Face masks are symbolic, nothing more. Each one should have printed on it the words “I submit.” Public officials are becoming more strident. They are now touting false positive PCR tests as evidence of “asymptomatic carriers” of a disease never proven to exist apart from normal cold and flu season, caused by a virus that has never been isolated.
Here is a real exchange – we were at the Mammoth Hot Springs hotel to use the rest rooms. My wife, grandson and I walked past the sign requiring face masks inside, they to the johns, me to stand about. A woman approached me. Keep in mind that the hotel is closed, the building empty.
“Sir, you have to wear a face mask.”
“No I don’t.”
Incomprehensible, I know, to her native intelligence. If the boss says so, we must do so. The idea that we stand alone, and possess inalienable rights, among them life, liberty … foreign to her. She left.
Another woman approached me, carrying a box of face masks.
“Sir, you are required to wear a face mask in here. It is a policy of the hotel.”
“I don’t care.”
At this point she was going to offer me one of her choice of masks in a box, so I reached in my pocket and pulled mine out, the one that says “This mask is useless.” I did not put it on, but merely held it in front of my face. She seemed taken aback, and walked away, but I heard her saying something like “He’s not going to wear one. We need to …”
I assumed that she was going to summon the thugs. I casually wandered out of the building. In the meantime, my wife and grandson completed their chores, free of masks. In effect I ran interference. I ain’t that smart. It just worked out that way.
It is only going to get worse. We are in the final days of personal choice and freedom. But who deserves to be free? I am still pissed at Maarten, who has lectured me in the art of human persuasion, that I should never be strident, always approach people with respect and reason. I am a “zealot,” he implied, no apology forthcoming.
My response was that I do not attempt to change minds. That is foolish. Dunning-Krueger aside, I don’t have the empathy for people as a group, though the individuals I meet seem nice and somewhat rational. But to get them to change their minds? How is that done? It is not.
I write. I like writing. It helps me navigate this whacked planet. If people like what I write, we enjoy some sympathetic comfort. I can be guided by comments from smart people, often enough well said. But for those I need to “persuade,” I have no energy. The odds are they didn’t read it anyway, even if exposed. They just skimmed and moved on, assuming I am the one who is whacked, not them.
The art of persuasion is studied by experts. They work in advertising and public relations. They are, as Noam Chomsky wrote years ago when I still respected him, “professional liars.” They are too smart to reason with anyone. Instead, they study our weaknesses, and undermine us. The whole of the Covid-19 affair has convinced most people that there is a virus, that it is dangerous, and that we should be afraid. We cannot even look at a menu in a restaurant, as these liars have convinced people that this dangerous virus “lives” 14 days on the plastic covers.
Such lies are pernicious and insidious and effective. I am not a liar. I can’t do that stuff. But I do think in terms of comedy, as I love it. The idea of people in a governor’s office (think Blazing Saddles and Mel Brooks with the word “guv” on the back of his suit coat) going about their chores singing or humming “Springtime for Hitler in Germany” makes me laugh. I love the image. These are fascists and apparatchiks. They are eugenicists. They have lived among us for decades now, and have uncloaked. That I should make Hitler reference? Maarten says no … treat them with unearned respect, or I will never persuade them.
They do not deserved respect, only ridicule. Persuade them? Are you daft?
Years ago, in a different time and culture, my wife and I attended a talk given by a woman who was anti-advertising on the MSU campus in Bozeman. One point she made stuck out and remains with me. At that time Bud Light beer was running TV ads that contained juvenile humor, such things as young men bowing in worship as a fridge opened in the wall like a secret passage. The humor, she said, was not intended to amuse. It was done with purpose.
At the center of every ad agency is a group of behavioral psychologists. Their job is to craft a central message. The rest of the people in the agency, the creatives and such, are tasked with embedding that message in a form that will slide by the normal resistance that people have to “advertising.” They know we hate it, and so have to camouflage it, in effect subverting our native intelligence. The message of a professional ad is always deeply buried
What was the message of the Bud Light ads? Not the humor, aimed at kids 13 and older. That was the vehicle. The message was this: In a few years you’ll be able to drink legally. When you do, we want you to be pre-branded. We want you to drink our swill, Bud Light. Not theirs.
It works, and Maarten, they persuaded these kids. They did so with complete contempt for them. They have no respect for us or our intelligence.
If only I could be that dishonest, I too could be effective! But I cannot. It’s springtime for Hitler in Germany …