Tuesday, April 27, 2021


Am I concerned that this could lead to violence? Sure:
Raging against face masks on Monday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson told his viewers they should openly harass anyone they see wearing masks outside and go so far as to call the police or social services on the parents of any children with masks on....

“The rest of us should be snorting at them first. They’re the aggressors. It’s our job to brush them back and restore the society we were born in,” he said. “So the next time you see someone in a mask on the sidewalk or on the bike path, do not hesitate. Ask politely but firmly, ‘Would you please take off your mask? Science shows there is no reason for you to be wearing it. Your mask is making me uncomfortable.’” ...

“As for forcing children to wear masks outside, that should be illegal,” the Fox News star huffed. “Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid in Walmart. Call the police immediately. Contact Child Protective Services. Keep calling until someone arrives. What you’re looking at is abuse, it’s child abuse, and you are morally obligated to attempt to prevent it.”
But what does that last proposal remind you of? It reminds me of Karen behavior. It's the white woman who calls the cops on Black people who are barbecuing peacefully in the park at a spot designated for barbecuers. It's concluding that something is illegal because it makes you feel bad, because your personal feelings are the ultimate measure of what is societally permissible.

Karens can be dangerous. Karens can bring down the force of the law on people the law isn't inclined to treat with respect. The consequences of Karenism for people of color can be bad. I don't know what will happen as a result of this Tucker Carlson fatwa. I hope it's limited to a handful of unpleasant verbal exchanges around the country, though that's bad enough.

But if you're wearing a mask and you're confronted by a Carlsonite harasser, try calling the harasser Karen. Or Tucker Karen. Because while Carlson is imagining himself as a fascist dictator calling out a vigilante army of goons, he's really just being a meddlesome suburbanite who thinks he has the right to stick his nose in everyone else's business.

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