CSotD: Do you think I mean country matters?

Clay Bennett (CTFP) starts our discussion of health issues.

We’re awash in misinformation and disinformation, and this was quite the week, even for poor Baby Tuckoo, who specializes in purposefully spreading it. Not only did he get called a bad human being, but one of the few people willing to advertise on his show no longer wants to advertise on his network.

They’re dishonest, but apparently not dishonest enough.

But where it really got weird is when information came from the CDC that, while basically accurate, had the major media — even ones who try to tell the truth — screwing up their reporting enough that the White House felt compelled to step in and request that everyone back off a little and try to get the story straight.

So that, for instance, this Ars Technica article on an outbreak in Massachusetts was re-edited to point out that, while we’re looking at 35,000 cases of vaccinated people now showing symptoms of Covid, that’s out of 162 million vaccinated Americans.

Your arithmetic teacher would tell you to divide 35 by 162,000, because it will mean more to you if you do the work for yourself.

The emergence of the Delta variant is still a good reason to mask up if you go inside, but it’s not a reason to refuse to leave your house.

While vaccinated people may carry a significant — and transmissible — virus load, it’s not apt to make them sick themselves, which leaves the burden on the unvaccinated.


At least, that’s where things seemed to be as of this morning, and Bill Bramhall makes the point that this is yet another time when Most Of Us have to step up to protect The Rest of Us.

To which I will add that I don’t much like masks, and, since I live in a fairly low transmission area, I don’t expect to wear one outdoors.

But if the stores begin to reinstate their mask protocols, I’ll manage somehow, for a simple reason: I’m not a big baby or an irresponsible sociopath.

I guess that’s two simple reasons.



On a related note, this week’s Mt. Pleasant (Tribune) has featured a trip to the county fair, which has both made me laugh and motivated me to make it to one of ours, since they were all canceled last year.

The opening strip of the arc reminded me of when I brought a pair of kids from the PBS program “Ghostwriter” to town for appearances in our tri-county circulation zone. We went to John Brown’s Farm in Essex County, to Almanzo Wilder’s childhood home in Franklin County — the crowds of kids breaking attendance records at both places — and then wrapped things up at the Clinton County Fair, where our two NYC visitors learned that, yes, when you gather a lot of farm animals together, there is a distinctive odor.

Which, in turn, reminds me of a time in 1968, when, just as I was marveling with a friend over the fact that Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo had a cow on exhibit, a bunch of little kids came through, learned where milk comes from, and made firm resolutions never to touch the stuff again.

That’s education for you!

Then this week I saw people expressing horror over “wild swimming,” an activity that involves (brace yourselves) swimming in unchlorinated water that is not bound by ceramic tile.

It’s apparently an international phenomenon, mocked by this writer in Britain, who gets to the point of it all:

Though I note she observes that “the romantic poets – Coleridge, Byron, Keats – loved to swim” without including Shelley, who drowned.

I’d add that it’s well established that kids who grow up country are exposed not only to smells but to dander, pollen, dirt and good old animal poop, consequently having fewer allergies than city kids who are kept in non-smelly chlorinated plasticity.

Herd immunity with real herds!


Speed Bump (Creators) then adds this New Yorkeresque gag, and we don’t have to be told that the customers are from the city and the seller is country, because Coverly has made the inquiry so blandly normal and her reaction so comically astonished.

I like farm stands, and I have to drive around to find them, because I can’t afford the prices at farmers’ markets, but, while I have some respect for organic vs sprayed produce, the whole GMO thing makes me slightly nuts.

The substantive differences between genetic modification and hybridization are (A) time and (B) targeted outcome, since hybridization is generally aimed at changing the part you eat while most genetic modification seems aimed at parts of the plant you don’t eat, for instance, making the whole thing require less water or gain resistance to certain molds, fungi and so forth.

Howsoever, when you pick up an ear of corn, whether organic or sprayed, you’re holding in your hand the results of careful genetic modification that took place centuries before Europeans came to these shores and was carried out by people who didn’t smell of Lifebuoy Soap and who swam in wild waters.


Finally, Loose Parts (WPWG) is right to reassure you not to be frightened by those ratings, which tend to show that the death rates in major medical centers are greater than found in small country hospitals.

I’d like to say it’s because kindly ol’ Dr. Marcus Welby is more responsive and intuitive and all that, but it has to do with underfunding of those country hospitals and the modern move to centralize everything, common sense be damned.

A lot of understaffed, underfunded country hospitals these days are reduced to stabilizing and transporting patients to larger, distant facilities, such that, if they’re still alive when they check in, they’re in transit before they check out.

When the gummint would threaten to close our little hospital, I used to recommend a meeting in mid-February, on site.

If snow and bad roads kept them from getting there, it would be up to them to explain how the hell we were supposed to get out when we needed help.

Write your congressperson.

Meanwhile, don’t worry about us.

We hip. We hip.


5 thoughts on “CSotD: Do you think I mean country matters?

  1. Two observations:

    My local paper (online version) had a story about the outbreak in Massachusetts with the following sentence: “The full outbreak, which began July 4, is close to 900 cases, but the analysis included only a subset of 469 cases.”

    And it took them only nineteen paragraphs to get to some actual numbers.

    Second: I clicked through to the Lifebuoy ad. I had to watch an ad before I could listen to it. Clearly Steve Wright has more influence in this world than I thought.

  2. My knowledge of Lifebuoy ads is mostly from cartoons in which buoys would sound B-O.

  3. I had a tape of old radio ads and heard it almost firsthand.

    That reminds me of a valuable resource, the Warner Brothers Cartoon Companion, by E.O. Costello. I was actually hosting this for a while, but Mr. Costello has his own setup now. What this is an explainer for all those little references that are now anachronisms. They had a second life from all the Boomers shouting “TURN OFF THAT LIGHT!!” because they knew it from the TV, but now the knowledge of what an A card was, or what “That you, Myrt?” signified is rapidly vanishing.

    More than educational, it’s also a great read:


  4. Points for making a Shakespeare reference and not mentioning that it’s a Shakespeare reference.

Comments are closed.