Manufactured Infection

I honestly think that after this travesty of “testing” I should now self-quarantine. It will be an absolute miracle if a bunch of people didn’t get infected at that testing site.

I was going to go to work tomorrow but now I won’t.

Testing Question

OK, can someone explain to me how this COVID testing works? You stand for 15 minutes with a bunch of unmasked people who are all actively spitting into an uncovered container. It takes forever to fill the container because after 2 hours in a warm, cramped space people get dehydrated and the saliva doesn’t come easily.

You are not allowed to close the container between spits. Some people shake theirs. When you are done, you stand around for additional ten minutes with the open container while the unmasked people around you are still actively spitting into theirs. The nurse grabs the container, gives it a vigorous shake and only then closes it.

I thought this is an aerosol virus that spreads around in invisible particles. How is this scenario not the perfect way to infect as many people as possible and make sure one positive sample infects everybody else’s? Why aren’t we allowed to close the containers between spits? I’m a bit of a hypochondriac and I’m now getting anxiety.

Everybody here knows that I’m not unduly preoccupied with getting infected. But I’ve got to tell you, folks, that situation didn’t feel safe. Forget COVID. We are in the respiratory illness season. How is this not a high-risk situation?

Right now I want to be reassured there’s something I don’t understand about the testing or the way the virus spreads.

Latin American Dictatorships

I’m bored here in the COVID line, so here’s what I’ll cover in my course on Latin American dictatorships:

Pinochet

The civil war in El Salvador

Bordaberry in Uruguay

The Somoza regime

The Batista dictatorship and Fidel Castro

Trujillo in the DR

Noriega in Panama

Chavez-Maduro in Venezuela.

I’m not doing the Porfiriato and Dr Francia in Paraguay because I covered them in a preceding course. No Argentina because we have a specialist in the Dirty War, and I see no point in doing the stuff she does better in her own courses. No Guatemala because I covered it extensively in another course.

We will be reading Ariel Dorfman, Castellanos Moya and Sainz Borgo. Textbook services are refusing to purchase anything not published in the US, which is always a problem in our courses.

Am I missing anything crucial?

Health Improvement

I arrived for my forced COVID test, and there’s a two-hour line. And they’ve canceled testing tomorrow and the day after, meaning that those who don’t get tested today can’t go to work until next week.

And this is before students come back and a real crush begins.

The line is long and we are all bunched up in a small unventilated space, which is super healthy. Instead of this, I could have been in my office alone with the balcony door wide open. I feel my health improving at a galloping speed.

Everything is being done to discourage in-person teaching and learning.

On the positive side, the students who do jump through all these hoops to study in person are really motivated to learn. I had absolutely unprecedented levels of engagement and in-class participation last semester. Not a single slacker in either of my classes.

Class Divide

A study in Germany analyzed the effects of masks on 25,000 kids and shows a lot of very negative health consequences.

What many people don’t know is that private schools have found inventive ways to obviate mask mandates. This resulted in zero outbreaks and lots of happy kids. I’m keeping a running list of these inventive methods.

As always, if you can’t pay, you are screwed.

Byung-Chul Han on COVID

I haven’t been following one of my favorite philosophers Byung-Chul Han lately, and that was a mistake. He has a lot of insight into COVID that he shared in this enlightening interview:

The virus does not stop China’s advance, quite the contrary. China will now also sell its autocratic surveillance state as a successful model against the epidemic. China will demonstrate the superiority of its system to the world with even more pride. COVID-19 will ensure that the world power moves a little further to Asia. Seen in this way, the virus marks the change of an era.

The saddest part is that we will hysterically and gratefully embrace this autocratic surveillance state, gleefully destroy democracy and civil rights, and create feudal-like levels of inequality over. . . nothing. Nothing whatsoever:

The fear and panic of the virus are exaggerated. The average age of those who died of COVID-19 in Germany is 80 or 81. The average life expectancy in Germany is 80.5. Our panicked reaction to the virus shows that something is wrong with our society.

What’s wrong isn’t a disease of the body. It’s the disease of the soul that is desperate to accept the most invasive forms of control:

The pandemic shock will ensure that digital biopolitics takes hold globally that, with its control and monitoring system, seizes control of our bodies in a biopolitical disciplinary society that also constantly monitors our state of health. Faced with the shock of the pandemic, the West will be forced to give up its liberal principles. Then the West faces a biopolitical quarantine society that permanently restricts our freedom.

And you know why people are so eagerly embracing the disciplinary society? Because relinquishing the harsh and onerous sense of responsibility over one’s own life is incredibly sweet.

My great thanks go to reader ed who alerted me to this interview.

Vaccination Fail

The reason why Israel is doing so much better with vaccinating people is that it’s a small country with an extremely uniform and developed propaganda machine. People have been freaked out into utter incoherence with COVID lies so they run towards the vaccine.

In the US there are too many people who have kept their wits about them and have zero interest in the vaccine. Fake shortages need to be manufactured to interest people in it. The desperation of vaccine-pushers is really great. They’ve used their favorite method of stoking racial hatred to get people to fight over the vaccine, and still even the people who work closely with the high-risk group for COVID are refusing it.

This demonstrates how crucial it is to have enough people who stand outside the propaganda stream.