The Feast of Fools.
Every pandemic has had its detractors—some sillier than others.
“Tell all the people, we’ll be free, follow me down.” Robby Krieger, The Doors,Soft Parade
They were called The Feast of Fools, a group of horribles parading around in grotesque costumes back in 1347. This was during The Black Plague, known for killing some 20 million people over three years. You might say they began the whole anti-vax movement we see today, the genesis, so to speak.
Faced with what seemed like almost certain death, the horribles decided to go out in a bizarre display of freakish dress and raucous parties.
Parades formed in the streets, sometimes with people copulating in public. They even threw away their belongings, focusing instead on the “pleasantries of life” (more copulating and drinking, in other words).
Their deaths were more or less assured. What did it matter what anybody said or did?
Suffice to say, they weren’t protesting anything. Their deaths were more or less assured. What did it matter what anybody said or did?
There were doctors, of course, and intellectuals like Nostradamus telling people to isolate themselves and boil their clothes in hot water or burn them altogether. They at least understood transmission.
Unfortunately, it didn’t sit well with the fools and horribles. They weren’t exactly ignoring good advice. They just figured it wasn’t stopping death so far. Sometimes you had to accept fate and be flamboyant about it.
In later years, with smallpox and the first introduced vaccines, people railed again, claiming it was an assault on poor people’s autonomy. They even figured picking the smallpox pustules or scabs would bring about natural herd immunity. When physicians started inoculating people with cowpox, the technique worked, but people still decided it was a “foreign assault on their traditional order.”
Well, we don’t worry about foreign assaults these days, other than believing laboratories in Wuhan were responsible for the coronavirus. It still hasn’t been proven, since finding “the smoking bat” is like finding a needle in the world’s largest haystack, according to The World Health Organization.
They could impose sanctions that could shut down just about everything, including dollar stores and a good chunk of the semiconductor industry.
Besides, even if the WHO could prove the origins in China, nobody wants to irritate the Chinese at this stage. They could impose sanctions, shutting down just about everything, including dollar stores and a good chunk of the semiconductor industry.
But I digress. We’re talking here about the parade of horribles, and how the anti-vaxxer protests we see now have similar historical origins.
If history has taught us anything, we’re pragmatists when it comes to our liberties. Any hint of authoritarianism and the hackles go up, freedoms expressed, and signage pops up, often stolen from other rallies, including “Our bodies, our choice.”
The same protestors probably railed against abortion rights. So what? A good slogan is a good slogan. Why beat your brains out thinking of something else when you’ve already got pregnant women on the run?
Maybe sheeple don’t mind getting poked and prodded — or forced to stay at home — but these horribles aren’t about to let government make them feel guilty.
These protesters are also pretty sure this “what’s good for all” is either socialism or outright communism. Maybe sheeple don’t mind getting poked and prodded — or forced to stay at home—but these horribles aren’t about to let the government make them feel guilty.
Freedom is freedom, and the day it stops being freedom, then it’s subjugation and, hell, nobody wants that, right? Aren’t freedoms written into our Constitution? Doesn’t that guarantee nobody has to do what they don’t want to do?
So again, the rallies and the protests have become another parade of horribles, this time converging on hospitals and political events. In British Columbia, over five thousand people, gathered at one hospital, stopping patients — and even ambulances — from entering.
Another man was coming in for his chemo treatment. He couldn’t make it past the parking lot.
One ambulance driver said it was “the last straw,” and considered leaving the job altogether. Another man was coming in for his chemo treatment. He couldn’t make it past the parking lot. Amid the shouts and screams, he had to wonder what they meant by authoritarianism, when the fools themselves sounded more authoritarian than freedom fighters.
Some of these horribles have become adept at garnering social media attention, mainly on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. They can accomplish in hours what used to take days and weeks. One reporter arrived at what was supposed to be a rally. Nobody was there. Fifteen minutes later, the place was crowded with protestors carrying signs.
It sounds spontaneous, but it’s more a case of put your beer down and head for the latest demonstration. Sometimes it’s a physical gathering, other times it’s a meeting of minds on the internet, a chance to share invective and occasionally quack cures.
Poison control centers are seeing a dramatic surge in calls from people self-medicating with a livestock de-wormer called ivermectin. In just one month, the centers saw a 245% jump in reported cases.
No clinical evidence exists — or could exist — for treating coronavirus with ivermectin.
Who’s giving these horribles these crazy ideas? Usually it comes from the internet, or talk shows, or politicians. Against what should be better judgment, they go off to the feed stores. They grab ivermectin like it’s some overlooked miracle cure, trusting the judgment of people with no real medical credentials or, frankly, common sense.
It doesn’t seem to matter that no clinical evidence exists — or could exist — for treating coronavirus with ivermectin. While a version has been prescribed for treating people with head lice and skin conditions, it’s still a de-wormer and viruses ain’t worms.
Not that this bothers the horribles, some of whom seem to be taking ivermectin as a mission statement. In one feed store, the demand was so great, owners had to take the product off the shelves. Some left a sign behind saying: “You can’t buy this product without showing a picture of your horse.”
No problem. The horribles probably showed up with pictures of Mr. Ed or Northern Dancer. That’s what you do when you need a cheap medical alternative — even if vaccinations are free. Besides, why trust the word of medical experts when you can trust the word of your own kind?
“Here we are on Wednesday, and I feel great,” he said.
It’s amazing who these horribles think is their own kind. Like podcast star Joe Rogan. He took ivermectin after contracting the coronavirus. Actually he took a bunch of stuff, what the media called a “cocktail of unproven medications.”
Three days later, he was back on the internet saying, “Here we are on Wednesday, and I feel great.”
It was hard to argue. He looked healthy—not to mention mouthy—which is the same thing with Rogan. He lists himself as a comedian, but he still reaches 13.2 million followers. With those kind of numbers, you get a sense Joe sometimes thinks of himself more as a messiah than a comical commentator.
Messiah or comic, it didn’t stop the usual backlash from the medical community. There were already over 200 people in ICUs with what was described as “dewormer overdoses.” Didn’t Joe feel a bit responsible for promoting a clearly dangerous medication intended for sheep and horses?
Joe, being a consummate comedian if nothing else, responded by saying he’s not an anti-vax person. “I’m also not a respected source of information,” he admitted “—even for me.”
By then, of course, the feed stores were hiding ivermectin, while Mr. Ed and Northern Dancer pictures were showing up all over the place. Actually, Mr. Ed was favored over Northern Dancer, since any fool — including Joe Rogan — could tell Northern Dancer was way out of the range of most horse enthusiast’s pocketbooks.
In any case, the horribles remain glued to their computers and iPhones, waiting for the next rally, the next medical miracle, and the next politician like Ron DeSantis in Florida claiming they can still make America great again.
The question is, what America are they talking about? The one where ambulances can’t get past the crowds while the ICUs are filling with people saying “I should’ve gotten vaccinated”?
If they pass away, more will follow, and at least we know Mr. Ed is regaining his popularity, even if he’s been dead for years, and it’s well known they used peanut butter to move his jaws around.
Who even questions their logic anymore?
If they pass away (which is likely with an average of 7.969 people dying each day from the coronavirus) , more will follow, and at least we know Mr. Ed is regaining his popularity, even if he’s been dead for years, and it’s well known they used peanut butter to move his jaws around.
We’re used to strange things occuring these days. Maybe peanut butter will become the next alternative treatment. Hell, once you’ve taken horse de-wormer, peanut butter sounds like a responsible alternative.
Just saying it’s worth a try.
As Joe Rogan would say, “What’ve you got to lose?”
Robert Cormack is a satirist, novelist and blogger. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores. Check out Robert’s other stories and articles at robertcormack.net
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