Wednesday, December 29, 2021


Right-wingers tell themselves many stories, but most of them have the same structure: All-powerful forces are in a conspiracy against them, but somehow, through pluck and luck (and guns, and prayer, and listening to a lot of Steve Bannon and Dan Bongino podcasts while buying lots of MyPillow and Let's Go Brandon merchandise), they manage to defeat the all-powerful forces, who turn out not to be as all-powerful as they seemed. This is the narrative of QAnon (the richest and most influential people in the world run a massive global child sex and murder ring, but heroic Donald Trump will one day bust it up, with help of his secret sidekick, JFK Jr.). It's also the "steal"/"voter fraud" narrative (Democrats cheat their way to victory in every election, unless they're prevented from doing so by heroic Donald Trump in 2016, or, in the future, by true patriots using audits, in the Trump version, or by extremely strict ID laws plus voter-roll purges and precinct closures, in the more traditional GOP version).

This master narrative tells conservatives that they're incessantly under siege, but also that they're giant-slaying heroes. It's no surprise that the narrative is popular. There's nothing like it on our side.

I see the narrative in this New York Post pandemic opinion piece by Steve Cuozzo, which isn't as denialist as most of what the right produces on the subject of COVID, but is skeptical of public health measures.
Defiant Gothamites show COVID panic’s days may finally be numbered

Just when you thought the pandemic could hold no more surprises, the Omicron grinch has brought America something new for the holidays: the festive panic.

In New York City especially, the number of people, and energy level, in stores and restaurants and on the streets is remarkable given our supposed death rattle. It isn’t that people aren’t afraid. Of course they are. But they’re not as afraid as they were a year ago.

Count me, triple-vaccinated, among the brave: I’ve been out and around town, repeatedly testing negative — but tested again as I write this after learning a relative at a Christmas gathering had tested positive.

Sure, nervous corporate suits scrapped live audiences for “Saturday Night Live.” Broadway theaters and other performance venues closed for nights at a time due to a single company member having asymptomatic COVID.

But Apple’s reversal is a better barometer of the mood on the street. After announcing the total closure of all its city stores earlier this week, the company partly backtracked Tuesday and said it was reopening them to a reduced number of customers.

Apple learned the hard way from a torrent of Twitter howling (e.g., “You are destroying this city!!!!!!”). So should others take the cue. For all the warped coronavirus “science” on which no two scientists agree, most people are voting with their appetites, their wallets and their wanderlust.

They’re defiant in the face of nerve-grating pronouncements and warnings from the Fauci/New York Times/CNN virus-forever complex.
Cuozzo goes on to tell us that everyone's still flying! Everyone's still going to restaurants! Plucky New Yorkers are defeating the seemingly omnipotent "Fauci/New York Times/CNN virus-forever complex."

Of course, the seemingly omnipotent Fauci/Times/non-Murdoch media can't even persuade 40% of America to get even one shot -- and Democrats in Congress are struggling to pass the party's agenda, while the party has also lost a number of winnable elections in 2020 and 2021. But believe that we're unstoppable supervillains makes right-wingers feel both aggrieved and empowered. So they keep telling themselves the same story.

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