Cosplaying Resident Evil
A folllow-up to the great post about Life’s Back Nine a couple of days ago. This is honest thinking that is uncensored.
Cosplaying Resident Evil
As we’re now a month or more past the first anniversary of “fifteen days to slow the spread,” I’ve been racking my brain, trying to figure out the Covidians’ behavior. The ones who seem to take it seriously, I mean — it’s obvious why grifters and fascists and pudding-brained “presidents” keep pushing it, but what about normal people? In the last post, I brought up an experience that most of the Twenty Readers must be familiar with, the “midlife crisis” — in short, the full, gut-level realization (as opposed to mere mental acceptance) of the fact that you’re going to die.
If the people who carry on like they’re freaked out about COVID, I suggested, really are freaked out by COVID, then they must’ve gone through a “midlife crisis”-type experience. Which should, in turn, have run them through the classic Kubler-Ross stages of grieving…. but that hasn’t happened. Instead, it seems like younger people jumped straight to “depression” — everyone knows how horrible this lockdown bullshit has been for kids — while the older folks seem to be stuck at “bargaining.” If we just get a few extra booster shots, and wear a few more masks, and stand another ten feet away from everyone, the Coof gods will spare us!!
In the comments below, Pickle Rick gave me the answer:
I’d say the closest historical parallel to the Cult of Covid is the flagellant movement during the Black Death. The Kovid Karens are also at the forefront of abasing themselves before Africans, another form of public self-flagellation.
They are indeed stuck at a kind of pseudo-bargaining, hence the mask fascism and the foot washing. But the reason they didn’t run through the full “stages of grief” is: They’re not grieving. Remember all that stuff I wrote about “mental middlemen?” This is that. None of this stuff is real to them. Their behavior in the “real world” is the result of the trashy soap opera that’s playing in their heads: Black Death, the Movie.* Or, since we’re up to the third or fourth generation of this series now, they’re cosplaying the video game Resident Evil.
He’s an obnoxious Leftie, of course, and no doubt a Covidian to boot, but there’s a reason The Stand is Stephen King’s best and most enduring work. His vignettes of America collapsing at the start of the book all ring true, because that’s how people really would behave, faced with a real plague. We know this, because, as Pickle Rick points out, we have lots of historical evidence for how people act in that kind of situation. The cultural manifestations change, but the underlying psychology is eternal.
See also: The fact that, while people on social media went nuts trying to find pictures of folks in masks during the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak, none of the usual suspects in The Media gave the Spanish Flu any more than the most cursory coverage. Odd, don’t you think? I’d expect massive six-part documentaries narrated by Morgan Freeman or some other Numinous Negro as a bare minimum… but there was none of that. Here again, the reason is: Back then, people behaved like people would in a real plague. Lots of bargaining, yeah… but also denial and anger and depression and, ultimately, acceptance. They went on with their lives, taking whatever reasonable precautions they felt were necessary, because life does, in fact, go on… until it doesn’t, and when it’s your time, buddy, it’s just your time. Nothing to be done. Life’s for living, so live it.
Meanwhile, here we are, fifteen months later, still stuck as a society at “bargaining”… without ever having gone through “denial” or “anger,” and no closer to “depression” or, God forbid, “acceptance.” Why? Because those are what real people go through, and we’re not real people anymore. We’re living in a video game, in the Matrix.
Video game protagonists don’t run the Kubler-Ross stages, either. They just pick up a gun and start blasting zombies. But they’re not completely reactive, either, and while some artist somewhere (if such a thing can exist now) might have a hoot making a video game where you just trudge through the years, blasting zombies from your fortified bunker until you’re too old to hold a shotgun anymore, nobody would play it. In video games, the player not only has complete agency — since he’s got the shotgun — but also a goal. It’s progressive. The thought that the plague might never end, that there’s no possible escape from Raccoon City (and nothing left to escape to in any case) simply never registers, because those are the game’s rules.
So pervasive is this video game mentality, it’s infected even the generation that came up before video games. The point I was trying to make, echoing the linked post in “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” is that the Baby Boom generation seems somehow to believe that they can win the Ultimate Boss Fight with death. That’s why they, too, still seem to be stuck at “bargaining.” Guys like Fred Reed and Steve Sailer seem pretty based… until they get that first AARP flyer in the mail, and then they turn into Angela Merkel. No expense — in money, social capital, or liberty — is too great if it gets us that one last round of golf at Sarasota Beach.
Last, but certainly not least, no one ever stops to think about how absurd this all is. Just like in video games, where ammo weighs nothing, you can overcome mortal injuries with a spray bottle, and you get as many chances to clear the level as you need, provided you make it to that typewriter in the safe room. All of that is idiotic, but the game wouldn’t be playable without it, so nobody minds. Same deal out in the “real world.” Who cares if the next generation of kids will be autistic, growing up trying to decipher social cues by reading eyebrows? Who cares if what’s left of the middle class gets gutted? Who cares that you can’t just keep printing money? Those are just the givens, the stuff that makes the game playable…
…and it’s all just a video game.
*There actually IS a movie called Black Death, with Sean Bean. It was ok for a late-night, half-drunk Netflix watch. As I’m sure will come as no surprise to anyone, Bean dies.