More Good News

We should count our blessings. The COVID rules are a line in the sand, roughly separating the sheep from the goats. I am not speaking of fragile old people, cancer patients, diabetics, and other such -at-risk people, but aggressive healthy people who wear their masks, when they are not required, and preach plague-worship on FB and elsewhere. These people are dangerously stupid and to be avoided at all costs. Every revolution needs a band of useful idiot--though in this case, it is more like useless idiots.

Masks were designed to conceal identity, whether at a Mardi Gras party or a hold-up, but there are occasions when masks reveal more than they conceal.  The bankrobber's mask establishes his bona fides as a committed felon, while the mask one chooses for a masked ball  or masquerade party may tell more about ourselves than we realize.  Little girls who dress up as a fairy princess are no more transparent than a real estate salesman in a pirate costume or a father of four who pretends to be Casanova.

COVID masks are even more revealing, since those who wear them without necessity are solemnly declaring their allegiance and dependence on the regime or the world-order, "their refuge and their strength, whose service is perfect freedom..."  It is as much a confession of weakness, joined with the vain desire for power, as a Nazi armband or a BLM sign in a neighbor's yard.  They are powerful warnings to keep more than a social distance.

Avatar photo

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

18 Responses

  1. Vince Cornell says:

    God bless my local True Value hardware store where none of the employees wear masks. I continue to refuse to wear a mask at the grocery store despite the statewide mandate. A farmer I know has had the marketplace he runs on the farm threatened multiple times because neither he nor his family or his employees are wearing masks in the humid 100+ degree weather. The entire marketplace would be considered outdoors (i.e. unconditioned space), but apparently some Puritan harpy keeps complaining so they’re threatening to pull his business license and put him in jail for a year. To anyone that says we’re not living under tyranny . . . I have a bridge to sell them. We just watched Hitchcock’s “The Wrong Man” – and while it drags and features a very half-hearted performance from Henry Fonda, watching an innocent man get punished with jail because of a few hysterical women resonated quite strongly. The fact that the hysterical women can now do their squawking via anonymous online reporting has only made things so much worse.

    As an aside, when Vera Miles goes crazy in that movie – that was a very disturbing scene.

  2. Raymond Olson says:

    Here in the Great White North, the mandate is where a mask in indoor public spaces, including heavily trafficked stores of all kinds. That’s right, it seems to me, if the object of mask-wearing is to contain water vapor in one’s breath and, it seems–the jury’s not in–to hamper the intake of water vapor from infected persons with whom you are in proximity. Wearing them outside when one is alone or observing the proper spacing between persons who are together for the nonce is unnecessary. This has always been the directive, so far as I’ve seen, and is strictly following common sense. If you’re wearing it all the time, especially when you’re alone, you’re playing the fool.

    Vince–I think you’ve shortchanged The Wrong Man. It is one of Hitchcock’s most deliberate films, which realized a project that was especially close to his heart. Fonda’s performance sees him leaving his movie-star persona behind him as he becomes an unpretentious guy totally flummoxed by the trauma he’s going through. I think the 1950s was Hitchcock’s golden decade, in which he made more great films than in any other decade of his career (he made some quixotic stinkers, too: The Trouble with Harry, To Catch a Thief).

  3. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    By the same token, Raymond, we shall soon have to ape the Chinese tourists who wear masks everywhere in public. The jury may not be in on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of masks–though every serious physician or scientifically educated I know laughs at the very idea–the jury is definitely in on the seriousness of the plague. The verdict? In the same range with many other flu and cold viruses. Some symptoms may be more serious for some infected people, but the death rate appears to be quite within the normal range. Conclusion: You better watch out, you better not complain: The COVID Plague is going to killl everyone in your town. After all, I know so many who people who have died of it. Actually, I only know one person, a 90 year old man in a nursing home. He had a week or so of feeling lousy and then recovered. Enough to strike terror into any hero’s heart, right?

    Everyone in the authentic North Country knows that neither Milawaukee nor the Twins counts as the Great White North. In Duhloot, they think you guys are subtropical sissies who take fishing lessons and shop at Orvis. In old age, I finally figured out that it’s not Minnesota I detest but the Twins. Hibbing, Bemidji, Virginia, International Falls are all authentic places.

    You were missed at the Summer program on Homer, especially at the song-fest.

  4. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    PS You’ve tempted me to give another look at The Wrong Man. It’s not that Fonda was a bad actor–quite the contrary, I think, but I just don’t like the smug cold-hearted SOB.

  5. Vince Cornell says:

    I think I wrote harsher than I thought. I should have said that I really enjoyed “The Wrong Man,” especially some of the shots and sequences that were fantastic. The shot where they go to seek the first alibi witness, with the fog and bridge in the background, and the sequence in the courtroom where the competently incompetent defense lawyer is driving everyone around Henry Fonda to boredom while his own life is on the line, and the aforementioned sequence where Vera Miles loses it – I was struck with great admiration quite often. At the same time, and this is perhaps because I saw the movie once before many years ago, I kept wondering when the movie would go on and get on with it! It was never a feeling I remember having with any of the other Hitchcock I’ve seen (although I admit it’s been decades since I watched “To Catch a Thief”).

    Henry Fonda is one of those actors that I simply cannot see past the actor himself. When I see him, I just see Henry Fonda, not Nimitz nor Wyatt Earp nor Mr. Roberts nor anyone else, just Henry Fonda. Perhaps that’s why his performance seemed off to me. Him playing just a regular guy short circuited my brain. Not that I’ve seen a whole of his movies (I never watched his stint in spaghetti westerns), I will say the one time I completely lost Fonda in the character was Col. Thursday in Fort Apache.

  6. Andrew G Van Sant says:

    The house across the street from ours displays a BLM sign. The teenage son of the couple who lives there killed himself a few years ago.

    There are a few more homes in the limited access community (one entrance/exit – except by boat) where we live that display such signs. My wife and I at times drive around our community and another one nearby that has more extensive views of the Chesapeake Bay. There are relatively few homes that display BLM (or Biden) signs there or in other areas that we have seen. I think this may indicate widespread though silent support for President Trump, but this may be wishful thinking.

    I am particularly amused by the fact that more multi-million dollar homes on the water display BLM and Biden signs than more modest homes.

  7. Dot says:

    Did anyone ever see Hitchcock’s The Birds?

  8. Dominick D says:

    Some news reports indicate that citizens in certain places have started feeding the rioters lead; the title of this piece is not so ironic after all!

  9. Dominick D says:

    Sorry – got my wires crossed. I suppose COVID is really the focus here.

  10. Dot says:

    Dominick, COVID is like Hitchcock’s movie The Birds. The birds were everywhere and the people didn’t dare venture outside. Not much different than the stay at home order for the COVID pandemic.

  11. Clyde Wilson says:

    Who is that masked man, Tonto?

  12. Allen Wilson says:

    Does anyone else get the suspicion that COVID will rear it’s ugly head again this fall, in red states and Republican dominated districts? Right before the election, of course. That’s where there will be greatest need for restrictions at the voting places. Right?

  13. Dominick D says:

    Maybe not. Is anyone really that afraid to go outside without a mask?
    Where I am, if one goes into a store by the freeway most people are in masks. Further off the beaten path and closer to my home not so many people wear masks, although in all fairness ‘closer to my home’ is limited to a local pizza joint, a 7-11, a Sheetz, and a WalMart Grocery.
    I have noticed certain social and Catholic media articles talking about these times and how, to paraphrase, ‘we are all afraid’. I question whether ‘we’ are really all afraid. For instance I have a mask for when I go out because certain business owners ask that I put it on. In those cases I will wear the mask out of respect for the business or property owner, but if I see a handful of people not wearing masks I conclude the business owner really doesn’t care so much and I take the mask off. Really I could care less about this virus, but I try not to be antisocial.
    In The Birds everyone in town could look around and see people with eyes pecked out. My gut tells me nobody is afraid of COVID-19.

  14. Dominick D says:

    I will watch The Wrong Man. Years ago I got a Hitchcock movie box set and one night sat down to watch North By Northwest with my children. Well, silly me: how many memories of movies are based on the TV versions. Ha! Funny how being stuck in a sleeper car with Eva Saint was once considered censor-worthy!
    Apparently there is an Alfred Hitchcock Presents box set available, but I have heard some pretty miserable reviews. Those were always good because the theme was usually not so much on weirdness as just simple human frailty.

  15. Ken Rosenberger says:

    I recently saw a stage rendering of the Hitchcock/duMaurier classic. It was set on the South Jersey shore and called “The Boids.”

  16. Raymond Olson says:

    Tom–You may be right about masks becoming as common in the U.S. as they are in China, and then it’ll really be a political statement–unless, perhaps, our air gets as bad as Beijing’s.

    You must know–I believe you do–that I always use “the Great White North” ironically. You’re perfectly right about the Twins and Duluth having no claim on the label, and I grew up hearing it only, I think, from TV announcers from Chicago and New York. No Minnesotan I’ve ever known used it, except tongue-in-cheek.

    I regret missing the summer meeting, and I’ll try not to miss next year. When I decided I wouldn’t be going. In compensation, I determined to read or reread all the classics I owned myself, beginning with Aeschylus and by now including the dramatists, Pindar and Bacchylides, the Presocratics, the Sophists, Plato, Herodotus, Xenophon, Greek lyric poetry, and just now, Thucydides (Rex Warner translation). Many more await me before I turn to the Romans. So “sheltering in place” is much more rewarding than shopping, chit-chatting with anyone, flouting the Covid “rules”, or protesting.

  17. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Yes, Ray, I know. Otherwise my stale joke would be even staler. As clearly as I see through the the Covid fraud, I have no inclination to flout the petty rules any more than I want to speed through school zones. It is, I hope, of some use to point out the significance of what is being done to us, but petty dramatics are for children. Keep up the classics. Start Greek and I’ll help as much as you like.

  18. Dot says:

    Dr. Fleming. I probably missed it, but why do you think the Covid is a fraud?
    I wear a mask when I go to the grocery store like most every one else. Once I’m out, I take it off. But even doing this doesn’t make me feel free. It’s as if I’m your enemy and you are mine.
    However, I feel the most free when I take my trash to the recycling/trash center. No one there wears a mask. I imagine they feel as free as I.