Satan Chips

When I quit smoking, I made myself a promise:  I am never going to be one of those former smokers that tututs current smokers for their habit.  It was a choice for me to quit smoking when I did — after a 30-year, two pack a day habit — based on what was best for me at the time (2013), and I know that had someone come to me a year earlier and presented the same evidence that smoking was bad for me I would have dismissed it.  I can tell you what is right for me; I can cite medical advice; I can share my own pulmonary issues with you; but I cannot convince you of something you are not convinced of.  Many former smokers become zealots for the cause of getting people to quit.  And all they really succeed in doing is being annoying.

Which is why I hesitated as I began this post.

If someone is convinced the world is run by giant lizards, that Elvis is alive, that Hillary Clinton runs a pedophile ring out of the basement of a pizza parlor in DC that doesn’t even have a basement, or that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, telling that person s/he is wrong is like telling a committed smoker that cigarettes are bad for you.  Perhaps psychologists will one day determine the cognitive mechanism that allows us to believe something in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, but until they do, the old adage “don’t argue with a fool, they’ll drag you down to their level and win the argument with experience” seems the best advice.

Except…

where vaccine misinformation is concerned.  If I believe that Bill Gates is a secret member of the Illuminati controlling our minds through Windows, my belief doesn’t really “hurt” anyone, but me.  But the people spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines are harming others, in some cases their irresponsibility is leading to the deaths of others — they should be called-out and publicly shamed.  And be held accountable, as should any person or organization giving them a platform.

I expect someone with the job of “White House Correspondent” to be of a certain caliber.  I do not expect unhinged, crazy, conspiracy theorists to be anywhere near the briefing room in the West Wing.  There will be plenty of journalists and the news organizations they represent with whom I disagree.  But at the end of the day, we both agree that a ladder is the best way to climb a wall.  We may disagree on which wall to climb, but nobody is suggesting levitation; the ladder is necessary… on that we agree, objectively.  Truth is objective.  Immanuel Kant proposed that there are categorical imperatives which was his way of saying a fact is a fact from Nome to Rome.

It is a fact that the COVID vaccines are safe and effective.  It is a fact that vaccinated people are less likely to end up hospitalized and die from the virus.

satan chip

It is NOT a fact that the getting your COVID vaccine shot implants a chip or bioluminescence marker used by Satan to track Christians.  Who on earth believes that?  It’s just crazy talk.  I mean, it’s not like the person spouting this disinformation attends briefings at the White House and routinely poses questions to press secretary to the President of the United States Jen Psaki on behalf of a broadcast news outlet.  It’s not like a journalist would be so unprofessional and irresponsible as to regurgitate garbage from social media like a Facebook post which warns “LUCIFERASE ENZYME (MARK OF THE BEAST) IN C19 VACCINE,” or another post, also on Facebook, citing a “patent” number “060606.”  The “mark of the beast” reference and the three 6's are from the apocalyptical narrative in the last book of the Christian New Testament — the Book of Revelation — those who carry the mark “will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb” (cf:  Revelation 14:9-10).

Oh, but wait.  She does (did, until three days ago) work at the White House, reporting for far-Right news channel Newsmax.  According to Emerald Robinson, Newsmax’s White House correspondent:

As seems to be the case with these post-truth conspiracy theories favored by the former president and his supporters, a little digging (even by a guy with a laptop who writes a blog from Palm Springs) reveals the tenuous connection to some bit of truth which then gets turned into these outlandish claims.  Lucifer is a name used for the devil, a fallen angel who defied God and who is sometimes called Satan; the Latin roots of the name Lucifer combine lux (Latin for “light") and ferre (from the Latin for "to bring or bear”), but in the world of science “luciferase" is an enzyme that, under certain circumstances, produces light from living organisms, like fireflies.  Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston did use the enzyme luciferase in developing diagnostic tests for COVID-19 — as Philip Bump at the Washington Post notes:

Because it gives off light, the compound is useful in medicine, allowing doctors to observe phenomena such as vaccine response more quickly than with blood tests. Some testing for the coronavirus vaccine used luciferase in trials, but it is not present in the final vaccines.

Which is another way of saying that the 223.2 million Americans who’ve received at least one vaccine dose don’t need to worry about glowing in the dark so Satan can find them and pour burning sulfur on them while flying babies with wings and sheep, apparently, look on.  Phew!  I’ve had three doses.  I was afraid I looked like a lighthouse at night, or the sun.

Any attempt by the White House to oust Robinson would, invariably, lead to court challenges over viewpoint discrimination.  The idea that she’s entitled to her opinion, no matter how untethered from reality it is, is the same ridiculous thinking that led to Donald Trump’s attempted coup and to his millions of supporters claiming media bias and censorship when the voices of reason tell them to be quiet.  Imagine if a fly stood up for flies everywhere and said, “Eat Shit… lots of us do, and we can’t all be wrong.”  Well, if the flies kept their shit to themselves, as the smokers do their cigarettes, okay.  But with these anti-vaxxers, their spread of misinformation unsupported by data or science is akin to flies forcing the rest of us to dine on shit, as it is the unvaccinated who are getting the rest of us sick.

The question is does Robinson’s employer, Newsmax, have the sense of civic responsibility to quash this nonsense?  Or does it care too much about the audience, ratings, and money that this nonsense furnishes?  “Newsmax is currently reviewing the posts and during that period Ms. Robinson will not be on air but continue with duties for the network,” Newsmax said in a statement.  Blah.  What’s to review?  She’s crazy.  Her tweet is dangerous and will cost lives, and not the lives of those who believe her but innocent lives infected because one of her believers isn’t vaccinated.

She should be fired.  Shamed.  And forgotten.  And so I wrote this post.

But I worry about how many Robinsons are out there at Newsmaxs and OANs and Foxs.  How many impressionable kids or football fans are listening to Aaron Rodgers tell the world he consulted with Joe Rogan after his positive COVID-19 test.  Joe Rogan is a podcast host.  He’s a fly pushing shit.

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