Conservative expert Dennis Prager says he actually had COVID on purpose
While most Americans try not to catch COVID-19 – or, at the very least, pretend it doesn’t exist – one intrepid expert claims to have kissed thousands in order to ultimately contract the respiratory disease.
This week on Fever dreams, hosts Will Sommer and Kelly Weill visit the case of Dennis Prager, the conservative media figure who is now receiving Regeneron treatments for COVID-19 because he said he actually wanted to contract the disease. “We’re so in this kind of scenario now that I think Republican figures are a bit worried about it and don’t want to be possessed,” Sommer said of Prager’s COVID announcement. “And so you got like Allen West, who only announced he had COVID after already being on a bunch of Regeneron cycles. And now we have Dennis Prager, who says he’s actually getting rocks COVID. “
COVID is not the only fever that is spreading on the right. Later in the episode, we visit Michigan, where Trump fans attempt to “audit” the 2020 vote, much like their doomed attempt in Arizona. What is different this time? “Michigan is funny because unlike Arizona, where it was a phone call for Biden, Biden won Michigan very easily,” Weill said. “As if it wasn’t even close.” Nonetheless, the audit efforts are attracting some of Michigan’s most dashing, including a state lawmaker who wore a QAnon pin during a recent rally in support of the audit. Nonetheless, former President Donald Trump has backed Michigan’s audit efforts, calling on the state’s GOP chairman to request an audit and endorsing a pro-audit Michigan attorney general candidate.
A QAnon-powered audit movement may seem a bit cult. But this week’s guest says cult language is all around us, from conspiracy movements to posts from your favorite fitness influencers. Amanda Montell, author of Cultish: the language of fanaticism, joins the group to discuss rhetorical tricks that make people believe. “We do a lot of mental gymnastics to say to ourselves, ‘No, I would never end up in a sectarian group,” says Montell, “but my point is that sectarian influence permeates spaces that we might not traditionally consider to be. sects None of us are really above that.
This includes outright cults like Heaven’s Gate, but also conspiracy movements like QAnon, aggressive multi-level marketing programs, and even, at times, fandoms. “I think part of that is because the lines between business leaders, spiritual gurus, self-help stars, influencers, celebrities have gotten really, really blurry,” says Montell. “Take Elon Musk, for example, he’s a businessman who 10, 20 or 30 years ago might not have achieved the celebrity status he has now, but for a number of reasons, including the loss of confidence in the traditional institutions that are supposed to support us, we now turn to these lay leaders for almost religious support and guidance. ”
Elsewhere in the episode, Sommer describes his recent conversation with QAnon influencer-turned-Congress candidate Ron Watkins. Despite outside attempts to distance himself from conspiracy theory, Watkins can’t help but show up at QAnon-themed lectures or drop references to the theory. “I don’t think Congressman Ron Watkins is in our future,” Sommer said.
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