I’ve written before about the individual shaming, around COVID particularly but in general, but as we go headlong into what is about to be a cold and lonely winter I’d like to encourage us all to stop elevating the stories of assholes:
hahahahaha really struggling very hard not to hate absolutely everybody, really standing on that ledge of total misanthropy! https://t.co/n3SNvC8D0v
— Jessica Ellis (@baddestmamajama) December 16, 2020
This whole thing was the internet piñata for the day, and I understand why people are angry with this family, with everyone they hear about going on a vacation or everyone they see hanging out at a restaurant. I haven’t seen my friends in months and I worry about ten people I know who are struggling every single day, and hearing about some giant house party or live indoor concert makes me crazy too.
It’s useless, is the problem.
I think a lot of people who are flouting rules are dickheads, and public shaming only hardens their resolve to continue to act like their heads are made of dicks. This is already a demographic — mostly white, well-to-do, temperamentally inclined to yell at the Starbucks girl — that enjoys feeling persecuted by being taught any new thing. Protesting their weddings and bar mitzvahs just confirms for them that they are correct.
I also, though, think a lot of people who have followed the rules, who have done what they were supposed to do, for a long-ass time, who homeschooled their kids and shut down their lives and ordered takeout and Zoomed with Grandma are UTTERLY LOSING IT IN THE FACE OF GOVERNMENT INACTION AND INEPTITUDE and are just like look, if nobody behaves then it doesn’t matter if I do. Which is exactly the conclusion you come to when you have the leadership we have.
The entire point of our leadership should be to tell us what we’re all goddamn doing here. What are we a part of, what do we all believe? Jesus, even the GOPers whose messages were small and mean had a message that wasn’t just SCREW YOU THIS IS WHO YOU SHOULD BE MAD AT. It was like massive bullshit all the time but at least it was a message.
Without that, without a voice of calm and decency telling us that what we are doing takes courage and kindness, that it is worth it, that we will get through, that everything will be okay, that we have faced hard times before and will manage them again, you wonder if your sacrifices are worth it. If all you hear is the rule-breaking and the belligerence and the hate of our fellow jackasses, if all you see is the angry mob and not the nurses and doctors fighting this every single day and sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing but every single day getting up and trying again, if you fill your head with poison and hopelessness and anger …
Well, we’ve seen pretty well these last four years what that leads to. Think about all the people you know who are constantly mainlining stories of liberal depravity, of Democrats secretly molesting and killing children, of secret microchips and controlling the population. Think about what it does to every cell in your body to spend all your time in a frustrated rage.
Then think about the people who put signs in their windows at the start of this, that are still there months later: WE’VE GOT THIS. WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER. HAVE HOPE. The scavenger hunts and the handmade masks, the donations, the phone calls, the “what do you need” and the “I have one of those, you can have it for free” that have sustained and uplifted us all.
At the dark and dead end of the year, on the days when it seems like the whole world just might stop turning and we will live forever in the night, I want us to turn our attention to the stories of people whose lives have honored the dead and not those who’ve disgraced them.
I want us to spend a fraction of the time we spend freaking out on social media about somebody not behaving properly elevating the stories of those who have. I want applause — and MONEY — for teachers doing the most, for delivery drivers working triple-shifts, for the researchers who found the vaccine, for the coffee shops keeping them all going. I want our attention on THEM, and not on some puds who needed to have a wedding.
That wedding is over. We have a winter to get through. We need to hold on.