Opinion

Dispatches From Isolation Vol. 3

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Posted: Mar 31, 2020 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Dispatches From Isolation Vol. 3

Source: Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

This is the third in a series of columns written in the spirit of being stuck inside and the things that occupy the mind in times of quarantine.

The numbers game

The media is shameless. So-called journalists eagerly hopped on the “The United States has more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world” train as soon as they could. And it’s true, but it’s also misleading. 

I use every opportunity possible to point out the fact that if you control the unit of measure, you’ll always come out ahead. If you get to choose what constitutes “smartest” or “funniest” you will always win. Such is the case with this number and pretty much every number the media reports.

In terms of raw numbers, sure, the US is now on the top of the list. But raw numbers don’t tell you anything beyond the raw numbers. Per capita can actually tell you something. 

The United States have a larger population than just about any combination of 5 European countries, a lot more if you toss in some smaller ones. Of course we’re going to have more cases than they do. But per capita, we’re in much better shape, well down the list. That number isn’t reported because why would it be? How does that scare people and hurt President Trump? 

It doesn’t, so it never leaves the lips of “journalists.” Instead, we get things like percentages when raw numbers would tell a more accurate story. For example, both of these can be true, but one is manipulative. “There has been a 100 percent increase in deaths over night” and “The death total increased from 5 to 10 over night.” First one will scare the hell out of people - a massive increase, a doubling of deaths in one nigh! The second adds important perspective - each death is sad, but going from 5 to 10 in a nation of 330 million, on a planet of 7 billion, not only conveys the same information, it does so in a way that is not going to elicit an emotional response. 

It’s a powerful manipulation tool (I wrote a book about how the media manipulates their audience and I still fall for it sometimes.) Remember these types of tricks next time you hear numbers reported, take a minute and think about what they really mean, not the impression the reporter is trying to give you. 

Concerts are great, but some people were missing

I watched some of that concert from the living room, or whatever it was called, on Fox Sunday night. It was fine, the people who participated could sing (no room for autotune, thank God), and there seemed to be something for everyone. And it was for a great cause - feeding the hungry and money for the families of first responders. 

I was, however, struck by the lack of mentions for truck divers, delivery and grocery store workers. It wasn’t out of malice, but it should have been included. 

Without those people, all the doctors working their asses off in hospitals would be wasting their time. We’d all starve. More accurately, we’d have anarchy. While that would retroactively make gun purchases well worth it, that isn’t going to happen because of these underpaid, under appreciated Americans. They deserve their own benefit concert, maybe some country music stars will organize one…

Movie: is there nothing they can’t teach us?

In “Cool Hand Luke,” a great movie if you’re in the market for one, Strother Martin says, “What we've got here is... failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach.” That should be tattooed across the foreheads of these morons who continue to violate social distancing guidelines and stay at home orders.  

One such person is my fellow Marylander who kept having parties, large parties, throughout this entire ordeal, until he was finally arrested. 

Imagine someone dumb enough to have 60 people over in the middle of a pandemic, yet old enough to know better. Put that image together in your head and you’ll come close to this 41-year-old moron. What adult, in 2020, has a mohawk? Maybe Elizabeth Warren, but only to celebrate her heritage, but no one else. But even she wouldn’t dye it blue (unless she was claiming to be a Smurf that week to get a job). When you see the picture you understand what we’re up against - stupidity is immune from reality, but not a pandemic. 

I have no problem with people who want to risk their own lives, especially through their own idiocy. But those people always seem to Mr. Magoo their way through everything, with the destruction in their wake and not a speck of dirt on them. People like this will likely be just fine, it’s the people around them who’ll suffer. I couldn’t live with the knowledge that my reckless actions were responsible for making others sick or causing their death. That doesn’t seem to be a factor for people who live without knowledge. 

Bernie or bust

It’s amazing how insignificant Joe Biden is during all of this. He’s jumping around, desperately trying to matter, he just doesn’t. That’s probably the best thing for him - he’s much better as an abstract than a reality. As an abstract, he’s the Democratic nominee and is the focus of support for his party and people who hate the President. In reality, he’s gaffe machine who can’t get through a short answer without seeming confused or lost. It’s like an elder abuse PSA. Still, he keeps doing Skype interviews because he believes people care what a guy who has no say over anything and even less knowledge thinks about the most important issue of the day. In that sense, it’s the perfect audition for an MSNBC show.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders also disappeared, only no one cares. Where is he? He’s still running for president, allegedly, the emails begging for money still roll in as well. But at this point, he’s been reduced to being like one of those old Japanese soldiers discovered in the 50s living on a deserted island who didn’t know the war was over, only Bernie is living in a house, one of three he owns…with cable TV…Internet…and a staff paid to keep him informed about the latest developments involving his campaign. Denial, it seems, is also a river in Vermont. 

Those damn kids

Being at home all day gives me plenty of time to play with my kids, which is great. But one thing I’ve discovered is just how awful television shows for kids are. My 2-year-old has gone from obsessing over PJ Masks to Peppa Pig to now Paw Patrol. If you don’t have young kids, these words likely mean nothing to you, if you have small kids, they probably haunt your dreams. 

But the one things about all of them is this: they’re horrible. Varying degrees of horrible, but horrible none the less. PJ Masks is about 3 elementary school kids who fight crime at night. It’s harmless, but does make you wonder where their parents are, when they do homework, and when they sleep. Peppa Pig is wholesome enough, but it has all sorts of animals that would eat each other in the wild attending school together. It also trained by daughter to have a British accent when she says “daddy.” 

Worst of all is Paw Patrol. Puppies who fight crime that never results in any arrested. The two towns in this cartoon have the worst mayors ever - one is a moron with a pet chicken, the other is as corrupt as Richard Burr. It’s supposed to teach kids lessons, but letting bad politicians off the hook constantly and calling a bunch of super dogs in a low-level emergency are not practical life lessons. Maybe I’m reading too much into them, I don’t remember inflicting this type of abuse on my parents. Then again, VCRs were brand new and expensive, and we were the last family I knew to get cable, so maybe I was smartly denied the opportunity to do it. What I missed out on as a toddler I more than made up for in “leaving Legos on the carpet to be stepped on” when I got older. 

I’m not really complaining, the toys are fine and it’s great to see their imagination develop as we play with them. The 2-year-old has a great one, she does voices and repeats catch phrases like a pro. The 1-year-old mostly chews on them and expresses herself in screams and laughs. Still, a blast. Isolation has its advantages…

Stay safe.

Derek Hunter is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!), host of a daily radio show on WCBM in Maryland, and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses. Follow him on Twitter at @DerekAHunter