The only person on this subway car not wearing a mask is reading Ayn Rand
— Daniel Radosh (@danielradosh) July 23, 2021
The messenger is meeting his moment. https://t.co/KGd6BF1n1A
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) July 23, 2021
Dave Roth is a genius, within his particular field:
Everyone who has held a job knows how it feels to be subject to the dim caprice of a grandiose and arbitrary boss, and to be captive to backward and deeply entrenched cultures, and to try and fail to get comfortable on the knife-edge of precariousness that is the inherent and defining condition of contemporary working life. NFL players have to negotiate all of that on television while also risking vast bodily harm and getting yelled at/about by strangers, but give or take all that, the dynamic tension holding it in place is the same as it is anywhere, everywhere else. The discrete tasks that make up different jobs are different, but the broader thing—doing something other than what you’d rather be doing, generally alongside other people, in exchange for money—applies too.
What makes it all work, when and where it does work, is not just a commitment to working toward a shared goal among the people doing the thing in question, but a tacit commitment to some small, subsidiary interpersonal understandings. At workplaces that work, this expresses itself through a tacit kind of sublimation, not just in terms of a new and more humble understanding of the relative importance of individual prerogatives relative to the broader collective pursuit, but also by accepting an unspoken suite of obligations to the people around you. It’s pragmatic, mostly, but there’s still some grace in it. Practically speaking, it is harder for a collective to reach its shared goal if everyone is not pulling in the same direction; the more ennobling part is how that understanding tends to manifest through big and little acts of helpfulness and support and assistance. Those actions reflect and honor, in a way that those broader goals would and necessarily could not, the fact that everyone involved is a person. It is a practical fact that people tend to pull most effectively in the desired direction if they feel supported and valued by the people around them, but also and more importantly that is just what people deserve…
If you and I were talking about this, we might call this sort of caring something like “social responsibility,” or just “not needlessly making things harder for everyone else because you for some reason wanted to.” When football coaches talk about this kind of thing, as they do, the branding tends more towards Bill Belichick’s typically pithy and appropriately joyless “do your job.” Earlier this week, Michael Irvin—one of the great individual performers of his NFL generation and a core figure in a Dallas Cowboys dynasty that proved a team could be cohesive and high-functioning in this one essentially collective way while being floridly pathological in every other one—found another way to express it. Irvin was talking about the Cowboys, which is part of his job as an opinionated and occasionally mysteriously sweaty NFL commentator, and more specifically was addressing the fact that the Cowboys are not one of the 13 NFL teams to have hit the league’s COVID-19 vaccination threshold, and not terribly close to becoming one.
Here is what Irvin told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram‘s Clarence E. Hill Jr.:
It should upset them. Dude, you’re not thinking right. I don’t give a damn. Nothing else can be more important. You’re not going to get this [winning a Super Bowl] easily. And not being one of the [vaccinated teams] says there’s other things to a great number of people on this team that are more important than winning championships and that makes me worried.
…“If you’re not one of the [vaccinated] teams are you really thinking about winning a championship?”…
… [W]hile this is unmistakably a conservative argument for vaccination—how can you say you are serious about excelling at work and avoiding distractions and destroying your rivals if you won’t protect yourself against the virus with a vaccine?—it is also the first such argument for vaccination that we’ve seen in earnest, even all these months into the push…
Imagine this was an epidemic of people sticking their dicks in light sockets. Electrical grids are fried. Dick-born electrical fires kill thousands. Hospitals at capacity from penis burns. Businesses shut down. And everyone’s like “Please, don’t talk down to the socket fuckers.”
— Jesse McLaren (@McJesse) July 23, 2021