I see that the media handmaidens of the Democrat Party are gearing up, preparing to scare the ever-loving snot out of the general public again with a new Covid variant. I swear, I can almost hear them in the newsrooms, dancing about, shaking rattles and wailing “Oooga-booga! Run for your lives, it’s a new Covid variant! It’s gonna kill granny, an’ everyone! Strap on the masks, get the vax, universal mandate! Social distancing! close down all the things! Mass insanity! Cats and dogs living together!” Or something like it. I suppose the readily boggled will fall … again … for that old panic magic, but will the rest of us?
Some days ago, Buck T. at Ace of Spades HQ linked to this essay regarding the great Satanic Day Care Abuse Panic, and how elements of that exercise in public/law enforcement/media insanity duplicates many of the features of the current Trans-Kids! Eleventy!!! panic. Which it does, in some respects, especially in how the establishment news media elevated the panic …because that’s what the media do: Scare the ever-living-snot out of the reading/viewing public because that is what sells issues and page views. Once the panic-train gets going, every cynical exploiter of the panic wants to leap aboard the current trend.
I had reason to visit Fort Sam Houston today – to pick up a set of prescriptions, at the new and vastly expanded BX mall, going through that one back gate where Harry Wurzbach dead-ends, after wandering past the military cemetery, the golf course and the Towers at Park Lane. It’s been a familiar haunt to me for years, even if I was never assigned there, or had reason to go to any offices when I was active duty. It was an open post back then – so wide-open that it was only embarrassment that kept the Fort Sam EM/NCO club from being listed as off-limits to Air Force personnel. (There was, according to scuttlebutt, a dissolute and faintly dangerous element which used to hang out at that club.) I used to take a short-cut through the post on North New Braunfels to circumvent traffic jams on the Pan-Am Highway, when I had to drive through to Lackland AFB from where I lived on the north-east side of town. I was basically familiar with the older part; the stately red-brick Victorian senior officer-housing mansions along the northern and western side of the monumental, L-shaped parade ground, and the series of enormous three-story neo-Spanish Colonial style tile-roofed administration buildings and barracks which lined the opposite side. The mansions along “colonel’s row” always looked well kept, but in the few years after I retired, some of the older buildings began looking pretty ragged, decrepit even. I sometimes wondered if the Army had given up on painting them altogether, trimming shrubbery and pulling up weeds in the lawns around. Part of the peace dividend, I guessed.
The regular promotions for NPR’s science and medicine podcast series – coyly christened Petrie Dish, as hosted by one Bonnie Petrie – has so consistently annoyed me in her dribble of promos for the podcast carried on the classical station that is my normal audio wallpaper, that I’ve never been in the least bit temped to listen to the series. In fact, I generally began to grind my teeth up on hearing her voice, reflecting as it does a chipper attitude of smug certitude peculiar to the ruling class and the media flacks of NPR who do their bidding, slavishly licking their boots and exclaiming on how they enjoy the taste. I regularly noted the careful editing-in of that enticing soundbite intended to publicize her podcast of the week. Yes, I used to work in providing regular news content (as an in-house flack for AFRTS) so I know very well how the sausage is made, stuffed, trimmed, sautéed, and presented for the audience to consume. I knew how to subtly color your announcer-voice to reflect your own attitude and opinion on the story o’the moment, and how to expertly select the soundbite to tickle the audience’s fancy. Or scare them out of their ever-loving minds.
Not much to do with the title of this post, save that when I began writing it, the local classical station is playing Bela Bartok’s version of three Romanian folk dances. I was reflecting on how much fun it was, two weekends ago, to be with my books at the Folkfest in New Braunfels – to sit under the trees by the white building that houses the museum of hand-crafted furniture, listening to the music from the pavilion across the way … everything from traditional German songs, to country-western, and covers of rock music by a local teenage band. There were animals on display – a whole farmyard of them, and a pair of camels, as well. Reenactors came and went, demonstrating their craft, and their mastery of black-powder gun and cannon-fire, as well as simply astounding displays of bladed weaponry. It was all very reassuring, watching the families, the parade of children in costumes on Sunday afternoon, led by an accordion player in lederhosen and an honor guard of Scouts with flags. The children’s masquerade march was a custom first established by the schoolmaster of New Braunfels’ public school more than a hundred and sixty years ago. Life goes on in the Shire, from day to day; much has it always has done.