Ill Communications

Anger Leads To Engagement, Engagement Leads To Profit

2022 approaches and fear still grips the land, but almost half the people are afraid of the wrong thing. The trepidation over the COVID-19 vaccines tricked people into become walking, coughing biological weapons. Well, they’re walking for a while, then the unvaccinated clog our intensive care units just like the virus has cemented their lungs. 

How did we end up here? 

You have to go back to the tech boom for the full context. The Internet remains the greatest science experiment without a conclusion. The oligarchs that inflicted Facebook, Instagram, Twitter did so for a reason. They were buying us, and the companies aree beholden to their precious investors.

The tech boom was a tidal wave of bad money. The investors of those platforms do not wish you well, nor democracy. Some of this was explored in my comic Analog with David O’Sullivan. We were being made unwell before the pandemic.

Controlling the masses has never been easier. You don’t even have to buy the mark a beer anymore. The Black Hats and their useful stooges know more about you than perhaps you know about yourself, and fear remains the most powerful motivator driving human beings.

The desire to make people afraid of science and the vaccines is real, and when you look at the country today…the bad guys are winning.

If the Internet existed alongside polio, we’d have never eradicated it, and America would be a lot more wheelchair accessible than it is.

I also fear the unknown. I’m afraid of what this novel virus does to your body after you’ve “recovered”. “Long Covid” doesn’t seem to have any great outcomes. previously hospitalized patients are showing signs of cognitive impairment. There’s so much we don’t know about this virus. It’s likely the history books (if there are any) will label COVID-19 a vascular disease, something that is just recently being explored by scientists around the world.

The New York Times recently published this piece in which the long-term toll the virus takes on our bodies is beginning to come into focus.

The new study found that 4,757 Covid survivors had lost at least 30 percent of kidney function in the year after their infection, Dr. Al-Aly said. 

That is equivalent to roughly “30 years of kidney function decline,” Dr. Wilson said.

Yikes. Look, if I want to kill my kidneys, I’ll do it the old fashioned way, and pull corks.

The origins of the virus are important, especially if it was an accidental release from the Wuhan Institute Of Virology, but the Covid misinformation we are suffering is biological warfare. But…what do I know? I just write supervillains for a living. 

The vaccines against this novel Coronavirus are imperfect, we’ll need boosters, and maybe even new versions of the vaccine if we get unlucky as it mutates. All the best disinformation has a kernel of truth. The virus is endemic on Earth now. Nobody knows exactly where life goes, but I know my chances of living through this are better with the vaccine. 

I’ve read a lot about why people are turning to snake oil, as the media would invite us to meet an untrue world half way. That’s not a world governed by science, and we should not aspire to live in it.

What does it feel like to be vaccinated? 

It felt like I was finally free of oppressive fear. I felt so lucky to get the shot early. I spent the pandemic preparing a book of photos and shoot Los Angeles as a ghost town, but I didn't want the book could not end on such a pessimistic note.

When Los Angeles County called for volunteers to help administer the vaccine to doctors nurses and the elderly I selected Magic Mountain because I thought it would be a nice juxtaposition to show the park take on a new life as a vaccine mega POD. I was right.

After vaccinating almost three thousand doctors, nurses and elderly, and after all the first responders that wanted the shot were sorted, there was still enough vaccine for the several hundred non-clinical volunteers like me to get it. Better the science go into an arm, any arm, than the garbage. After twelve hours on my feet in the sun I was burnt. I just sat in my car and cried for a while before I could summon the energy to drive home.

Twenty-one days later it was the second shot of Pfizer that really put me on my ass. I could feel COVID coil in my diaphragm. I had the chills, and was truly exhausted, but two days later I was on my feet and grateful to science. With the vaccine, I’m unlikely to get sick, if I get sick, I’m unlikely to need the hospital, and if I do end up in the hospital, I’m unlikely to die. Yes, it was unpleasant, yes, I have a healthy immune system, but the virus isn’t just about me, it’s about all of us.

There have been so many villains along the way, so many bad actors and bad faith politicians that have monetized the suffering, that I wanted to try and put something positive down on paper. 

The people that need to read this are not the ones that will probably give it a shot. It’s not a meme. This bit of writing isn’t something you can laugh at, share and then scroll past. American is still only 55% vaccinated, but some of our people can’t be vaccinated. Some are too young, or too sick. The immunocompromised are really in a tough spot. Some have terrible reactions to the shot, while some simply don’t generate an immune response. My mom is in the latter group. She’s only left the house to make doctor’s appointments for eighteen months. There’s no V-V, Victory Over Virus day to look forward to on her calendar.

The most disheartening thing that hits me while doom scrolling is the way we’re abusing our medical professionals. America hasn’t met a precious resource it hasn’t been horny to deplete. How can these tired souls be blamed for walking away from the job later? Look at what we made them give. If you have not been vaccinated for COVID-19, please go get the shot and mask-up.

My purpose in writing this instead of the comic I was supposed to is not to preach to any choir. If even one person says “Fuck it, I’ll get the shot” then writing this will have been worth it. I spoke to our local pharmacist this week, and he said he thought they were doing about fifty first-time vaccinations a day right now. That’s more than I would have guessed and it gave me hope. Some of the people taking the shot are hiding what they’re from their family. That’s how sick the country was before the virus.

Now we have two plagues to deal with. Misinformation isn’t novel, but COVID-19 is. The latter has effective vaccines, the former can only be combatted by quality, true information. We need to break up the social media companies and hold them accountable as publishers of disinformation before it’s too late. Meme warfare put us on our knees, our brains are not prepared for the computer-generated deep fakes. Truth is in mortal danger. I haven’t had a presence on Facebook for years, and will only be using Twitter as a megaphone for Substack. I cannot in good conscience publish on those places anymore knowing what they have done, and what they refuse to do. If you liked this, maybe share it with someone that has been taught to be afraid of the wrong things.


Next: back to fun with more comics, photos and cool stuff. Be well!