I'll get as close to this as I can, but anyway, here's a useful example of how to drive underground the risk-taking behavior most everyone is doing and get them to not even bother anymore with managing it.
There's a way to talk about pandemic behavior as a referendum on other people's souls, and there's a way talk about it as seeking the good where the perfect is not achievable. A lot of risky pandemic behavior is driven by rebellion against the first, not incidentally.
These things are not unrelated; the pandemic most assuredly is a referendum on our souls. But the aim of public health messaging must be establishing the trust necessary to achieve pragmatic goals. Salvation is below their pay grade.
A comparison point for the Thanksgiving debate: There is a long-running line of argument in public health circles against using abstinence-only education to prevent HIV, based on the argument that it's unrealistic and doesn't work. thelancet.com/journals/langl…

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More from @AriSchulman

20 Nov
Real talk: A lot of people will not cancel Thanksgiving, and insisting that people must sets up those who decide to proceed for a full ah-screw-it. Better to encourage that those who do gather open windows, gather outside if weather permits, and limit visits with older relatives.
I'll put cards on the table and say that I am gathering with my immediate family for Thanksgiving. We're all getting Covid tests before we arrive.
Again — I think it's good to continue talking up the wisdom of not gathering for Thanksgiving at all. But don't stake your plan on everyone adhering to it; accept and engage with those who won't.
Read 5 tweets
30 Sep
This is a falsehood. Scientists did not do a series of crash studies in two weeks in March that upended decades of research. Rather, the prudential judgment about fragmentary information changed. This here is why the public does not trust experts: newrepublic.com/article/158058…
This is largely the same lie Frieden's CDC told the public in 2014, when it claimed that masks were not necessary to protect health care workers from Ebola, then reversed its stance after a nurse caught Ebola from her patient, but claimed it didn't. thenewatlantis.com/publications/t…
During both Ebola and early Covid, we were told by various public health officials that not only was wearing masks not necessary, it was counterproductive because it would falsely scare people — and the *real* contagions were fear, misinformation, and xenophobia.
Read 5 tweets
13 Jul
The reported Fauci oppo memo has me feeling good about my argument here that our culture knows only two ways to relate to expertise — deference or defiance — and that this treats experts as having more political power than they should: newrepublic.com/article/158058…
If you have to release an oppo dump on your own scientific advisor, it means you have de facto given him the power of a rival political opponent, when instead if you don't like his advice you could just replace him or ignore him. It's a nice gift for Fauci.
To be clear, I believe Fauci, if hardly infallible, has a strong record during the pandemic and the WH should continue to take his advice seriously. But their attempt to publicly undermine the credibility of one of their own top advisors while keeping him on staff is cowardly.
Read 6 tweets
1 Jul
Has.... has anyone at McSweeney's internet tendency actually watched the 1993 film Jurassic Park Image
Although it is an obscure arthouse film that is difficult to interpret, upon a close reading I do not believe that JURASSIC PARK offers quite the vindication of rule by scientists that Mr. Greaves believes it does. mcsweeneys.net/articles/we-sh…
Oh, McSweeney's. Oh no. Oh no no no Image
Read 5 tweets
30 Jun
The defining feature of the "save democracy by making Zuck banhammer Trump" content mill — aside from being exhausting and uninspired — is that it is at once would-be authoritarian and feckless. Little written about the subject captures that farcical paradox.
"Machine learning will fix our informational ecosystem and save democracy"
– very serious aspiring Excel overlords
"At once would-be authoritarian and feckless" is a description I would once have mainly associated with HOAs, but now applies to too many public actors to count.
Read 4 tweets
4 Jun
In January, "the real contagion is racism" was an ideological mistake that cost precious time and untold lives. It's absolutely astonishing that we not only haven't learned from it but are already regressing to it. This is a leadership failure as profound as President Trump's.
Let's walk through this. January:

Reports of mass closures and travel bans in China to fight coronavirus.

WSJ reports: "“Everyone was blindly optimistic,” an adviser to the Wuhan government said. The focus at the time, the adviser said, was to maintain the facade of stability."
January and early February in the US:

Lots of headlines that fear of the virus will be worse than the virus itself, will feed xenophobia, is motivated by xenophobia, and travel bans, quarantines, and social restrictions are racist.
Read 14 tweets

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