And another thing…
The rebuttal to my rant yesterday about mask wearing is, “We’re all going to get COVID sometime anyway. We might as well go back to living our lives.” That’s some defeatist shit. It’s also shocking coming from people who claim to be “pro-life.” Can we stop using that phrase? You’re anti-abortion, not pro-life. There’s a big difference. The term pro-life leads one to believe that you’re for all forms of human life and seems to gives people who take things literally the impression that you hold the moral high ground in this debate, but that’s not really the case for many of you. It couldn’t be more clear than it was recently when Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother got a standing ovation at a fundraiser thrown by “Waukesha County GOP Women” right here in Wisconsin. You’ll remember Kyle Rittenhouse as the neo-Nazi teenager who drove to Kenosha, Wisconsin, from Illinois with an AR-15 to intimidate protestors, and when he inevitably found himself in self-inflicted danger he murdered two people to save his own ignorant ass. You’re not exactly pro-life if you’re cheering on the mother of a double-murderer, are you? As brilliant Seattle/Brooklyn hip hop philosopher Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler said on the track “La Femme Fetal,” “If you say war, they will send them to die by the score.” Apparently that phrase also applies during a pandemic.
Let’s break this down. If you’re throwing in the towel and deciding that, “Well, we’re all going to get it, let’s just get this over with and do it. I’m tired of hiding. I’m not afraid.” What you’re trying to achieve is called herd mentality. Wait, it’s not? But President Trump said herd mentality. He’s also an idiot. It’s actually called herd immunity. Herd immunity happens when so many people have gotten the virus, survived it, and gotten the antibodies to fight it off that eventually there aren’t enough people left to transfer the virus and it just dies off. It’s an interesting strategy and even sounds appealing until you actually look at the numbers.
First off, we’re assuming that people who survive it are going to get the antibodies needed to fight it off again. There’s no proof of that. That’s a massive flaw right off the bat. Now, I’m going to steal some of these numbers from the brilliant Rachel Maddow because she summed it up better than I ever could, but I’m going to update them since the segment from her show is about three weeks old. I highly encourage you to watch this sobering 5:00 segment on herd immunity. Here we go: Scientists say you’ll need 70% of the population to get infected and survive to achieve herd immunity. Using Rachel’s “rosy” outlook we’ll say it only takes 65%. There are 330,000,000 people in the United States. 65% means 215 million Americans will need to get infected. Right now we’re at 7.4 million, so we’re over 3% of the way there! Our fatality rate is currently at 2.8%. 2.8% of 215,000,000 is 6,020,000. Are you good with 6 million people dying? Now we’ll say that we find improvements that can keep more people alive and only 1% of the infected die. That’s 2.15 million people. Let’s be really optimistic and only 0.5% of the infected die. That’s still just over a million people. Should I keep going? I’ve seen people say that number is exaggerated. Fine. What’s an acceptable number of deaths for you before you’ll admit the response to this has been a disaster? 210,000 isn’t enough yet?
The 1918 flu killed 675,000 Americans. You mean to tell me over 100 years later with the science and technology we have that we aren’t better equipped to stop a pandemic? We’re certainly better equipped scientifically and technologically. Where we’re not better is in leadership and discipline. We need leadership to come up with a coherent, effective plan, which they haven’t done yet even though it’s been more than six months. We need our people to have the discipline to execute that plan, and I think you know how I feel about our discipline after what I wrote yesterday. How hard is it to lock yourself in your home and stay there for a few weeks? I realize that people have to work, but we need to strip down to just essentials right now and everyone else needs to find a way to work from home. I know businesses both large and small are suffering and I hate that as much as anyone, but that’s where our government is supposed to step in. It’s not that they don’t have the money. It’s that they don’t want to spend the money. Here’s the thing I never hear people talk about: IT’S OUR MONEY. We paid the fucking taxes. We elect the politicians. They’re supposed to represent us. When millions of people are losing their jobs and businesses because of a pandemic that they’ve done nothing to curb, it should be on them to direct OUR money to where WE need it. That’s why we elected them. If they’re not getting the job done we need to hold their feet to the fire. This is not a case of lazy Americans looking for a handout. It’s people needing to stay in the house for their own good and needing some help from the government with the money that WE paid. People act like anyone who needs money from the government is a lazy moocher. It shouldn’t be up to a few Republicans (or Democrats, but that’s not the case here) to decide, “No, that’s not what we’re doing with this money.” I’TS NOT YOUR MONEY! We shouldn’t be suffering because Mitch McConnell thinks we don’t need the money. Fuck Mitch McConnell. How does he still have a job? Get someone in charge with actual ideas and the ability to compromise and do something to help the people who are suffering. Our Congress does nothing and our President watches with glee. Doesn’t that piss you off? It should. Stop saying President Trump is doing the best he can. If he did, this would’ve been over a long time ago, and he’d probably cruising to re-election. He didn’t have the courage to do it and he’s unfit to lead.
Now I’m going to take you all the way back to March and April when the big buzz phrase – at least among people who genuinely care about each other and want to see everyone live – was “flattening the curve.” If everyone just collectively decides, “Fuck it. I don’t feel like quarantining anymore. I’m tired of it,” then we’re going to flood the hospitals beyond capacity. My home state of Wisconsin is the best/worst current example of that. Hospitals are so full they don’t know what to do with all of the patients. There aren’t enough healthcare workers to care for all of them. People aren’t able to get the care that they should because there simply aren’t enough resources to take care of them. So, you’re putting doctors in the horrible position of having to decide who deserves a chance to live. If we stay in our homes and only come out when necessary it will slow the spread enough so our healthcare systems can keep their heads above water.
One last point to address: People seem to think that trying to avoid COVID means you’re living in fear and that living in fear of a virus somehow makes you a coward or weak. Personally, I think we all need to have a healthy dose of fear when it comes to COVID. The toxic masculinity bunch in the right wing hijacked the phrase “I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees,” early on in this pandemic. Let’s put their idiotic use of this phrase to rest. The man who originally said that was a Mexican farmer by the name of Emiliano Zapata. The right wing’s use of this phrase to describe their approach to COVID is really an insult to Zapata. Then again, since when have they cared about insulting someone from Mexico? When a civil war broke out in Mexico, Zapata commanded an army with the belief that “the land should belong to the people who work it.” After Zapata had successfully retaken his land from dictators he was ambushed and shot 20 times. That was a man willing to put his life on the line in the face of ruthless dictators. It took courage to stand up for what he believed. The people using that phrase now are talking about a “fight” against a virus. Sacrificing your own health in an attempt to save the economy is not courageous, it’s stupid. It’s a fucking virus. It doesn’t relent or discriminate. It isn’t aware. You can’t tough talk a virus away. It doesn’t care if you think you’re courageous. What takes courage is sacrificing some of your freedom and riches to make sure your fellow man can survive through a pandemic. Your willingness to get infected and spread it to others isn’t admirable. The every man for himself mentality that you’re using to beat this pandemic isn’t working. We’ve been stuck in our homes for over six months now and it’s far worse now than it was then, at least where I live.
We cannot move forward as a society until we’ve beaten the virus. If your idea of beating the virus is letting it run its course then you have no regard for human life. At least 35 states have criminal laws that punish HIV-positive people for exposing others to the virus. I’ll borrow this wording from a Nevada law because I believe it sums up what I mean: “A person who has received notice that he or she is HIV positive and who is intentionally, knowingly, or willfully engaging in conduct in a manner that is intended to or likely to transmit the disease to another person is guilty of a Category B felony.” I don’t know what a Category B felony is, but you get my point. How is what the President and his administration are doing any different? How is the argument herd immunity different? If the President found out he had COVID on Wednesday, yet still went to events in Minnesota and New Jersey, how is that any different? He knowingly risked spreading it to his supporters. He’s spread it to people throughout his administration with no remorse. If he doesn’t value them, what does he think about us? We’re talking about sociopaths here telling us it’s OK to live like we normally would because they’re trying to protect their money and win an election. If you carry on with your life right now like everything is normal you are willfully allowing a deadly virus to spread and you’re putting lives at risk. How did we get to a point as a society where this is acceptable? We’re failing as a people.
Remember when this blog used to be about Prince? Let’s get back to that, because we’ve got an interesting one today. “Feel U Up” was originally recorded in 1981 but then shelved. In 1986 it was re-recorded, then included as the B-side to the 1989 single “Partyman” from the Batman soundtrack. It was also included in the 1993 The Hits/The B-Sides compilation.
The first version I heard was the “Partyman” B-side, and it’s definitely another one of those classic Prince hidden gems. It’s funky, nasty, and energetic. Everything you’d expect from mid-80’s Prince. He adds his modified Camille voice on the track for good measure. Then in November 2019 the Prince Estate released the 1999 Super Deluxe Edition and a pile of vault tracks along with it. One of the vault tracks is the original 1981 recording and it’s a revelation. Same bass line, but a better beat and an eerie keyboard line that sounds like it’s from a Halloween sound effects tape. Instead of the Camille modification to his voice he sings the verses in two different octaves and layers the vocals. Also, while this doesn’t count toward the score for “Feel U Up” the 1999 version transitions directly to an amazing version of “Irresistible Bitch,” making for an amazing opening 12 minutes to the vault portion of the album.
“Feel U Up” is another in a long line of Prince B-sides that are better than most people’s best work. The unreleased 1981 version is even superior to the one he released in 1989. The impact of Prince’s greatness still hasn’t been fully realized, but with every vault release we’re able to learn more about the legend. Sadly, nobody will be feeling anyone up as long as this fucking virus is around. Please make sure whatever feeling up u’re doing is consensual.
OK, now keep your ass in the house, mask up, and respect your fellow man. Just stay in and spin Prince records.