I thought to post a summary of one of those E.O. Wilson books tonight, but it’s past 4:30 and I don’t think I have the time. (I try to wrap up here by 5:30.) So some miscellaneous items today.
First, I finally got my Covid booster today. My cardiologists had actually recommended my *not* getting it when it first became available, since my anti-rejection meds had lowered my white blood cell count. I gathered the idea was there was little point in getting the booster with such a low WBC to work with. But the most recent blood tests showed that level had risen sufficiently to warrant getting the booster. (OTOH, I am not to get a flu shot, or any other routine vaccine, until a year after the transplant — which was 7 months ago now.)
So we found the nearest place to make an appointment for the booster, a week and a half ago; that is, when we called, the first available appointment was in a week and a half. Coincidentally, it was at a CVS pharmacy next door to the 24 Hour Fitness gym we went to regularly, up until two years ago, right near Lake Merritt. The pharmacists were busy with usual pharmacist business, but there were no lines, and I only had to wait about 10 minutes. I got my shot and a new line filled in on my Covid vaccine card. Five hours later, no side-effects, not even soreness at the injection point. (But then, I never seem to have side-effects to most things, which I’ve come to realize is not necessarily a good thing.)
Second, I’m please that the film Don’t Look Back is being widely praised, both among my Facebook friends and by most of the published reviews. Despite nits about pacing and some satirical points that don’t quite hit the mark (and a few scientific points that I complained about), this movie may well become a classic of sorts.
I should mention though that almost everyone sees it as a parallel to climate change denial, rather that vaccine and Covid denial.
Finally for today, a handful of linked headlines and a some comments about them.
Salon, Sophia A. McClennen, 27 Dec 2021: The conservative urge to be a victim: Why right-wing victimhood is spreading so fast, subtitled, “Victimized Bully Syndrome: From Kyle Rittenhouse to Donald Trump, conservatives are obsessed with being the victim”
This echoes the long-observed tendency of many Christians to feel victimized, for millennia, as if they were an oppressed minority (which they once were) and not, as it happens, now the dominate faith of the United States.
While there remains much to be learned about omicron and its consequences to public health, one thing is clear: The only reason why the nation is at such extreme public health risk is because the GOP weaponized the pandemic for political gain, convincing their supporters to distrust science and resist any policy, no matter how reasonable, if it came from a Democrat.
We’ve spent time analyzing the head-scratching right-wing ploy of sowing distrust in vaccines within the GOP constituency, a move which has literally killed off supporters and occasionally GOP leaders and pundits as well. But what we haven’t done is recognize that the right-wing response to the pandemic is part of a larger political practice: Victimized Bully Syndrome.
The latest example of this is the guy who phoned President Biden on Christmas Eve, using a right-wing curse against him, and is now complaining about his free speech rights. (He’s deeply confused.) CNN: You can’t troll the President with ‘Let’s go, Brandon’ and then play the victim.
The Atlantic, Victoria Parker, 27 Dec 2021: Conservatives and Liberals Are Wrong About Each Other, subtitled, “New research shows that Americans on both sides of the political spectrum overestimate how radical the other side is.”
This is an example, I think, about how the media, by its nature, exaggerates everything, by only showing you the extreme (“newsworthy”), not the typical, examples. Only the very best sources — like The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times, with their long articles that walk their way around their topics — manage to avoid this.
The Atlantic, Peter Wehner, 26 Dec 2021: The Gospel of Donald Trump Jr., subtitled, “The former president’s son told a crowd that the teachings of Jesus have ‘gotten us nothing.'”
I find this astonishing.
Donald Trump Jr. is both intensely unappealing and uninteresting. He combines in his person corruption, ineptitude, and banality. He is perpetually aggrieved; obsessed with trolling the left; a crude, one-dimensional figure who has done a remarkably good job of keeping from public view any redeeming qualities he might have.
Trump spoke at a Turning Point USA gathering on December 19. He displayed seething, nearly pathological resentments; playground insults (he led the crowd in “Let’s Go, Brandon” chants); tough guy/average Joe shtick; and a pulsating sense of aggrieved victimhood and persecution, all of it coming from the elitist, extravagantly rich son of a former president.
But there was one short section of Trump’s speech that I thought was particularly revealing. Relatively early in the speech, he said, “If we get together, they cannot cancel us all. Okay? They won’t. And this will be contrary to a lot of our beliefs because—I’d love not to have to participate in cancel culture. I’d love that it didn’t exist. But as long as it does, folks, we better be playing the same game. Okay? We’ve been playing T-ball for half a century while they’re playing hardball and cheating. Right? We’ve turned the other cheek, and I understand, sort of, the biblical reference—I understand the mentality—but it’s gotten us nothing. Okay? It’s gotten us nothing while we’ve ceded ground in every major institution in our country.”
Why again is the religious right supporting Trump and, by extension, his family? Not because they espouse Christian values! Trump Jr. is now rejecting them!
Will any of them care? I think not. It’s not about that.
Meanwhile there is pushback to Trump’s comments about the efficacy of vaccines — if only to take credit for the work on the Covid vaccines began during his presidency. It seems as if the Trump cultists are willing to abandon him if he doesn’t support their anti-vaxx conspiracy theories.
Finally, this is precious.