Sunday, May 2, 2021

Blame Me for Vaccine Hesitancy

It was 1990 and I was playing a week-long gig in Martinique, at their Carnivale (which is to Mardi Gras what a 1975 Oakland rent party is to rich teens with nose jobs dancing to "Super Freak" at a suburban bar mitzvah), with the Haitian super-group Tabou Combo (kompa at its finest!)

We had a day off and a few of us wanted to go swimming. I'd brought along a guide sheet to local beaches, helping steer visitors away from the ones downstream from sewage jets, and towards the cleaner and more picturesque options. Our trumpet player, a fellow white mercenary, wanted nothing of my annoying need to question everything. Let's just hit a damned beach, like everyone else here. For once in your life, just go with the flow without making some big fuss.

I tried to explain that this is the Third World, where people actually do bathe near sewage jets. In a place like this life is cheaper than you're accustomed to, especially if you're not cloistered in the shiny tourist hotel zone, which we never even saw. He just ground his jaw and rolled his eyes. "Fuckin' guy!"

Shortly after, I launched Chowhound, whose prevailing credo was "Never settle!" We all need to try a little harder, and drive a little farther, for better! That crap everyone else eats? Not for you! Don't stupidly follow the crowd! Instead, strategize to ensure that every occasion's a special occasion. That was an actual marketing point: "every occasion a special one!" We all need to commit more tenaciously to uncompromising higher standards!

So I've been watching interviews with vaccine skeptics. Not the loudmouthed crazies who are loudly certain that Bill Gates tracks our thoughts via vaccine-borne nanobots. I mean nice, normal people who are just unsure whether they can trust these meds that came out only fairly recently. It's hardly extreme paranoia to feel trepidation about rushed-out radical new treatments.

At least that's my enlightened take, after time spent empathizing with their perspective. My initial reaction to the hesitancy was more like yours: I ground my jaw and rolled my eyes at their annoying need to question everything. Just get your damned shot, like everyone else! For once in your life, just go with the flow and don't make a big fuss. Fucking people!


This post's title was an obvious exaggeration for ironic effect. I did start a few things, but not uncompromising consumerism. However, I certainly championed the latter as forcefully as I possibly could.

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