From my reading of social media and the limited eavesdropping I can do while maintaining social distance, the tribes seem to be dividing into three. I would call them:
The fearful: These are the people who can not sanitize, wipe down, bleach or otherwise disinfect their immediate environment enough. Some of them can get a little hostile about it, if they perceive you are not doing the same. “If I see ***anyone*** outside my house without a mask on, I’m going to yell at them!” was an actual Facebook post I saw not long ago, and she was absolutely serious; a few more sentences of finger-wagging followed, all in the same near-hysterical vein. A Grand Rapids doctor posted a video on YouTube that, as we used to say but probably shouldn’t anymore, went viral, explaining how, in his medically educated opinion, we should be handling our groceries. Step one: Leave them in the garage for three days. I didn’t watch any further than that, but millions of others did, and this seems like the fearful Ur-text, if you will.
The what-me-worrys: The Rush Limbaugh listeners and their fellow travelers. It’s just a flu! I got sick in November, so I figure I had it! This is all a plot by the Dems to strip our freedoms away! Anyway, masks are stupid! Anyway, I work out every day in the fresh air and figure I’m immune! Anyway, I’m no pussy! The president said it’s a choice, and THIS IS MINE! Anyway, fuck off!
The rest of us. I wear a mask in an enclosed environment – a store – or outdoors if I have to be fairly close to others. I do not wear one while riding my bike or walking the dog. This doesn’t strike me as socially irresponsible. If this disease were so contagious that just breathing the air after an infected person passed through the area at some indeterminate earlier moment would get you, we’d all have had it by now. Anyway, if I masked up while exercising, I’d faint from oxygen depletion within half a mile. I’m not fatalistic about it; I take prudent measures. But I’m not spraying the bottoms of my shoes with bleach when I come in from outside.
On the other hand, I think I don’t have any of the co-morbidities that maybe the woman yelling about masks is likely to have. Other than being…kinda old, you know.
Still healthy, still sane. Still in a hot spot; god, these numbers.
Some of you asked about the demonstration in Lansing yesterday. I wasn’t there, can’t tell you much about it, other than this: If this was about policy, there wouldn’t have been so many Trump flags there.
What’s happening is, the divide I alluded to a while back is very real: Outside the cities, especially in the deep rural areas where the virus has not established itself yet, many people feel they’re somehow immune, and resent the executive orders from Lansing. An actual county sheriff said, in so many words, that fresh air would somehow “be the best thing” to defeat the virus. I guess some people gotta learn the hard way. Maybe they will.
With that, let’s move to some truly amusing bloggage, an obit of a climate denier, Fred Singer:
A chief talent of Fred Singer, the world-famous climate denier who died on April 6 at 95, was bullying scientists whose work he could never match, and whose findings threatened the bottom lines of his corporate polluter clients.
…Singer seemed to take special pleasure in discrediting scientists who investigated the ways that human activity threatens public health and the safety of our planet, the sort of research that informs regulations to solve problems ranging from acid rain’s toll on forests to DDT’s impacts on wildlife, as well as — of course — the effects of climate change on us all.
…Singer always denied that he took corporate money to spread disinformation, even after evidence came to light that he had: In a 1993 deposition, Singer admitted under oath that he’d been funded by coal interests, and had consulted for Exxon, Shell, and the American Gas Association on topics including climate change.
Just for fun, I googled up the Heartland Institute tributes to him, which only underlined the premise of the obit: He was a major asshole. As the obit points out:
They say you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, but I spoke ill of Singer that day, and I feel no need to stop just because the bastard doesn’t breathe. What I saw that day was the face of evil, a detestable animal shoveling fine food into his fanged maw. Many have said to me in private that they also found him evil. That’s why evil persists: because too many fear risking the high salaries that pay for nice meals at French restaurants by speaking up in public. I would prefer to eat bologna sandwiches on stale bread and preserve my dignity.
As writer Anne Lamott once noted, “If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
Nice way to end the week, eh? Get through it, we’ll talk later.