The human capacity to ignore the most relevant part of an issue in order to believe what they want to believe is extraordinary.

In the case of the pandemic, that thing is increasingly this: that we are still in a pandemic, and the pandemic is still a destabilizing problem.
There are many reasons we remain in pandemic. Some may prove endemic. Most are systemic political blocks to coordinated responses that are possible and necessary, but not yet attempted.

It's tiring. It's awful.

Nevertheless, we remain in a pandemic, which remains destabilizing.
The problem of the virus is a systemic one, and the system is the human body.

The unwillingness/inability to effectively counter it is a political one, which is its own type of systemic problem.

In this country especially, the problem is cultural. We have a culture of neglect.
We have our cultural traditions of supremacy, many of which are intentional and deliberately malicious, but the overriding culture I detect is indifference.

It's an unwillingness to pay the cost of helping those who need it, led by a desire to not even know about the need.
If you have streets, your systems maintain them, or they will fall into disrepair.

If your streets are broken, your systems fix them, or they stay broken.

If your systems refuse to do this, your systems are broken.

At which point the question becomes: do you care?
And if our systems only fix some of the streets, then they are communicating its culture's priorities.

The method of communication is neglect.

But the streets remain broken, and a system that only fixes some streets may someday neglect yours.

The question remains: do you care?
If your street is fixed, maybe you decide you don't care, because if you care, then you still need to do something about it, and the streets you need are mostly fine.

The thing to do then is, find a rationale to not care.

My observation is that any reason will do.
We're talking about how we treat streets. We could be talking about many things.

We could be talking about how we treat people who are sick, for example. Or people who take care of the sick. Or others who keep society running for us.
A society that neglects its streets might well treat the people who keep a society running, who servicing its essential systems, as disposable.

What I like about the street metaphor is, it's not a metaphor.
There are problems with all of this, many of which are moral, spiritual, political, or philosophical.

But there's a practical problem: people aren't disposable, and if you dispose of them, your society will crumble.

And we are still in a pandemic.
So: we have vaccines, which we should mandate, as we've mandate others. And these vaccines have restored a degree of normalcy for many months to many of us.

But immunocompromised people don't enjoy the full benefits of the vaccine.

The question as always is: do we care?
Earlier this week I wrote a thread I'm not linking to, because it's resulted in my hosting this week's Twitter fight.

A lot of people don't care, and they resent people who do, and they resent any reminder of it.

They have found their reasons to not care.
Any reason will do. Massive wall of responses, all of them expressing a desire t
A lot of people choose to simply ignore the evidence that prevention methods are effective—when applied.

Some point to the fact that LOTS of people die.

Many use laughably specious logical fallacy.

Many just state flatly: they don't care.

And yet, we remain in a pandemic.
The most common reason I've seen is that the virus is "endemic," in other words, inevitable.

This may prove true. The problem is they're using it as a reason, not to redouble our efforts to build infrastructure and policy to deal with it, but to stop dealing with it at all.
It's almost as if a culture of indifference will teach itself indifference to anything, and our power structures of wealth representation are counting on it.

Almost exactly like that.

And the problem is: we remain in a pandemic.
The answer to this question is: I don't know.

I know we can't just declare we're done with it because we want to be done.

When it surges, we must take appropriate precaution. When it doesn't, we must install appropriate safeguards against future surge.

And my answer to this is: those who are listening to immunosuppressed, disabled, and otherwise at-risk people actually ARE listening to other perspectives in solidarity.

I hope we refuse re-engage with our comfortable old cultural indifference. We must.

When does it end? It might not end, if this virus truly is endemic.

Maybe we can defeat it. We should certainly make the effort—the real globally coordinated cooperative effort this requires—but if it's not, we might need to create a new normal.

Hopefully a better one.
Any fight against this virus will also have to be a fight against our systemic and viral culture of indifference.

Systems that optimize for indifference remain indifferent to improvement.

Systems that don't improve themselves won't sustain.

And we remain in a pandemic.

If you want more of this sort of thing, this Monday's edition of my newsletter will have it.…

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More from @JuliusGoat

13 Jan
People who want to keep the filibuster to kill the bill think the same as her, not differently.

It’s those who want to remove the filibuster in order to safeguard our democracy who think differently from her.

Where are her attempts to understand them?
Comfortable people discomfited by injustice are always asked to “understand different perspectives,” and it never ever means the people who are actually harmed by injustice, who have an actually different perspective. It always means those who are comfortable with injustice.
Yes, and what do we mean when we say “we’ve never been so polarized,” anyway?

What if instead we said “It’s been a long time since the reality of injustice has been made so unavoidably present to otherwise comfortable people”?…
Read 4 tweets
12 Jan
“I want my life back” is a hell of a thing to say much less publish when 5.5 million people have actually lost their actual lives. Another horseshit article that positions Covid prevention me
We still insist on prevention measures because there are still at risk people who are very much in danger and for whom vaccination is not an option, who can’t simply opt out of caring.

So tired of these articles that frame it as if we’ve chosen this because we like it somehow.
Yes! I also want life to return to normal! We all do! Everyone wants this!

It’s hasn’t, because our leaders have refused to do what is necessary to make it happen, I guess in the hopes that those of us who can afford the risk of just shrugging and moving on will do so.
Read 14 tweets
12 Jan
I can't believe we're forced into arguing over whether or not preventing a potentially crippling or deadly disease is good with the same people with whom we argued over whether or not a terminally ignorant fascist rodeo clown should be president.
"Preventing disease is good, actually."
"Oh? I'm sure you have proof. Be detailed. I'll wait."
"Ok, one second. Here."
"What you haven't considered is that preventing disease is inconvenient."
"Not to people who might die."
"No I mean inconvenient to me. Slightly."
"I see, OK. Well have you considered this:"
Read 6 tweets
12 Jan
This strikes me as simultaneously far too narrow and far too broad, somehow.

THE American novel is a funny idea to me, though.
The American novel always argues for the bill but when you offer lets you pay.

The American novel frequently forgets to put the trash out on pick up day.

The American novel intends to spend more time with friends this year.

The American novel hums along to Jackson Browne tunes
The American novel frequently has a dream it can’t remember, other than to say that it was the same dream as last time.

The American novel has a shirt it bought in 2005 it still thinks of as new.
Read 5 tweets
11 Jan
Right now I'm thinking about a certain type of journalist/media figure who scolds: "twitter isn't real life" meaning "the thing of vital importance that you all are aware of is not something most people are aware of or care about."

As if there is some moral fault in being aware.
Right now I'm thinking about a certain type of journalist who looks at a critical mass of the population that doesn't care about something of vital importance, and decides that collective nonchalance is "real life," and not a failure of journalism's mandate to inform the public.
I mean, sure, "Twitter isn't real life" when it comes to Green Glewald's latest snippy beef with whatever other social media personality, or Jorts the cat, or whatever.

But when it comes to matters of public health, environment, social justice?

Maybe real life isn't real life.
Read 7 tweets
9 Jan
I'll start "learning to live with Covid" when "learning to live with Covid" means "doing the things that allow us to live with Covid" and not "acting as if the way to end a pandemic is to pretend the pandemic isn't real."
You want to live with Covid? Great. Support:

1) Vaccine mandates;
2) Worldwide coordinated manufacture/distribution of free vaccines/boosters;
3) Masking and shutdowns during outbreaks;
4) Universal safety nets for rent, child care, healthcare, wages.


1) Shut the fuck up.
You want to just go back to normal without doing any of the things that allow normalcy—things we have yet to actually try in any coordinated way?

You don't want to "live with Covid." You want to make other people die with it, and you feel personally safe.

We see you. Fuck off.
Read 6 tweets

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