THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2020
The Post doesn't seem real sure: Covid vaccines have begun to arrive. As they do, the daily death rate across the nation continues to go up.
(Current 7-day average, nationwide: 2,561 Covid deaths per day, according to the Washington Post's numbers.)
Covid vaccines have begun to arrive. Do we want people to take those vaccines?
Reading the Post, it isn't real clear! Once again, we get the sick feeling that we may love our storylines more.
Last week, we thought Michele Norris favored storyline over good, sound advice in the column which bore this headline:
Black people are justifiably wary of a vaccine
Is there any reason why black people should be wary of these vaccines? Norris doesn't seem to think so. But to our ear, she favored current popular storyline over good sound advice.
This morning, it happened again. In print editions, page 1 of the Post's Style section is dominated by Monica Hesse's latest effort. Beneath a giant visual of a plainly worried women, Hesse's headline says this:
Why the vaccine worries women
People, there they go again! Should anyone line up for these vaccines? The Post doesn't seem real sure.
Over here in our failing town, we currently love to stage parades of horribles concerning matters of gender and race. We seem to love these storylines more than we love life itself.
Yesterday, we made a confession. We admitted that we've been thinking about Norris' column ever since it appeared in print last Thursday morning.
Norris recited a parade of horribles, purportedly explaining why black people are "justifiably wary" of these new, life-saving vaccines.
Some of her collection of (treasured) horribles dated to the early to mid-1800s. Inexcusably, she also offered this wild misstatement about These White Med Students Today:
NORRIS (12/10/20): We are not just tussling with historical wrongs. A recent study of White medical students found that half believed that Black patients had a higher tolerance for pain and were more likely to prescribe inadequate medical treatment as a result.
That highlighted statement is horribly wrong. It's depressing to see how many denizens of Our Town were involved in its construction.
For starters, Norris never should have written that fairly obvious groaner. When we checked her link, her obvious error was clear.
Beyond that, her editors should have caught her (inexcusable) error before they put it in print. (In fairness, it promotes storyline.)
That said, Norris' error derives from an extremely slippery report by Professor Sabin about a rather slippery study. The editors who published the original study were also at fault.
We've come to love our tribal stories so much that we're willing to believe whatever claim we think we've read as long as it serves storyline. It's depressing to see this kind of thing transpiring in the streets of Our Town. That's why we've been avoiding a fuller report on the forensics of this gruesome groaner.
Tomorrow, we'll start to unpack that groaner's many strands. In the meantime, what do we in Our Town love more?
Do we love our storylines more? Or do we love life itself?
Also this: Should suburbanites fear the vaccines too? Will the Washington Post go there next?