Hesitant

Disclaimer: This post does not apply to any (currently ineligible) children under 12 or those with legitimate medical conditions who are unable to be vaccinated. They’re some of the people we’re trying to protect the most!

My wife and I have been warning about the dangers of the conservative misinformation ecosystem for a while now, and ever since the COVID vaccines became widely available I’ve been observing the ongoing antics of the anti-vax/anti-mask crowd with grim fascination.

Still, aside from posting snarky memes here and there, I hadn’t dedicated a post to my thoughts on the subject. Well, the past few weeks finally broke me. Specifically, seeing or hearing about:

  • A friend sharing a “vaccine hesitancy” video and information on trying to prevent mandates designed to stop the COVID spread (positioned as an issue of “personal choice”)

  • Stories like these

  • Deranged parents protesting classroom mask requirements (therefore going out of their way to place their own children in greater danger)

  • A local church setting up a separate viewing/listening area for those that are maskless (as if validating that as a reasonable option)

  • People taking horse de-worming medication rather than the vaccines

Enough.

I know that peer pressure can be strong, especially in conservative evangelical circles with extremely isolated media ecosystems that stir up strong “keep the government out” sentiments (except when it comes to reproductive rights, of course 💀).

Here’s the thing though: Beating COVID is going to take a united front. Contagious pandemics don’t care about your ill-informed “personal choice” arguments. People are getting sick and dying, and collective action is the only way out.

As a country, we used to be able to do this. Prior to the rise of always-on, instant misinformation sources, we banded together to defeat Polio and Smallpox. Measles, on the other hand, had a recent re-emergence due to, you guessed it, misinformation.

Even if you’re “hesistant” about getting the vaccine (there’s no reason to be) and slapping a mask on, putting your own reluctance or arguments about “personal freedom” above the lives of others is an inherently immoral act.

Just as free speech ends with your ability to yell “fire” in a crowded theater, the ability of the unvaccinated to participate in society (during a global pandemic!) should be dramatically restricted.

Shut up and wear the stupid mask. Get vaccinated to help do your part as a member of the human race. And please, please, please stop eating horse paste.

Lovely Lviv

Last week, I was fortunate enough to visit Lviv, Ukraine on a work trip, and even more fortunate that I was able to bring my wife with me.

What an amazing city!

I’ll let the pictures and videos do most of the talking, but here’s a short list of things I learned from our time there:

  • Like elsewhere in Europe, their “acceptable amount of ice in drinks” game is suspect
  • Same goes for the coldness of their fridges (prepare to embrace that lukewarm lifestyle)
  • You’re not getting a Diet Coke, friend
  • You’re also not getting any black coffee (Americano it is!)
  • Pedestrians are absolutely fearless
  • Smiling and nodding as you pass someone is not a thing
  • Borscht is everywhere, and I actually enjoyed it!
  • The Ukrainians I chatted with weren’t as interested in Chernobyl as tourists are (given that it is a dark time in their history)
  • You can tap to pay everywhere, and it’s glorious
  • It’s generally difficult to be a non-drinker on work trips, but it’s really hard in Ukraine (though I’m now an expert on the Lviv seltzer scene)

Disappearing Ink

Chalk it up to a combination of weariness from decades of oversharing and embarrassment at the sheer volume of my own dumb past social media posts, but I finally snapped recently and moved to a much more ephemeral system (something that Snap and young people generally have been onto for quite some time).

In a nutshell, I’m treating House of Kyle (and the accompanying Junk Drawer newsletter) as my main hub/source of truth, and demoting third-party social media services to act as disposable spokes on that hub.

Here’s how it breaks down…

Instagram: I’ve archived all but a few posts (that I rotate out from time to time), and primarily just use Stories, which automatically disappear after 24 hours.

Facebook: I’m using my dormant account entirely to drive traffic to my blog and newsletter, with the great Jumbo service automatically deleting posts after 30 days. UPDATE: Now deactivated

Twitter: I’m still posting and liking content, but I’m now also using Jumbo here to delete tweets older than 30 days.

See you in the wind!