Monday, November 30, 2020

Another Perspective on Anti-Maskers

I'm taking another stab at this.

Blue collar guys take health risks with reckless disregard because they feel tough, and it's their job. Reckless disregard becomes their default. They don't read safety instructions and don't agonize over the health risks of chemicals, coal dust, etc.. They just get it done. And we're grateful to them. You and I are far too delicate for exploratory strolls around our own septic tanks. We call less delicate guys for that stuff. We could not live without them.

These are the guys who stood atop the toxic mound of smoldering plastic on 9/11, digging for bodies. We deemed them heros. I certainly was not there with them. After one whiff from afar, I high-tailed it out to Long Island to preserve my delicate lungs. Thank heavens for guys who don't sweat such things; tough guys unrestrained by delicacy who actually get stuff done.

Masks strike them as silly overreaction. As the guys we outsource our risks to, they're used to the rest of us behaving like delicate ninnies. But this time's different. This time we're furious about their recklessness, because this time it affects us negatively.

We've turned on them, suddenly demanding that they behave conscientiously; prudently; carefully. We need them not to act like the sort of brutishly ignorant low-class baboons who'd dig for our bodies below smoking rubble or fight our wars or dive into our septic systems. Now that we have skin in the game, we've betrayed our true feelings, and we're the awful ones, not them. They've been consistent this whole time.

If the virus had a >25% death rate - something immediately tangible - these guys would be religious about masks. But it's a minuscule fraction of that, so this seems like yet another thing they'll blithely survive (or won't), along with the dry cleaning chemicals, the transmission lubricants, and the pipe sealing chemicals whose effects they stoically ignore. Just another vanishingly small risk freaking out the delicate classes. But this time, we're demanding that they behave like us.

Yes, a virus is different, due to the network effect. But that's awfully subtle. And these guys overlook subtle risk explanations every damned day, with our staunch encouragement - and even celebration. We love their can-do perspective when they fix our cars and plumbing and septic tanks. We idolize them when they become war or disaster heroes. But the moment their attitude affects us, we find them stupidly insufferable.

Unsurprisingly, these guys aren't super-appreciative of our flip. It makes them dig in. It makes them vote for people like Trump, who give voice to their indignation.

Don't expect people to self-repair to accommodate you

More postings labeled "right whispering" (trying to explain conservatives to liberals).


Steve said...

In my area, everyone wears a mask no matter their occupation. I have no idea what being a plumber has to do with it. Go to the store, wear a mask. I can't remember the last time I saw someone in a store without a mask.

James Leff said...

My bad. Guess it's not a problem.

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