Yesterday, Lili Loofbourow wrote a piece at Slate where she churned out a bunch of words about the Herman Cain Awards subreddit. Some if it is well observed, some of it is Slateish. I know some of you read the Herman Cain Awards subreddit because I saw a comment there referencing Balloon Juice. For those who aren’t familiar, it’s a place where Facebook posts of anti-vax morons are re-posted after that person gets sick (“Nominated”) or dies (“Awarded”). This got long and a little ugly, so read on if you have the stomach for it.
There’s a lot of talk, including in the Slate piece, about how the Hermies are “dark” and the goal of the HCAs is not to change minds so they’re somehow bad. Yes, it is dark to see a bunch of idiots sharing and re-sharing the same cookie-cutter memes that compare Fauci to Hitler, Fauci’s penis size to the size of Hillary Clinton’s penis, etc. Seeing those lies followed by tales of suffering and death is even darker. Still, if anything is clear from weeks of looking at Awardees, it is that these minds are not easily changed. Gentle persuasion is not going to do a fucking thing for a bunch of idiots stubbornly ensconced in a Facebook bubble.
I realize that the HCAs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But I refuse to be bullied into being the “responsible liberal” who has to work harder than Dr. Doolittle to talk kanga to these kangaroos, simply because their precious fee fees might be hurt when they learn that people are documenting their needless, stupid deaths (after personally identifiable details are blacked out). This god damned country has been catering to the hurt feelings of a bunch of undereducated, overprivileged white folks for 20 years — all we’ve gained is a clown President and wannabes like DeathSantis who wanted to kill liberals, but now are killing their own.
And, yes, some of the commenters on the HCAs do make fun of these fools. The reason is because there’s nothing left to do. I realize that some vaccine hesitancy and access can be addressed by persuasion and mobile clinics, but Awardees are neither hesitant nor do they lack access.
One of the insights of the Slate piece, though cast in a bothsiderism, was this:
Chilled though I’ve been by how this subreddit can rejoice at a death, I’m somehow no less chilled by how easily the bereaved normalize their losses. A 35-year-old man with three young children and a free vaccine available should not be dead! There is astonishingly little recognition of this.
It really is remarkable how many euphemisms these people have for death. People don’t die, they’ve moved on to a forever home. Once in a while an angry relative will lash out at the Facebook friends of an Awardee, but generally it’s tots and pears and here’s a GoFundMe. None of these idiots have life insurance to help pay for the needs of their quiverfull. And lots of their relatives don’t even specify how they died, because they are ashamed or don’t want to be cast out of the cult.
I don’t comment on the HCAs, and I really don’t get any joy out of them. The reason I read the HCAs is to see what isn’t being reported about these fools, and it’s a lot. They delay hospitalization out of a combination of shame and denial, so they arrive in the ED very sick. Sometimes that means that otherwise healthy young people die in a couple of days. If they make it past the ED to admission, they’re often intubated and put into what one nurse called the “vegetable farm” — the ICU. Once they arrive there, their relatives throw away their anti-science views and document the progress (or lack thereof) of their loved one in the ICU with detail that would make a nurse supervisor proud. Almost all of them are FULL CODE and code multiple times while relatives pray for an ECMO (basically a heart-lung machine). Once they finally die, the relatives often blame the medical staff for not providing Ivermectin or HCQ or genital bleach washing or whatever other stupid “cure” their Facebook fellow anti-vax travelers recommend.
In shot, they are the worst of us, and they are hogging resources and causing others to die. Still, local media (and national media) are self-constrained from reporting on them fully. The (good) media I’ve seen is more res ipsa loquitur, showing people gasping to death in the ICU and mentioning their vaccine status. I would love to see some local TV station in a hard-hit area just spend 5-10 minutes every so often showing memes juxtaposed with the bloated face of an almost-dead Herman Cain nominee being proned in the ICU. I’ll bet a few families would authorize that because the one legitimate emotion that these people sometimes have is crushing regret that they weren’t vaccinated. That regret is short-lived, because they’re sedated prior to intubation, so they can’t feel their beloved Jesus crush their lungs under his sandals. That, at least, is a small mercy.
Also, if you got this far and think I’m being too dark, check out this letter from a nurse to her patient, or this account by a 4th year med student who tried to save an immunocompromised, vaccinated organ transplant recipient.