Monday, August 30
People today are looking frantically to relinquish responsibility.
There’s just too much to feel responsible for. There are the unending weather/climate disasters including Hurricanes Henri and Ida—and their link to your gas-guzzler and plastic-bag addiction. The decision about whether you and/or your dependents should get the COVID vaccination. The failed military adventures from Iraq to Afghanistan, which thanks to W.’s administration many Americans supported. The fool’s gold promises of globalization, which said that trade competition and lost industrial jobs would all balance out to everyone’s advantage. And the refugee crises from Italy to the Mexico-U.S. border. Lots of people just can’t take it all and long for somebody else to give them direction.
The novelist Don DeLillo has long understood Americans’ desire to let somebody else for god’s sake make the decisions. Even planning what’s for dinner or what to watch on the boob tube is just too much…not to mention how to find or commit to a mate.
DeLillo’s Mao II begins with a depiction of a 1980s mass marriage ceremony of Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s followers—an event in which over 4,000 people got hitched to the absolute strangers that Master Moon dictated they should wed. In the vast audience, the father of one bride ponders the bridal parties: “They are a nation, he supposes, founded on the principle of easy belief. A unit fueled by credulousness….They follow the man because he gives them what they need. He answers their yearning, unburdens them of free will and independent thought.”
Surely this is the impulse at work in some people’s substitution of Ivermectin, a de-worming medication intended for livestock, for the science-supported COVID vaccine. FOX News’s personalities Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham have all recommended Ivermectin as a COVID cure—as they seek a similar blind-faith audience response to that commanded by Rev. Moon and, for that matter, to the loyalty so many have given to Trump.
But Carlson et al. should take warning: Today, Moon’s Unification Church has withered. With no more than a few thousand members, it has split into three, with the largest of these led by Moon’s wife, Had Ja Han Moon. (Moon himself died in 2012 after declaring his church closed.) Smoke and mirrors will only take you so far.
Dinner: cold sliced roast beef, corn on the cob, and a green salad with yogurt dressing.
Entertainment: Episodes of the Italian courtroom drama The Trial (Il processo).