hurt either. When the pandemic was hampering her opponent’s early efforts, Greene already had a campaign apparatus up and running. She loaned herself $900,000 and, according to federal records, was backed by more than $200,000 from the House Freedom Fund. A couple of months after Taylor Commercial received a six-figure PPP loan, she donated another $450,000 to her campaign. (Her name was added
back to the company’s registration forms in 2019.) In June, Facebook removed a campaign ad in which she cocked an AR-15 and warned antifa to “stay the hell out of northwest Georgia.” Antifa probably isn’t much of a threat to northwest Georgia, but the incident wound up fueling her campaign’s existing sense of grievance, in which anarchists and Silicon Valley gatekeepers are just two sides of the same coin. And when paranoid anti-deep-statism collides with macho posturing, what it produces, basically, is Trumpism. Greene became a Fox News martyr and never looked back. Emboldened, she recently posted a Photoshopped image of herself standing next to the “Squad”—her future colleagues—holding an automatic rifle. Facebook removed it.
Georgia Republicans were dismayed by her victory. “She’s not from there, she didn’t know a soul, she didn’t need a single local endorsement,” said one top staffer in Georgia’s U.S. House delegation. Her opponent, Cowan, a prominent local neurosurgeon, had announced over 100 endorsements in a single week. He also received donations from a number of sitting U.S. representatives and solid rightwing groups, including Mike Huckabee’s Huckpac. “It didn’t matter,” the Georgia staffer said. “People didn’t care. It was all about, ‘Are you with Trump, and are you going to fight this atmosphere that you feel we’re in?’ ” Cowan’s slogan was “Pro Trump. Pro Life. Pro Gun,” and he got outflanked from the right. (Greene’s slogan: “Save America. Stop Socialism.”) It’s impossible to say how many, if any, of Greene’s voters gravitated to her because of QAnon. But if there’s a takeaway from the race, maybe it’s this: In certain corners, it plays better to rave about dubious scourges than to speak to the lived experience of your constituents. Not all politics is local anymore, and increasingly it’s not national or partisan, either, but Manichaean.
n august, a couple of days after Greene’s victory, I tuned in to Soapbox, a 24-hour QAnon livestream. None of the hosts or commenters mentioned her, as though her ascension to the halls of power made her too tangible an entity to warrant discussion. Instead, I watched a guy named Coleman Rogers, who goes by the handle Pamphlet Anon and who some believe is Q himself, calculate the angles in a Star of David and discuss a scene from the 2009 Terry Gilliam movie, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus: “The young girl, she’s just slept with Colin Farrell, I think it was, and then she starts singing the pizza and the pasta song and the Anubis head looks over them?”
IThis indifference to politics isn’t unusual among hard-core Q people. There is one known QAnon super-pac, called Disarm the Deep State. Intriguingly, it was created by Jim Watkins, the creator of 8kun, whom some also credibly believe to be Q. But the group has only about $4,000 to its name and hasn’t donated to any of the candidates. When I asked Nemos, the YouTuber, if he had interviewed any of them, he said he had talked to one but couldn’t remember her name. (It was Jo Rae Perkins.) He was excited about their rise, he said, but too busy running a QAnon e-commerce shop and debunking the mainstream media’s “4 a.m. talking points” to pay much attention to them. The best evidence I could find of coordinated political activity was a string of $17 donations to Perkins’s campaign.
Meanwhile, Greene will be going to Congress, where her new colleagues are preparing themselves for an infinite migraine. She hasn’t talked about Q since she started running for office, but that hasn’t made her any less problematic. In early September, Greene took to Twitter to discourage boys from wearing masks, which she found “emasculating.” A couple of weeks later, she tweeted that when she arrived in Washington, she would be investigating “how much of George Soros’ money is trickling down to these rioters. He truly is the
The head of the Freedom Caucus, Jim Jordan, hasn’t abandoned her. But he’s becoming a rarity, as “Do you condemn Marjorie Greene’s comments?” becomes a new Washington litmus test. For this story, I spoke with two GOP chiefs of staff who ended up unloading their feelings about her for over an hour. “Look at her through the lens of AOC,” one of them said. “She’s going to be very powerful. She’s indestructible. She’s from a district where she cannot lose. She’s there as long as she wants to be. She’s willing to say or do newsy stuff. She blows up every paradigm.” He contemplated the state of his party. “It you sit back and think about it, it will crush your soul. It hurts, man. It fucking hurts.” (On Twitter, Greene recently called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dumb. Ocasio-Cortez responded that Greene had misspelled a word in her tweet.)
As Greene’s profile rises, the second chief of staff said, the downstream implications for the party will get bleak. With her most incendiary comments playing on constant loop, he fretted, “how are we going to take back a California seat or a New York seat?” Illinois Republican Adam Kinzinger has gone so far as to release a YouTube video about the dangers of QAnon, while a bipartisan House resolution was introduced to condemn it.
Seth Weathers, the Georgia consultant, said he had talked to Freedom Caucus members who want nothing to do with her. “Anything she sponsors will be DOA. Would you work with her on legislation? You don’t know what the hell she’s going to say. You can’t risk it.” Another Georgia GOP strategist worried about her non-Q beliefs, which she has in no way muzzled: “She’s made plenty of statements that have nothing to do with satanic rings of pedophiles that are part of the federal government but that are still problematic.”
For now, the theory’s own baroqueness may inoculate it from real scrutiny in the political sphere. Greene’s aging colleagues (she once called them “literally like dead people”) aren’t going to be scouring 8kun to read Q’s drops. For his part, Chief of Staff No. 1 told me his boss has zero understanding of QAnon and had waved off talk of Greene’s lunacy. “When I tell him there’s this cabal of people who believe Nancy Pelosi is eating children out of the basement of a pizza parlor, he’s like, ‘What? That doesn’t make sense. She seems nice. She does CrossFit.’ ”
Where will QAnon be after November? If the president is reelected, anticipation of Trump’s heroic purge can build for another four years, though followers may also begin to wonder what’s taking him so long. If he loses, QAnon might interpret the election as stolen, thereby imputing to the deep state even more power. In the meantime, absent a strong case for reelection—given the recession and the White House’s inept handling of the pandemic—it makes a kind of sense to throw out the old playbook and start accusing your opponents of being evil monsters to see how much turnout Q might yield.
A few weeks ago, House Republicans began doing just that. In Missouri, Republican congresswoman Ann Wagner ran an ad that starts with footage of a happy mom and dad laughing with their elementaryschool-age children. “Everybody wants to keep our communities safe,” the spot begins. Except for Wagner’s Democratic opponent, Jill Schupp, whom it accuses of voting to let sex offenders “roam freely on our kids’ playgrounds.” In Florida, the National Republican Campaign Committee accused a Democratic candidate of endorsing child sex dolls. In New Jersey, the NRCC targeted Democratic U.S. representative Tom Malinowski, the former Washington director of Human Rights Watch: “Malinowski tried to make it easier for predators to hide in the shadows.” The congressman, a panel of overlaid text reads, “chose sex offenders over your family.” In late September, a Civiqs poll found that 14 percent of Republicans identified as supporters of Q.
the company from scaling. All those software engineers sleeping under their desks may have been great in 2005, when the company was flush with venture capital, but employing an army of humans to endlessly tweak the software doesn’t exactly presage huge profits. “I used to have a metric when I was in the government,” said the former senior intelligence official who visited Palantir’s engineers back in their sleeping-bag days. “People would come in and say, ‘We’ve got this fantastic automated translation system,’ or automated anything. I would say, ‘Does this use
And they would say, ‘I don’t know what that is.’ ”
The acronym stood for Rooms Full of People, meaning the army of analysts required to clean up the data and crunch the numbers. How good any given datamining system is depends in large part on what’s lurking behind the curtain. Is it artificial intelligence parsing large data sets of complex financial transactions to find the next terrorist? Or is it a room full of eager software engineers sleeping on the floor? Palantir portrays its software as like its namesake—a crystal ball you gaze into for answers. The company emphasizes that it has reduced the time needed to get its software up and running, and former officials told me Palantir has made big improvements to its back end over the years. But the truth is that it still appears to take a lot of manual labor to make it work, and there’s nothing magical about that.
That distinction did not matter to the soldiers in Afghanistan who were trying to pinpoint IEDs, but it makes a huge difference to potential investors, because Rooms Full of People are not nearly as profitable as simply installing software and walking away. “Here’s the dirty secret of all of these dataanalytics solutions,” a former Pentagon research manager told me. “They all claim to take these disparate data sources and put them together and then discover these amazing correlations between variables. But the problem is that all of these data sets are terrible. They’re dirty.” Many types of information, after all, are gathered and processed by humans. It may be entered inconsistently or provided in wildly different formats or riddled with inaccuracies. It’s messy, like the real world it reflects and records, and it doesn’t always fit into software with any sort of mathematical precision.
When I saw a recent demonstration of Palantir software, it became clear that this dirty secret isn’t very secret. The interface struck me as user friendly, something anyone with basic computer literacy could figure out. Want to know how many aircraft are available for a specific mission and how long it will take them to get to their destination? With a simple query, Palantir can tell you. Then I was shown a data set on military personnel, which had to be “cleaned up” to make it usable on Palantir. It wasn’t only a magic code doing the cleanup; it was human beings—and even locating someone who could explain what needed to be done had proven time consuming. “It took many calls to find a subject-matter expert,” one person involved told me.
It sounded a lot like Rooms Full of People.
Alex Karp appeared on an investor webcast dressed in bright sports gear and hiking up a trail on roller skis. Often described as “eccentric” or a “deviant philosopher,” he stopped and faced the camera, his unruly curls pointing in different directions, and began to talk about Palantir’s tremendous growth. Some 17 years after Karp and Thiel met with John Poindexter, full of confidence and short on engineering, the company was finally set to go public.
Karp blames the darlings of Silicon Valley, not Palantir, for violating people’s privacy. It’s companies like Facebook and Google, he argues, that are selling their users’ data, while Palantir targets terrorists and criminals. “The engineering elite of Silicon Valley may know more than most about building software,” he observed in the company’s filing to go public. “But they do not know more about how society should be organized or what justice requires.” (His argument ignores the fact that Palantir has been used to analyze data from social media, including Facebook posts.)
Poindexter wrote to me shortly after we spoke about his meeting with Karp and Thiel back in 2003. He had seen a recent article about Palantir, he said, and he was shocked at Karp’s transformation. “Karp was clean shaven and had a conservative, traditional-length haircut,” Poindexter told me. “I have no idea why he changed his image. I would not have recognized him from current photos.”
With Karp, as with Palantir, it’s often hard to know what is real and what is mythmaking. It’s often repeated in articles, for example,
Othat Karp studied in Germany under Jürgen Habermas, perhaps the most influential living philosopher. “The most important thing I learned from him is I couldn’t be him, and I didn’t want to be him,” Karp confided on a recent podcast with a sort of knowing intimacy. In fact, as Moira Weigel, a historian of media technologies, has pointed out, Karp not only didn’t do his dissertation under Habermas, he didn’t even study in the same department.
That sort of exaggeration could be chalked up to Silicon Valley bravado. Yet it bears an eerie similarity to the bin Laden story, a rumor Palantir has allowed, or even encouraged, to be repeated as fact. As the company goes public, however, it will be required to open its books, and the facts will become inescapable. As recently as 2018, Palantir was being cited as having a valuation of $20 billion, ranking it among Silicon Valley’s top-five unicorns, alongside Uber, Airbnb, SpaceX, and WeWork. Since then, WeWork has imploded, Uber is trading below its public-offering price, and Airbnb has been hit by a pandemicdriven collapse in bookings. While Palantir’s filings indicate it hopes to surpass $20 billion, some industry analysts suspect that goal is far beyond what its business model can justify.
How much Palantir is worth depends in large part on what kind of company you think it is. Palantir markets itself as “software as a service”—a business category that includes products like Microsoft Office 365. But Microsoft is not embedding software engineers in Afghanistan to help soldiers with Excel. If, on the other hand, Palantir is more like a traditional government IT contractor, which provides people as a service, it would be valued at about one times revenue—a number that would place its current worth at less than $1 billion. “You have to make sure that you can get to a dramatically different model at Palantir … to get a valuation up to the kinds of numbers that we’re hearing out there,” Douglas Harned, a Bernstein analyst, explained in a recent webinar.
So why are people still so excited about Palantir? One former national-security official told me the company is now famous for being famous, sort of like the Kardashians. But he’s doubtful Palantir’s technology can match the sky-high valuations that came with all the hype. “As soon as there’s an IPO, I will short the stock,” he said. “If I’m right—if, in fact, Palantir is loved in the way the Kardashians are loved—well, the Kardashians are not going to be famous forever. So short the stock while they’re famous—and just wait for their 15 minutes of fame to end.”
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