How did the concepts of social distancing and wearing a mask to avoid catching or spreading a deadly disease become such a partisan issue? The president and Fox News is how. That’s all. Thanks for coming.
OK just kidding that’s not all there’s like three thousand words more on that below but hold on a minute. Hold on!
If you missed this paid-only Hell World from the other day it will likely make you very angry.
“Well, this one enraged me, so, well done?!?!” one reader said. Added another:
It was about two things: One is the Supreme Court denying to hear the case about a family in Colorado who had their home completely demolished by the police who were searching for a very dangerous … shoplifting suspect. Essentially their refusal to take it up means that the lower court’s ruling that it’s in the public safety interest for police to be able to destroy your home when they deem it necessary will stand. Good luck out there everyone!
The second part is about how Minnesota this week finally enacted something called the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act. It’s a law named after a twenty six year old who died just after he aged off of his parents’ insurance. Since he could not afford his own he had taken to rationing his insulin.
The bill would provide insulin at a very low cost for diabetics in an emergency and it was a pretty good start but on the day it was set to go into effect a group called Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) sued the state seeking an injunction against its enforcement.
“A state cannot simply commandeer private property to achieve its public policy goals,” they argue. Not unless they’re shooting the shit out of your house to get a guy who stole a couple t-shirts from Walmart I guess.
If you’d like to catch up on that fun stuff subscribe and go here. I’ve been doing more paid-only posts than usual lately so if you’re missing out you know what to do.
One other thing: Please read this thread from a tenants rights organizer who spent the day listening to eviction hearings in Oklahoma. It will curdle your stomach.
I loved these comments on the thread as well.
“This is what the legal system really is,” @arguendope said. “Put aside the pageantry of the Supreme Court, the fun anecdotes about the Justices' quirks, even the high doctrine of constitutional law. The reality of the American legal system is a sleek, efficient machine designed to murder the poor.”
“When you just hit people and take their stuff for being powerless it looks bad, so we decided [on] this system where nerds read spells at you before taking your stuff without force,” @tobypinder added.
Ok back to the pandemic.
As I’ve mentioned before neither Fox News nor Trump invented the selfish individualistic self-mythology of the average American but they have certainly weaponized it and turned the concept of any type of self-sacrifice into a sign of weakness. Look no further than the absolutely insane-making Board of County Commissioners meeting in Palm Beach, Florida last week for evidence of how truly deep this mind rot has set in.
While considering a mandatory order to wear facemasks the commissioners heard from a series of concerned citizens. “They want to throw God's wonderful breathing system out the door,” one woman complained.
“There's not enough to make this a pandemic,” another woman added. “This is a planned-demic. This is totally political and you know it and I'm asking you to cease-and-desist from the political agendas that you're being propaganded [?] to stand with and try to hold us hostage as American citizens."
u wot mate?
“You literally cannot mandate somebody to wear a mask knowing that that mask is killing people, it literally is killing people,” a third said.
“And we the people are waking up and we know what citizens arrest is because citizens arrests are already happening. And every single one of you that are obeying the devil's laws are going to be arrested and you, doctor, are going to be arrested for crimes against humanity.”
[Homer slowly backing away into a bush .gif]
On Thursday in Florida alone there were over 10,000 new cases of coronavirus reported. There were over 55,000 in the United States total that same single day.
For that you can thank the piss poor messaging from Trump himself as well as the governors in states who seek his favor and Fox News and their ideologically adjacent media outlets.
None of which is to say that blue states and their leaders are off the hook — our ten foot tall moron governor in Massachusetts who is supposed to have done a “good job” getting things under control here is set to open gyms this week. Believe me there is nothing I want more in the world than to get back to the gym to load up Define the Great Line by Underoath on the iPad mini and stack four plates on the bar instantly snapping my spine in half rendering myself out of commission for six months but I'm simply not going to go to a gym right now.
Also I would imagine that many of the twenty somethings we’ve seen pictures of crowding patio bars in Boston and New York and the like consider themselves “as liberal as anyone, but…” so this isn’t to say northeast libs good/ southern conservatives bad but nonetheless the fact remains that much of this needless death falls on the MAGA chuds who refused from the very beginning to take this pandemic seriously for… well I still don’t understand why. Reasons let’s call it.
Multiple polls have born out the feeling that many of us have had that wearing masks has become another front in our eternal pointless culture war of shit.
“This partisan divide is also found in the behaviors of the general public: Democrats and those who lean Democratic are more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to say they personally wore a mask all or most of the time in the past month (76% vs. 53%). Even after controlling for differences in the COVID-19 health impact in the communities where people live, Democrats are more likely to say they personally wear a mask all or most of the time.”
“Conservative Republicans are among the least likely to say they have worn a mask all or most of the time in the past month – 49% say they’ve done so, compared with 60% of moderate Republicans. Liberal Democrats are the most likely to say they have worn masks (83% say they’ve done so all or most of the time, vs. 71% of moderate Democrats).”
“Indeed, news media diet -- or the top news sources people use -- is strongly associated with coronavirus-related preventive practices,” according to Gallop. “A partisan gap in attitudes and self-reported behaviors has existed since March and is growing larger. A significant contributor to this widening gap seems to be Americans' news media diet... lending support to the thesis that public health issues have become the newest extension of an ongoing culture war waged daily by partisan news outlets.”
Although a number of national polls have shown a majority of partisans on either side regularly wearing a mask small state-by-state polls like this one in Iowa bear out the stubborn refusal to do so by the right.
“Iowa Democrats are more than twice as likely as Republicans to say they wear face masks or facial coverings almost all or most of the time when they’re in public places indoors, a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows,” according to the Des Moines Register.
“Among Iowa Democrats, 76% say they do so, the poll shows. Among Iowa Republicans, 37% say they do. Among political independents, 52% say they do.”
That could potentially be changing however! Maybe? Hopefully?
lol probably not we’re fucked.
Yesterday George Abbot in Texas finally at long last issued an order for most counties in the state — which is currently getting its dick kicked off with new cases — to wear masks. He had long dragged his heels on the issue. I’m sure Texans by and large will be fine going along with it if I know anything about Texas which is the America of America.
That comes as Fox News is said to be pivoting to taking the pandemic seriously and encouraging mask use now but they already did this back and forth two step a couple months ago and they’re not to be trusted in any case nor afforded any measure of credit for belatedly doing the right thing. Too much of the damage has already been done.
Mercifully my own family who I may have mentioned I do not exactly see eye to eye with seem to have been taking things seriously all along. My mother an avid sewer and knitter made lovely masks and mailed them out to us and others a while back and my sisters (one of whom recovered from a mild case) seem to be going crazy with their children at home for so long but they are keeping to themselves as best I can tell. My dad who has fucking leukemia has gone back to work but he’s in a room by himself and wearing a mask while there so… It could be worse on the old extended O’Neil family front.
I was curious if other people’s MAGA/Fox News families have been taking precaution throughout the pandemic or not or if maybe they’ve changed their tunes recently. Since polls are dumb I decided to gather the only type of information I trust which is anecdotal Hell World readers’ stories. Here’s what people told me.
- I've been able to convince the Fox family members in California to wear them, but no luck with the ones who are also on Facebook.
- My parents are MAGA…they’ve been skeptics, but they have also taken it seriously enough to achieve the illusion of plausible deniability. They were in Florida from January to May, and my dad assured me that, unlike lazy, profligate, and diseased liberal blue states, Florida was run with hyper-competence. I know they wore masks on the plane back, but I doubt they wear them otherwise. And now my mom insists Florida only seems to have a problem because of “more testing.”
- The Arizona MAGA family finally thinks it might get them and not just the “inner city people on the east coast.” No masks, they just stay home. Being an antisocial loser is the original social distance strategy.
- My family is having a superspreader event tomorrow where everyone comes from all over the country and exchanges germs in one person's house. I mean, they're calling it "Independence Day", but the coronavirus has been remarkably indifferent to the reasons people gather, and seems to view every large gathering as a superspreader event.
- My step dad is MAGA. He sneers at the thought of wearing a mask, and does not practice social distancing, but does wear a mask grudgingly to go in stores when required. Last week he landed in the hospital for a tick-related disease. Now that he’s compromised it will be interesting to see if his attitude changes or if his death wish continues. Sadly I don’t have much hope. It’s like they all drank the same mind control poison and are following a flute song.
- One of my coworkers who listens to Rush Limbaugh in the office every day was freaking out about how nobody is taking covid seriously anymore, and she doesn't understand how people can be so irresponsible.
- My Californian MAGA parents are extremely anti-lockdown measures of any kind. My dad has likened the mask requirements to the “mark of the beast” if you’re familiar with Biblical stuff.
- My dad, a doctor who wears a mask literally every day of his professional life, has been going super hard in the paint with the anti-mask rhetoric. I can’t even bring up the topic anymore without getting a stern discussion about “the facts.”
- The pandemic has been an interesting paradox for my relatives in central Massachusetts who are both Trumpians and Preppers, but so far they're taking it very seriously.
- It’s interesting because from what I’ve seen, apart from posturing one way or another, I don’t think liberal or conservative POV dictates how seriously you actually take it. Plenty of liberals had to hit up the bars and plenty of conservatives quietly slip on a mask at Lowe’s.
My mother in law lives in rural Ohio and has some of the brain rot. My husband was talking to her about our baby’s first birthday and how we were doing a Zoom call because we can’t see people in person, and she said something about how “It’s not as bad here” and he goes “I’m looking at your chart right now and it’s going up in Ohio” and she goes “Oh that’s just Cleveland/Cincinnati. She had a friend over at her house at the time. I don’t know if she wears a mask but I get the feeling she just goes with the flow of her friends and neighbors.
My parents are liberal, and my mom has visited with some friends in their home recently. She definitely will wear a mask at the store and stuff, but I know she’s impatient with all of this because she’s on my case constantly about seeing the baby. I was talking with some friends recently about how there’s no way to find balance with any of this. Even I start to question whether we’re being too cautious sometimes. But there’s no guidance. The government is like we’re going to reopen all of these things but you should still not go anywhere if you can help it.
- My mother, from Massachusetts but now in Connecticut, was never MAGA, but was absolutely a “conservative” and a Republican (even though she'd say independent but whatever.) Not only has she taken a 180 on taking all of this seriously since it started, she's opened her eyes to BLM. Like, every day I think of that it blows my mind a little.
- Yes my family take it seriously. They’re in a small city in Kansas of 50,000 people. They were totally not on board until a couple weeks back. There were a handful of cases, and then the city started hitting multiple days of record numbers of new cases for the entire state. My dad is now lambasting non mask-wearers on Facebook constantly. There’s a big “wave 2” energy which has gotten through to a lot of folks in this area. I think seeing stuff have to shut back down has been a wake up. The opening read as “it’s all done,” and the shutdowns are like “oh fuck I guess it isn’t.”
- My father is taking it seriously. He was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder last winter. He calls the closures and advisories bullshit, but he has barely left his home. Lucky for him that he retired a few years ago, because his job was deemed essential. There's a whole side note where he's Mr. Republican Guy, but his whole comfortable retirement is due entirely to his membership to a strong union.
- My MAGA family are wearing masks, but they’re also bitching about how the Democrats didn't do anything for covid relief. They say if it wasn't for Trump people wouldn't even have the extra $600 a week, which they happily collected while their jobs were closed, but are now bitching about how it should never be extended because people need to be working. They’re failing to grasp the fact that there really aren't many jobs to be working at right now, and because something doesn't impact them RIGHT NOW, no one should benefit. So yeah, typical MAGA logic.
- My family in Florida is a mix. They do masks, inconsistently, and acknowledge that social distance measures are a fine idea, but they also think no one in power has done anything wrong. We can’t just stop the economy.” They visit my sickly grandma regularly.
- My Fox News dad in hella red, UBER MAGA upper peninsula Michigan told me this entire thing was a hoax to defeat Trump. Then a month went by and he had my lil bros teach him Instacart and he hasn’t left his house since April except to walk the dog. A pandemic is the antidote to some cases of brain worms it seems.
- In my area of Massachusetts they talk a lot of shit on Facebook and then wear the masks in the stores anyway. Thankfully.
- A good friend of mine has some MAGA family in Oklahoma that refused to wear masks or distance. His father died of covid. I think they get it now.
- The south shore is one of the most notoriously conservative areas of Massachusetts, and I still see a ton of mask wearing and social distancing behaviors. Anyone who isn’t doing this is in the minority.
- I’m in Texas and my parents are taking it seriously and wearing their masks, mostly because my Dad is a bit of a germaphobe.
- My cryptofash stepmom and dad in West Virginia are not wearing masks at all.
- My parents are mostly taking it seriously. My mom and stepdad are urban, Jewish, doctor Fox viewers, and my dad and stepmom, who are out in the country, are evangelical insane Fox viewers. At first they didn’t believe any of it was real. But here in Louisiana, shit got real fast and there was no denying it. They’re all in their seventies. My dad and stepmom are preppers. They’re hunkered down big time now. My stepdad, the doctor, wears a mask but still goes out to, like, sit and have coffee in a coffee shop. So, his “serious” isn’t as serious as I’d like.
- My father did at first, then the GOP misinformation machine convinced him not to. “Let’s kill off the boomers who vote for us in droves” is a weird strategy to be honest.
- My family are saying they are wearing masks but I’d wager they’re not.
- My parents and my aunt and uncle are. All of them are between 75 and 85. They seem rightly fearful at this point. But 110 days ago I was yelling at them about not going to church. Not sure when it shifted or why. I think Anthony Fauci looks so much like they think they look (older, smart, calm, dignified) that they all listen to him. I don’t want to canonize anyone but he may be the only one in the executive branch preventing these people from dying.
- At the monument in Swampscott, Massachusetts, within eye-shot of governor Charlie Baker's house, you can often see a maskless crowd all holding huge Trump/Pence signs. Most likely the same people bitching because they can't go into Starbucks without one.
- Mine are just barely. They’re still going out, but masking up more often than not. They’re in South Carolina. Mom and sister went back to work a few weeks ago, but then mom retired, and now my sister is home sick. So...fingers crossed. Not sure what tipped them over besides two sons in the northeast and one very liberal friend.
- The MAGA corner of my family, located in the Midwest, has been isolating and taking this seriously from the beginning. One of them spent quite a bit of time and resources sewing masks and sending them to people in her circle. It probably helped that they had proof it wasn't a hoax as one member caught it on the job as a pharmacist. The employer did not provide PPE.
- My in-laws are Trump voters, but seem to be ashamed enough not to talk about it much. They wear masks at the stores and were upset that people in Florida were not. They are now up north and fine with the masks. I really don’t understand the disconnect. They parrot a lot of the Fox News talking points when politics are broached. It’s sad.
- My parents aren't wearing masks but they're 100% isolating at home, no trips out of any kind for either of them since early March.
- I'm in MAGA country in rural Florida, but luckily my family ain't MAGA. My family has a small business here, and mask compliance from our customers is so poor, we refuse to unlock our lobby. They have to call for service, or I go talk to them outside. Ancients wear masks, but Boomers do not.
- Here in Southeast Georgia in the last week I’ve seen mask compliance go from about 20% to 70%, but was informed that it's just because a lot of folks from out of town are visiting for holiday. It’s a 50/50 split with MAGAs otherwise.
- My MAGA in laws in Virginia are super serious about masks because my mother in law has a lung problem. My MAGA brother and sister in law in Texas have so far refused to wear them.
- My MAGA grandfather from Connecticut sure isn’t.
- My mom doesn't watch Fox News, but she's a huge Trump supporter, and she's taking it very seriously. I've been incredibly surprised.
- At first my parents on Long Island were buying the Fox bullshit. Now they're in this confusion zone where they are aghast at all the people taking no precautions but also very angry at "government overreach."
- My parents in western Pennsylvania surprisingly both wear them, but my dad definitely thinks whatever Hannity thinks, but will not say it to my face.
- My swamp yankee MAGA Fox News grandma is wearing it, but she has simultaneously drunk deep from the well of “commie China purposefully created and unleashed it as a biological weapon” conspiracy, so…
- I work with a dumb-as-rocks chud and even though she goes to the store every day she’s wearing a mask.
- My mom says she wipes things down more and sanitizes when shopping but will not wear a mask.
- My Republican non-MAGA dad says he’s wearing one when he’s golfing now but none of us believe he’s wearing it properly. And none of his friends are. Then they go drinking after.
- My dad in a western New York suburb has been a diehard Fox/Rush guy for thirty plus years. Every conversation is just regurgitation of Fox News’ front page. He has no problem wearing a mask everywhere. But he’s full of paradoxes like this: never used a gun, not religious. Too many years listening to Rush just rotted his brain. He’s a very sweet, soft spoken guy, but just buys into every right wing talking point. Basically I think he’s a racist, though he doesn’t even know it. He defended himself once by stating he has a black friend. Couldn’t remember his name though.
- My chud-adjacent dad is a truck driver who hauls medical waste and wasn't being supplied PPE. The man owns multiple shirts from the Reagan museum, but would probably deck someone inside without a mask as this point.
- My dad, a retired surgeon and Trump voter, is heavily pro-mask. I think what’s interesting is the best path to getting the right on board with masks might be to tell them, “Hey, COVID19 isn’t a big deal. You’ll be fine as long as you wear a mask!” which supports their feelings that it’s “exaggerated” but makes it conditional on mask wearing.
- My dad lives in a touristy South Carolina town that's had a huge rise in cases. I was worried because he was really eager for reopening, but also has every high risk factor. He seems legit worried right now, said he always wears a mask and kept telling me to do the same.
- In Connecticut a lot of the MAGA crew is. Feels like peer pressure works if the local government and public is all in.
- My aunt in Oregon, who's deeply invested in Fox News and Trump, is taking it seriously. She has a lot of other conditions though. She’s literally the kindest person I know. Just incredibly awful politics.
- My parents live in western Pennsylvania, and while they purposefully do not watch Fox, they are quite conservative evangelical christians. They’ve been wearing masks and pretty much staying home since March.
- Somehow one I'm related to in Connecticut both takes the lockdown seriously — maybe because there's no alternative here? — and thinks it’s a Democrat hoax/lie/overblown or whatever Tucker or Crowder is saying that night.
- No. Sadly. My Fox addicted family member in Maine thinks it is all overblown. It’s breaking my heart. Refuses to wear a mask. Rants like crazy about it.
- All my MAGA-ass relatives are dead. Not from the 'rona, just from life. Thanksgiving is hella good now.
OK that’s all for now. Bye.