Long-time Premium subscriber Michelle in Ohio writes: “I realize that the … assorted obliviots provide lots of grist for your mill, but with all the news about Covid-19, seeing more of it in True adds to my depression. So if possible, could you back off from [it]? (Oh, and if you don’t accede to my request, I’ll manage to survive; you ain’t gonna get rid of me that easily. This is still the best seven bucks a month I’m spending.”)
An example (and perhaps shock-inducing) story from the issue Michelle is replying to is in this blog: Peak Stress.
First, I certainly understand where you’re coming from, Michelle, and greatly appreciate your parenthetical. The short answer is no …but of course there’s a longer answer.
While most of True’s stories obviously have an “entertaining” aspect to them (though certainly, as noted occasionally over the years, “not all stories are meant to be funny”), there’s also the “thought-provoking” function.
There are a lot of aspects to just that thought-provocation piece of the puzzle, especially as related to the pandemic.
I’m Conscious Of…
- True reflects what’s going on in the world. Can you think of a story that’s bigger and more impactful on the regular people of the world and, especially, the U.S.? The aspects of this one topic include medical, criminal, macro- and micro-economical, societal, business, sports, travel, legal, national security, political, entertainment, technology, historical, religion, R&D, education, national security, emergency services, manufacturing, food supply, hospitality, science, aging, taxation, communications, and probably more — those are just what I could think of in 5 minutes while writing this one bullet point.
- “The media” has often done a terrible job of covering not just Covid, but pretty much everything: they give “equal time” to tiny minorities with loud voices, such as those expressing doubts about the reality of the virus, or claiming conspiracies. The truth is, the vast majority of Americans understand how contagious the virus is, how dangerous it is, and that yes, 500-1200 people in the U.S. alone die from it every day. That tiny minority simply doesn’t deserve “equal time,” which sows confusion and doubt …which is exactly what that minority wants.
“The public” (or some portion thereof) begins to think because of this that there’s a vast anti-mask contingent, when in fact it’s a small group with loud voices — sometimes amplified as they pull out guns to defend their defenseless points. They need to know that there is case after case after case of those “plandemic” conspiracy theorists spreading Covid to others, such as the guy in this morning’s podcast episode expressing his guilty mea culpas.
- Last, “This era is going to be studied for generations to come: epidemiologists, sociologists, anthropologists, and a lot of other -ologists: this is the first severe worldwide pandemic in modern history, and it will be a field of study for a long, long time,” I said in episode 66 of my podcast, and that’s certainly true. I want those professionals to be able to go through True’s and Uncommon Sense’s archives and know that there were “thought leaders” (hate that term, but whatever) urging a more rational approach to this era. Sure, there are a lot of social media posts, memes, etc., but will those terabytes of posts survive the vagaries of Facebook’s business plans? Who knows, but I’m making sure True and Uncommon Sense survive by supplying the full content of both to the Internet Archive.
But Wait, There’s More
I am sorry if the stories cause anxiety, but sometimes it’s necessary to be anxious. That doesn’t mean terrified, it means being aware and not hiding your head in the sand, and keeping your vigilance up so you don’t fall into the same trap.
But more than that, not everyone has the ability to argue these issues. The examples provided in True give readers actual fact-based talking points to use or, if all else fails, a URL to send others to. True uses stories to convey its messages, and stories are powerful vehicles to make points and spread understanding. It sure beats the ad hominem, non sequitur bullshit and misdirection used by those who demonstratably have caused tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths and hundreds of thousands of cases of medical harm in the U.S. and elsewhere.
All this said, yes, I do try to find balance, and include more “lighter” stories than ever to help with that balance. Some of those push out many, many other possibilities that are more directly Covid-related. For instance, I didn’t use the story about the 30-year-old guy in San Antonio, Texas, who told hospital staff, “I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.” Methodist Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jane Appleby said that “Just before the patient died, [he] looked at [his] nurse and said, ‘I think I made a mistake.’” (Source)
Yep, he did, and he not only paid with his life, I have to wonder how many others he infected, threatening their lifelong health status, up to and including joining him in the grave much sooner than they had to. I’m doing as much as I can to wake people up with real and true stories of what happens when they underestimate this pandemic. “This is just one example of a potentially avoidable death in a young member of our community and I can’t imagine the loss of the family,” Dr. Appleby said.
Just one example indeed. It’s easy to ignore one example. It’s stupid but still possible to ignore five examples, or ten, or a hundred. Who knows which one — #1, #12, #50…? — that will finally sink in to some obliviot enough that s/he stops risking all of our lives.
So, I’m going to keep with the examples until they don’t seem to be necessary anymore. As of now, such examples definitely still need to be circulated, and commented upon.
Note: Because I know someone will ask, “Premium subscriptions cost $7/month?!” No …unless you want them to. Many readers voluntarily pay extra to help support True, paying $7, $15, $25, or other amounts every month to enable this publication to survive attention-sucking social media, or to help fund my Randy’s Random meme site, the Uncommon Sense Podcast, the Honorary Unsubscribe, or whatever aspect of my work is important to them, since ads on small web sites bring just a few dollars a week. More info here, and I greatly appreciate your generous support for True’s mission.
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This page is an example of Randy Cassingham’s style of “Thought-Provoking Entertainment”. His This is True is an email newsletter that uses “weird news” as a vehicle to explore the human condition in an entertaining way. If that sounds good, click here to open a subscribe form.
To really support This is True, you’re invited to sign up for a subscription to the much-expanded “Premium” edition:
Q: Why would I want to pay more than the regular rate?
A: To support the publication to help it thrive and stay online: this kind of support means less future need for price increases (and smaller increases when they do happen), which enables more people to upgrade. This option was requested by existing Premium subscribers.