Friday, May 22, 2020

Of Masks and Men

When I go out of the house these days, I have a bandana or shemagh tied around my neck that I can pull up over my mouth and nose when I'm around other people. It's not that hard and, to the extent it either helps in some way to lessen the spread of this virus and/or makes those around me less anxious, it's certainly worth the exceedingly mild inconvenience of tying it. 

It seems, however, that my doing this is, to some, a sign of weakness. Cowardice. Compliance. People have been accosted as such by others who go about "maskless". People expressing outrage and hostility at establishments requiring masks to enter. The editor of the influential religious journal "First Things", R.R. Reno, caused quite a stir when he took to Twitter last week to harangue those who wore masks in public as cowards and morally lacking (he has since taken those posts down and issued a tepid apology). The President of the United States takes great pains to not be seen wearing a mask, and most of those at the White House followed suit (until at least two of those working there tested positive for Covid-19), since it is well-known that he views it as a sign of weakness. 

I marvel at what passes for "toughness" in 21st Century America. I've worked construction. I've been a bartender/doorman/bar manager at everything from a bikers' bar to a fern bar. I've trained/fought/sparred at dozens of fight gyms with very good amateur and professional fighters. So, while I make no claims individually to be tough, I've certainly been around tough people and am pretty good at spotting them. The blowhards and the blusterers? The ones who carry on about their "freedom" to do whatever they want whenever and wherever they choose? Nope, that ain't it. If you don't want to wear a mask while you're out, that's on you. But if others choose to, or places you wish to go require it, that's too damn bad for you. Shut up. And take it like a man. 

MISCELLANEOUS OTHER STUFF: 1)I'm reading Nassim Taleb's "Incerto" series of four books, which includes "The Black Swan". Some brilliant stuff that will make you think. I certainly don't agree with all of it, but it's worth the pretty significant time sink required. 2) Lucinda Williams' new CD "Good Souls Better Angels" is the truth. Check out this link for a sample. 3) The proper proportion of gin to vermouth in a martini is 5 to 1. You can differ if you wish, but you'd be wrong. 

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