Thursday, November 26, 2020


[This Thanksgiving post is mirrored at my newsletter, Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, in a spirit of comity and mutual respect and laziness. Please, subscriber and non-subscriber alike, enjoy, and don't expect too much of me on Friday.]

The thing that is supposed to be ruining Thanksgiving for all True Sons of Liberty is not bothering me any more than it usually does. But the people it’s bothering the most are certainly making it worse.

I haven’t had a big “family” Thanksgiving in years and while I cherish my childhood memories of a warm, bustling, sage-scented house, I do not miss the traditional Thanksgiving travel chaos I’d have to face to get to such a feast. (I understand travel is vastly lighter this year than before, though this Thanksgiving travel flight animation still makes my skin crawl; it looks like one of those microscopic films of teeming human blood cells.) I wouldn’t mind seeing a few friends, but the missus and I can keep the holiday happily enough ourselves without playing COVID roulette with a bunch of people, at least for this year.

I confess part of my phlegmatism — is that a word? Well, if not, then part of my phlegm — is a reaction to conservative rage over Thanksgiving COVID-19 restrictions, real and imagined.

Conservatives been nuts on this subject from the beginning, of course — at first in total Trumpian “This Is Their New Hoax” denial, then trying to blame the spread of the virus on protesters, then asking why liberals won’t let them shoot grandma up with hydroxychloroquine and/or disinfectant as The Leader prescribed.

Now, thanks in part to their stupidity, we’ve got the explosive third-wave COVID spread across the country that health officials were trying to head off. State officials are, very sensibly, trying to get people to give up Party Size Thanksgiving just this once. (Look, there are vaccines just around the corner! For fuck’s sale show some impulse control!)

But conservatives, in response, are proving that their allegedly serious philosophy is basically all about being a fucking asshole. At the New York Post, Roger Klein:

Not long ago, Americans wouldn’t have even considered the possibility of government agents entering their homes to cancel their Thanksgiving. Then came COVID-19. Gov. Cuomo has imposed a 10-person cap on New Yorkers’ Thanksgiving tables. Three-thousand miles away, the California Department of Public Health imposed a 10 p.m. curfew on millions of Golden Staters. Across the country, other politicians have mandated similar restrictions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released an extensive list of holiday recommendations, as well: no large gatherings, no singing, no loud music, no drinking alcohol, no in-person shopping.

This is a tyranny of the joyless and the ­irrational.

You smart readers have no doubt spotted Klein’s crackpot party trick of conflating actual, mild government restrictions such as Cuomo’s 10-person rule with CDC recommendations that do not have the force of law, and then going SEE, LIBTARDS SAY YOU CAN’T HAVE A BEER! MOLSON LABE! This is typical bad-faith conservative argumentation, and also typical modern conservatism in general, which sees any concession to the public good as an intolerable check on Muh Liberty.

And it’s also alarmingly dangerous, as you can be sure it encourages other wingnut assholes, who might have been at least a little observant of social distancing rules heretofore, to take Thanksgiving as an inspiration for a greater show of patriotism — which, again, in the conservative imagination means being more of an antisocial dick. (Whole studies could be written, I’m sure, on the transformation among conservatives of the idea of patriotism from being about sacrifice to being about selfishness.)

You can see the more intellectual-like, conservatives-with-good-taste version of this at National Review, where Michael Brendan Dougherty complains that some of his relatives may not make it to his big Thanksgiving bash because of “a freaking doorknob” at his brother-in-law’s workplace that revealed the presence of COVID:

This doesn’t mean the doorknob was necessarily a source of great danger — more that someone in the company likely brought the virus in with them recently, and because it was a common area, it was impossible to narrow down the potentially sick workers from the rest of the group.

And so the mandatory human testing began. But, there’s a catch. There is a major pre-holiday rush on COVID-19 tests, and so, we may not know the results until Friday.

Well, gee, that’s too bad, but so what? If his brother-in-law may or may not be infected, can’t we trust him and Dougherty to make a sensible decision about their gathering? Last I heard troopers were not pulling cars over on the New York State Thruway and demanding proof of non-infection.

If the doorknob holds back my brother-in-law and his wife, the only guests we’ll have are the vegan in-laws. I love them dearly. We have roughly the same risk tolerance. I already spent a weekend making turkey stock, and preparing for the big roast turkey.

The turkey is the best part of Thanksgiving. I get up early, butter it up, and coat it inside and out with paprika, salt, and pepper...

Uh, yeah — again, too bad, buddy, but you do know the virus is, like, contagious, right?

Really, family is everything this year. I haven’t seen a co-worker outside of Zoom since March. I haven’t seen friends since summer. The kids wear masks to school, which I think is unnecessary, even objectionable. But they’ve needed their friends more than they need my interference on this matter...

Dude, focus. This is a pandemic. I know you’re a ruff tuff Constitutionamalist, and I’m sure you give the other parents at your kids’ school who seem comfortable and accepting of their masks the stink-eye a patriot owes to collaborationists, but as of Wednesday America has seen 2.8 million infections and 262,020 deaths. I realize you’re a conservative, but can’t you think about someone other than yourself even for just a minute?

Apparently not:

Back on April 1, I wrote that this COVID-19 purgatory was no way to live. That we should try never to get used to it. Politicians and average people were becoming nastier and weirder, and accepting infringements on human life that were unthinkable. A British human-rights lawyer suggested Prime Minister Boris Johnson move Christmas to February...

She’s wrong, Christmas is not an arbitrary date. And although she has the debility of coming from a culture used to dictatorial interference in religion, the liturgical calendar is not subject to even the British parliament...

Welp: We can see Dougherty is gone, well past even that Water The Tree of Liberty thing and deep into Faith of Our Fathers Holy Faith. He wails that he’d have his brother-in-law “at the table even if he was dying of leprosy” and nothing you heathens whom bro-in-law or Dougherty or any of the others at his feast might later infect at the toll booth or the grocery store or handing off the kids at school has anything to say about it.

Horrible as it is to have to share a country with these psychopaths, I also share it with good people such as yourselves — and, as was recently demonstrated, we outnumber those guys. For that and for you I am truly grateful. However you celebrate or don’t, I hope you find plenty to be thankful for, and if it doesn’t seem like enough this year, I hope the days ahead bring blessings enough to more than make up the shortfall.

UPDATE: Looks like the Handmaid did superspreaders a solid:

The Supreme Court late Wednesday night barred restrictions on religious services in New York that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had imposed to combat the coronavirus.

The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the court’s three liberal members in dissent. The order was the first in which the court’s newest member, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, played a decisive role.

The court’s ruling was at odds with earlier ones concerning churches in California and Nevada. In those cases, decided in May and July, the court allowed the states’ governors to restrict attendance at religious services.

Stare decisis my Holy Roman ass, we gotta give Opus Dei some of what they paid for! Jesus loves you and wants you (and anyone you come in contact with) to join him as soon as possible. I bet Dougherty called his brother-in-law first thing and told him to bring the infected doorknob to Thanksgiving, so that he might later bring it to Mass for veneration as a Holy Object. 

John Roberts played Mr. Reasonable in this decision, a role I'm sure he'll fill henceforth with Susan Collins aplomb as SCOTUS' rightwing wackos run riot. Happy Holidays/Pack The Court! 

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