On the Rise of the American Anti-Vaxxer

Anti-vaxxers (specifically the COVID variant), what the f$&k, am I right? With the litany of undesirable consequences we invite by allowing COVID to just flourish damn near unimpeded, conjuring an adequate answer to this question is quite important.

I propose, as an exercise in adequacy, that we look at a pair of answers as to what-the-f$&k … observing how the contextual scope within which one derives an answer inherently shapes the adequacy with which the question has been answered.

For the purpose of this exercise, we'll delimit scope metaphorically. Within the scene capturing the composition of the answer, do we see a tree within a forest, surrounded, perhaps, by an abundance of flora and fauna; or, do we see only the solitary tree? How might scope impact our ability to competently conduct forest management?

Alrighty, who's pumped to get started? Today's tree-scoped answer comes to us courtesy of a Politico story amplified on Twitter by Kyle Griffin.

Kyle captures every bit of useful the article emits in 176 characters:

Many in the Southeast are turning down COVID-19 vaccines because they are angry that Trump lost the election and sick of Democrats in Washington thinking they know what's best.

Herein lies our first answer, "Trump lost, f$&k Democrats."

I'll convince you the contextual scope in use here is the solitary tree by kicking our metaphor into overdrive. How did we derive our answer?

We walked right up to the Sugar Maple … and we asked it: "Why no CODIT response1, tree?" The tree derived our answer for us, whispering back: "Because f$&k Poplars."

Now, don't get me wrong, I believe that Sugar Maple totally believes in the soundness of its answer. When the tree asks itself the selfsame question, its search for an adequate answer is complete with the utterance of, "Because f$&k Poplars." When we are asking the question, however, the adequacy of any answer is ours to judge. Perhaps … I mean … perhaps it might be worth expanding our data here to see whether the question's answer might be fleshed out a bit more into something possessing a hair of logic and, more importantly (given the nature of the question), into something from which a solution might be derived.

Let's broaden our gaze and take in the forest, for the tree was not so solitary as we had allowed ourselves to believe. Upon scanning the forest, we immediately notice how dry everything seems (f$&kin' climate change, am I right?). This contextual addition gets us thinking, "I wonder if not being adequately hydrated has stunted the Sugar Maple's ability to defend itself against infection?" And right then, as luck would have it, we rapidly recall that random article popping up in the 'tree disease natural defense' search we conducted hoping to find some arborary2material that would crank the tree metaphor up to eleven. We recall it implicating that such deficiencies would definitely adversely affect that Sugar Maple's ability to thrive (something of which the tree, itself, may not even be aware … being wooden-headed and all). This is how the article puts it (kinda blows my mind … how it seems to be directly addressing our Sugar Maple):

Overall tree vitality is another important factor. We know that if we’re chronically stressed, malnourished, poorly hydrated or otherwise run down, we are a lot more vulnerable to illness. Even a sugar maple may not be able to form strong chemical walls if it’s in a weakened state.

Now we're almost getting somewhere. Maybe … just maybe … the dehydrated state of our Sugar Maple might be considered the more adequate answer when compared to the one coming straight from the Horse Chestnuts' mouth.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that if this more adequate answer were known to the tree, it would have given it in the first place. Perhaps our Sugar Maple was unaware of just how dehydrated it had grown. Maybe it was unaware that being in such a state of dehydration might inhibit its ability to mount a defense. The tree's appearance really wasn't enough information to go on. We may not even have noticed the dehydration had we not broadened our scope, looking out into the forest. For when we did so, we were able to observe the state of those trees standing nearby … suddenly we had sufficient input for employing the one sacred skill at which humanity excels, the skill of pattern recognition.

One more metaphorical leap, let us imagine ourselves concerned for the welfare of our Sugar Maple? We worry the inadequate CODIT response might lead to an untimely demise. Imagining ourselves empathetic, we wish it were in our power to help our Sugar Maple avoid such a tragic end. Had we judged "Because f$&k Poplars" to be an adequate answer to our question, I reckon we'd find ourselves feeling quite powerless in this situation, as we'd have no real idea as to how we might bolster the tree's defense. But we weren't satisfied. The answer felt illogical. We broadened our scope. We learned that the Sugar Maple was dehydrated … that the lack of clean water being absorbed by its roots was impairing its ability to defend itself.

What if we increased the amount of clean water flowing into the Sugar Maple's watershed? If we did so sufficiently, would it not wake one morn to find itself properly hydrated? Once properly hydrated, might we return to our Sugar Maple and find it once more conducting itself in a manner that fosters protection against infection? Would this not be the case regardless of whether the Sugar Maple were ever aware that the problem all along had been the lack of clean water flowing into its ecosystem?

Now, then, we are ready to return to those anti-vaxxers and the adequacy of their answer: "Trump lost, f$&k Democrats." This was the answer we received to our question, "why no COVID vaccine?" To get that answer, we simply walked right up and asked them, no different from when we questioned our wooden-headed Sugar Maple. What if we broadened our gaze here, as we did with the tree. Might we derive an answer possessing a hair more logic? More importantly (given the nature of the question), could we find an answer from which a solution might be derived?

Less importantly, might the answer come encapsulated within a run-on sentence of extraordinary magnitude … stream of consciousness spliced with tweeted thread? I think we're in luck. I happen to have one of those, the answer I composed upon reading Kyle's tweet in my Twitter timeline. It's kinda the whole reason I'm writing this essay. What you've read thus far has been a sixty-one sentence introduction to a grammatical error we were taught as children to avoid making by our fourth grade English teachers. I simply haven't the heart to extinguish its eccentricity… so I offer it up as is … in all its obfuscating glory.

I read the response provided by our anti-vaxxers, reported by Politico, and then amplified by Kyle … and I was all:

"I mean … it's actually because of the bifurcated information ecosystem having bubbled them up inside an inverse reality … a reality which has preyed upon the combination of susceptibility to cult phenomena and world-view rigidity to amplify their tolerance for cognitive dissonance to organically cultify them by the millions…

exposing them to extreme manipulation and exploitation to suit the needs of whatever agenda the loosely sketched propaganda machine's engineers are targeting at that moment…

until their accumulated dissonance with our shared reality had gathered the gravity to sufficiently devolve their cognitive thinking ability to an induction point, past which superstition is embraced on a Dark Age scale…

after which, for all intents and purposes, they amount to possibly the largest group of brainwashed individuals ever to exist… a group those engineers depend upon to remain as they are… the input cannot be altered without also altering the output … and thus the machine ascends…

and I tend not to take the position of brainwashed individuals held captive by a reality fabricated for them (in the same manner as any cult victim is held pre-extraction) as much more than an outflow of garbage to match that which went in."

I like the feel of this answer a bit better. Perhaps you do not, it is not for me to tell you how to feel. For me, this answer has introduced a more useful interior. I believe this answer, as with our answer concerning the CODIT response of our Sugar Maple, presents itself as something from which a solution may be derived. This post is not the solution post. If you got this far and wonder what solution I'd derive, this post might get you headed in the right direction.

Bottoms Reader Bonus: Here's a note about the alien art way up at the top for those of you not fluent in Alienese. Roughly translated, the fella on our left is asking the fella on our right, "Have you tried changing out cable?"

  1. For the clickthrough adverse, CODIT is an acronym for the compartmentalization of decay in trees that slows or prevents the spread of disease. ↩︎

  2. Offspring of arbitary and arboreally. ↩︎