Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Nincompoopidemic


The governor of Florida hawks "Don't Fauci My Florida" merchandise. The Conservative Political Action Conference attendees burst into applause because COVID vaccination rates are not as high as Biden had hoped. So it occurs to me, well, golly! Maybe people just don't understand what a virus is and what it does for a living. All I need to do is 'splain it and then we can all move on. Right?

Viruses are itty bitty. There's some argument over whether or not they're alive but they definitely get around, and want to. They're like every other bit of protein on this earth: they want to keep themselves going. Trouble is, they can't live on their own. They die without a host. They absolutely require cushy digs such as your lungs to invade, replicate, and go forth and multiply like God purportedly intended, in another context. Once they're done killing you, they'd be dead themselves if they couldn't somehow jump onto the next host over and keep the whole operation rolling. So the viruses that cause you to hork and schnozzle and smear your effluent all over other folks are super successful. There are lots of those kinds. Colds. Flu.

They're not equally bright. Like any other group of protein packets, some of them are writing sonnets, some are dominating their school teams, and some are eating library paste. COVID-19 is middling smart. Not as contagious--read, athletic in host-to-host gymnastics--as some, and not quite as likely to slay their own hosts. But impressive nonetheless. Just think about how in March 2020 there was, like, one dude in America who had custody of the virus, and the scientists said it was going to flash-over like a burning building to threaten everybody, and then it totally did. So kudos to the clever virus, and more praise to the scientists, who have been vindicated at every single step, no matter what else you've read.
 
Scientists were well prepared for this, and because of new mRNA technology and genome mapping they were able to produce effective vaccines in record time. Doggone! Ever since the first one, vaccines have proven to be a beautiful thing. We have conquered plagues that vexed us for thousands of years. Do you see this on my arm? It's my smallpox vaccination scar. Must've been a doozy of a shot to still be visible. If you're younger than fifty you don't have one. Because we fucking killed it, by not giving it a place to land. That's right. After at least three thousand years of smallpox, there's no more smallpox.
 
That's how it works. We'd have polio conquered now too if we could get those last few pockets of humanity in south Asia vaccinated. Similarly, if everyone in the world could hunker down inside with a jar of peanut butter for two weeks, COVID-19 would be gone from this earth. Poof. That's a fact. That's something we can't manage to do, of course. But we do have vaccines. So victory is at hand!
 
Oh. 
 
Well, it's hard to imagine how anyone who is not irretrievably around the bend could be against vaccines. As if we could somehow thwart viruses by ourselves with our own virtue and certitude. We can't. We've had thousands of years of proof of that. Viruses have been perfecting their game for billions of years. We can protect ourselves from them but it turns out we can't protect ourselves from con artists who want to befuddle us just to gain or maintain power. What if this whole miraculous scientific breakthrough is just a conspiracy to enslave us? What if we catch autism, or our dicks fall off, or we summon aliens? Santa Claus is coming to town! Bar the door, he probably has a gun. The coronavirus is coming! We'll leave the light on for you.
 
We didn't use to be so foolish. That's why most of you do not have a smallpox vax scar. That's why there are fewer than a hundred polio cases in the world today.
 
Weird thing is, conservative mucus membranes aren't any damper or more receptive than liberal tissues. The virus is not biased. If there's a political aspect to this pandemic, it's because the virus is going to stampede toward those who refuse to protect themselves, whether or not they hate abortion or immigrants or colored voters. Bummer for them, but also for the rest of us, who have a grasp of the concept of public health, wherein we all thrive, or for that matter survive, and we're not willing to risk ourselves and our fellow human beings for the freedom to infect.
 
We actually are in this together. That's how it works. The virus does not care. The virus is a teeny tiny boll weevil. Just a-lookin' for a home.

36 comments:

  1. And just where is the uptick in Covid hospitalizations and deaths? Why, in the South, of course, where the vaccination rate was only about 20-30%. The bright side is that these are mostly conservative republicans, so fuck 'em. We need more chlorine in the gene pool, and better that these dopes should just die off already.

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    1. I wonder why the Republicans are trying to kill off their base. ??

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  2. I only wish you weren't (mostly?) talking to the already-converted, Murr. This is exactly how it all works, and I can't believe how resistant many folks are to the facts. I think they're capable of understanding, because while it's science, it's not difficult science, but they just don't want to understand, and unfortunately there's no vaccine for that kind of attitude. Yet. Something for science to strive for, I guess!

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    1. In the last day or two, prominent Republicans and Fox hosts are starting to encourage people to get vaccinated. Evidently that stock market wobble got to them.

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  3. A vaccine for stupidity (and jerkdom) certainly warrants a LOT more attention.

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    1. As comedian Ron White said, as per the title of his stand-up routine: You can't fix stupid.

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    2. The vaccine for stupidity is education--yet another thing unavailable in Texas.

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  4. I saw an interview this morning with a guy from down south speaking from his hospital bed. He was still being give oxygen. Said he wouldn't get the vaccine because it might no be safe. Somewhere upward of 3 or 3.5 billion people have been given the vaccine worldwide, but we are not sure if it is safe? The guy was serious.

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    1. Sorry, guy... but die already. Paul asked me just today about how they got everybody to get the polio vaccine back in the day. I said that people were smarter back then; they trusted science. They got the vaccine and got their kids vaccinated because they knew it was their best chance of protection from this horrible disease. But now... people don't trust science? WTF is up with that? They think they know more than scientists based on what? Information from FaceBook? For fuck's sake!! This just really gets me. How the fuck did people get so stupid?

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    2. There's a whole lot more "I'm smarter than you are" going on in society these days - on both sides of the aisle. Did it start when we decided that everyone needed to voice (in any manner) a thought and opinion about every topici? When everyone got a trophy? Give me a break...Fingers are now in my ears. Kim in PA

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    3. Well, I am smarter than they are.

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    4. Yes, Murr, you definitely are. However, you must admit, it's a low bar to limbo under.

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    5. Yeah, me, too. 5 foot even last time I checked. Probably shorter now, since I have to stretch more to reach things. I'm not gonna check, because I will undoubtedly get depressed by the results.

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  5. Do you know the true meaning of the word 'nincompoop'? Do you want to know?

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    1. From the Latin, non compos mentis. Which means insane or not mentally competent. Which describes them in a nutshell (no pun intended.)

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    2. I don't think people really know where it comes from, except that it comes out of a nincom.

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    3. 'nincompoop (n.)
      1670s, nicompoop; modern form from 1713. Despite similarity [noted by Johnson] to Latin legal phrase non compos mentis "insane, mentally incompetent" (c. 1600), the connection is denied by the OED's etymologists because the earliest forms lack the second -n-. Weekley thinks first element may be a proper name, and cites Nicodemus, which he says was used in French for "a fool," or Nicholas. Klein says it is probably an invented word. Century Dictionary has no objection to the non compos mentis theory.' — Etymology Online (usually reliable, and agreeing with Partridge)

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    4. Oh, Jeremy... must we fight about this? *sighs theatrically and rolls eyes* Very well... ya got boxing gloves? Yeah... not me either. How 'bout we arm wrestle?

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    5. I have little tolerance for folk etymology. I will take no prisoners. As soon as I was old enough to make any sense out of it — and maybe before — I was reading my parents' copy of Partridge's _Origins_. By the time the internet became a thing and people started emailing me hundreds of "interesting word origins" I was ready to recognize that almost every single one of them had been just plain made up. I always sent those emails back to the friends who had sent them with a civil explanation of what was wrong with the folk etymology (or perhaps better, fake etymology, as that is what it was). Eventually they quit sending them. Mission accomplished.

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    6. I generally get mine wrapped up, delivered, and attributed to Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, or Andy Rooney.

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    7. As I said earlier, I hae ma doots, and I do own a solid two-volume edition of the OED and use it.

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    8. A teacher who used to work for my wife before she retired told her "There's something wrong with any universe in which YOU don't own a print OED..." and then she gave us one -- all 20 volumes. But our house has been so poorly organized since the pandemic started that most of it is hard to reach. When I need etymology, I still reach for Partridge.

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  6. And this is why we are currently in a seven day lockdown in my state. If people aren't moving around with other people, that nasty little virus can't move around to new spots. Those who have it are in medi-hotels or hospitals and the rest of us are inside our homes until the afflicted are negative again. If it takes longer than seven day, well, so be it. We'll stay home. We are allowed to shop for necessities, but masks are mandatory and only so many people in a store at a time. Vaccinations are being carried out as the doses become available and those whose second dose falls within the lockdown period are still allowed to attend their appointments.

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    1. Maybe we can employ vaccine snipers? Named Cupid?

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    2. OMG, Murr.... That would be so cool! Instead of shooting people with guns (we have been doing lately), we could employ those same skills to shoot people with vaccines! Come up on them in a dark alley, shoot them up with some J&J... OMG! A Health Care Robin Hood!

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  7. I unfriended a friend on the telephone, perhaps a bit too vigorously (coff coff) when she asserted that not only was Covid a hoax, but the people who were dying were being deliberately killed by doctors to prop up the hoax - and because they were getting "satisfaction from Satan"! I tried reasoning with her but she was adamant in her beliefs. As someone who knows and loves several physicians and knows 1st hand how hard this pandemic has been on them I was *so* outraged by this "conspiracy theory" - which she'd gotten from the pulpit of her church - that I told her I *never* wanted to see or hear from her again! This is the kind of idiotic thinking promulgated by right-wing-churches which is very hard to overcome. She believes the vaccine contains "a devil chip" which will turn her into a tool of satan. How do you convince someone who believes that to get vaccinated? They'd die 1st. And they are! 95% of those who are contracting Covid now are unvaccinated. So you have those who believe in science and those who are gullible and Covid is weeding out the gullible.

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    1. There is absolutely no point in talking to that person, and you did the right thing.

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    2. I said "Oh, for fuck's sake" SO many times while reading your comment! All I can say is that you are better off without this person in your life, and I hope they die. (Sorry, but I do. We do NOT need people like that.) I just can't believe how stupid people have gotten!

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  8. JCantor@gmail.comJuly 22, 2021 at 5:48 PM

    Seek no further for the answer: The race war that Trump promised his fans is the idol upon whose altar they would gladly sacrifice their own children. And their parents. And themselves.

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  9. The Unvaxxed will be the Breeding Grounds for new and stronger Variants, so they'll eventually fuck us all once a Vaccine resistant one mutates. Otherwise honestly, if Natural Selection took out all of the stupid people who refused to protect themselves, I wouldn't even Care.

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    1. Exactly what I was coming here to say. You don't want to accept the miracle that is vaccination? Fine. Burn in hell, you have free will. But everytime the virus jumps to a new host, it's got a chance to be like the 6 million dollar man. Better, faster, stronger.

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    2. I wish it could happen, Bohemian, but many (most?) of the stupid will already have reproduced by the time they jump off the epidemiological cliff.

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