Friday, October 31, 2014
Would somebody please round up the ignoramuses who are spreading EbolaFear. Especially all the faux-macho guys trying to out Ebola one another on the Toughness Meter. Yeah, I'm talking to you, Governor Christie! And quarantine them all for 21 years. Seriously.
I get it. That quick chill at the base of the skull. Ebola is a spooky, nasty virus that kills its victims in a particularly horrible way. Read anything about how it kills and your stomach will churn. And don't even begin to think about this virus mutating. If you try reading anything about the terrible suffering of its victims and of the heroic medical workers and Doctors who, against terrible odds and in terrible conditions, continue to risk (and lose) their lives to help those who are infected, your heart will ache.
But bloviating politicians who can't get their acts together? A public that doesn't seem able to educate themselves with a little Google searching so they don't go flying off into Urban MythLand, government authorities having a hard time getting on the same page, and our usual Hysterical 24/7 shrieking News Cycles all flipping out in an Ebola Feeding Frenzy. Dear God, spare us.
And now, thanks to a spunky nurse, Kaci Hickox, we'll soon be caught up in a Max Sennett Comedy. Kaci, a nurse, came back from a stint in Sierra Leon as a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders and landed in Newark. Her temperature was taken by an unreliable method (the new temple/laser thermometers are often less imprecise than the old fashioned methods), she had a slight fever so she was hustled off to a hospital that was clearly not ready for any possible Ebola patients. So she ended up in a tent-like arrangement and when her fever disappeared she was informed that, nonetheless, she had been quarantined for 21 days so she'd have to park it in her little tent. Where, Governor Christie opined, she'd be perfectly happy since "she could order take out from Newark's finest restaurants,"
Take out food from Newark's finest? Well, that did it. She called a lawyer, and the battle was on: Science and law vs. cobbled together, slap-dash "public safety" rules made up on the fly and changing from day to day, state to state as the experts argued over what should be done with people like Kaci.
In no time, Kaci got herself sprung and promptly left for her home in Maine where she refused her "quarantine," since she had no fever, was not infective, so she went out for a bike ride with the media in tow and the Governor threatening arrest. And with that one defiant act, the Ebola Narrative switched away from the tragic, desperate suffering in West Africa and became an American Comedy: Spunky Gal vs The Evil Government. A glorious and entertaining conflation of Little Eliza and Perilous Pauline jumping her bicycle from ice flow to ice flow as the baying bloodhounds close in.
Tragedy to comedy in an eyeblink. And now the bloviating politicians. The stupidity has to be catching. Well, suit up everybody, Dumbth has gone viral.
Have a Happy Halloween. Wrap the kids in plastic, bring umbrellas on your trick-or-treat outings, and pray for rain.