That Old Hut

Something was always holding me back from clearing out that old hut. There was all that electrical equipment to go through, and the old paint tins, and what about the broken bikes and the broken sunlounger with the ripped mattress? Clearly, all this stuff couldn’t just be thrown out. No. So my patient brother put up with my procrastination, and for months we had ‘the old hut’ and ‘the new shed’ both in use in the back garden of the home we grew up in. At one point I’d had three old bikes (one in bits and one not working) then a friend gave me a shiny new (to me) one. Something had to give. The abandoned kid’s bike I’d rescued, that no-one I knew wanted, I fixed up and left outside a community centre (last year) with a note on it: “free to a good home”. It was gone in two days. Months later, I faced the fact that the best-looking bike was actually the worst (as it needed more ballbearings in the rear hub) and fixed up the old banger so it would go. And then, for weeks, I did nothing.

That old hut wasn’t just wood inside and junk inside, of course. It was our gang hut when we were wee. Me and my sisters used to play together, as my bro was too old to play with me, ‘the baby’. I remember rare Scottish sunny days with Cremola Foam drinks in lime green plastic tumblers, making up gang hut activities, like our perfume factory (the roses recovered and the compost heap was blessed) and our neighbourhood espionage (noting down the licence plates in the car park round the corner – why?). It was also where we kept our tennis racquets, for our yearly fortnight of summer enthusiasm during Wimbledon – until we fell out with each, other over who had to go get the ball, and gave up.

But most of all it was Dad’s hut. All those mysterious manly objects, like spark plugs and the whetting stone. The heavy roller lawnmover and the electric hedge cutters, that I pleaded to use then almost cut my finger off with, were here and, later, the strimmer. Seed packets, bought and harvested, the riddle, spades and hoes and rakes and forks. Wellington boots and green twine. It was a world I was always impatient with. It wasn’t till my last year at my first university that I began to get a glimmer of understanding why. I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance then and hardly understood a word. But I got this bit:

They talk once in a while in as few pained words as possible about “it” or “it all” as in the sentence, “There is just no escape from it.” And if I asked, “From what?” the answer might be “The whole thing,” or “The whole organized bit,” or even “The system.” […] The “it” is a kind of force that gives rise to technology, something undefined, but inhuman, mechanical, lifeless, a blind monster, a death force. Something hideous they are running away from but now they can never escape.

Robert M. Pirsig (p.24 in the 1999 Vintage paperback edition)

It wasn’t till my last year of my Ph.D. studying Pirsig’s work that I felt his theories click into place – and saw how I could simplify them. The famous paraphrase of Einstein (by Roger Session of the New York Times) asserts that ‘everything should be as simple as possible – but no simpler’. So I cannot simply characterise my father as a technophobe. He was a tailor by profession, a competent car mechanic, gardener and helpful handyman. Yet he’d swear in Polish (which was worse than when he swore in German) when wallpapering and an old anger, of being pitted against the world, would return.

For years I felt inadequate in the man’s world. Young men often feel like this and the father-son relationship is often very difficult indeed. For years I felt I was secretly disappointing him so I told him openly how disappointing he was to me. We had years of pain. This is not unusual. I grew up and understood more deeply not just the war horrors that he and his generation had survived but also why almost everyone feels alienated from technology – even from organisation. And I strove to counter the basic illogic that constantly fucks things up in Britain, where it’s not polite to suggest rethinking something that’s always been a bloody mess; and I tried to do this in my family and largely failed. Because, of course, the root of it was in me.

All that junk in the old hut, and all my emotional baggage, life’s just simpler without it. But life isn’t life then. When I realised that my reluctance to clear out the old hut was my reluctance to (once again) face my unresolved conflicts with my late father, I did what I always had to do when I was leaving a country I’d been living in, or trying to hitchhike away from somewhere. I let go. Or rather I accepted that that’s where I was and stopped holding onto things that kept me stuck there. “Stuckness” is a very Pirsigian concern, he devotes a whole chapter (24) to it.

So I fixed up and gave away the old banger to a friend – with instructions about locating a shop to service it for free, under the Government 50 quid scheme. And this morning I sat down and went through all the electricals to see what could be reused. So only some things were taken to the dump by my sister (they recycle what they can there). And this afternoon my brother and I took down the old hut. Tomorrow we plan to build raised beds. I plan to keep you posted.

All photos (c) Alan McManus.

Student Solitary Confinement – email template for staff/ parents

Hello

Is [NAME OF SCHOOL/ COLLEGE/ UNIVERSITY] seriously imposing solitary confinement on innocent students for fifteen days? And disciplining students who do not comply or handing them over to the authorities? Solitary confinement is a form of torture and we can expect rising rates of depression, mental illness, self-harm and suicide to follow. That’s not a good look for a [school/ college/ university] proud to be [a Stonewall Diversity champion and] Positive about Disabled People. No matter how economically convenient (until outraged parents take legal action for harms caused) torture is not a solution!

According to Juan Mendez, the former United Nations special rapporteur on torture, the imposition of solitary confinement “of any duration, on persons with mental disabilities is cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” He has called on governments to abolish it for prisoners with psychosocial or cognitive disabilities.

He has also said that “the longer the duration of solitary confinement or the greater the uncertainty regarding the length of time, the greater the risk of serious and irreparable harm to the inmate that may constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or even torture.”

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/10/29/submission-un-committee-against-torture-france

Under Scots Law, staff who enforce these measures may also be legally liable – judged to be acting “on a frolic of their own” as the antiquated legal phrase puts it – as “only following orders” went out as an excuse in 1948 at the Nuremberg Trials. So the [school/ college/ university] is also setting up staff for legal liability. That’s hardly Dignity At Work!

  • There is no provision in law for the imposition of solitary confinement (of any duration) on students nor for threatening staff with disciplinary action if they do not enforce it.
  • There is no provision in law for the mandatory download and use of any technology by individual members of the public.
  • Self-isolation must be, and must be seen to be, voluntary.

None of us is above the law. I make no judgement on the good intentions of those who are currently mandating the illegal imposition of solitary confinement. No doubt they passed lockdown in a spacious house with a lovely garden. Not in a dorm room smaller than a jail cell.

Permit me to say that the feelings of these people are not my chief concern at the moment. My priority is the physical and mental wellbeing of our [students/ children] and of my fellow [staff/ parents] – as well as the legal liability which the [school/ college/ university] as a corporate body and individual staff members are now open to because of this solitary confinement regime.

A better tack to take (and one more likely to avoid students ripping up residences to form barricades while singing La Marseillaise) might be to invite the students to self-isolate, to support them (and staff) – and to supply them with limes! 

Yours sincerely,

…………………………………………. [ YOUR NAME]

White hands of a youth clutch black prison bars

Thanks to George Hodan for releasing his image Children’s Hands into the Public Domain.

Letter template to MP re. Drug Company Indemnity etc.

Dear [NAME OF MP],

Drug and data companies are clever. They spend an unusually large proportion of their budget pushing their products, and profits, using sophisticated strategies such as participative marketing (typically where hot young men and women, often paid actors, appear to voluntarily enthuse about their wares).

These companies have no other values than the bottom line yet are aware that values push products and drug companies specialise in appeals to altruism and emotional blackmail. Because they sell drugs.

Right now, while we hear of poor White students paid to volunteer to be experimented on, and don’t hear about the thousands of Black and Brown people abroad who suffered multiple harms from such experimental vaccines, drug barons have successfully lobbied the U.K. Government to rig a leading and misleading “consultation” regarding their legal indemnity to prosecution when such harms become widespread here, caused by the “Covid-19” injection – which mutates human DNA using nanotechnology controlled by data companies with a publicly stated agenda of global depopulation (as even this US government-funded ‘charity’ fails to hide).

Meanwhile, even supposedly clued-up institutions such as [CHECK YOUR LOCAL UNIVERSITY/ COLLEGE/ LIBRARY WEBSITE TO SEE IF THEY MENTION EXEMPTIONS TO MASK-WEARING] contravene provisions of the Equality Act 2010, Data Protection Act 2018 and Coronavirus Act 2020, by mandating mask-wearing without mention of legal exemption, thus setting up a hostile environment for people with health conditions and failing to provide access to the disabled.

  • Oppose these changes to advertising and indemnity
  • Oppose appropriation of the human person by the state (including opt-out replacing opt-in for organ donation)
  • Oppose curfews, lockdowns, shutdowns and any measures, such as obligatory or mandatory vaccination/ “immunity” passports/ mask-wearing/ sensitive data-sharing, which exacerbate the physical and psychological harms already prevalent in your constituency (suicides, unemployment, depression, death due to cancelled appointments, death due to fear of seeing a doctor, death due to fear stoked by relentless media fear-mongering, agoraphobia, economic ruin, career sabotage, mental illness, domestic violence, xenophobia)
  • Oppose censorship of medical experts who question the official version of the Covid-19 narrative in terms of symptomology or epidemiology

Someone as intelligent and informed as you cannot be ignorant of the agenda of The Great Reset/ 4th Industrial Revolution – set up by stakeholder capitalists (such as the World Economic Forum, World Bank, Microsoft, Gates Foundation, etc.) in a publicly-available videoed series of biological threat preparedness tabletop roleplays since 2001 (Dark Winter/ Atlantic Storm/ Crimson Contagion/ Event 201, etc.) – so there is no excuse to be taken off guard by what is coming.

Our citizen rights are being stripped. Our communities are being destroyed. Our most vulnerable are either suffering or dead.

What are you doing?

Apart from standing by, clapping, while drug and data companies increase their profits and continue to insist on you covering your mouth with a mask – and your eyes with wool.

Regards, [YOUR FULL NAME]

[YOUR ADDRESS AND POSTCODE]

Thanks to George Hodan for releasing his image Plastic Syringe into the Public Domain.

UK GOV Consultation on Covid “Vaccine” etc. suggested response

Open consultation

Consultation document: changes to Human Medicine Regulations to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines

Published 28 August 2020

SUGGESTED RESPONSE (ANYTHING NOT IN BOLD)

About You

(name and surname)

No

No

(individual/ organisation)

(ethnicity and area of UK)

5 areas you can comment on (tick all):

Temporary authorisation of the supply of unlicensed products

No. Authorisation of the supply of unlicensed products, temporary or not, is an extremely dangerous and disproportionate response to the current situation.

Civil liability and immunity

No. Immunity from civil liability means that there is no incentive for pharmaceutical companies (who have a history of causing human harms, especially in developing countries) to ensure that their product is safe and therefore they can act with impunity with profit as their sole concern.

Expansion to the workforce eligible to administer vaccinations

No. Administration of vaccines by unqualified persons is, clearly, unsafe and risks more harm than good.

Vaccine promotion

No. Vaccine promotion violates UK advertising standards and is unsafe.

Provisions for wholesale dealing of vaccines

No. Unlicensed wholesalers should not be dealing with vaccines in any capacity whatsoever. This is clearly unsafe and open to abuse.

Feedback

How satisfied are you with the consultation process?

Disappointed

How did you hear about the consultation?

(Various options, mine is Social Media)

On which social media channel did you hear about the consultation?

(Department of Health & Social Care/ Another government department/ [mine is Other – individual Twitter])

What could we do better?

  1. “a tested, unlicensed vaccine against COVID-19” suggests that this pharmaceutical product has gone through usual testing. This is untrue and is the reason why it is unlicensed. This wording is misleading and risks human harms.
  2. “the proposed changes will also facilitate the efficient mass distribution of treatments for COVID-19”. Pushing an untested unlicensed drug, administered by unqualified persons, using currently illegal advertising can hardly be described as “efficient mass distribution of treatments”. This wording is misleading and risks human harms.
  3. “Clarify the scope of immunity from civil liability”. The aim is not to clarify but to *change* the scope. This wording is misleading and risks human harms.
  4. “the deployment of a safe and effective vaccine or therapeutic product, will of course have a beneficial impact”. It would but for the reasons given here this is, clearly, not what is being promoted. This wording is misleading and risks human harms.
  5. “having to move quickly means having less time than we would like to consult on these proposals – indeed, we are asking for comments by the end of Friday 18 September 2020.” This is an unprecedented rush, clearly designed to truncate the consultation period so that responses from primed stakeholders will outweigh those of the general public. This is undemocratic.
  6. “Even though we are happy to receive comments from anyone, the purpose of this consultation exercise is to engage directly with specific stakeholders that we have identified.” How patronising!!!!! So this is set up as a sham PR event, when the UK people appear to be consulted (in a rush, with misleading wording) but actually it is only primed responses that the UK Government is interested in.
  7. All in all this survey is unethical and lacks academic integrity. The wording is leading and misleading and there is not distance from the data. For all of these reasons, it should never have made it through whichever Ethics Committee approved its use.

Thanks to George Hodan for releasing his image Plastic Syringe into the Public Domain.

Of Girls and Sheds

When I was a laddie (or loddie, as we say in the local dialect of Scots) I decided in the school playground one morning to get all the boys to get all the girls and put them in the shed. This was in the early 70s, just after the Baby Boomers, so classes had between 25-30 pupils in them. The playground where I said “Hey, let’s get all the boys to get all the girls and put them in the shed!” was only for the infants (aged between 5-7) but that meant three years of three classes each. So, even by a conservative estimate, allowing for absences, we must have rounded up over 100 girls that morning.

I stood in the middle of the playground and oversaw the task. Which the boys did cheerfully, and fairly gently; the girls went willingly, intrigued by this new game. Fortunately – because (clearly) once we’d got the girls in the shed, we’d have had to do something with them, though I hadn’t thought that far ahead – the bell rang. And we all lined up, two gendered lines for each class, arms outstretched on each other’s shoulders (to maintain the correct distance) to go back to our classrooms. So I never found out what I would’ve said when, inevitably, the boys asked “what do we do with them now?”

But I did learn these lessons that day:

  • People like there to be a plan (no matter how pointless)
  • People will generally follow instructions (no matter how disturbing) without question

I don’t think I’m particularly persuasive. It was just something for us to do. Us kids in Primary 1-3 all played together, unlike ‘up the school’ (Primary 4-7). They tended to divide into year cohorts and fairly closed activity groups: Football; Skipping/ Kick the Can (a variant of Hopscotch); Smoking; Flirting; Gossip.

It’s true that, some days, ‘down the school’, two boys (mostly) would put an arm over each other’s shoulders and walk around chanting “who-wants-to-play-at-Cowboys-and-Indians?” – or Tig (Tag), British Bulldogs, Hide-and-Seek or Best Man Fall (we’d line up to get shot in that game) and others, of either sex, would join the line until we had enough kids to play.

But, most days, the social dynamics of the infants’ playground, in those years, were fairly unstructured. And we all know what happens when you drop something structured into an unstructured environment: either the structure dissolves – or the free elements start to align with it.

I prefer to consider my temporary infantile manifestation of Us and Them as an early indication of public speaking and managerial ability, rather than of an authoritarian and twisted personality. (I’m aware than not all of my acquaintances would agree with me on that.) In my defence, when I’ve worked as a manger, I’ve tended to prioritise building and maintaining good relationships rather than keeping to set plans. But this blogpost isn’t really about me. Because, whether or not I was a wee fascist (and whether or not I grew up to be a big one) isn’t the point.

That group of wee boys and girls was fairly typical of Scottish small town kids of that generation. It’s the generation that’s in power now. The First Minister, the elder statesmen and stateswomen, the top judges, lawyers, principals of universities, CEOs, heads of schools, heads of charities, heads of social care and health boards, NGOs (government-funded and appointed or not), it’s all mostly Generation X. The games we played then were also played by more urban kids, and more rural kids, and I don’t believe that Scots are more rule-bound than any other nation in the UK. Fully a fifth of Scots were estimated to have broken the law to resist the hated Poll Tax, during Thatcher’s regime. So those kids weren’t particularly inclined to follow orders. But they did.

Behind the pointless and self-contradictory regulations of the social game we are all currently playing, named “Covid-19”, there’s a disturbing agenda that’s been hiding in plain sight for decades. We’re being divided, and herded. And we’re all joining in, fairly cheerfully and willingly.

The difference between my former self, that little Scots loddie, and the current powers-that-be is this: once they get us where they want us, they know exactly what they want to do to us.

Are we going to continue to (unquestioningly) just follow orders?

Four wee diverse kids, with colourful clothes, playing

Thanks to Dawn Hudson for releasing her image Diverse Kids into the Public Domain.

4 Myths About Masks

MYTH 1 – Wearing a mask stops me getting the virus

Wrong. You’ve already got ‘the virus’ (the multifarious Coronavirus has been acknowledged as a cause of the common cold) because it’s everywhere. The best defence against illness and disease is:

  1. Good nutrition (vegan balanced diet/wholefoods)
  2. Exercise (unmasked and outdoors, so you also get Vitamin D)
  3. A positive outlook (because the psychosomatic relationship is only slowly being recognised by Western allopathic medicine)

MYTH 2 – Wearing a mask stops others getting the virus

Wrong. They’ve already got ‘the virus’ (see above).

MYTH 3 – Wearing a mask is hygienic

Wrong. Many masks are already filthy and, although they have no effect on viruses, they’re breeding grounds for bacteria which spread because you keep touching it and adjusting it and touching everything else.

MYTH 4 – Wearing a mask is healthy

Wrong. Common sense will tell you that masks limit the inhalation of oxygen and the exhalation of carbon dioxide. This is a finding in many studies (as well as high rates of infection with cloth masks) but you have to read them carefully to see it as it’s so counter-narrative that either it’s not published or immediately explained away using multiple qualifications. Don’t be fooled by arguments about the comparative size of molecule/ mask fabric gaps: a knitted cardigan only keeps you warm because it traps air. Are you seriously saying it can’t do that because a molecule is smaller than the diameter of a knitting needle?

Summing up:

Wearing a mask does NOT protect you or others from ‘the virus’.

Wearing a mask is unhygienic and unhealthy.

BIN THE MASKS! BREATH FREELY!

(And, if you want to stop following orders, resist the creeping Nazification of the world, and find out what’s really going on – and what the final aim is – watch THIS)

It’s a masked world

(Thanks to Mikhail Denishchenko for releasing his image Corona Virus into the Public Domain.)

The Trouble with Contact Tracing

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know Contact Tracing is a vital preparatory part of Agenda 21/ Agenda 2030 associated with various policies approved by the UN, IMF, World Bank, World Economic Forum, the G20 governments and (of course) the eugenicist Gates Foundation and the trans-humanist Elon Musk, such as ID2020 and the 4th Industrial Revolution AKA The Great Reset.

If you haven’t, you probably think it’s to “stop the virus”.

All the above links I’ve posted have a positive spin. The UN Agendas sound wonderful, the G20 very organised, all the Black people/ governments against Gates are made to sound stupid, Elon Musk comes out looking like a cybernetic angel, ID for all – well why not? And the last two (different names for the same thing) sound like a visionary solution for poor ole planet Earth.

The first thing to notice is…all of them. Because they’re hiding in plain sight, so the powers-that-be can say, later: Oh didn’t you know? Oh yeah it’s no big deal – it’s been going on for years – it’s vital that it happens now – it won’t make a huge difference – it will make a huge difference – it’s actually quite wonderful!  

The second is that they’re all linked.

I’m not going to debunk each point of every one. Not that it’s all bad: to sweeten the pill, there’s some sugar of course, like environmentalism and eradication of poverty – just not as you know it. Let’s just take one claim:

“A New York-based tech nonprofit falsely rumored to be working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to implant vaccine microchips in people”

Now what is Kathryn Joyce (who’s White, oh-so-progressive, and implies that all the Black people in her article are stupid) claiming here?

  1. Some NGO wasn’t working with the Gates Foundation?
  2. The Gates Foundation isn’t planning to chip people like pets?

A couple of minutes into this clip, with the wonderful Spiro Skouras (who states clearly what he means and references his statements) will show that Claim 2 is only correct if you don’t count quantum dot tattoos (which act like microchips) as microchips – and they’re already doing this. As for Claim 1, who cares?

The third thing is that they’re all happening right now – and the Covid crisis is facilitating them all. Because we’re distracted and few people are on the street protesting (about any of this) or meeting their representatives in person to demand a halt.

The fourth thing to notice is that they all depend on data. Biodata to be exact. Harvested and controlled by Big Tech. And isn’t it odd that all these stakeholder capitalists are suddenly so green and so philanthropic?”

“The announcement of the Great Reset was made by HRH The Prince of Wales and Professor Schwab during a virtual meeting, followed by statements by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

Their statements were supported by voices from all stakeholder groups of global society, including Victoria Alonsoperez, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chipsafer, Uruguay, and a Young Global Leader; Caroline Anstey, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pact, USA; Ajay S. Banga, Chief Executive Officer, Mastercard, USA; Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Brussels; Ma Jun, Chairman, Green Finance Committee, China Society for Finance and Banking, and a Member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the People’s Bank of China; Bernard Looney, Chief Executive Officer, bp, United Kingdom; Juliana Rotich, Venture Partner, Atlantica Ventures, Kenya; Bradford L. Smith, President, Microsoft, USA; and Nick Stern, Chair, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, United Kingdom.”

So let’s look at who’s doing the Contact Tracing (that’s already being used for ‘pre-crime‘ (as suggested by Ivanka Trump) to target rioters and is planned to use to remove people from their homes).  Well Big Business is certainly interested and although there is a wee mention of MASSIVE PRIVACY ISSUES basically Bernard Marr writing for Forbes makes the same assumption as the pro-Gates journo: detractors are stupid and confused. Katie Brigham on CNBC reassures us: it’s okay, it’s Google and Apple. Both owned and invested in by philanthropic billionaries.

We’re in great hands.

A phone held in a white hand from a black suit sleeve captures another’s data.

Thanks to Mohamed Mahmoud Hassan for releasing his image Wifi Direct Technology into the Pubic Domain

Coronapanic, Satanic Panic and Calvinism

Whereas Calvin’s Geneva is of most interest to reformed theologians, Weber’s Protestant Ethic to sociologists, and McCarthyism to free speech activists, they are all referenced in Arthur Miller’s famous play The Crucible – on the accusation, torture and execution of innocent victims (mostly women) of a  17 C. moral panic in the small Puritan community of Salem, Massachusetts.

So what? Why should anyone be interested in extremes of theology, controversies in sociology, TV footage so old it’s in Black & White and a play most of us reading this will have studied in High School?

Because it’s happening again. Which was the point of the play. While 1950s White American audiences gasped at the stupidity of their forebears – cos every White American came over on the Mayflower, apparently – getting so worked up about ideology, and how un-neighbourly they all were to snitch on their neighbours, many of them were busy doing the same, impelled by the fanatical Senator Joseph McCarthy.

‘Inquisition’ is an umbrella term than covers ‘witchhunt’ and, whereas it is the senator’s Catholic coreligionists (and mine) who are most infamous for the former, it is Calvinists who are infamous for the latter.

In his Religion and the Decline of Magic. Studies in popular beliefs in sixteenth and seventeenth century England, Keith Thomas makes a point that is so often missed by his smug secularist reviewers:

When calamity is taken as either an Act of God or of the Devil, and (as a Catholic) you believe you have some means of spiritual defence, or influence, you can employ it.

If (as a Calvinist) you don’t believe so, then the only thing you can do is to –

1) suffer 2) blame other humans as agents of calamity and attack them

In other words, the Protestant Reformation did not remove the belief that calamity has a spiritual source; it merely removed the possibility of opposing it. Even the Guardian’s clever report of a materialist analysis (based on a theory of congregation ‘market-share’ by two American economists, Peter Leeson and Jacob Russ) fails to obscure the figures:

The data shows that witch-hunts took off only after the Reformation in 1517, following the rapid spread of Protestantism. […] Germany, ground zero for the Reformation, laid claim to nearly 40% of all witchcraft prosecutions in Europe. Scotland, where different strains of Protestantism were in competition, saw the second highest level of witch-hunts, with a total of 3,563 people tried. “In contrast, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland – each of which remained a Catholic stronghold after the Reformation and never saw serious competition from Protestantism – collectively accounted for just 6% of Europeans tried for witchcraft,” Russ observes.

Hold on! Jumping ahead to the obvious point: the various symptoms of Coronapanic are all expressions of social anxiety unassuaged by recourse to either efficacious prevention and cure or spiritual deliverance from a perceived medical calamity. So wouldn’t we then expect a neat division of the world into areas of belief in divine intervention (with low levels of Coronapanic) and areas of such unbelief (with high)?

Theoretically. Populations characterised by rationalist ideologies, especially in areas with present or recent authoritarian governance, are showing such high levels of panic. Confounding factors are globalisation of ideologies and the elite of countries still largely steeped in traditional values now trying to demonstrate how modern and scientific they are – and imposing restrictive and anxiety-causing measures on their subject citizenry. Along with relentless indoctrination by pharmaceutical industry-backed media, exaggerated excess death count and high ratio of ICU provision to head of population.

If lockdown, mask-wearing, antibody/PCR testing and contact tracing are all symptoms of Coronapanic, let’s define terms of the factors below. F1 refers to either ‘cases’ or ‘deaths’, or both. F3 includes social media. F4 refers to funding of either public bodies or the private bodies used to stir up panic. F5 where most politicians mostly don’t ‘do God’. Let’s not use lockdown in F6 (as that’s a symptom) but include Communism/ Fascism in living memory.

Level

Factor

High

Low

1 Exaggerated Epidemiology    
2 Ratio of ICU provision    
3 Pervasive media    
4 Pervasive Pharmaceutical Industry    
5 Rationalist Ideology    
6 Recent Authoritarian Government    

If my theory holds water, and it does seem to account for the African countries such as Tanzania (with only 509 ‘cases’ and 21 ‘deaths’ out of a population of about 60 million reported in May, after the President couldn’t take the paw-paw test seriously) so perplexing to the minions of Big Pharma, we may expect countries with high Coronapanic (such as China) to tick most boxes under High (yes, that does include Italy which is only nominally Catholic) with the reverse true for countries who…haven’t lost their minds.

I’m a teacher, and a big believer in homework. So do yours!

halloween-witch

Thanks to George Hodan who has released his image Halloween Witch into the Public Domain.

 

Mask Wearing: Young Men and Older Women P2

If you haven’t read P1 of this, click HERE and do so now. Otherwise this P2 will make no sense. (It’s up to you whether you do the task there but you should be in a better position to make an informed evaluation of what I say here if you do.)

In P1 of this blogpost, I conducted a wee ad hoc survey in Glasgow city centre one afternoon a few weeks ago before mask-wearing was mandatory and found, from my tiny sample and very dodgy methodology, that the mask-wearing fraction of the sample was roughly equivalent to the ‘less than a quarter’ of the survey population that I’d estimated at the start.

My reaction to that was that it didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was the two demographic groups that were, overwhelmingly wearing masks. Not just in my tiny fraction of 5 out of 24, but all over George Square, and Queen Street Station, when I simply stopped and stared.

In P1 I invited you to replicate my staring, in a more controlled manner (open to other selective errors, it’s true) for yourselves. With these instructions:

  • Look at a clear photo of an unrelated crowd of people, perhaps in the background to a single person, taken in recent months but before mandatory masking was imposed.
  • Draw a grid like this one and enter a vertical line in groups up to 4 then one diagonally across the group for 5 (the gate system, because it looks like one) or just a number in each box.
Sex

Age

Male

Masked               Unmasked

Female

Masked               Unmasked

Child
Older Teen/ Early Twenties
Young Adult
Middle-Aged
Elderly
  • See how your result compares with mine. (Don’t click HERE to find out, until you’ve done your homework.)
  • You can let me know your findings on either Instagram or Twitter; I’m (at)gumptionology on both.

I’m now going to presume that either you’ve completed the task or you’re not going to, so here’s what I found:

Overwhelmingly, the two demographic groups that were wearing masks were … (drum roll) these:

  • In the male group – Older Teen/ Early Twenties
  • In the female group – Middle-Aged

Why?

Tentatively, I began to wonder whether these two very different demographics had different motivations and it struck me that perhaps rule-following might account for the first and caring for the second.

Why?

Rule-following can be characteristic of autism, a condition which appears to affect men and boys much more than women and girls, and which appears to be increasing in prevalence, with exactly this demographic most affected. (All of these generalisations need, of course, careful qualification.)

It’s no news that middle-aged women find the burden of care falling more heavily on their shoulders than any other demographic. True, younger mums are raising families but – as that task seems never-ending (especially nowadays when so many young people can’t afford their own place) – on entering middle age, women can find themselves expected to also take on the lioness’s share of caring for elderly parents as well. That’s not all, according to a 2010 survey in England:

“about 80 per cent of all jobs in adult social care are done by women; the proportion in direct care and support-providing jobs is higher, at 85-95 per cent”

What’s my conclusion? This post is not about the pros and cons of mask-wearing or controversy over the political nature of the pandemic. It’s simply to say that mask-wearing is a complex sociological phenomenon and that people may have very different motivations for compliance and non-compliance with recent regulations. (As well as that, let’s not forget the legal exceptions.)

This may explain why so few mask-wearers are open to evaluation of the coherence of the science. For them it’s not about logic; it’s about security and core identity. Therefore it may be very hard indeed to get the message across that:

  • Sometimes, official rules don’t make sense and the people who make them don’t have your best interests in mind.
  • It’s more caring – to yourself and to everyone else – not to wear a mask.

(Thanks to Mikhail Denishchenko for releasing his image Corona Virus into the Public Domain.)

Mask Wearing: Young Men and Older Women P1

I was unchaining my bike in the centre of Glasgow some weeks ago – before mandatory mask-wearing was imposed – and was struck by how few people were wearing them. Trundling my bike along the pedestrian precinct (I could’ve cycled but I’m not obnoxious) following my accustomed route to the train station, I decided to conduct an ad hoc count. The streets were fairly busy that weekday afternoon, at least they seemed so to me after Glasgow being a ghost town during early lockdown, and I knew I couldn’t keep up with all the passersby. So I decided to sample the population of people on the street (along my route, in that part of Glasgow, at that time, on that day) by counting only every third person who happened to walk towards me so directly that one of us had to change direction, as I went along. Starting at a bike rack near Central Station and heading to Queen Street Station via George Square, this sample turned out to be around 24, of which about 5 were wearing masks. So, the mask-wearing fraction of the sample was roughly equivalent to the ‘less than a quarter’ of the survey population that I’d estimated at the start.

A social scientist would no doubt rate my methodology somewhere between ‘Inadequate’ and ‘Rubbish’. A kind description of this wee survey, clearly open to confirmation bias and neither blinded nor representative in any sense, would be ‘anecdotal’. It didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was the two demographic groups that were, overwhelmingly wearing masks. Not just in my tiny fraction of 5 out of 24, but all over George Square, and Queen Street Station, when I simply stopped and stared.

Now. Just stopping and staring will get you a lot of points if you can pass it off either as a preliminary to ethnographic ‘thick description’ or as meditative za-zen. However, in terms of data gathering, it’s, well, definitely Rubbish. So I invite you to replicate my staring, in a more controlled manner (open to other selective errors, it’s true) for yourselves. Here’s how:

  • Look at a clear photo of an unrelated crowd of people, perhaps in the background to a single person, taken in recent months but before mandatory masking was imposed.
  • Draw a grid like this one and enter a vertical line in groups up to 4 then one diagonally across the group for 5 (the gate system, because it looks like one) or just a number in each box.
Sex

Age

Male

Masked               Unmasked

Female

Masked               Unmasked

Child
Older Teen/ Early Twenties
Young Adult
Middle-Aged
Elderly
  • See how your result compares with mine. (Don’t click HERE to find out, until you’ve done your homework.)
  • You can let me know your findings on either Instagram or Twitter; I’m (at)gumptionology on both.

(Thanks to Mikhail Denishchenko for releasing his image Corona Virus into the Public Domain.)