The spectacle of posh celebs sneering at hicks who won’t take the jab has been compelling theater for a while now, especially since the smartypants act has often come packaged in outrageous errors. Whether it’s MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid suggesting horse paste eaters clogging emergency rooms in Oklahoma be stuck at the back of the line for leaving “gunshot victims” untreated (there were no gunshot victims, the story turned out to be bunk), or Goldman analyst-turned-CNN-anchor Erin Burnett joining imperious colleagues Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Bakari Sellers, Jim Acosta, and industry mascot Brian Stelter in blasting Joe Rogan for taking a drug “intended for livestock” (Rogan’s human ivermectin dose was prescribed by a doctor), or even Joe Biden announcing he was mandating vaccines for health care workers so you can have “certainty” they can’t “spread it to you” (they can still spread it to you), the endless campaign of maladroit scolding almost seems designed to make fence-sitters refuse the shot out of spite, confusion, or both.
While the shame campaign has been a catastrophe as public health strategy, it has been effective as aristocratic misdirection, a way to keep the public’s eyes off the vault. Maybe that’s what it’s for.
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