After days of clouds and rain, the sight of a little sunshine is restorative. Affirmation that it will stop raining, eventually. That the gloom is not forever.
I thought I’d share some cloud-parting sunshine with you from the front lines of the war against weaponized hypochondria.
The phone range and I picked it up. My nice neighbor lady was on the line. Her voice was up tempo as she related how she had shed the Face Diaper she is sick of wearing and won’t anymore. Even for the sake of her friend, who is riddled with fear of sickness and threatened to refuse to visit with her or shop with her unless she put the loathsome, degrading vestment on.
My neighbor lady told me she told this friend she would love to see her and go shopping with her and that she is welcome to wear her “mask” – as these things are styled – if she wishes to but that she will not and that’s it. If it makes her uncomfortable, she will have to deal with it. The friend backed down and the two went shopping – and dining – without my friend even going-through-the-motions of feigning agreement with sickness psychosis as by perfunctorily and partially putting the vestment on to enter a restaurant before taking it off at the table – a species of kabuki so ridiculous that the general willingness to perform it speaks volumes about the beaten-down spirits of those who perform it.
She could barely contain her enthusiasm as she told me how good it felt to not have that muzzle over her face. To feel like a human being rather than made to feel like a leper. I have heard the same story from several others who’ve shed the vestment, having reached the end of their willingness to be shamed into the wearing of it. Uniformly, they describe the weight lifted; the sense of oppressiveness vitiated and – most of all – that they feel normal again.
My neighbor friend is a woman in her early 70s – exactly the profile most easily shamed and pressured into wearing the vestment, being physically among the least able to back down a religious bully. My friend wore the vestment for awhile for this reason and also because she wanted to see people – even if she could not see their faces. Like many older people, she is retired (and also a widow) and sickness psychosis has deprived these people of social contact to such a degree that serious depression has become a far greater threat to their lives than “the virus.”
But the wearing of the vestment as the condition of marginal social interaction is even more depressing. My friend describes the alienation from her friends; the awkwardness in the air. The way “the virus” – or rather, the weaponized fear of it and all the associated pathologies – has poisoned everyday normalcy and made life bleak and sad for the putative sake of “stopping the spread.”
She’s had enough – and is now determined enough to assert her right to live without pretending to live in fear of death that she has cast aside the vestment. Of such bricks are mighty fortresses made.
I also bumped into an old friend at my local supermarket – a Kroger that has the sign on the door about “local ordinances” (no such thing) “requiring masks” but absolutely no attempt made to make anyone wear one.
Yet almost everyone does wear one. This is an ominous indicator of the metastasis. Of the way rampant mental illness is being normalized. It is a phenomenon very closely related to what the writer Hannah Arendt called the “banality of evil.” By which she meant that evil (in Germany during the Late Unpleasantness) had become so general as to no longer be extraordinary. When almost everyone walks around with an armband on, the wearing of an armband becomes unexceptional no matter the exceptional evil it represents.
The same as regards this symbol of a different cult that is in many ways the same cult.
People no longer bat an eye. And they just comply – out of fear of eyes being batted at them if they don’t.
Like the old friend I met at the supermarket the other day. He is a nice old hippie and known to me as someone who does not believe in the tenets of the Sickness Cult. We used to drink coffee together at the Sweet Donkey cafe, where I am no longer welcome due to my refusal to pretend to believe in the tenets of the Sickness Cult, in particular the wearing of the facial vestment thereof.
I was so startled to not see his face that I immediately said: What the hell are you wearing that idiotic thing for?
A few eyes turned toward me – none batted, though. I am 6ft 3 and 220 pounds of not-putting-up-with-it and so far haven’t had anyone try to make me. But my friend is an old hippie and not 6ft 3 or 220 pounds. He is a gentle and sweet guy who goes out of his way to not be the source of eyes batting.
Which is exactly what these sickness bullies depend on to get people like my friend and countless others to kowtow to their joy-killing, life-sapping degradation rituals.
My friend removed his vestment and the two of us talked for some time in the store, an island of sanity amid a sea of sickness. I urged my friend to not bow his head by effacing his face; that to do so is the opposite of kindness to others because it is to participate in the making of evil banal.
That it is critical to call evil out by not pretending it isn’t evil for the sake of getting along and not causing a fuss.
The point was excellently portrayed in the Thomas Bolt play, A Man for All Seasons – which is about King Henry VIII’s friend and chancellor of England, Sir Thomas Moore, who refused to give in to Henry’s pressure to publicly disavow his deeply held principles. There is a dialogue in the play between Moore and his friend, the Duke of Norfolk – who tries to persuade Moore to just go along with it for the sake of fellowship:
Norfolk: Oh confound all this. I’m not a scholar, I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not but – dammit, Thomas, look at these names! Why can’t you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship!
More: And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?
And so I told him.
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