Hysteria, thy name is Biden.
Or maybe it’s Walensky, named for Dr Rochelle Walensky, aspiring soap opera star and newly appointed director of the Centers for Disease Cons.
Maybe that’s not quite right, but I am sure the acronym is CDC and I am just as sure that the politicized directive pouring out of its offices count as some sort of hoax or con game.
Did you catch her performance the other day? It was extraordinary. There she was, fighting back tears, telling her captive audience that she was ‘scared’, warning of ‘impending doom’, a ‘fourth wave’ if the entire populace of the United States did not grab their masks to cower under their socially-distanced beds until further notice.
It’s amazing how surreal reality TV can be.
Here we are, more than a year into that two-week concerted effort to ‘flatten the curve’.
As I am fond of saying, the whole COVID caper will someday be material for an addendum to Charles Mackay’s classic Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. The viral mania has all the hallmarks of the insanities that Mackay’s anatomized: raging hysteria that, eventually, burnt itself out as suddenly as it took flight, and eager con-men in the background manipulating the madness. The fact that some of them were themselves subject to the delusions that peddled, while others were merely cynical manipulators, in it to enhance their own power or profit, provides another nice continuity.
It may go with out saying that Dr Walensky is not a solo performer. She has a large troupe to support, including the Clown in Chief, J. Biden’ My Time. He was out and about this week, too, warning about rising numbers, blinking into the lights, and urging everyone to ‘mask up, mask up, it’s your patriotic duty’.
Remember those ads that warned us that ‘a mind is a terrible thing to waste’. Maybe Joe should reprise them with himself as Exhibit A.
Everyone misspeaks from time to time. Obama had his ‘57 states’, remember, and Donald Trump’s battle with the English language will keep students of rhetoric busy for years.
But there is a big difference between casual misprision and the inspissated, incontinent mess that is Joe Biden’s effort to break through to the calm light of cognitive coherence. Thus we were treated the other day to Desk Be Not Proud moment. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew he had to pronounce the word ‘deaths’. What tripped out his mouth, along with the rest of his half-slurred verbal salad, was ‘desks’. One friend of mine wondered whether old Joe was slyer than we’d given him credit for: invoking with ‘desks’ the bureaucratic morass to which the government’s response to this unfortunate Chinese import has given rise.
Perhaps. It is true that a motto for this entire melodrama might be ‘Give me liberty or give me desk!’, with the Dem governors siding firmly with the desks. At any rate, no one asks, ‘O, Desk, where is thy sting’, for we feel in everyday, at least in those states where the aspiring Stasi recruits rush into the valley of desks.
But here’s the thing. That grating sound you hear is undoubtedly the desk rattle of the whole coronavirus wheeze. Joe Biden and his lieutenants keep shouting about ‘fourth waves’ and rising numbers, but everyone can see that the numbers of new cases are trending sharply downwards. Somewhere between a million and two million people are being vaccinated every day. Once you’re vaccinated, not only are you essentially impervious to infection, but studies suggest you are also almost incapable of transmitting it. That’s a detail they don’t like to publicize, because if you can neither get nor transmit the disease, why the hell are you wearing a mask — or, if you are St Anthony Fauci, two masks? Why?
And here’s the real kicker: states that have lifted their mask mandates have seen a sharp drop in daily new cases of COVID. Florida and Texas were supposed to consumed by a new epidemic of Kung Flu after they open up their states. The opposite happened. The director of the CDC may weep. The Puppet of the United States may gibber incoherently. They want us to believe that desk and taxes are inevitable. But desk shall have no dominion.