Every year around this time, the car press gathers in New York City at the Javits Center for the New York Auto Show’s press preview days. This being the week in April before the Javits was opened to the public, during which time the car companies hold “reveals” for their latest and soon-to-be-coming stuff, which we car journalists would duly report about.
Well, we used to.
All the car shows have been cancelled on account of weaponized hypochondria, which has become so pathological that millions of people now believe that catching a cold is something abnormal and that the most extreme measures are justified to prevent anyone from ever catching one.
Life must end on account of the sniffles. A cough in public is cause for alarm. The sight of someone’s face incites hysterics. People are running for cover – and demanding that everyone cover their faces – because they are afraid they might catch a cold.
Too bad such people don’t just stay home. And let the rest of us get on with life.
But people are dying! Yes, but probably not you. Almost all people don’t die from this cold, as almost all people do not die from other colds. They get sick, perhaps. But they remain alive after enduring a few days of being sick.
This was considered normal – a part of life – only a little more than a year ago.
Today, the fear of catching a cold has been so pathologized that tens of millions of people are terrified to go out and about without performing various rites. It is like a person who is so pathologically terrified of the rain that he refuses to go outside without a rain coat, even if it is sunny. Who believes that getting wet will kill him and accordingly will do anything to reduce if not eliminate the chance he might get wet – even if it means staying indoors all the time or never going outdoors without a raincoat on.
Which would be ok – sad, but still ok – if it were only applicable to the sufferer. But it isn’t.
The sufferers insist on general suffering.
A press preview of the next year’s new cars is a “superspreader” event, in the argot of the pathological. Notwithstanding that all prior “superspreader” events spread nothing, except perhaps some joy.
For example, the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. Thousands dared to show their faces in close proximity to other people’s faces this past summer. But the bodies didn’t stack up, though the rhetoric was very heated up. Until the bodies didn’t materialize – at which point the rhetoric stopped. It is noteworthy that there is never a follow-up to these double-diapered apoplectic outbursts of outrage about the super-spreadiness of such gatherings when the bodies fail to stack up. Just as there is very little coverage of the celebrities who recover from the Deadly Plague, such as Tom Hanks and Bryan Cranston.
Bu we do get “cases” of octogenarians and up who die – as octogenarians and up tend to do – only now the message is that when an octogenarian (usually one with COPD or diabetes or cancer or something else that tends to result in death) dies it is somehow unnatural; i.e., that it is shocking when a diabetic, COPD’d octogenarian dies rather than expected, as used to be the case when most people understood that when people reach octogenarian-hood, their dying is expected and normal, especially when they were already close to death from things besides old age.
What’s abnormal is this business of equating the normal dying of the very elderly and the very sick with a significant threat of death to everyone else.
It probably makes sense for the elderly and very sick to avoid places where they might catch cold, just as it makes sense for those who cannot swim to avoid diving into the deep end of a pool without wearing a life preserver.
But for people who can swim?
It’s analogous to the insipid argument that “speed kills” – and that because a marginally competent, near-sighted old lady with arthritis stands a greater chance of causing an accident everyone must be forced to drive at the same slow pace of the marginally competent, near-sighted old lady with arthritis.
If she can’t competently make a right on red, then no one else may, either – even if they are quite capable of competently performing the maneuver.
This etiology has scaled and now encompasses health. Everyone must not only be presumed to be sick and a spreader of sickness but also as likely to get sick and to die from a sickness that 99.8-something percent of the generally healthy and not-every-elderly population recovers from without the divine intervention of more than over-the-counter meds . . .assuming they even get sick.
If this isn’t halted somehow, it is inevitable that an actual Idiocracy will be born, a land in which even being average is considered exceptional – but also grounds for punishment, for the sake of the hurt feelings of the less-than-average, that average plummeting lower as predictably as the setting of the winter sun.
As for the NY Auto Show: It was fun while it lasted.
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