Depending upon where you live, the news could be full of dire warnings about how the virus is still raging and you must remain vigilant. Alternatively, the news may be about how those heretics somewhere else are being visited by an extra wave of the virus for mocking blessed Covid. It did not take long for the panic to become a racket. The Covid industrial complex is like a public works project. Everyone involved is committed to one thing and that is never ending the job.
Of course, there is always time for a reminder that the secret invisible army of Hitlers is out there in the shadows. Everyone needs to be on the lookout for white supremacy and all its manifestations. Every once in a while someone utters a discouraging word in the earshot of a minority, so the local news team rushes into investigate. Sometimes the national scandal monger chopper in a team to investigate something, which gives the locals a reason to put on a show about it too.
Many people have dropped out of media consumption for this reason, but they cannot escape the constant reminders that you better be afraid. It is impossible to live in the modern world without being exposed to some of it. The only means of escape is to unplug from all mass media, including the internet. Even that is not enough, as your friends and family will still be connected and some of them will be there to remind you of the various things that are supposed to keep you up at night.
Short of doing a Ted Kaczynski and relocating to a cabin in the wilderness, there is no escape from the reign of media terror. No physical escape, at least. The thing is, few people want to remain in this hyper-emotional state, so they find ways to filter it out and get on with what matters in life. You see this with the Covid lunacy. It is as if people are thinking, “okay if I wear this ridiculous mask around in public, I can be left alone to do the things I need to do so I’ll just wear the mask.”
Similarly, the latest vaccine mandate is being met with ignorance by most people as they have checked out of the Covid drama. They simply ignore the Covid news now, so they missed it. Employers will probably ignore it as well, as the last thing they need right now is another way to hassle their workforce. The bureaucracy could very well ignore Biden’s orders as well, as they are permanent, while he is temporary. This reality was made plain under Trump for four years.
One reason people are not in the streets demanding an end of this stuff is they have found a better solution. They just ignore it. Look around the dial over the weekend and you see that the sportsball arenas were packed with fans. They were not wearing masks or social distancing. It was like none of it had happened. You can be sure that television ratings were back to the prior levels. As far as most Americans are concerned, it is football season. Covid season is over.
The same can be said the bombardment of race in mass media. Spend a few minutes watching one of those sportsball shows and you quickly see that every ad is some version of hate whitey. Most people, of course, have long ago developed the ability to not see ads of any kind. Even ads that are attention getting, like the ones created for the Super Bowl, are forgotten the next day. Humans in a mass culture develop a force field to block out the things they dislike.
This is why the Soviet system staggered on for so long. The oppression under Stalin was unsustainable, but Stalin died before than could be tested. Instead, they got a decade of feverish experimentation under Khrushchev. That failed and threatened the stability of the system, so he was pushed out and what replaced him was a new normal in which most people were left to live as best they could within the rules. People ignored the craziness of communism so they could live.
In the current age, things move faster than in the prior age, so we may be living in an accelerated version of this. In the Soviet Union the joke was, “they pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work.” Perhaps the new normal in America is “They pretend to rule over us and we pretend to play along.” The rantings of the current old man in the White House become background noise. People pretend to notice, but otherwise get on with their lives and don’t make a fuss about it.
After all, much of what our political class seems to be doing of late is best explained by an effort to get attention. Sandy Cortez showed up at some swanky gala wearing a dress with the slogan “tax the rich” on it. The only reason this horse-faced barmaid is in Congress is she is good at getting attention. No one really cares what she or any of these people have to say about anything. The only reason to notice them is when they do something stupid like this.
We may be in the phase of the Soviet system where the empire is now on autopilot and the people in charge are just playing make believe. Similarly, the people they are supposed to rule are playing along on the surface but are going about their lives as best they can despite the noise. Unless and until there is a genuine crisis, politics is just an increasingly freakish carnival act. Since the pols are locked out of the cockpit, they are left to gain our attention by other means.
What we may be at the tail end of is a holiday from reality. Since none of these crises ever amounts to much, people pay attention if they need to feel some excitement, but otherwise tune it out and just live as consumers. There are minor ups and downs, but nothing important really happens, so no one feels the need to be too worked up for too long about anything. Like the weather, if you don’t like what is happening, just wait and things will change on their own.
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