33 votes

Where I live, no one cares about COVID

45 comments

  1. [22]
    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    Just once I'd like to see someone writing something like this say what they really mean instead of trying to have their selfish cake and eat it too. I want them to choose to sound inconsiderate...
    • Exemplary

    Just once I'd like to see someone writing something like this say what they really mean instead of trying to have their selfish cake and eat it too. I want them to choose to sound inconsiderate and fully acknowledge that they know they're being a jerk instead of trying to dress that up to look nicer and more humane.

    Even if COVID hasn't materially impacted the author, and it sounds like it hasn't, the author at least knows enough to know that it definitely has impacted other people. So, speak on that! Own it! Be truthful about how you don't care about what has happened to them and stop hiding it behind abstractions and reasoning about inconsistent rules or culture war pot shots about "the elite". The closest the author comes to articulating this is:

    I don’t know how to put this in a way that will not make me sound flippant: No one cares.

    He won't come out and say I don't care, even though the entire conceit of his piece is that he doesn't. He's not concerned about actually being uncaring -- he's concerned about being seen as uncaring.

    This whole intellectualized hiding is particularly exhausting in conservative circles. This piece, like many others I've read, tries to have it both ways and ends up creating a weird contradiction. If COVID is a genuine pandemic with presence in his community, then a flippant dismissal is inconsiderate at best and malicious at worst. If COVID isn't a genuine pandemic with presence in his community, then his iconoclastic stance doesn't have the heroism he thinks it does. This piece occupies a space where it tries to live in both, threading the needle between making COVID not real enough to actually change his behavior in any meaningful way but real enough that his deliberate stance against it has deep and resonant meaning. Which one is it?

    I don’t mean to deny COVID’s continuing presence. [...] What I wish to convey is that the virus simply does not factor into my calculations or those of my neighbors, who have been forgoing masks, tests (unless work imposes them, in which case they are shrugged off as the usual BS from human resources), and other tangible markers of COVID-19’s existence for months—perhaps even longer.

    At this point I've accepted the fact that people like this author know enough to care and simply won't. I actually share a lot of the fatigue he feels about the whole situation. I just wish he were transparent and said something to the effect of "in being flippant about this thing that has killed so many and caused so much suffering, I fully realize that I'm being a dick to those it has affected".

    Unfortunately, that message never really comes through in these types of discussions and we're instead subjected to inverted grievances. Forget the devastating losses we've incurred under COVID's relentless war against humanity -- the real injustice is, what was it? Ah yes, being subject to mixed public health messaging and having to see people in masks outdoors. Such horror.

    The author falls into the uniquely conservative trap of wearing "No One Cares" like a badge of pride while simultaneously expecting others to care about him. He's demonstrated he doesn't give a shit about us, so why are we obligated to give one about him? His avowed reasoning is self-defeating but ends up doing more damage to others than to him. This is why the "fuck your feelings"-focused arteries of conservative ideology so frequently drain our bleeding hearts, because our own kindness gets used against us by people who deliberately exploit it. Actually caring about this global pandemic is exhausting enough without having to then deal with kindness vampires that siphon off goodwill from others while thumbing their noses at the idea of goodwill in the first place.

    When he says "No One Cares", it can be read as "I Don't Care", which is closer to the truth, but what he really means is "You Should Care About Why I Don't Care", which is yet another contradiction. His own actions give us permission not to care, while his rhetoric tries to enforce the opposite.

    This is also a trap of its own. His selfishness borders on malice, and if I meet that with malice with my own, for some reason I look like the asshole instead of him. This is especially true because the author dressed up his words so nicely and cleanly. He's polite. He's civil. He doesn't even want to come across as flippant! Can't you see what he's trying to say? Why are you being such a dick to him, kfwyre? Meanwhile, if I give him genuine empathy, relate to him, and try to understand where he's coming from at a human level, then I'm offering him a basic human kindness he is explicitly refusing to offer me. I'm giving a metaphorical hug to someone who didn't just metaphorically slap me in the face but who openly acknowledged that he's doing it purposefully.

    In responding to this author, I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't, but what I really want him to see is that this isn't about me because I’ve done and am doing my part. Instead it’s all about him, and we are definitely damned if he doesn't, which he won't. The only way he can frame his COVID disavowal as a positive stance is by deliberately refusing to buy into the meaning behind a truth he himself acknowledges but chooses to ignore. COVID isn't going to go away because some people stick their heads in the sand. Sure, that's a way of drowning out the noise, but it's only because they've plugged up their ears. The resulting silence doesn't mean there isn't a problem -- it just means they're refusing to hear it.

    And again, that's their prerogative. I've accepted that.

    But at the very least be honest about it.

    51 votes
    1. [6]
      Merry
      Link Parent
      I tried to write a response to one aspect of your comment, but I decided to just talk it out instead. Sorry it is so long!
      • Exemplary
      17 votes
      1. [4]
        kfwyre
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        This is so genuine and heartfelt that I’m honestly moved. It also meant something to hear your voice speak those words rather than just see them on my screen. You lead with a kindness and...

        This is so genuine and heartfelt that I’m honestly moved. It also meant something to hear your voice speak those words rather than just see them on my screen. You lead with a kindness and thoughtfulness that I find admirable, and I know you said that you struggle with putting things into words, but I hope you’re able to see the value and beauty in what you’ve chosen to express here. I certainly do.

        You talk about the author not necessarily deserving our kindness but needing it anyway, and that’s honestly a great summary of a much larger issue I’ve been struggling with for a long time now. The author here became my sounding board, and in some ways that’s not fair of me, because I’m essentially indicting him not just for his own behavior but for his association with a behavior pattern at large. In other ways, it feels perfectly fair, because he’s an almost perfect example of the pattern.

        I’ve always felt that kindness is worthwhile even when it’s not reciprocated. The whole point of kindness is that it isn’t transactional — that’s what makes it kind! You don’t show it to someone with the expectation that they’ll offer it back to you but because there’s a fundamental goodness to leading with goodness. Also, hurt people hurt people, and often the very difficult and awful behaviors that would make us want to revoke our kindness are instead a way of communicating, paradoxically, an even greater need for kindness.

        The pattern that I’ve been struggling with, and that I think this author is emblematic of, is the tendency for some people to position themselves in a way such that the kindness of others towards them is an imposition while the kindness of them towards others is an injustice.

        The reason I specifically link it to conservative ideology is that there is, I believe, a toxic undercurrent to a lot of right-wing talking points that is anchored in this directly. Trump emboldened cruelty as political participation, and there are now plenty of people who see mistreatment as their societal duty rather than a breakdown of society itself. It is not solely limited to conservatives, but I see a lot more of it in their neck of the woods than in mine.

        Your parable about holding the cup of water was deeply resonant. Like your partner, I grew up in the Christian faith, and that image you chose felt like it was part of a sermon (in the best way) — it was a succinct, clear, relatable metaphor that helped me visualize and apply meaning to my circumstance, as many good pastors do.

        I’ve been holding my cup of water for a long time. Every day I don a new KN95 and go to work in a school that has new cases pretty much daily. I’ve been doing this since before there were vaccines. I do it because it’s my livelihood, but mostly I do it because I care. Teaching is institutional, systemic kindness.

        The area I teach in, however, leans conservative and likes to meet my kindness with that same behavior pattern I identified earlier. I wish I could share with you some of the parent phone calls I’ve had or emails I’ve gotten. I wish I could share with you some of what’s happened at my school board meetings. There was a Facebook thread that blew up in my area last year where parents “joked” about sending their kids to school positive so that they’d get their teachers sick. It would serve us right, the posts alleged, because we’re indoctrinating their children with our woke agenda. They hate us that much but still expect us to look after and teach their children day after day?

        That’s the kind of shit that eats at my kindness capacity — the kind of thing that makes me start to feel I’m being taken advantage of, and the kind of thing that I don’t think kindness can correct, because the pre-existing kindness isn’t even being seen for what it is. I think kindness can only be a virtue if it is viewed as virtuous, and what disturbs me so greatly about pieces like this and much of conservative ideology in general, is that it has distinctly turned a lack of kindness into the virtue.

        That’s what I’m struggling with. My cup is already so heavy. I look around and I see everyone else with their cups — their eyes tired and their arms shaking. And then I see people like this author, finding a moral authority and, at times, something akin to delight in walking around and smacking the cups out of people’s hands or laughing at them for their sore arms. They have shaken my faith in kindness as an unconditional good because being kind to them just feels like it emboldens them and gives them even more ammunition to use against you.

        I hate that I feel like I’m yielding to cynicism, but I also don’t know any other way around this. We are coming up on two full years of this pandemic. The author of this piece thinks he’s relatable because he’s tired of the restrictions, and in that regard, his piece is resonant. Everybody’s tired and over this. We’ve all hit our limits. What he doesn’t see is that his gloating about not carrying a cup is making all the rest of ours heavier. The solution to our situation lies in people like him using this protracted two-year lesson in basic empathy as a jumping off point for better behavior, but it turns out the two-year lesson of the pandemic hasn’t been one for him but for the rest of us. We instead learned that much of our country not just doesn’t feel but openly rejects empathy as a worldview.

        I have to keep holding my cup of water in large part because people like him refuse to hold theirs. It is getting increasingly difficult for me to not hold that against him.

        I also hate saying this all to you, because your message was one of hope. It was an affirming pat on the back to me during a time of great difficulty. You saw my struggle and met it with profound kindness, and in some ways I feel like I’m the one slapping the cup of water out of your hand with this comment. That’s not at all how I want to come across to you, but I also can’t deny that my faith in kindness has been fully shaken, which is where my cynicism comes in and insists to me that it’s right.

        In that way, what I really need right now is a reminder of the actual power that kindness does hold, and your comment provides exactly that. The fact that you took the time to record it and to say something so meaningful is genuinely heartening, so thank you. Of all the ways you could have chosen to spend your time, you chose to honor me, my prickly vindictive words, and my obvious current struggle, and that’s amazing to me — genuinely powerful. I went into your message with my guard up, thinking I was going to get a dressing down for my dressing down. Instead you met my anger with kindness, and that’s incredible to me.

        Thank you for being a reminder of what kindness can do. That’s exactly what I need to be reminded of right now.

        31 votes
        1. TheRtRevKaiser
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          kfwyre - I'd first like to say thank you for your contributions to this site. Even when you're grappling with frustrations and anger they are almost always thoughtful and humane and kind even when...
          • Exemplary

          kfwyre - I'd first like to say thank you for your contributions to this site. Even when you're grappling with frustrations and anger they are almost always thoughtful and humane and kind even when that might not be warranted. I really appreciate your point of view and your contributions. And @Merry I haven't seen you around as much but I really appreciated your reply in this thread as well. You folks are all the salt of the earth.

          Your comments here about feeling exhausted and cynical really resonate with me. I've felt some of the same feelings and I'm not particularly in a similar position to you. But most of all, your feelings that your kindness isn't having any effect, that "that’s the kind of shit that eats at my kindness capacity... the kind of thing that I don’t think kindness can correct" really touched me. It reminds me a little of my father, who has been a minister in a small church in a small town for over 30 years now.

          I know most folks here probably don't think that religious ministry is all that worthwhile, but I've watched him struggle to be kind to people and support and guide them all while trying to expand their perspectives and teach kindness, and the cultural forces in a tiny town in the ass-end of Georgia are constantly fighting against him. I know that he feels like he hasn't accomplished anything in his long ministry, but those of us that are close to him can see that his impact is much, much greater than he realizes.

          The problem is, I think, that the work of kindness takes a long time to bear much fruit. There are probably some professions that have immediate feedback, but I think things like teaching and religious ministry are a long game. Your impact is measured over the course of a person's entire life, and possibly even a couple of generations. I know that my dad has a hard time seeing his impact - partially because he's one of those people that expects an awful lot of himself even when he is generous and forgiving of others - but that doesn't mean it's not there. I can tell that the lives of the people that he has ministered to are better because of it, and they are kinder, more open-minded, more generous people because of his example.

          I suspect the same is true of you, kfwyre. I don't really know you - for me you're mostly collection of impressions left by your words on my screen - but I think you probably do more good than you know. You're never going to change those parents who sneer at the good you are trying to do. You're not going to correct the shitty thinking in the conservative culture around you. And you probably won't single handedly change the lives or minds of the kids you teach - at least, not for most. But I suspect you probably leave most of the kids you interact with a little better than they would have otherwise been. And hopefully that means that the next generation will be a little kinder and a little better than their parents. That is most of the hope I have for the world right now. Not that folks like the parents of your students or the author of this article will suddenly grow the kind of empathy and love for fellow human that we need, but that maybe the next generation will be a little less prone to that kind of selfishness.

          I know I've rambled a lot, but mostly what I'm trying to say is that I hope you don't give up on kindness. I know you're tired, but know that I, at the least, see what you are working so hard to do and I appreciate you. Thank you for sowing the seeds of kindness into the world so that hopefully it will grow in the next generation.

          13 votes
        2. Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          You sit here talking about prickly vindictive words yet I am struck by the idea that you would sacrifice yourself for the good of others. I am in awe of someone who is able to comport themselves...

          You sit here talking about prickly vindictive words yet I am struck by the idea that you would sacrifice yourself for the good of others. I am in awe of someone who is able to comport themselves with perfect demeanor in spite of all the emotional turmoil that someone in such a situation would be undergoing, the constant stress and worrying, the concern for others, the frustration at their faults and the existential dread that they may not change or learn from the situation. To ignore that a situation like this might leave someone at least slightly emotional, drained of some level on compassion, exhausted, and many other emotions would be an extreme failure of emotional intelligence or placing oneself in the shoes of another.

          The fact that you saw all this, were able to so eloquently explain how you are upset at them primarily through your own lens - how you perceived their actions and yet still came back after someone encouraged and praised you for the work you are doing and to apologize for being so 'prickly' and 'vindictive' somehow leaves me with an even better perception of you than ever, which is surprising as it was already such a high bar to clear. Please, have compassion for yourself and the ability to express your own emotions, especially the painful ones, because I do not think you give yourself enough credit for all the good that you do in the world and how much you inspire others to be better too. 💜

          12 votes
        3. HotPants
          Link Parent
          @kfwyre, you are like kindness personified. It's amazing that you were inspired by Merry, because I think you inspire many of us towards kindness. But I think while showing kindness to the person,...

          @kfwyre, you are like kindness personified.

          It's amazing that you were inspired by Merry, because I think you inspire many of us towards kindness.

          But I think while showing kindness to the person, it's good to reject inappropriate behavior.

          There is increasing anger directed towards anything liberal (teachers, reporters, scientists, the elite.) That anger is not OK.

          The anger is often based on highly politicized mischaracterizations and misrepresentations.

          Fake news exists, therefore the liberal media are bad.

          Covid restrictions are bad, therefore Fuaci is bad.

          Evolution is wrong, therefore Scientists are frauds who propagate false climate science to profit off... something?

          Woke students are bad, therefore teachers are bad.

          The global economy is hard, therefore the elite are bad.

          Just in the article above, the author accuses the media and elite institutions of absurd overrepresentation (presumably excluding fox news), spins a story about the absurdity of outdoor masks (ignoring that masks are not recommended outdoors as a general rule), claims that masks are a political statement of the left (ignoring that they work), then somehow makes masked teachers more about their own secondhand embarrassment (!). Then calls masks in school silly and absurdly risk-averse (While pretending that Europe doesnt have the same hodge podge of regulations regarding masks!)

          Then completely mischaracterizes what National Institutes of Health defines a “problem drinker” before ridiculing this total mischaracterization. Then for good measure makes fun of silly novelties, like no-fault divorce, which is somehow an indictment of the upper middle class getting one over the lower class?

          Finally the author worries about the vaccinated workers in New York and California being forced to wear masks. I think others addressed the lack of compassion in this concern. It's the heavy biased spin that enables this lack of compassion, and there is no excuse for it in an article like this.

          It's a hard thing to say in a kind manner, but anyone who can spin so much misinformation in a single article, probably shouldn't be writing any articles.

          The author is likely a decent person when politics/ religion/ identity is not involved. They've probably had their perception skewed by trusting heavily biased sources of news. But there are standards in place for most professions. Teachers, doctors, lawyers, even hair dressers... but the Supreme Court seems to have decided that in the USA, it's unconstitutional to have standards for the press, and we are slowly boiling the frog.

          Which is frustrating, as it's exactly this source of divisive spin that causes people to get angry enough at teachers to propose deliberately sending kids into school sick.

          And I don't think kindness alone will bring attention to this particular issue.

          That said, when I've addressed this in the past with people I know, I get so frustrated, I have lacked compassion and kindness, and I don't think that helps either.

          Frankly I dont think anything will help, but if I can stand up to what seems wrong, but with compassion, I will at least feel better about myself.

          So thank you for inspiring a little more compassion and kindness, even when others are being total dingbats.

          5 votes
      2. Wulfsta
        Link Parent
        Tagged as Noise. /joke

        Tagged as Noise.

        /joke

        4 votes
    2. [4]
      bkimmel
      Link Parent
      If you want a really unhealthy antidote to this, may I suggest /r/HermanCainAward .

      If you want a really unhealthy antidote to this, may I suggest /r/HermanCainAward .

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        kfwyre
        Link Parent
        I have some pretty strong feelings on HCA as well, actually. I see it as a flip side to this piece — similarly pathologically uncaring and duplicitous, but for different reasons. As much as I...

        I have some pretty strong feelings on HCA as well, actually. I see it as a flip side to this piece — similarly pathologically uncaring and duplicitous, but for different reasons.

        As much as I dislike this author and feel he’s acting in harmful ways, if he or his family were to get COVID I still wouldn’t want to celebrate it. Not only does it feel wrong on an interpersonal level, but also COVID has fucked up the whole damn world for nearly two years now, with no relief currently in sight. No way in hell am I cheering it on in the slightest.

        18 votes
        1. wervenyt
          Link Parent
          Thanks for posting this, I initially posted a comment with the same sentiment, saying much less in a far-too-brusque tone. Deleted because, you know, kindness, so I'm glad you took the time to say...

          Thanks for posting this, I initially posted a comment with the same sentiment, saying much less in a far-too-brusque tone. Deleted because, you know, kindness, so I'm glad you took the time to say what I was too annoyed to.

          5 votes
        2. bkimmel
          Link Parent
          That was a really thoughtful read, thank you. That's mostly what I meant by "unhealthy". I vaguely recall some kind of thing in the Black Plague where they would put on little "morality plays"......

          That was a really thoughtful read, thank you. That's mostly what I meant by "unhealthy". I vaguely recall some kind of thing in the Black Plague where they would put on little "morality plays"... I mostly see HCA as the modern equivalent to that.

          4 votes
    3. [7]
      awe777
      Link Parent
      Well, in my opinion, it is very possible that such message of malice has not been massaged and delivered well enough. The best things conservatives can do is to deliver stories (even lies) that...

      This is also a trap of its own. His selfishness borders on malice, and if I meet that with malice with my own, for some reason I look like the asshole instead of him. This is especially true because the author dressed up his words so nicely and cleanly.

      Well, in my opinion, it is very possible that such message of malice has not been massaged and delivered well enough. The best things conservatives can do is to deliver stories (even lies) that can be accepted by various neutral parties, as they have been trained to ground and spread their narrative-based worldviews (irregardless of their truth value; either from religion, from chan boards, from conspiracies, etc.). People who are used to base their worldview on reality will generally lack the experience of selling a worldview (assuming reality will readily prove itself).

      For example:


      "We implore everyone, liberal or conservative, to socially distance and vaccinate for the good of everyone's lives; while some of us that have stronger immune system may not be affected by the pandemic, some of us who are not strong enough are very likely to be affected by COVID-19, and will be helped by these measures."


      This message can be viewed as a very malicious message if delivered correctly. I mean, (warning: Breitbart archive) some of them are smart enough to see this, even when we did it unintentionally.

      4 votes
      1. [6]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        Do you mean that euphemisms and irony can hide contempt? I’m not sure where you’re going with this.

        Do you mean that euphemisms and irony can hide contempt? I’m not sure where you’re going with this.

        2 votes
        1. [5]
          awe777
          Link Parent
          That is not what I mean; the sentences above can be said with full sincerity with no hints of irony, and that sentence can be crafted as a message of contempt with the right delivery. Let me break...
          • Exemplary

          That is not what I mean; the sentences above can be said with full sincerity with no hints of irony, and that sentence can be crafted as a message of contempt with the right delivery. Let me break it down.

          We will assume this is said by any public figure whose message are endorsed by liberals (irregardless of their actual political side-- see Trump getting booed when urging his constituents to vaccinate)


          We implore everyone, liberal or conservative

          Written to make conservatives pay a bit of attention.

          to socially distance and vaccinate

          We know how much conservatives love to preach about traditional values. Social distancing means foregoing church/bar gatherings, which is against tradition. It is possible for them to be receptive of that if the speaker is respected among their group, however..

          for the good of everyone's lives

          Conservatives works by in-group/out-group dynamic, this phrase will read as "helping those BLM/feminists/inner cities/liberals/etc." to them and therefore, they are primed to oppose such message.

          They're willing to "give their shirt off their back" only to those from the in-groups; making a sacrifice to their way of life to help people that are not them according to their feelings is not something they would easily do. Especially if it was said by people who are endorsed by people that are not them.

          while some of us that have stronger immune system may not be affected by the pandemic

          I can understand painting one's in-group as strong. For those who kept paying attention, this line primes that they may will not be affected by the pandemic, and as such have no need to do such troublesome things.

          some of us who are not strong enough are very likely to be affected by COVID-19

          Similarly, painting out-group as weak. "A pandemic that is not effective towards the in-group and kills the out-group? Don't mind if I do."


          The intention of this message is to reinforce the message of pandemic mitigation for liberals (with that message taken on its own) and to discourage pandemic mitigation measures for conservatives (considering the known thought process of conservatives).

          Of course, this will lead to more conservatives dying, because, well, not protecting yourself against COVID will left you unprotected against COVID.

          10 votes
          1. [2]
            skybrian
            Link Parent
            By "crafted" do you mean that an author could have written it with the intent of being misinterpreted in this particular way? I suppose that's possible since that's why you wrote it, and I think I...

            By "crafted" do you mean that an author could have written it with the intent of being misinterpreted in this particular way?

            I suppose that's possible since that's why you wrote it, and I think I see how it's possible to interpret the message as you say, but I think it requires a good dose of suspicion on the reader's part. They have to be looking for ways to misread it. In particular, why would "those who are not strong enough" be interpreted as "the outgroup" rather than "the elderly?"

            I'm not convinced it's likely to come across in the way you say. When someone is intent on misreading something, I don't think the particular misinterpretation they come to is all that easy to predict. You're putting a lot of weight on "the known thought process of conservatives" but I think people, including conservatives, are less monolithic, more creative, and less predictable than that. They may well interpret it in a negative way (as people often do, if they're looking for it) but not in this particular way.

            4 votes
            1. awe777
              Link Parent
              Some details can change, but this should be the general flow. I even included two message parts in that message to help with reception. Tearing down their traditional culture (patriarchy, LGBT+...

              do you mean that an author could have written it with the intent of being misinterpreted in this particular way?

              Some details can change, but this should be the general flow. I even included two message parts in that message to help with reception.

              but I think it requires a good dose of suspicion on the reader's part.

              Tearing down their traditional culture (patriarchy, LGBT+ prosecution, segregation, free gun culture, etc.) in the name of equality tends to bring a lot of suspicion on their part, for starters.

              For the specific example of COVID-19 vaccination, their "respected tribal leaders" (Fox News talking heads and Trump administration) has supported the antipathy for COVID protection, seeing that it initially ravaged "those city people". And since Dr. Fauci say things that help "those city people", you get the point.

              why would "those who are not strong enough" be interpreted as "the outgroup" rather than "the elderly?"

              Because they think they are strong and the others are weak. They chant "die for the economy" with a pretext that every one of them, elderly included, are strong enough to withstand the feeble might of virus with the power of guns/Jesus/community/etc. And if their elderly dies, well, they are posers, I suppose.

              They're not that inclined to respect reality like you did here.

              I think people, including conservatives, are less monolithic, more creative, and less predictable than that.

              Yeah, but no. Each person is unique due to their unique experiences, yes, however, as advertising showed us, there are general trends within groups, and difference between in-group members can be negligible. Signal loss is still possible, and that's why this kind of message must be periodically delivered, in order to strengthen its signal.

              Thankfully, the pandemic situation requires health officials (that is obviously supported by liberals for their medical expertise) to constantly remind everyone of that.

              3 votes
          2. [2]
            wedgel
            Link Parent
            I think that the intention of this message is to feed the resentment/hate republicans have towards democrats. Because 'if they weren't weak, we wouldn't have to put up with this shit!' is how this...

            I think that the intention of this message is to feed the resentment/hate republicans have towards democrats. Because 'if they weren't weak, we wouldn't have to put up with this shit!' is how this message reads to me.

            2 votes
            1. awe777
              Link Parent
              That is another way for them to see this message, but I sense too much compassion there. Why would they think that "the Demonrats" should be able to be as strong as them?

              That is another way for them to see this message, but I sense too much compassion there.

              Why would they think that "the Demonrats" should be able to be as strong as them?

              1 vote
    4. meme
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I live in the supposed "liberal bubble" (NYC) and most people are surprisingly open to talking about their feelings - specifically the "I don't care anymore" feeling. I'm doing a lot of stuff that...

      I actually share a lot of the fatigue he feels about the whole situation

      I live in the supposed "liberal bubble" (NYC) and most people are surprisingly open to talking about their feelings - specifically the "I don't care anymore" feeling. I'm doing a lot of stuff that is incredibly unwise, like going to indoor events with unmasked people. They're all tired of pandemic life too. Most liberals in blue states ARE living like covid is over! Conservatives aren't special, I guess except in the aspect that they want to defy public health orders or continue to go to parties while hospitals are having mass deaths. I'm vaxxed and boosted. I wear my mask when the rules of the venue request it or if most people around me are wearing it. If things start shutting down again because of Omicron, I'm not gonna rabble rouse.

      4 votes
    5. [3]
      I_Tichy
      Link Parent
      I care about COVID, but it's not like it's morally incorrect for a society not to. They're not idiots. They've collectively decided it doesn't cross their risk tolerance threshold. Many of the...

      I care about COVID, but it's not like it's morally incorrect for a society not to. They're not idiots. They've collectively decided it doesn't cross their risk tolerance threshold. Many of the people engage in a number of other risky behaviors as well (owning large numbers of guns, living far from hospitals, eating poorly, smoking, etc.), this isn't an aberration.

      That being said, they are also living much happier lives on a daily basis than people like me in cities where so much is still remote or locked down. They're trading a potential covid case (which nowadays is not nearly as deadly as it was at the beginning of the pandemic) for more happiness on a daily basis. That's a value judgement every society should be able to make. Statistics don't even suggest they're having much a different experience with covid than more liberal areas, so I'm not sure what the argument to be made is from a public health stand point.

      You can't expect every culture to approach problems the same way you want to, that flies completely in the face of multi-culturalism, and the US as an idea. It's a federation of states that all get to decide for themselves how they want to exist socially and culturally, so long as they don't trend on the small number of rights guaranteed by the federal government.

      2 votes
      1. eladnarra
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        None of this has ever been about individual risk (although I think many people are at a higher risk of long-term effects than they think they are). A lot of people insist on treating it like only...

        None of this has ever been about individual risk (although I think many people are at a higher risk of long-term effects than they think they are). A lot of people insist on treating it like only their individual risk matters, but that doesn't mean they're correct, or that their actions stemming from that assumption are moral.

        Edit: The other day someone on Twitter told me that I and other disabled people should be "culled from the herd" and "sacrificed" so that everyone else can go back to normal. Obviously that's a fairly extreme way of putting it, but many people out there express the same sentiment one way or another - COVID isn't bad for them, and they're okay with some more people dying in exchange for being able to ditch minor inconveniences like masks.

        I cannot explain how draining and dispiriting it is to constantly be told, explicitly or implicitly by people's actions, that my life is just a potential sacrifice to make other people's lives easier.

        13 votes
      2. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        I’m fine with someone making a good faith effort to navigate that complex moral calculus, and I don’t expect a once-size fits all solution. My problem is instead someone like this author showing...

        I’m fine with someone making a good faith effort to navigate that complex moral calculus, and I don’t expect a once-size fits all solution.

        My problem is instead someone like this author showing that they have no interest in the calculus in the first place and belittling those that do. I appreciate that you’re offering the author a charitable read of his situation, but, for me, it feels like he’s going out of his way to deliberately take that possibility off the table by being so purposefully uncharitable towards everyone else.

        11 votes
  2. moocow1452
    Link
    The best way I can explain it to myself is the idea of Cosmic Horror, and how people deal with a non-negotiable truth. Our society has this understanding that justice and equality and "how it...
    • Exemplary

    The best way I can explain it to myself is the idea of Cosmic Horror, and how people deal with a non-negotiable truth. Our society has this understanding that justice and equality and "how it oughta be" are drawn from one's intuition, and some people have lived their lives so myopically that they cannot get it through their heads that their lifestyle or viewpoints or attempts to bend reality to their understanding are a net negative to themselves and the people around them. Be it the existence of a pandemic, gender understandings, or nightmare deities that could wipe us out on the way to the fridge and wipe out our successors on the way back, we all have a dogma about us, and a lot of people who have the privilege to rationalize it away or live in denial do so and madness only comes up as ailment for the rest of the world.

    20 votes
  3. [3]
    dubteedub
    Link
    I shared this because I found this piece absolutely infuriating and one of the most unhinged articles I have seen since the start of the pandemic. It is also entirely emblematic of the state of...

    I shared this because I found this piece absolutely infuriating and one of the most unhinged articles I have seen since the start of the pandemic. It is also entirely emblematic of the state of conservatism in the United States. The author points out that the COVID-19 rates in their town are as high as ever, but they just do not give a shit about the virus, they refuse to mask up, or take any precautions whatsoever. I truly believe that conservatives are absolute sociopaths with no regard for the well-being of not only their fellow citizens, but even their own families.

    This author is writing from Michigan where the state is far below the national average for vaccinations and their hospitals are literally being overwhelmed right now.

    I live in a rural part of the country and I see these types of individuals everywhere I go outside. They have spent the last two years sneering at those that wear masks, they invade others personal space when you ask for distance, and they do it all just because their entire ideology is just "do whatever makes the libs mad."

    Conservatives live in a cult environment and we are never going to escape this pandemic.

    28 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Thanks for posting this. As you said, it was absolutely infuriating to read, but it also spawned a ton of excellent discussion. It was super awkward voting for it though, since even though it's...

      Thanks for posting this. As you said, it was absolutely infuriating to read, but it also spawned a ton of excellent discussion.

      It was super awkward voting for it though, since even though it's worthy of a vote due to the above, I really don't want to give the impression that its message is something I support. And hopefully most here felt the same, despite also voting for it. Given all the negative comments so far, that thankfully does appear to be the case though. :P

      6 votes
      1. dubteedub
        Link Parent
        I was definitely nervous about sharing this article. I don't endorse this view, but I thought it would be useful to discuss and analyze what is clearly a widespread belief across the country. I...

        I was definitely nervous about sharing this article. I don't endorse this view, but I thought it would be useful to discuss and analyze what is clearly a widespread belief across the country. I was really happy with how amazing this comment section has been and how supportive and affirming everyone has been here. This really shows how amazing Tildes can be at times.

        7 votes
  4. [3]
    knocklessmonster
    Link
    In a way I'm envious of this dude's total lack of concern for those around him. It caused me a ton of anxiety until I could get vaccinated and somewhat selfishly care less about what others are...

    In a way I'm envious of this dude's total lack of concern for those around him. It caused me a ton of anxiety until I could get vaccinated and somewhat selfishly care less about what others are doing.

    The one thing he does well is reflect why this attitude is popular. It's where we all want to be, but the rest of us living in the real world want to get there without having full ICUs. The rest of us out here, the "Big City Libruls" (I'm in an outwardly red, demographically purple suburb) want what they want, but without the death toll and the risk to those around us who are more vulnerable.

    It's an infuriating mindset to encounter, and has me surprisingly worked up even thinking about the article after reading it a couple hours ago.

    15 votes
    1. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      It feels obligatory to link to this opinion piece. I long for a day where It's not relevant anymore.

      It feels obligatory to link to this opinion piece. I long for a day where It's not relevant anymore.

      14 votes
  5. [2]
    balooga
    Link
    I was raised conservative and personal responsibility was a pillar of our ideology. These days conservatives are belligerently flaunting irresponsibility as a virtue. I feel like the rug was...

    I was raised conservative and personal responsibility was a pillar of our ideology. These days conservatives are belligerently flaunting irresponsibility as a virtue. I feel like the rug was pulled out from under me: This isn't conservatism. Somebody worked some sleight-of-hand and swapped it for something else when the audience was distracted.

    Honestly I shouldn't act as though I've remained fixed in place while the rest of the right went off the deep end; for years I've been slowly drifting away from where I started as well. I was pretty militaristic after 9/11, like a lot of us. I was a bit into the tea party when that came along but parts of it rubbed me the wrong way. I was a Ron Paul fan but didn't get fired up with Obama hate or birtherism. Then came the rise of the alt-right and Trumpism and I got off the train. Not totally sure where I landed, now I guess I'm what they call disenfranchised. Meanwhile too many old friends and family members followed the current straight into QAnon and the Big Lie and this new, ugly, reflexive pandemic defiance. It's no longer even about politics, it's become a cult of superstition, tribalism, and self-annihilation.

    15 votes
    1. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Sort of a tangent to what you experienced; I was raised Catholic, but have ended up feeling the same way about the Church, and Christianity as a whole, as you now do about American Conservatism....

      Sort of a tangent to what you experienced; I was raised Catholic, but have ended up feeling the same way about the Church, and Christianity as a whole, as you now do about American Conservatism.

      My parents, my Catholic school teachers and Nuns, and every Priest I encountered, all constantly hammered the messages of Jesus ("love thy neighbor", "compassion is a virtue", etc.) into my tender little skull, and I genuinely took those messages to heart. But when the first inklings of child sexual abuse scandals started surfacing in the 90s, unlike most of my family and peers, I actually took that seriously too, and experienced a crises of faith as a result. In response, I ended up studying the history of Christianity, its various sects, and the Church, as well as exploring the other Abrahamic religions' histories and tenets; Reading many different translations and annotated versions of the Bible, supplementary material related to the Bible, the Church, and Faith, as well as all the Gnostic texts such as the Nag Hammadi library, and even the Tanakh, and Quran too. And I even almost wound up joining the Seminary to further that process of study.

      However, instead, I finally came to the conclusion that most of what the Church claimed to stand for was not being practiced, and since their actions have actually been responsible for immeasurable suffering throughout history, the world over, which is an evil that is still being perpetuated to this day, I could no longer be part of, or support, the Institution. That realization felt like the rug being pulled out from under me too, which has ultimately driven me to the point where, after many years of self-reflection through meditation, I can now with all sincerity say that I don't believe in God, and if God does exist they're not worthy of worship.

      p.s. In retrospect, it's pretty ironic that the reason I am no longer Catholic, or even Christian, is because I truly do believe in all the core values they preach, but the blatant hypocrisy of so many of the faithful ended up driving me away from the Faith entirely. Which is a situation that seems mirrored in your own experience with Conservatism in the US.

      7 votes
  6. [5]
    rosco
    Link
    I echo many of the sentiments written here. I think my main frustration with the article is that it does such a good job using strawman arguments to justify the behavior. This piece would perform...

    I echo many of the sentiments written here. I think my main frustration with the article is that it does such a good job using strawman arguments to justify the behavior. This piece would perform all too well at convincing my dad that he doesn't need to wear a mask. He really doesn't need that kind of help. The way they used the CDC's definition of unhealthy drinking or using Tylenol after a hang over are to me the most convincing. If you don't follow all the rules, why follow this one? Because we're in a fucking pandemic. Because this behavior is stopping all of us from enjoying a return to semi-regular life.

    Oh and kudos for slipping in a piece about how non-fault divorce is a "silly novelty" and the greatest threat to American families. What the fuck is the Atlantic doing publishing this kind of material?

    14 votes
    1. [2]
      psi
      Link Parent
      I think the unhealthy drinking example was the most telling. If CDC guidelines suggest the author's wife and her friends might have a drinking problem, shouldn't that be grounds for a bit of...

      I think the unhealthy drinking example was the most telling. If CDC guidelines suggest the author's wife and her friends might have a drinking problem, shouldn't that be grounds for a bit of introspection?

      What the fuck is the Atlantic doing publishing this kind of material?

      I suppose one could assume the Atlantic is endorsing this material by publishing it, but I don't think they are. Honestly I think this is the sort of piece that inadvertently makes a stronger argument for the other side by being so haughty and flimsily reasoned. In fact, it almost reads as a parody, especially the bit likening COVID precautions to no-fault divorce.

      6 votes
      1. rosco
        Link Parent
        Unfortunately I think there are a significant number of people that will not come away with that sentiment. I'm from a very blue bubble but there are still a number of folks in my circle that...

        Honestly I think this is the sort of piece that inadvertently makes a stronger argument for the other side by being so haughty and flimsily reasoned. In fact, it almost reads as a parody, especially the bit likening COVID precautions to no-fault divorce.

        Unfortunately I think there are a significant number of people that will not come away with that sentiment. I'm from a very blue bubble but there are still a number of folks in my circle that would use a piece like this to justify skirting CDC guidelines. Recently, I even had a very intelligent, very progressive friend talk to me about not wanting the booster because he feels it's an over exaggerated Big Pharma cash grab. I think one truth from the article is that a lot of people are living as though Covid is done and the author speaks to and reinforces their world view.

        I understand "presenting both sides", but it feels like recently the publications I subscribe to (The Atlantic, The New York Times, NPR) have been publishing well crafted conservative propaganda rather than opposing views. From "Blue States, You're the Problem" to articles like this, they give a distorted view of reality and cherry pick one or two extreme examples to justify blanket statements. It seems like any conservative opinion that isn't completely Trumpian batshit is now considered a level headed, centrist perspective.

        20 votes
    2. [2]
      Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      Same, except someone already did. I had a conversation with him a few weeks back and he told me (this is as direct a quote as I can recall) "well I haven't been wearing a mask, and neither have...

      his piece would perform all too well at convincing my dad that he doesn't need to wear a mask.

      Same, except someone already did. I had a conversation with him a few weeks back and he told me (this is as direct a quote as I can recall) "well I haven't been wearing a mask, and neither have any of the people I interact with, and we're all fine, so I don't think masks are really that effective". My brain about short circuited. I'm not entirely unconvinced he wasn't deliberately trolling me.

      Oh and kudos for slipping in a piece about how non-fault divorce is a "silly novelty"

      That little tidbit really threw me for a loop. I even followed the link to find out how the hell that was supposedly related. I scanned the article, it was even worse intellectual trash than OP article.

      5 votes
      1. dubteedub
        Link Parent
        Yeah, Institute for Family Studies is an anti-gay "conservative" think tank.

        I even followed the link to find out how the hell that was supposedly related. I scanned the article, it was even worse intellectual trash than OP article.

        Yeah, Institute for Family Studies is an anti-gay "conservative" think tank.

        5 votes
  7. [2]
    eladnarra
    Link
    Well that was horrifying. His wife was pregnant and they didn't take precautions? So his family is not only extremely selfish by not caring about anyone else getting sick, but they also lack any...

    Well that was horrifying. His wife was pregnant and they didn't take precautions? So his family is not only extremely selfish by not caring about anyone else getting sick, but they also lack any self-preservation when one of them is high risk.

    13 votes
    1. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      I have 2 younger brothers. The middle one and his wife had a kid right around June of 2020. When it became clear that COVID was in the US and lockdowns started happening, they locked down HARD,...

      I have 2 younger brothers. The middle one and his wife had a kid right around June of 2020. When it became clear that COVID was in the US and lockdowns started happening, they locked down HARD, despite being in a very red state. It baffled a lot of their friends and family that they so completely isolated themselves from "the flu", no exceptions. I respect the hell out of him for doing it. Now with vaccines they allow visits, which I'm grateful for since I'm traveling home for Xmas.

      7 votes
  8. [6]
    wycy
    Link
    I think I disagree with the article less than the rest of you. Covid is expected to be with us endemically forever--are those that strongly disagree with the article advocating that we continue to...

    I think I disagree with the article less than the rest of you.

    Covid is expected to be with us endemically forever--are those that strongly disagree with the article advocating that we continue to wear masks for the rest of time? We've reached the end game: everyone at-risk in this country has access to 3 shots of the vaccine; we have highly effective anti-covid pills; and K/N95 masks are available to anyone who wants one. As I see it, there are two options: (1) continue masking and avoiding being indoors for the rest of time, or (2) get back to normal and accept that you're going to be exposed to covid every couple days/weeks/months(?) for the rest of time.

    I live in maybe the bluest area of the country, and I can tell you that I and most of the people around me have already selected option (2).

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      burkaman
      Link Parent
      That's not what this article is saying, and that's not what anyone here is saying. Here's an option (3): Don't avoid being indoors, but wear a mask if you want to or other people want you to. You...

      Covid is expected to be with us endemically forever

      That's not what this article is saying, and

      are those that strongly disagree with the article advocating that we continue to wear masks for the rest of time?

      that's not what anyone here is saying. Here's an option (3):

      • Don't avoid being indoors, but wear a mask if you want to or other people want you to. You don't need to and have never needed to wear one outside, but you can if you want to. Don't mock people for it, it has no negative effect on your life or theirs.

      • If you're sick at all, try to avoid other people and wear a mask when you can't. Yes, for the rest of time.

      • Have any amount of sympathy for the millions dead. Don't say "COVID is invisible to me except when I am reading the news" when you literally just said that 136 people in your own rural county are dead.

      • Accept that you were wrong two years ago and this is actually worse than the flu, even if you aren't personally worried about catching it (I'm not worried for myself either). Also, the flu is probably worse that you realized and you should get a flu shot to protect other people.

      • Don't say that you haven't cared at all "for a long while, I mean for nearly two years, from almost the very beginning" unless you're acknowledging that you were wrong.

      • Don't complain about taking a free and easy 2 minute test every once in a while.

      • Acknowledge that it's ok for other people to have different values than you.

      • If there's an annual Covid shot, get it.

      • Accept that it's not insane for people living in 70,000 person per square mile Manhattan to behave differently than people living in 7 person per square mile Montana. Don't complain about how people living 600 miles away from you are conducting their personal lives.

      • Accept that you're going to be exposed to covid every couple days/weeks/months for the rest of time.

      17 votes
      1. wycy
        Link Parent
        I'm in full agreement with your option (3).

        I'm in full agreement with your option (3).

        3 votes
    2. eladnarra
      Link Parent
      I'm on the extreme end because of my personal risk, but yeah. Maybe not until the end of time, but when rates of a respiratory illness are high in the community? If you're feeling sick? Time to...

      are those that strongly disagree with the article advocating that we continue to wear masks for the rest of time? We've reached the end game: everyone at-risk in this country has access to 3 shots of the vaccine; we have highly effective anti-covid pills; and K/N95 masks are available to anyone who wants one.

      I'm on the extreme end because of my personal risk, but yeah. Maybe not until the end of time, but when rates of a respiratory illness are high in the community? If you're feeling sick? Time to mask up.

      Also, to respond to your points: not everyone has access to three shots (like very young children), and even those of us who are at-risk and got all three might not be fully protected because often the conditions that put us at risk (age, immunosuppressants, chronic illnesses) also mess with our immune system. As for those pills, unless I'm mistaken they exist but aren't yet available. And many people can't afford the cost of effective masks, or don't even know they're now available - I still see tons of people wearing cloth masks, if they wear them at all. There has been no coordinated response in the US to actually ensure people have effective masks.

      Maybe there's an end game when most of you guys can go back to normal, but we're not there yet, especially with Omicron. And some of us might never be able to go back to normal, partially because of people like the author of this article. And despite the fact that I agree kindness is important (as discussed elsewhere in this thread), that makes me angry.

      10 votes
    3. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      I think there's a huge difference between getting back to "normal" depending on where you are. If you're shifting back toward normal behavior in a place where vaccine rates are 90% or higher, and...

      I think there's a huge difference between getting back to "normal" depending on where you are. If you're shifting back toward normal behavior in a place where vaccine rates are 90% or higher, and masks are used, everyone is generally going to be ok. If you're in a place that has <50% vaccines and nobody masks because "mah freedoms", cases are going to surge every time a new variant pops up and likely result in more hospitalizations, death, and knock-on effects from running out of capacity.

      I work at a University with 40,000+ students. Currently >97% of students and >80% of staff have vaccines, and on top of that masks are required in every building on campus at all times no exceptions. My circle of friends are also all vaccinated. Which means we all get together and hang out with little to no concern about transmission. We have effectively gone back to "normal".

      I'm going home to visit family in a week, in a solid red state and right now I feel more uncomfortable thinking about hanging out with some of them than I do for the actual plane ride to get there. Because I know that some of them have basically the same attitude as the person in this article.

      7 votes
    4. blender_cuttingham
      Link Parent
      I hope mask use stays in the sense that if you have a cold or something and want to go get groceries, mask up. Washing hands more often etc. Otherwise, I think you are right that we must at some...

      I hope mask use stays in the sense that if you have a cold or something and want to go get groceries, mask up. Washing hands more often etc. Otherwise, I think you are right that we must at some point get to option (2). It's too late now, this virus will be with us forever.

      4 votes
  9. Thrabalen
    Link
    I live in a very blue, very urban area. We have mask and vaccination mandates for the whole city. No one is wearing them right now, and frankly I'm starting to feel like people are intentionally...

    I live in a very blue, very urban area. We have mask and vaccination mandates for the whole city. No one is wearing them right now, and frankly I'm starting to feel like people are intentionally trying to spread it at this point.

    9 votes