by John Kendall Hawkins
“…people don’t live or die, people just float.”
Bob Dylan, “Man in the Long Black Coat”
Nothing reveals the decline and fall of the American imperial mind better, at Das Kapital’s end, than the inane debacle concerning the use of masks in our current pandemic. For days and days, I’ve been listening to talking heads trash Trump and blame him for the poor response to Covid-19. Fine, he deserves some trashing, as he called Coronavirus “a hoax” back when the keen mobilization of an American response might have made all the difference. Probably, his ignorance should be an impeachable offense. A reporter asked him the other day about WHO, and the fool said something like, “Who’s on first,” and it was on with the Press.
¡Ay, Corona! What are we going to do with you? They’re now talking that the epoch of human hugs and kisses (handshakes are kisses, too) may be over as we extend our periods of self-isolation well into the future, afraid to be intimate ever again, onnacounta catching an evil virus. According to the Daily Mail, the UK’s breathless paper of record (Kathy Scruggs would be proud), “The coronavirus pandemic could spell the end of hugging and handshakes for years to come, social scientists warn.” However, the scantily clad paper adds, women started the whole “distancing” thing with the #MeToo movement backstepping, away from men. So, you could see Corona, and its distancing vibe, as an off-putting Überfeminist.
Which is quaint, as fear of catching Epstein-Barr has never stopped us from getting sloppy with each other’s labia, even at the risk of an apoca-lip-tic outbreak. Handshake deals will continue to be made between Wall Street heavy lifters and their spotters, sans sanitation. And Trump’s ignorance about masks and malarial manifestations, has stirred up confusion and wonder (is Prez Doofus a doctor or just a quack?) that two guys talking has taken on deadly new dimensions in avoidance behavior: You see in your mind’s eye Neo and one of the Smith brothers dodging each other’s bullet-like ejectiles. ¡Ay, Corona! Conversation will never be the same. Take cover.
Well, as usual, the rich seem to have it all figured out. The question is, what did they know and when did they know it? Most recently, amidst this crisis, Jeff Bezos was discovered to have had Fortune smile on him yet again with some trading that made him richer in the crisis. Just before Covid-19 freefell the Wall Street market, Bezos unloaded 3.4bn worth of Amazon stock. Look at him laughing all the way to bank. No pictures of the buyers were available, but you remember those awful images of people jumping from the North tower, right? Of course, some would argue that it’s a fine line between winning and losing on the market, but it’s the only chance the “little” guy really has.
What they knew and when they knew it. Remember back in ‘18 when the MSM blithely (they love that word) informed the public, as if it were a fashion update (check out their Covid-19 masks), that the little squirrels and weasels of Silicon Valley were preparing for the Apocalypse? And that, Fodor-like, they were leaving soon for New Zealand, property already purchased, holograph machines being shipped ahead for anticipated boredom bouts with their over-privileged kids, who may want to e-conjure up an interactive tour of Jacob Riis’ Lower Manhattan.
One report has the elites building “doomsday shelters” (the rich going underground: are we not in the Days of Hallucination, or what?) and that “the 1% make up the largest private bunker community on earth” (good, now let’s hand them lugers and tell them the Russians are coming). Hell, Peter “Cotton” Thiel, owner of PayPal, had the foresight and foreskin to grab 477 acres of virgin antipodes Mother Nature pussy. Mofo 1%ers, right?
And, as you might have predicted, “The first reported US case of a homeless person dying due to Covid-19 has surfaced in Silicon Valley,” according to Vox. The article goes on to detail the healthwise helplessness of the homeless in general, but potential catastrophic effect of Covid-19 on a population, often seeking safety in numbers, and challenged with developing reliable hygiene habits — volunteers bringing “weekly shower stations to these encampments, it’s simply not enough to ensure the safety of homeless people during this outbreak.” And as with all other American foresight these days, it hasn’t kicked in that a tanking economy will lead to mortgage defaults and rental evictions. And yet, we’re told, “In the recent $8.3 billion bill passed by Congress, there were no funds specifically allotted to homelessness.” Not a single dega dollar.
When homeless person Donald Neely was arrested in Galveston, Texas last year for “criminal trespassing” (what they call homelessness inTexas), and brought to the halls of Just Is, lead by ropes and horses and some female cop warning: keep walking or be dragged, Neely, the homeless man, was wearing a welder’s mask. Nobody has wondered aloud about mask; there have no press queries. Maybe Neely knew Corona was coming, like a posse for a Black man, and said with the mask, “Come at me.” No viral ejectile will penetrate his eyes or mouth. Jeff Bezos has plans to use a 3D printer to pop out masks, with that smile. Maybe he can work with Neely on 3D paper welder masks, and use the proceeds to fund Covid-19 services for the homeless. Yay.
Of course, I’ve got a modest Swiftian proposal for dealing Corona-driven homelessness. Red Salvation Army and blue Goodwill donation boxes have junkyards, too, like, think, smashed cars. What I propose is implementing a Jacob Riis type housing project of stacked up donation boxes, one homeless person per box,ideal for self-isolating in the self isolating times, with, naturally, Republicans assigned the red boxes and Democrats assigned the blue boxes. It will be a delicate set-up, so no gerrymandering will be allowed. Let ‘em mix. To disguise the implicit blight and moral vacuity of allowing people to live this way the architectural design will feature postmodern posturing — think: A donation box city that looks like that goddamn Groninger museum in Holland. Allow tourists there (especially holographic tourists) to choose between making a donation to residents, or, preferably, being rolled, depending on the level of authentic experience they’re after.
When people aren’t running away like plague doctors to New Zealand, or avoiding (like the plague) the advice of the malpracticing doctor in the White House, they seem to have settled into a nice capitalist funk-y, vis-a-vis the mask issue. Tala Alamuddin, George Clooney’s sister-in-law is, we’re told by the MSM, selling fashionistical surgical masks on her website aimed at the discrete and discerning buyer (use PayPal). All akimbo, a team of edgy millennials models the wares — Camo, leopard, denim. Grrr. George Clooney, still taking shit for those sorry-ass Nespresso ads, was said to have said by those who say such things, “I could just die.”
And Naomi Campbell’s been making a Corona fashion statement: Shouldn’t we listen when a girl has the cheek to wear ‘hazmat chic’? Typical topical Americans have also gotten into the swing, too. An American flag over the mouth can mean either your breath has died and you’re honoring it, or you want to see America great again. Even crash dummies want a piece of the action.
Well, who knows how long we’ll last. A talking head was saying yesterday, in a blame-it-all-on-Trump voice, that America is not number 1 in Covid-19 preparedness and prevention. Thing is, America is not Numero Uno in a lot of things any more — health (nyet), education (nyet), welfare (nyet) — except student loans, home mortgages, meaningful jobs (see homelessness above). We’ve been seeing things coming for a long time and doing not much about it except making a lot of zombie movies and getting ever more addicted to the Internet that will one day kill us all with a stuxnet of the mind. Aliens looking down at us must be laughing their asses off (you know, if they have asses).