We live in interesting times – there is no longer any doubt about it.
Not that there ever has been. Not really. At least, not since 22 November 1963, but I’m not going to digress today. No gnews is bad gnews, in case you didn’t know.
Yet…there’s something else going on these days, something worth talking about among friends. Because I feel, and regularly, too, that I belong to a threatened minority.
No, not because I am white, or even anglo, or (basically, as a matter of birth) a protestant. These are simply the things that I am, states of metaphysical reality that I can’t help because of the limitations of genetics and the continued, and irritating, lack of reliable time travel devices. A state of being then, I guess you could say. Rather, I am talking about being in a certain group of people in the United States that continues to read newspapers – albeit the online versions of the New York Times and the Washington Post. Some people can’t start their day without kickstarting their heart with a 16 ounce cup of French Roast, while others can’t function without the Times and/or the Post to jolt them back to reality. If you’re like me you need both, although there are some mornings I feel like I need an IV running wide open to satiate my early morning coffee lust. In a pinch I have been known to suck down cardamom tea with a little goat’s milk in it, yet oddly enough that only happens on days when I feel an insatiable desire to wear Birkenstocks with purple wool socks.
This weekend I read a humor piece regarding a restauranteur in California who has posted a sign on his door stating that he is requiring all patrons to provide proof of not being vaccinated before they will be seated and served. Putting aside the intrinsic lunacy that there is no currently accepted government ID that indicates proof of not being vaccinated, the proprietor told reporters that he was tired of the government telling people what to do. Of course, this enterprising Republican signed up for all kinds of pandemic relief programs, including the paycheck protection program, but what the hell…his reasoning for doing so was that the money was his to begin with. A final point, if I may. Said restauranteur advised that the real reason he had posted this sign was that he enjoys watching Liberals come up and read the notice because he likes “watching their heads explode” in the aftermath. His words, not mine.
And it seems to me that there is something to this.
That there is indeed something to the action of espousing utter lunacy just to get a rise out of people. You know, as in action – reaction?
Take the Flat Earthers. Or the Moon Landing Never Happened group. Or the people who are absolutely certain that taking the Covid-19 vaccine will make you either infertile or impotent, but probably both. People who deny the veracity of science backed propositions like climate change and then go hop in their car, turn on their air conditioners, sync their phones to the Apple CarPlay enabled car stereo on the tablet sized display in the center of their car’s dash – and they just don’t, can’t, or won’t see the inherent contradictions in their position.
Of course, all you Fox News viewers out there already know all about this, but for the rest of us let’s take a peek inside the emerging schizophrenic mindset being propagated on right wing media. This weeks concerted propaganda spiel was that people who opt out of having children should be deprived of the right to vote. Yup, that’s not a typo. But why is that, you wonder? Because, well, you know, the birthrate is falling off a cliff…at least it is for white people, anyway. Seems like blacks and browns and yellows and reds are doing just fine with the whole hunka-chunka and nine months later out pops a baby thing, while, uh, whites just aren’t doing their fair share to overpopulate the planet anymore, yet the thing that strikes me here is that Fox’s pitch is just a little more overtly racist than their usual lob over home plate, and I wonder why…? Timing is everything, I assume you know, but consider that about 40% of white people are now too fat to see their feet, which means getting these people between the sheets and doing their duty for Uncle Sam is going to be a messy business, and probably not as productive as Tucker & Co hope it might be.
Of course the whole anti-vax movement is a figment of Fox’s overheated imagination, and they have the pending litigation to prove it, too, but amidst all the blather we rarely hear from those on the front lines about just that…the all too real impacts of disinformation campaigns. There was one this weekend, however, worth reading, and a couple of paragraphs are included herein for your amusement:
I am angry that the tragic scenes of prior surges are being played out yet again, but now with ICUs primarily filled with patients who have chosen not to be vaccinated. I am angry that it takes me over an hour to explain to an anti-vaxxer full of misinformation that intubation isn’t what “kills patients” and that their wish for chest compressions without intubation in the event of a respiratory arrest makes no sense. I am angry at those who refuse to wear “muzzles” when grocery shopping for half an hour a week, as I have been so-called “muzzled” for much of the past 18 months.
I cannot understand the simultaneous decision to not get vaccinated and the demand to end the restrictions imposed by a pandemic. I cannot help but recoil as if I’ve been slapped in the face when my ICU patient tells me they didn’t get vaccinated because they “just didn’t get around to it.” Although such individuals do not consider themselves anti-vaxxers, their inaction itself is a decision — a decision to not protect themselves or their families, to fill a precious ICU bed, to let new variants flourish, and to endanger the health care workers and immunosuppressed people around them. Their inaction is a decision to let this pandemic continue to rage.
This is quoted from an article reposted on Huffpost via AppleNews+, titled I’m An ICU Doctor And I Cannot Believe The Things Unvaccinated Patients Are Telling Me, byThanh Neville, M.D., M.S.H.S., 1.8.21. The article is worth reading.
The L.A. Times has an important story in today’s Sunday edition on the impact the drought is having on cattle ranchers in the Mexican State of Sonora. Herds have no grass, no water, and are dropping where they stand, and if you think this in no big deal, well, keep reading. Like most of us, Mexicans get a huge percentage of their daily protein from cattle in the form of meat and milk products, and tens of millions of people who live near the border with Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona could soon be facing starvation. You don’t have to be a Fox News presenter to see the human implications, but a way of life hundreds of years in the making is going up in dust right under our noses. (see LATimes, 8.1.21, In drought-plagued northern Mexico, tens of thousands of cows are starving to death, by KATE LINTHICUM.) In an aside, a regular reader sent an email recently describing how his family’s Montana wheat farm is experiencing the worst drought recorded in over 140 years. Gee, anyone know what wheat is used for? Think this might, just maybe, be a problem for more than a few people?
So, what’s the problem? I mean, what’s the underlying problem here? Gee, does too many people sound plausible? And by golly, didn’t Paul McCartney write a song about just that – almost fifty years ago? Of course he did, and here it is. Then again, Spirit came out with a song about many of the same issues about that time, too. But, oops, so did Three Dog Night. And film makers weren’t about to let that topic slip by without a bit of social commentary, even if on the sly. Take Soylent Green or Silent Running as the tops of the genre, but don’t forget to look at the dates these works came out.
Why? Well, because when it comes to climate change, there’s nothing new about denial.
There’s this whole off-shoot of truck culture here in the United States where owners buy diesel pickup trucks then remove ALL of the pollution control devices from the exhaust systems, re-routing all the resulting black soot up twin smoke stacks right behind each door, right and left. These owners love to drive their trucks in ways that produce the most soot, but what strikes me as the real “Ah-ha!” moment can be found in interviews of these owners. They get their biggest kicks when they can observe the effect of their display on some passing liberal in a Volvo.
Did you forget about the restauranteur in sunny southern California and the joy he feels when watching a liberal’s head explode? If so, you might want to read up on something called ODD, or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. This, from Wikipedia: (ODD), is a pattern of negativistic, defiant, disobedient and hostile behaviour, and is one of the most prevalent disorders from preschool age to adulthood. ODD is marked by defiant and disobedient behavior towards authority figures. This can include: frequent temper tantrums, excessive arguing with adults, refusing to follow rules, acting in a way to purposely upset others, getting easily irked, having an angry attitude, and acting vindictive.
And just in case you forgot: