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CSotD: Lies, Frauds and Misunderstandings

We’ll start with Paul Fell today, because he expresses something fundamental in both the coronavirus matter and dialogue in general.

Someone observed the other day that there are a lot of people who don’t remember, or weren’t around for, “smoking” and “non-smoking” areas, but, indeed, O Best Beloved, there were sections of restaurants and airplanes where you could smoke and sections where you couldn’t and it worked about as well as seen in Fell’s cartoon.

It was an attempt to be fair to both smokers and non-smokers but there’s an illogic to that. It would be like having a “brass band area” and a “silence” area.

Best street-level dialogue I saw on the issue came when King Soopers banned smoking in their grocery stores. Under one of their “No Smoking” signs, someone wrote “You sell cigarettes.”

Under it, someone else wrote, “They also sell toilet paper.”

Not exactly John Donne, but it made the point, and today that point applies not only to the issue of containing the virus but of containing the stupidity and dishonesty.

 

Zapiro is more specific than those who quote FDR about fearing fear itself, though he’s necessarily vague about the source of this misinformation.

Even on a somewhat curated newsfeed, where there may be little or none of the lunatic conspiracy theories, there are dubiously sourced tips on how to stay safe, some of which are simply hysterical and overblown — it won’t hurt anyone to stay hidden in their closet but it’s not necessary — and some of which will do actual harm.

 

I’m willing to be indulgent to dotty people with pointless fears, but Steve Sack and I seem to share contempt for those who have both the intelligence and the resources to get it right but prefer to spread lies, propaganda and … well, he lists it.

Perhaps we should pity the mental illness that leads people to start urban legends, but even if we concede that Limbaugh and Hannity are sick, we are not required to pity those who put them on the air and profit from their toxic falsehoods.

I say that as someone who was in talk radio at the same time Alan Berg was lighting up the ratings in Denver, and when he was fired from one station, he was hired by another. His lunatic rantings aside (and he was a liberal, if it matters), even having an equally unbalanced listener arrive at the station with a gun didn’t keep some profit-minded broadcaster from putting him on the air.

Until another unbalanced gun-toter intervened and then everyone wept their crocodile tears, not over the greed that exposed him but over the almost inevitable outcome.

I don’t think anyone is going to come after Hannity or Limbaugh. But I also doubt anyone is going to lay the guilt for dead bodies on their doorsteps.

 

Or on the doorsteps, as Russell Hodin puts it, of religious fanatics who not only preach that you should not allow the pandemic to keep you from sending them money, but maintain a blasphemous style of faith in which they claim to believe that gathering for services won’t spread the disease.

Jesus actively avoided and even preached against those who seek miracles, but, then again, he didn’t favor sexual assault, lying and greed, and we’ve seen so-called Christians give that their blessing.

It would be fine if they gathered in one place and never came back out to infect the rest of us. I hear Guyana is lovely this time of year.

But they don’t, and see Paul Fell, above. We don’t have “contagion” and “no-contagion” sections in restaurants.

 

Loyalty sounds like a good thing, but — with all due respect to Chip Bok — it takes a particularly large, thick, dark set of blinders to accept Trump’s ludicrous excuse that he was too distracted by the impeachment to act against the virus.

As others have noted, he wasn’t too distracted to hold multiple campaign rallies or play several rounds of golf.

It was just the hour and a half a day when he does his goddam job that the impeachment cut into.

 

Unless you believe that his goddam job is to hold power, point fingers and get himself re-elected with the help of his son-in-law, as David Rowe suggests.

 

A son-in-law, BTW, who pings my memories of Catch-22 and General Dreedle’s son-in-law, the difference being that, while Col. Moodus was also a massively unqualified, ineffectual nepotism appointment, he wasn’t a collaborator.

 

In any case, Michael de Adder provides a welcome relief from namby-pamby “medical workers as superhero” cartoons with this more realistic horror story.

As I said the other day, medical workers and first responders and those types do what they do because that’s who they are. I think it’s sweet that people applaud them as they get off shift, but what they need is more specific support.

 

Mike Thompson suggests where the disconnect is between applause and support, though this is less about what is being done now than about what should have been done three or four or six months ago.

That is, if you look at how we have dealt with health care, with education, with poverty, it is consistent with how we have dealt with pandemic preparation.

 

Including, Ed Hall points out, how we deal with those who ask troubling questions and raise troubling issues and doubt the wisdom of their leaders.

And, no, it’s not limited to commanding officers who seek to protect their crews. Squealers and Cassandras lose their jobs in other areas as well.

 

Still, we the people are coming together.

As Walt Handelsman suggests, disaffected Democrats are joining hands with Republicans to make sure the candidate who gets the most votes in their primaries does not do the same this coming November.

It is not enough to win. It must be a revolution.

Even though, as de Sade warned Marat, “Your revolution remains only a prison mutiny to be put down by corrupted fellow-prisoners.”

 

And Chris Riddell simply looks out the window, quoting Brecht.

While Lennon somehow seems more pragmatic than Lenin.

 

Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
April/5/2020
@ 11:09 am

I remember being in a theater cafe, where the smoking section was “all the good seats” and the non-smoking section was a couple rows in the back. We sat at a non-smoking table and placed our order, and the waiter proceeded from our table to where the loudmouth with the cigarette was and said something quietly to him. “I THOUGHT THIS WAS AMERICA!!”, he replied. Then, glaring at us (we hadn’t ratted him out–he was obvious enough we didn’t have to) and loudly pronounced that he might just sit in the back of the smoking section and blow his smoke our way.

Oh, it was America, all right.

#2 Bob Crittenden
April/5/2020
@ 12:06 pm

Kip – similar experience occurred to me when I was seated in the last row of the “non-smoking section” on a flight. The woman behind me lit up, and the smoke invariably found a path to my nostrils. I adjusted my air vent slightly behind me to blow the smoke back toward its source. The woman called the stewardess (They had not yet converted to “flight attendants”.) and complained that my vent was blowing on her. She asked if I could adjust my airflow’s direction; I replied I would if the woman would put out her cigarette. The stewardess stated, “She IS seated in the smoking section.” I replied, “Yes, and I am in the non-smoking section” and added something along the lines that the airline should have several “buffer” rows between the two sections. We compromised that I would reduce the amount of the airflow from my vent, but I wouldn’t change its direction.

Thankfully, that was the last flight I had to take before domestic flights became totally non-smoking.

#3 Mark B
April/5/2020
@ 6:39 pm

I suspect Chip B has blinders the size of highway billboards.

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