Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Corona Virtue

Early on in this madness, I found myself in a drug store. By way of reference to the calendar of expert advice, this was when we were told, even admonished, not to wear masks. 

As I and others went about our shopping sans science burkas, there was a young woman in her 20s or 30s wearing a mask, going huffily up and down each aisle.

She must have had access to some dark web of corona compliance because, as pertains to masking and its attendant impatience with those who disobey, she was ahead of the game.

In any case, it seemed clear we had disappointed and/or enraged her and above her mask, her pleading, angry eyes sought out someone, anyone, to ask her about it. Perhaps you know the look.

Ordinarily, such a woman might be wearing "problem glasses" but possibly the mask caused them to fog and so she left them in the Prius. 

You know the type, so I shall not spend more words in her description. Please permit me, however, to dilate on a related matter.

There has been, perhaps intentionally, some muddying of the definition of the term "Karen." In some quarters, she is mistaken for someone who does as she pleases, assuming the rules do not apply to her. 

As an early adopter of the term, I rise to clarify its meaning. Karen (who can be male or female in this enlightened age) believes we live a world made of rules. Moreover, she believes she has been ordained, by the Almighty or the HOA, to enforce them.

Those who have twisted the definition are somewhat correct, inasmuch as while Karen goes about minding everyone else's business, she often excuses herself from the same constraints. 

As a local example, the Karens in my neighborhood will allow their dogs to run off-leash in areas where it is clearly prohibited, including on other people's property, yet call the authorities if they suspect someone else's dog is unlicensed. 

But it is the burning need to bring enforcement upon others that is Karen's defining characteristic. This is why she wants to speak to a manager. Her needs somehow have not been met, and they never will be. There is a poetic sadness behind that haircut.

Our drug store heroine was, by way of appearance and vintage, a tad young and slight for Karenhood. As of this writing, I do not know if there is an agreed-upon term for a millennial Karen (Dakota?).

She was, nonetheless, agitated by our divergence from the world as she would have it and seemed eager, if not frantic, to do something about it.

There is a symbiotic relationship between this psychology and government power, especially of late. Localities across North America have been striving to cancel Halloween in the name of “safety.”

In my own neck of the woods, having perhaps determined they do not have the legal authority or enforcement power to cancel Halloween outright, they have instead “suggested” children not go out this year.

Local message boards are rife with frets of "kids stacked up" in schools, at close quarters and breathing.

As someone said, kids can basically mainline Covid-19 and they’ll be fine. The little blighters are not very good at spreading it, either. These are undisputed findings from the alphabet soup of approved sources – WHO, CDC, et al.

No matter, there is panic to be had and rules to be created.

One might diagnose Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy if folks were genuinely afraid. But so many appear to be enjoying this too much. It is a dark, mirthless joy, born of controlling and condemning people. 

You can vilify others for what, until the day before yesterday, was perfectly normal behavior. There are government snitch lines dedicated to reporting on them. For Karen, this is Christmas (or whatever secular winter event she observes). 

Implicit in this flurry of convictions is one's moral superiority. This is the essence of Corona Virtue. 

Show what a superb mother and splendid citizen you are by worrying aloud about non-existent threats. Simultaneously, allow yourself indulgences as needed. 

This is why environmentalists fly private, even as they admonish you for flying coach. It is also why Karen herself will go maskless, as will her Patron Saint Fauci (may he preserve us from all non-conformists and independent thinkers, now and at the hour of our sniffles). 

It has been some months since my fear of the disease was surpassed by my terror at the authoritarian culture it has occasioned. 

The percentage of the population at risk of death from Coronavirus is infinitesimal and identifiable. Corona Virtue, however, threatens us all.

Theo Caldwell just wanted to be left alone. Contact him at