The response to this piece has been pretty huge, and since I wrote it in anticipation of the large, crowded gatherings we’re seeing this holiday weekend, I guess I should cop to an ambivalence of my own... https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/america-is-officially-in-fuck-it-mode
...which is that the videos and photos of people jammed into pools and bars have all but ceased to provoke any response in me. I feel no need to acknowledge or condemn this anymore. The lies were told; the choices were made. I mourn the unnecessary deaths but I accept them.
There is some kind of fucked-up accelerationism in this. I hate that I have to cope by dismissing these people (and, worse, the people forced back into working at these places). I just don’t have the energy to do anything besides manage risk in my own community.
There is, too, an “overpromising” with the viral party footage: people sharing this content present it as if everyone in frame is guaranteed to get the virus. In fact, plenty won’t. This will only feed the myth that the pandemic is overblown.
I deleted a tweet about a guy I encountered who was as putting others at risk while loudly declaring the virus fake. What was I really saying except, “What a dumb asshole”? The crowd-shaming, since the very beginning, has been an assertion of superiority. https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/distance-shaming-social-media
If refusing to mask up is taking the wrong side in a culture war—and it is—then the rest of us should resist the temptation to match fire. I’m so goddamn tired of every winking suggestion that red states deserve to become plague pits, or that total surveillance is a solution.
During the 2016 election, I would morbidly joke that I’d never leave this country—that I had to “go down with the ship.” I still believe it. Those pointedly resuming normal life may see me as an enemy, but I don’t have it in me to hate them back. I hate that I can’t help them.