19 votes

What are we so afraid of? – Tony Green, on dismissing, denying, contracting and spreading the coronavirus

33 comments

  1. [25]
    TheRtRevKaiser
    Link
    This is a really good article, but the title is just nasty. It also doesn't match the WaPo headline. I get that folks are upset that many conservatives don't seem to believe or care in things...
    • Exemplary

    This is a really good article, but the title is just nasty. It also doesn't match the WaPo headline. I get that folks are upset that many conservatives don't seem to believe or care in things until they are personally affected. It's a major problem in the US and it's something I've been struggling with as well. But this man is a human being, and to gloat about his family being dead is beyond ghoulish - it's exactly the same brutish tribalism we accuse them of.

    If we can't have a bare minimum of compassion for others even when they are wrong, then are we any fucking better than them? I hear the arguments about stooping to their level and fighting dirty and there's a certain amount of appeal to them. But I feel like we have got to always try to see the human in stories like this, and be willing to extend a little grace when somebody admits that they've been wrong.

    28 votes
    1. [19]
      pvik
      Link Parent
      What is nasty about it? It literally has the jist of the entire article in 3 sentences. If you are referring to the "leopards ate my face" part, it is a subreddit ; from where I assumed OP found...

      but the title is just nasty

      What is nasty about it? It literally has the jist of the entire article in 3 sentences.
      If you are referring to the "leopards ate my face" part, it is a subreddit ; from where I assumed OP found this article.

      If we can't have a bare minimum of compassion for others even when they are wrong, then are we any fucking better than them?

      This just comes of as posturing or the author thinking they are better than the rest. No one is saying we should not be compassionate of others when they are wrong.

      I have also recently been seeing comparisons like:

      If your friend who is a smoker got lung cancer, would you be like "I told you so" or be compassionate and supportive.

      However, this is not a fair comparison. This situation is more akin to a person actively fighting (spending money or time) against regulations and rules against the tobacco industry (leading to deaths of others) and then getting lung cancer themselves. In such a situation I am not going to be having too much compassion for that person.

      The person in the article directly caused the deaths of other people, because he did not want to listen to others. This is more akin to a drunk driver running over innocent bystanders. Should we be compassionate to the driver in this situation if they accept they were wrong? (What does that even mean to be compassionate in such a situation?)
      (I know, my analogy is not great either, since the people who attended his party had their own agency and decided to attend it too)

      I am sad and angry that these people cannot do the bare minimum while people are dying.

      Edit to add:

      to gloat about his family being dead is beyond ghoulish

      Who is gloating here?

      12 votes
      1. [2]
        TheRtRevKaiser
        Link Parent
        I'm aware of the Leopards Ate My Face subreddit. I think it's reductive and mean-spirited. We are not going to win people over by mocking them or reducing them to political satire. These are real...

        I'm aware of the Leopards Ate My Face subreddit. I think it's reductive and mean-spirited. We are not going to win people over by mocking them or reducing them to political satire. These are real human beings who have been manipulated, misinformed, and misled. I'm not saying they don't have agency or bear responsibility for the results of their actions, but an attitude like that in the title does no good except for allowing the reader to feel superior.

        I also take issue with the "Is sad now" part of the title. This is pretty clearly mocking the author for being repentant about his mistakes. It's one of the things that I hate most about the modern internet, reducing the human on the other side of the screen to an idea or a stereotype. If this guy was someone you knew personally, would you talk that way about him, or to him? You would probably still hold him responsible for his actions and the results of his beliefs, and you would be right to, but I suspect most of us would be kinder about it if we were talking to him face to face. His sorrow and his penitence seem real, and to be derisive about it does nobody any good.

        17 votes
        1. horrible
          Link Parent
          His sorrow and penitence only exist because he personally got covid. He doesn't have empathy. He still chooses what he wants to be true over what is true. I do know people like him, and would...

          His sorrow and penitence only exist because he personally got covid. He doesn't have empathy. He still chooses what he wants to be true over what is true.
          I do know people like him, and would likewise not be sympathetic if they changed their tune after getting the illness. If you only care about something when it personally impacts you, you only care about yourself.

          7 votes
      2. [16]
        Turtle
        Link Parent
        It seems like this person truly didn't know that the virus was such a threat. Can we really fault them for that? Their ignorance was more likely a result of the media skepticism or whatever that...

        It seems like this person truly didn't know that the virus was such a threat. Can we really fault them for that? Their ignorance was more likely a result of the media skepticism or whatever that was pushed on them, not some conscious decision to ignore what they knew what was a serious issue because "fuck other people". Does that not make them something of a victim here?

        1 vote
        1. [6]
          aphoenix
          Link Parent
          This is not hypothetical: A man who was a friend of my family was a trucker, and he was deeply skeptical of the effects of drinking on driving. He thought that it was all rubbish made up by the...
          • Exemplary

          This is not hypothetical: A man who was a friend of my family was a trucker, and he was deeply skeptical of the effects of drinking on driving. He thought that it was all rubbish made up by the media; he was fine whenever he drove drunk, so it was obviously bullshit that was made up by the media and the government to control us. He truly didn't know that drinking and driving was such a threat.

          When he killed someone while drunk, what level of compassion was he due?

          Being skeptical of the media is understandable. I am skeptical of the things that I have read in the media. But there is some point at which we have to have accountability for our actions. At the point in the story linked above where the person invited his parents and in-laws over, Covid had infected millions and killed thousands. Excuse my anger in this line but how fucking stupid do you have to be to do what he did?

          It is his fault that he killed his father-in-law. It is his fault that he spread this disease to dozens of people that would have otherwise likely avoided it. It is his fault that he was unable to find the facts that he needed to survive. I feel compassion for him, but I am also angry that the world is filled with smug, stupid people who are sublimely convinced that their actions will have no consequences, and do what they want, with no regard for others. That compassion is also balanced with a strong measure of anger. He put others at risk through his own choices, and he has learned a terrible lesson.

          Was he a victim? Yes. Was he still at fault? Yes. Is he due some measure of compassion? Yes. Is he due some anger and resentment? Yes.

          None of these are at odds with each other. Being a victim does not absolve you of the weight of what you do. Having compassion doesn't mean you cannot also feel anger.

          19 votes
          1. [5]
            TheRtRevKaiser
            Link Parent
            You are absolutely right that he still bears that responsibility, and I agree that we should be angry at his actions and their consequences. Having compassion on somebody doesn't mean excusing...

            You are absolutely right that he still bears that responsibility, and I agree that we should be angry at his actions and their consequences.

            Having compassion on somebody doesn't mean excusing them of the results of their actions, or the consequences. The author of this piece is certainly at least somewhat responsible for the deaths of family members, and I don't think anybody is denying that, least of all the author. But I don't think any of that precludes treating him with compassion. He's obviously conscious of his responsibility, and he seems pretty repentant. I don't think it helps anyone to be snide about his sorrow at the deaths of his family.

            If we can't give some measure of forgiveness to folks like this guy, we can't make any progress as a society. How can we bring people into the fold if we don't allow them to realize their mistakes and change? Sure, it's a tragedy that it took causing the deaths of family members for this man to realize the gravity of the situation, but he apparently has and now he is telling other people his story so that, hopefully, they won't make the same mistakes. That, at least, should be welcomed.

            6 votes
            1. [4]
              tindall
              Link Parent
              I think that if someone kill someone else, even through ignorance, we need to give that more weight than a "Sure, it's a tragedy". Yes, compassion and empathy are important, but this is a person...

              I think that if someone kill someone else, even through ignorance, we need to give that more weight than a "Sure, it's a tragedy". Yes, compassion and empathy are important, but this is a person who decided that he'd rather disengage himself from reality than face criticism over the fact that the President he idolized and helped get elected is a fascist, and caused people to die because of it. That's not a minor moral failing on a personal scale, it's disgustingly negligent.

              3 votes
              1. [3]
                TheRtRevKaiser
                Link Parent
                I think we probably have more common ground here than it seems. I'm not at all trying to say that we should excuse people from the consequences of their actions. I just think that we ought to be...

                I think we probably have more common ground here than it seems. I'm not at all trying to say that we should excuse people from the consequences of their actions. I just think that we ought to be more compassionate in how the talk to and about people in general. If this guy had murdered his family with his own hands and later came to his senses and showed genuine remorse, do I think he should be excused from the consequences of that act? Certainly not. But I do think that it is better for us and for society at large if we can forgive the person who is repentant, even when we don't forgive the act. I'll also admit that these beliefs of mine come from my personal religious convictions, which I realize that most Tildans (Tildites? Tildos?) don't share and which a lot of folks here, for very real and valid reasons, probably view with a certain amount of animosity.

                5 votes
                1. [2]
                  tindall
                  Link Parent
                  I do agree with you that forgiveness is crucial - and while I likely don't share your religion, I don't think forgiveness is a value unique to any faith. But forgiveness requires repentance and...

                  I do agree with you that forgiveness is crucial - and while I likely don't share your religion, I don't think forgiveness is a value unique to any faith. But forgiveness requires repentance and real change in behavior. This man still supports the would-be dictator who is largely responsible for the pandemic that killed his family being so terrible, so widespread, and so dangerous. In my reading at least, he is not repentant, just sad that his actions had consequences.

                  4 votes
                  1. TheRtRevKaiser
                    Link Parent
                    Yeah that bit of context wasn't provided in the article, but I did see it elsewhere in the thread. It is pretty dumbfounding that he could still support Trump after all this.

                    Yeah that bit of context wasn't provided in the article, but I did see it elsewhere in the thread. It is pretty dumbfounding that he could still support Trump after all this.

                    3 votes
        2. [8]
          tindall
          Link Parent
          Yes, we can. To deliberately disengage with information - with truth - is to become culpable for what your ignorance brings.

          It seems like this person truly didn't know that the virus was such a threat. Can we really fault them for that?

          Yes, we can. To deliberately disengage with information - with truth - is to become culpable for what your ignorance brings.

          8 votes
          1. [7]
            Turtle
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            What I'm saying is that it wasn't necessarily deliberate. People don't deliberately choose to not care about the truth.

            What I'm saying is that it wasn't necessarily deliberate. People don't deliberately choose to not care about the truth.

            2 votes
            1. [5]
              wycy
              Link Parent
              Conservatives are supposedly all about "personal responsibility". I'm fine with holding conservatives personally responsible for these choices.

              Conservatives are supposedly all about "personal responsibility". I'm fine with holding conservatives personally responsible for these choices.

              5 votes
              1. [4]
                Turtle
                Link Parent
                meaning not a conscious decision.

                What I'm saying is that it wasn't necessarily deliberate.

                meaning not a conscious decision.

                1 vote
                1. [3]
                  tindall
                  Link Parent
                  This seems like a conscious decision, made for an indefensible reason.

                  I stopped trusting the media for my information when it went hard against Trump in 2016. I got rid of my cable. It’s all opinion anyway, so I’d rather come up with my own. I find a little bit of truth here and a little there, and I pile it together to see what it makes.

                  This seems like a conscious decision, made for an indefensible reason.

                  4 votes
                  1. [2]
                    Turtle
                    Link Parent
                    If a smoker dies of lung cancer because they were swindled by the tobacco lobbyist you were talking about into thinking it's perfectly safe, is that their fault? Is that a deliberate decision to...

                    If a smoker dies of lung cancer because they were swindled by the tobacco lobbyist you were talking about into thinking it's perfectly safe, is that their fault? Is that a deliberate decision to ignore the truth? Is it not the fault of the tobacco lobbyist? Does it really change anything if he also convinces his friends that smoking is perfectly safe, based on information given to him by the tobacco lobbyist, and they later die of lung cancer as well?

                    4 votes
                    1. tindall
                      Link Parent
                      Smokers bear a measure of responsibility for smoking, yes. So does the tobacco industry. There's plenty of blame to go around.

                      Smokers bear a measure of responsibility for smoking, yes. So does the tobacco industry. There's plenty of blame to go around.

                      2 votes
            2. wycy
              Link Parent
              I just learned further down in the thread that the man in the article is still planning to vote for Trump again. That is almost definitionally choosing to not care about the truth.

              I just learned further down in the thread that the man in the article is still planning to vote for Trump again. That is almost definitionally choosing to not care about the truth.

              3 votes
        3. pvik
          Link Parent
          To add to @tindall 's and @aphoenix 's response With statements like these, from this person: I find it hard to be as judicious as you in absolving him of the blame he holds in this and think he...

          To add to @tindall 's and @aphoenix 's response

          With statements like these, from this person:

          I used to call it the “scamdemic.” I thought it was an overblown media hoax. I made fun of people for wearing masks.

          Some people in my family didn’t necessarily share all of my views, but I pushed it. I’ve always been out front with my opinions.

          I find it hard to be as judicious as you in absolving him of the blame he holds in this and think he might be a victim.

          In a global pandemic, I find it hard that he did not know what was being said about the disease. He however decided it was a hoax. Sure, this can be because of his distrust in the media, or because of what was pushed on him. (I am sure a large amount of blame rests on the people who peddled misinformation, I am not denying that)

          However, how hard is it for this person to stop for a second and consider the possibility that this situation may be as dire as it is being trumpeted to be (or even just be a fraction as serious), especially before making a decision which would put other people at risk.

          I stopped trusting the media for my information when it went hard against Trump in 2016. I got rid of my cable. It’s all opinion anyway, so I’d rather come up with my own.

          He just flat out decided he knows better and he is just going to go by his opinions to make his decisions. He did not try to search for more information nor educate himself on what is happening.

          The way I see it this person explicitly did not care how his decision might affect other people. All he wanted was a get-together and have some fun with other people, and he worked towards getting that, despite whatever the consequences may be.

          4 votes
    2. [2]
      mycketforvirrad
      Link Parent
      I always prefer to read people's opinions on the articles posted in the form of a comment. Highly editorialising the titles like this doesn't serve any purpose other than be a heavy-handed guide...

      This is a really good article, but the title is just nasty. It also doesn't match the WaPo headline.

      I always prefer to read people's opinions on the articles posted in the form of a comment. Highly editorialising the titles like this doesn't serve any purpose other than be a heavy-handed guide to the ensuing discussion.

      11 votes
      1. ohyran
        Link Parent
        THIS is a very good point! Thank you for pointing it out to me.. If I can't figure out how to edit the title, @Deimos can I ask for some help to change it to the original title?

        THIS is a very good point! Thank you for pointing it out to me..

        If I can't figure out how to edit the title, @Deimos can I ask for some help to change it to the original title?

        6 votes
    3. [3]
      ohyran
      Link Parent
      Sorry I'm not from the US so don't know the specifics about this duality in the US - will change the title to the article title though that makes total sense and add my comments about this person...

      Sorry I'm not from the US so don't know the specifics about this duality in the US - will change the title to the article title though that makes total sense and add my comments about this person in a comment below it instead.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        TheRtRevKaiser
        Link Parent
        Thanks. I'm sorry if my comment seemed like an attack on you, btw. I just re-read it and I'm realized that I probably came in a little too hot. I've been thinking a lot about how people talk to...
        • Exemplary

        Thanks. I'm sorry if my comment seemed like an attack on you, btw. I just re-read it and I'm realized that I probably came in a little too hot. I've been thinking a lot about how people talk to each other online and I'm 100% guilty of the stuff I've been harping on. I'm also just getting worn out by all the hate online right now. It's election season and everything is pretty tense here in the US, for good reason. I just wish there was a deal with some of the divisions. Most people in the US really have more common ground than they think, but bad actors and the media thrive on the hate. I'm not saying that progressive need to cede ground and come back toward the center on policy, or anything like that. I just think that we could all probably treat each other a little better. And I think I've said it in other places, but this sentiment absolutely come from a place of privilege. I know a lot of people here don't get a choice in how people treat them, and I'm not saying for one second that we should tolerate that. I just know so many people even here in the bible-belt that are genuinely kind toward individual people, but just nasty and hateful when it comes to their politics or toward groups of people. I wish there was a way to make folks see that it's all just people.

        I seem to be in a rambling mood today. Anyway, just wanted to apologize for being a bit of a dick.

        13 votes
        1. ohyran
          Link Parent
          You weren't a dick. I'm not from the US and I simply didn't consider the current landscape that you live in and that was wrong of me ALSO I forgot to shape how I say things for the place I post it...

          You weren't a dick. I'm not from the US and I simply didn't consider the current landscape that you live in and that was wrong of me ALSO I forgot to shape how I say things for the place I post it and that is plain rude.

          We would probably disagree on a lot of things - but I don't doubt that you see the human in me, and I will try to make sure to keep sight of the human in you and not forget it. We got this, you and I. <3

          8 votes
  2. [8]
    ohyran
    Link
    If the prejudice about people from the US had a corporeal form, this guy is it. Gay and Conservative, votes Trump with Mexican-American husband, didn't believe in Covid and managed a get-together...

    If the prejudice about people from the US had a corporeal form, this guy is it.

    Gay and Conservative, votes Trump with Mexican-American husband, didn't believe in Covid and managed a get-together that killed his father-in-law and almost him too. Doesn't understand his own guilt in it totally AND will vote for Trump.

    And this humdinger of a quote:

    I stopped trusting the media for my information when it went hard against Trump in 2016. I got rid of my cable. It’s all opinion anyway, so I’d rather come up with my own. I find a little bit of truth here and a little there, and I pile it together to see what it makes.

    Reading it is like reading about someone completely divorced from his surroundings. Nothing except directly personal problems seems to affect him at any point. Tbh there is something enviable there.

    15 votes
    1. FishFingus
      Link Parent
      I tend to react to stories like this by just rolling my eyes or shaking my head and feeling a little more depressed inside. This one was just sad to me, though. I didn't see either of those in the...

      I tend to react to stories like this by just rolling my eyes or shaking my head and feeling a little more depressed inside. This one was just sad to me, though.

      Doesn't understand his own guilt in it totally AND will vote for Trump.

      I didn't see either of those in the article. He says at one point that he feels guilt, embarrassment and shame. I imagine he'll still be feeling it for much of, if not the rest of his life. I didn't see where he says he's going to vote for Trump again, and I'd be surprised if he did.

      From the article:

      There’s no relief. This virus, I can’t escape it. It’s torn up our family. It’s all over my Facebook. It’s the election. It’s Trump. It’s what I keep thinking about. How many people would have gotten sick if I’d never hosted that weekend? One? Maybe two? The grief comes in waves, but that guilt just sits.

      9 votes
    2. [4]
      wycy
      Link Parent
      Unless I missed it, the article doesn't suggest he's planning to vote Trump again (nor does it suggest that he won't).

      Doesn't understand his own guilt in it totally AND will vote for Trump

      Unless I missed it, the article doesn't suggest he's planning to vote Trump again (nor does it suggest that he won't).

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        pvik
        Link Parent
        The person in the article (Tony Green) was also on CNN with Anderson Cooper (here); and Anderson Cooper introduces him as: (tagging @FishFingus as he pointed this out too)

        The person in the article (Tony Green) was also on CNN with Anderson Cooper (here); and Anderson Cooper introduces him as:

        My next guest voted for president trump, supports him still, but has changed him mind about the pandemic.

        (tagging @FishFingus as he pointed this out too)

        6 votes
        1. tindall
          Link Parent
          Can you imagine that? "This man lied to me, and his lies got my family members killed, but I hate the poor, immigrants, and other queers so much that I'm going to vote for him anyway"? It's really...

          Can you imagine that? "This man lied to me, and his lies got my family members killed, but I hate the poor, immigrants, and other queers so much that I'm going to vote for him anyway"? It's really difficult for me to fathom.

          5 votes
        2. FishFingus
          Link Parent
          Oh, for god's sake. I should've have known that disappointment is a hole with no bottom.

          Oh, for god's sake. I should've have known that disappointment is a hole with no bottom.

          2 votes
    3. [2]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      It would be better to put the subreddit you got the article from in this comment and not in the headline.

      It would be better to put the subreddit you got the article from in this comment and not in the headline.

      2 votes
      1. ohyran
        Link Parent
        Will try to edit the post but cant figure out how - its a good point.

        Will try to edit the post but cant figure out how - its a good point.

        2 votes