The bizarre, two-year habit of anthropomorphizing a non-sentient virus shows how much American politics is defined by martial language, spite, hyper-individualism, and triggering the libs.
"If I wanted to juice the substack tomorrow and pay for Junior’s college fund in a matter of weeks, I would start publishing soft anti-vax stories, complain about one-off cases of mask mandates going too far, talk about Big Pharma needlessly poisoning us with vaccines, complain about school shutdowns. Sure, a couple careers, early on, were made hyping every Covid variant, but a lot, lot more have been made giving the public excuses to be selfish assholes: a market incentive that increases with each miserable passing day." Thank you for writing this "unsexy" piece, it really feels like even the non-COVID denialists have stopped caring when it doesn't affect them anymore, and that's disheartening and enervating for many of us. - from a public health worker in COVID-19 preparedness and response
Thank you for putting into words the piercing truth of the brutalist American fatalism and selfishness that is uniting political divides against the most vulnerable of us.
All of this is good and correct, and I'd add that the people who claim to be unscared of the virus are the ones who insist we should all carry AR15s to deal with occasional outsiders in our gated communities, demand a $700bn/yr "defense" budget to ward off every possible threat, and drive 5000-lb climate-killing tanks to buy a six pack because they are scared of road violence They are actually incredibly cowardly and I am tired of them purporting to teach me, who has never had a gun or a car and who defends himself often without violence, about bravery.
Good lord. Thank you. I’m watching with gaping jaw as sources I formerly trusted go wild turkey on this nonsense. So glad to see the phenomenon so well articulated. Bravo. David Wallace Wells brought me here. Glad he did!
Generally agree with the sentiment here and thank you for articulating the insanity of anthropomorphizing a virus.
One thing that I think is missed in the piece wrt how it is so easy for the weary liberal rhetoric to take hold (other than the "pandemic of the unvaxxed" emphasis) is just how really crappy public health information has been (let alone the threat of "misinformation").
Masks work. no they don't. wear 3 masks. 12 feet. no 6 feet. plexiglass barriers. wash your hands. 10 day quarantine. 5 day quarantine with test. 5 day quarantine no test.
You have to be a really sophisticated reader and knowingly IGNORE official guidance from CDC + WHO to accurately know what actually works to mitigate the virus.
The virus is airborne.
Wear masks, preferably N95s, be outside and/or have good ventilation, and test and trace.
Everything else is pretty much public health theater. All of this confusion makes the appeal of "maybe the libs are just being irrational hypochondriacs?" even more palatable.
I don't want to disparage your argument here. I just still can't reconcile the point you raised here about how the 'other side' agrees that covid doesn't care but reached the opposite policy conclusion. I'm generally leftist but on this I feel I'm going full horseshoe theory/neoliberal technocrat Believe Science. The view I'm saturated in is: we have no science showing school closings work. We have no RCT studies proving masks work and WHO doesn't even recommend them in children. So from my perspective, yeah, I know 'I won' and I am getting my way with lockdowns (that never existed) being lifted through America, but my daughter is wearing a mask that the Guardian tells me slows her cognitive development without any demonstratable proof of protecting transmission rates, despite the fact she's vaxxed and in a demographic not vulnerable to the virus to begin with. I'm calling out of my job because my daughter's school keeps closing because one single kid out of 25 'had symptoms'. That is literally not sustainable for me. I'm protected, my kid is -- the policies closing our daycare are scarier to me more than the minimal health consequences the majority of scientific studies are telling me my kid might suffer. And I know the media is saturated with antiwork BS, but a lot of 'endemic' doctors I see on twitter agree with your points -- yeah, work shortages should be countered by higher wages for teachers, yes we have absolutely failed to boost vulnerable populations by overemphasizing 3 shots in young men before nursing homes. You are correct that the media has thoroughly sucked on this, but that's also Bari's point. I'm saying this as a longtime Citations Needed fan, I truly feel like so many people are talking past each other on this -- and I completely sympathize that your piece here is trying to resolve that tension in its own way
Covid is over, even shitheads like Weiss can see it, they lied about how bad it was in order to take power and you're still barking like a dog.
Yes, individualism is good. Feel free to be scared of a virus with such a sky-high survival rate. Just leave me the hell alone.