by James Corbett
July 17, 2021
Do you remember how I opened my three-part series on The Year Ahead this past January?
As Lenin rightly observed: “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Perhaps there are years in which centuries happen.
I imagine that anyone who had trouble understanding that observation eighteen months ago understands it pretty well by now. Two weeks to flatten the curve, but no masks. Two more weeks, but masks. You must mask. Protesters are grandma killers. George Floyd. Non-protesters are racists. Hunter Biden. The (s)election. Hydroxychloriquine to Ivermectin to vaccines, but no vaccine passports. OK, vaccine passports. And on and on and on . . .
Yes, events are passing through the newswires with such rapidity that it's difficult to even keep up with them anymore. Don't believe me yet? Then allow me to demonstrate.
Back six years ago (approximately three lifetimes ago in newtime), I wrote an article that imagined a conversation between someone in 2015 and someone who had time traveled from the 1950s. It played on the idea of how completely the world had transformed in those 60 years, and how the world of 2015 looked nothing like the world of 1955.
Well, today let's imagine that our interlocutor from that 2015 article fell into a coma immediately after having his conversation with the man from the 1950s. He just woke up yesterday. Now, someone from 2021 is trying to explain the last six years to him.
"OK, explain this to me again. Why are we wearing masks?"
"Because of a worldwide pandemic."
"A pandemic? Oh my God! This is terrible!"
"Tell me about it."
"So how many of your friends and family have you lost?"
"What? I thought you said it's a terrible pandemic."
"Oh, it is. And it would've been so much worse if we didn't mask up, lockdown and social distance."
"Social distance. You know, stay two metres apart."
"Oh, sorry. Two meters."
"Still not reading you."
"Uhh . . . six feet?"
"So everyone has to stay six feet apart?"
"And wear your mask and stay home. And, depending where you live, you may or may not need government permission to leave your home."
"Permission to leave your home?"
"Or your quarantine hotel."
"Yeah. What, you don't think you can just go from one country to another, do you?"
"Well, yes, actually. Yes, I do."
"Well, you can't, you heartless grandma killer."
"I don't understand anything anymore. Just give me my phone. I want to catch up on my newsfeeds. They still have Twitter and Facebook and Youtube in 2021, right?"
"Oh, yeah. Of course."
"Good. . . . Hey wait, where'd all my subscriptions and follows go? All of my favorite creators' accounts have been deleted."
"Probably disinfo. Who were you following?"
"The Last American Vagabond."
"Press For Truth."
"The Corbett Report."
"Ugh. Russian bot disinfo grandma killer extraordinaire."
"Oh, it looks like his backup channel is still up on YouTube."
"Second strike, though. Anyway, I'm glad to see you prefer looking at screens to actually going outside. It's safer that way."
"Yeah. The pandemic."
"Oh, right. So what did I miss? Let me guess, Hillary won in 2016, didn't she?"
"Never mind. You're not gonna guess. Basically, Vladimir Putin crafted a devilish plan to use hundreds of dollars worth of Facebook Jesus memes to install his puppet Donald Trump in the White House."
"Why? Why? Do you even have to ask? I mean, why do you think Russia would interfere in your elections? To gain power over the US and advance its position on the world stage, that's why."
"Did it work?"
"Well, a bunch of Russians got sanctioned, a bunch of diplomats got kicked out, some ex-spies were poisoned right next to England's biological warfare lab, Reagan-era arms control treaties were scrapped, Russia is more hated in the US than any time since the Cold War . . ."
"So that's why Putin put Trump in the White House?"
"Yeah, I guess. Anyway, wait till you hear about what happened in England."
"They voted for Brexit."
"Really? So the UK isn't part of the EU anymore?"
"Uhhhh . . . I'm not sure. It got kind of complicated."
"OK, so back to this pandemic thing. Are they working on a cure? Is there any hope in sight?"
"Oh yeah, of course. There's a vaccine."
"What? A vaccine? For a pandemic that started last year?"
"Yeah. It's a record for bringing a vaccine to market."
"Aren't you concerned about the long-term safety?"
"Oh, no. These are the most thoroughly tested, safe and effective vaccines in history."
"But I thought you just said—"
"SAFE AND EFFECTIVE. Besides, they're not like regular vaccines. These are mRNA vaccines!"
"What does that mean?"
"I don't know. But it's probably good. You know, technological advancement and all that. These are the most thoroughly tested—"
"You already said that."
"So if they have these vaccines then why are you doing this social christmasing—"
"Whatever. Why are you doing that and wearing the masks and staying home?"
"Because you can still catch this horrible disease and spread it to others even if you've been vaccinated."
"What? So what exactly does this vaccine do, then?"
"It lessens your symptoms."
"So, let me get this straight: You are sticking an experimental new mRNA vaccine into your arm that was rushed to market—"
"The most thoroughly tested vaccines in—"
"—and it doesn't even prevent you from catching the disease?"
"Well it can't do everything, can it?"
"So how did it even get approved?"
"Well, it's technically not approved."
"It's emergency use authorization only so far. But don't worry. These vaccines will be approved."
"Alright. OK. So let's say I catch this new plague that's going around. What are my chances of dying?"
"It depends on your age and existing health condition."
"I'm 35 years old. My doctors have given me the all clear. I'm fit as a fiddle."
"Well, then, let me see . . . uhhh . . . do you want it rounded to the nearest whole number."
"Then your chances of dying are 0%."
"Well that's just the rounded number. In actuality it's at least a couple hundredths of a percentage point. I just read the terrible story of a man who was hit by lightning, run over by a tractor and suffered a massive heart attack."
"So what does that have to do with the pandemic?"
"Well, he tested positive for the disease in the morgue."
"Tested positive? How do these tests work, anyway? . . . Wait, on second thought, never mind. I don't care. I think I've heard enough. I'll take my chances without the vaccine, thank you very much."
"Oh, well if you ever want to access a public space again I suggest you reconsider."
"Two words: vaccine passport."
"Wait, all those guys who got deleted from social media were talking about this years ago. 'Medical martial law' they called it."
"Well, that's what you get for filling your head with that horrible conspiracy theorizing and disinformation. Now put on your mask, it's time for your appointment."
"Your injection, of course. You should consider yourself lucky. There are still millions of people who are clamouring to get the vaccine."
"Can you do me a favor?"
"Hit me on the head as hard as you can. I want to go back into a coma."
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