Before this loathsome time of transmission rates, vaccine obsessions, and performative safety, the most inane of pub chatter centred upon just how Nazi Germany came about.
“I’d have fought them with my bare hands!” cry the corpulent. It’s always the corpulent—a bleachy adjective for “fat”—indulging in such hypothetical heroism. Interjecting, jowly seniors, decades above draft-age, battle vaguely articulated enemies in fantasies of civil war, as their ballooning waistlines recruit the guerrilla forces of diabetes and erectile dysfunction in their body’s own civil war.
At least they’re entertaining, unlike the morbidly futile Fake Brooklyn hipster wheedling before the entrance, “Hi! Umm… Could you—maybe . . . raise your mask to above your nose? Thank you. Ha-ha! Great . . .” The default setting of New York hipsters is carbonated harmlessness.
In the bar, doleful, unmasked faces populate the booths and barstools, safe in the knowledge that COVID-19 spares those sitting down.
To earn a place amongst the hipsters, all clotted in their pursuit of homogenized originality, one must hand over a vaccine pass. Little is more satisfying than the secret knowledge that one’s company has a counterfeit vaccine pass, and that it charms every time.
Don’t be judgemental, sagacious reader, the current year is 2022. In the age of empowerment, unwelcoming to the stigmatic, one can identify as whatever one may wish. It just so happens that many of my friends identify as vaccinated. Who are you to deny or to question their truth?
They’re not anti-vaxxers, nor imbeciles. They’ve reasoned that COVID-19 is deadly primarily to the elderly and the unhealthy. Three-quarters of such deaths have occurred in those in their 80s, with an average of three co-morbidities. Vaccination does little to stop the spread—ergo, vaccine passports are pointless and poisonous. Besides, they’ve all had a hearty dose of Omicron.
A sane society would recognise such nuance. But ours is not sane. It’s a neurotocracy, governed by hypochondriacs, neurotics, compassionistas, professional redeemers, kale-eaters, narcissists, sociopaths, and failed celebrities. Power attracts those least suited to power.
Those in confederacy against reality don’t want this pandemic to end—never again will their negative personality traits purchase such power.
When that South African lenitive—Omicron—first emerged, one could taste their hopes that this new variant was harder, faster, stronger, and deadlier than previous strains. They prayed we’d be locked up at home, again, in an endless national rendition of the Stanford Prison Experiment. Sadly for them, Omicron is the OnlyFans variant, teasingly promiscuous yet pallid.
The end of this pandemic is nigh. Aping the billionaires who’ve doubled their wealth since 2020, I’ve spied an opportunity to lavish myself in riches. After all, one-third of this nation is sinfully addicted to this New Normal lark. So, I’ve started a new venture: COVID-19 re-enactment societies.
Picture it. For the princely sum of $1,000 per person, neurotics can spend the weekend holed up with other obsessives, baking banana bread, discussing at a safe distance of at least six feet the merits and demerits of double-masking, just where they got that chic N-95, how we didn’t lock down hard enough or early enough, how Florida doesn’t exist, how vaccine passports are logical, how the unvaccinated deserve to die, and other pagan moonshines.
That’s the basic package. First-class guests can enjoy thorough beatings from rageful policemen embittered ever since their high school sporting stardom burned out before the big time. For a substantial tax-free donation, a seething mob of frenzied lunatics will encircle the truly adventurous guest, chanting: “Wear that mask! Wear that mask!” in a kind of mask-shaming bukkake.
Doubtless, such a venture will prove popular with CNN employees.
Now that their own bougie friends have soldiered a runny nose, and survived an annoying cough, the progressive popular kids no longer regard catching COVID as a moral failing.
Like angsty teenagers, the popular kids are bored. They’re tired of their pandemic. After two years of ruining the lives of the Uber Class, it’s now time, they implore, to “live with the virus.” They’ve forgotten that those who’ve spent the pandemic delivering their lattes and sashimi have, since March 2020, lived with the virus.
Living with the virus has always been the only real option. Protecting the clinically vulnerable—the precept of sane states and countries—was the only way out of this pandemic and remains the only way out of this pandemic. But herd immunity succumbed to herd mentality. Those crying “Do Something!” hystericized all measures steeped in reality for ones borne of characteristic Chinese brutality. Two years on, the experts align their views with the laymen.
The results of this mass psychosis are in: the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in history; millions of poor schoolkids now years behind their better-off peers; millions fattening hospital waiting lists, many of whom tragically too late; a spiraling mental health crisis; ballooning debt, runaway inflation, and the confirmation that one-third of people we know would have relished East German artlessness.
The popular kids have enjoyed this feudal pandemic. They can work from home and buzz up their favorite apps, summon strangers to their apartment doors as they implore their friends to “stay safe” and suspect every human being as a potential Typhoid Mary.
Concealed behind the hashtags and radical chic, their insatiable desire for validation, the popular kids siphon emotional and political profits from those their self-indulgence hurts most.
If they truly believed their own hysterics, would they really demand the Uber class risk their lives to deliver Instagrammable sashimi and rice noodles?
The Uber class—masked-up minorities and poor whites—play along because they have bills to pay and mouths to feed. They’ve no option to work from home. Instead, they whip up oat-milk lattes, cart their betters around Prospect Park in plastic-sheeted Ubers, and tweezer together pristine meals in restaurants seemingly in tribute to famed germaphobe, Howard Hughes.
Such theater serves as a narcissistic supply. The popular kids’ exaggerated fear of the virus is a social currency, the value of which inflates or deflates according to utility. They’re terrified when it suits, and like AOC in Florida, sanguine when it suits.
As the Q train rumbles toward Manhattan, such inflationary fear thickens the closer one gets toward Union Square. Aspiring popular kids mistake the carriage for their therapists’ office, loudly discussing their favorite topics—themselves, their inner landscape, the emotional minutiae of their day, their grasp of the shapeshifting measures to “stop the spread.” Life imitates social media.
In their decadence, the popular kids now parrot the skepticisms long in circulation amongst the Uber class, appropriating like a high school trend the narrative of the lower orders.
Perhaps that explains why the Uber class is deserting the popular kids. They’ve tired of playing “the help” to dilettantes who cloak their self-indulgence behind progressive compassion. If the working-classes loathe anything, it’s the prosperous playing poverty for emotional profit.
Or perhaps the popular kids realize that when the excrement communes with the fan they aren’t as important as they so believe. The Uber class is the thin red line between civilization and barbarism. Society can soldier on without “creative ambassadors,” their vainglorious Twitter bios, or their luxury beliefs.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared at Oxford Sour. Subscribe to Christopher Gage’s substack here.