We accept a shocking amount of deaths from driving, but pay attention to a single death when it’s self-driving. We accept an obscene amount of hatred from regular media, but worry when it’s social media.
What is acceptable is just the level of carnage we’ve become used to. And we can get used to a lot. So it is with COVID-19.
In May 2020 the New York Times called 100,000 deaths ‘incalculable’. By February 2022 they calculated the numbers and just didn’t give a fuck. They said, “900,000 Dead, but Many Americans Move On.”
The journalistic equivalent of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Two years ago, they devoted the entire front page to list the names of the dead. Now that it would take up ad space, they just buried 800,000 bodies below the fold. The lead story is a ‘buoyant economy.’ All the dead, all the disabled, all the families, they can fuck off and die.
The previously incalculable has become boring math. The unacceptable has become ordinary. But it’s not like children and families suddenly stop grieving at some statistical level. Those people still suffer and grieve, people are still choking to death and dying alone. It’s just that other people have stopped caring, especially the gatekeepers in the media.
Society is used to a certain amount of carnage and while new carnage is bad, old carnage is just society.
The Crass Class
Many of the people ‘getting used to it’ are working from home, fully vaccinated, and are just annoyed at slight inconveniences. They’re not the ones trying to protect small children, or living in multi-generational homes with old people, or caring for the sick. They’re not, sick, old, or working in bad conditions themselves.
Certain people have choices, and they can’t understand those that do not. Everything’s an opinion, a ‘take’. Nothing is being taken from them.
Nevermind that deaths (especially among the working class) are as high as ever, and that billions of people don’t have access to vaccines at all. Nevermind that vaccines are just one part of a public health response, and the weakest one. Nevermind that the thing keeps mutating (the more you ignore me the worser I get).
America has a class of pundits who are professionally wrong about everything.This usually kills foreign brown people and the poor, but now that they’ve turned their attention to public health it’s killing everyone. Now these dipshits are writing Op-Eds declaring the whole thing so over, because it’s over for them. And so it goes on and on.
I’m not saying it’s their fault, the entire fabric of White Empire has collapsed, the ruination they visited upon the frontiers has fallen in on them. But this priestly class of divining dipshits certainly has not helped.
It’s like every proverbial saying gone wrong. In sight, out of mind. Getting used to the elephant in the room. A bitching session in time costs nine.
It Didn’t Have To Be This Way
From the beginning of COVID crisis we could have saved all of our asses by caring about the disabled, the elderly, and the sick, and by listening to them. but where are they represented in corporate media? That shit is oriented around generic consumers, not diverse human lives.
Instead White Empire has been offering the weak as a sacrifice to COVID and COVID has been saying ‘thanks for the appetizer’ and eating everyone.
From the beginning of the COVID crisis we could have survived by following China and East Asia, but like classroom bullies, White Empire has just been racist and made fun of them for working so hard. White media is too focused on chasing the new bone of ‘war with China’ to simply observe that they’re much less dead.
And so here we are.
At the beginning it was at least news (they they did nothing about). Now they’re doing nothing and it’s not even news. They really want to move on. Look over there! Scary Russians!
The Invisible Dead
So now the COVID dead join the other invisible dead. The ghosts of the gestalt. The corpses under the carpet.
These are the 650,000 yearly dead from ‘just the flu’. The 1.3 million yearly deadfrom car accidents. The millions dying from poverty and neglect. The millions killed in pointless imperial sanctions and war. The millions of people tortured in cages or drowned over invisible borders.
When the novelty of death wears off, you’re just left numb. It’s just more skulls attached to the cobblestone of skulls we usually drive over. It’s just more misery among the mass of misery we already neglect. Too many of us just look the other way. COVID isn’t new anymore, so what’s news?
But you know better. You’ve read this far. If it’s hit your family, you know. If you’re capable of empathy, you feel. I don’t know what to do with this information, but if you can still feel that pain, you haven’t given up on life. You at least haven’t joined the talking dead.
These fucking children, who think world events are just a rhetorical toy, and not actual events which make orphans of real children. For them the novelty might wear off. The amoral, corporate power they work for is of course incapable of caring at all.
For them it’s just a story, but for the living, death is the end of life. It is something to be resisted, all of it, not just COVID but deaths from cars, from poverty, from every needless, shamefully ordinary loss of life.
People say we don’t have restrictions for the flu, so why have them for COVID. But we should have better ventilation, real sick leave, and regularly wear face masks when sick. With anything. People say more people die in car accidents, but we should shrink cars and car usage, build public transit, and center cities around human lives. People say daily wage earners can’t earn with restrictions, but people shouldn’t be living day to day at all.
The point is not to treat COVID like everything else and ignore it, the point is to treat everything like COVID and stop ignoring it all. We cannot depend on the novelty of death. Every day we must wake up and embrace the novelty of life.