Back to One.

august 1st, 2021

Vlad and i were vaccinated in April. The news now is that the delta variant of COVID-19 is as contagious as chickenpox and that vaccinated people with breakthrough infections can carry the same high, transmissable viral load as unvaccinated people.

People are getting sick again, especially unvaccinated people, but also vaccinated people. Incidents of serious COVID in vaccinated people are low and death maybe non-existent … but i feel discouraged and frustrated, like the vaccine did nothing.

The longer COVID circulates, the more likely it is to mutate to a form that rapidly kills children. i'm angry in a vague and irritated way at people who could get vaccinated but refuse, and enraged in a particular and specific way at my aunt in California who refuses.

Capitalism teaches us that the only people who really matter are the ones who operate at scale — the “big” people. But imagine telling Grandpa Gertrude Stein, “everything you're doing here in Paris, everything you're writing? It doesn't matter. What matters are the five members of the Supreme Court who'll decide Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015.”

From my vantage in 2021, there's a direct and unbroken line from Stein to Hodges, even if she didn't live to see it. What she did mattered.

Or don't imagine Grandpa Gertrude, because maybe she's too much of a Big People. Imagine an anonymous magnificent lesbian of the 20th century who lived a beautiful life with her extra-legal wife, who quietly nurtured younger queers, and who fomented healthy dissent. Tell her that she should just give up because she'll never live to see gay marriage! Tell her to just marry a dude! Tell her to encourage queer people to stay closeted, because being out without legal protection just invites violence! Ugh. Obviously never tell her that.

Capitalism — or maybe something deeper in culture, something i don't know the name for — teaches us to maximize self-interest, to blindly consume, to engage transactionally, to view the collective interest as a personal threat.

If you believe that your efforts toward change don't matter because you're not one of the Big People, ask yourself who profits from that belief. If you hold contempt for others as i hold contempt for American vaccine refusers, ask who profits from (y)our contempt.