A Diet of Crazy Pills

I love conspiracy theories as interesting things to look at, not as ways of understanding the world. I’ve read and followed more than my fair share and though I’ve let my knowledge slide in the last few years I have a grounding in understanding the more popular theories and understand roughly how they’re built.

Here’s the thing. Almost all of the mainstream media coverage of covid makes me think I’ve stumbled on a new theory nurtured by a few people the details of which are still being made up as they go along. It has no internal coherence or mechanisms to reconcile the parts that don’t fit. It’s uncooked and flimsy and obviously…. not true, by which I mean that I do believe there’s a virus that’s dangerous to some people but nothing media or governments are saying about it seems to have any real connection to reality.

The whole course of media coverage has had a feel of… disengagement with reality from the beginning with asymptomatic (vs presymptomatic) transmission and exponential growth and contact infection. The long wrangles about whether masks work (at doing what and how and what kind of masks?) and how transmission even happens (airborne or water droplets) seem less like experts figuring out a new phenomenon and more like people revising a script during dress rehearsal and then making further revision in the intermission between acts.

Maybe all science works like that and looks like that close up while it happens. I’ve never been involved in the hard sciences (my own field is characterized by massive memory wipes so that phenomena can be rediscovered and passed off as new findings).

But in the last two or so weeks there seems to have been a major ramp up in patently silly stories that I can’t imagine anyone with any education actually believing…. In Australia the virus creeps escapes through cracks in doors (or through walls)? Covid causes diabetes? A person can get infected with more than one strain at a time?

This is less like reporting things from the real world and more like small children creating ever more elaborate lies about what happened to the cookies they weren’t supposed to eat before dinner.

Presumably this is prolong lockdowns as the Irish prime minister a few days ago let it slip that current plans are to keep borders closed for the entirety of 2021 (and probably longer).

This won’t end on its own and it won’t end through government action or vaccinations.

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