Who is the better friend?

Is it the one who back slaps and encourages or the one who needles and questions?

From my point of view I’d say you were fortune favored if you have both because there’s as little value in empty encouragement as in baseless questioning.

If ease in friendships is a priority then the encouraging variety is obvious short-term winner. I say short-term because a friend who thrives on the joys of lips to body parts will surely be drawn to better butts to kiss in the by and by. Being there or loyalty in a friend may well outweigh all else regardless of content.

When’s the last time you heard of a pressing need for ventilators to fend off mass death? That particular panic seems fled, though it was a grand worry while it lasted, along with overrun hospitals that are now laying off in significant numbers.

If I were to sports’ score this, it might be Virus 10 to Fear 100.

Fear, that’s the thing playing the music that set the dance program. Dancing With Our Fears has been in all the media and on all the channels; the most successful show in memory.

Early in American history the populace faced fears similar to today’s virus.

Arriving unseen in the night, witches were a social virus that divided society. Fear of sorcery was real, and so were the purges done to remove the threat. Fear accomplished more damage than witchcraft.

Also in an early era Americans faced threat of disease. In 1775 General Washington had a two-front war with the British and a smallpox epidemic. The modern thing would be go home and shelter. But the General was not the retreat-prone type we’ve become.

Imagine if the revolutionaries decided to wait for a different revolution or hold off until the cure for Yellow Fever was known and the entire nation could be treated.
And don’t forget there was anthrax, as well, out there lurking. We can view past “folk” (or those who em-ploy “folk” in disingenuous ways) as pathetically fearful of spells and diseases.

Modern fears wear a mask.

Early in WWII the shock of the Pearl Harbor attack spawned a fear of the Japanese that led to the internment camps that mark a dark victory for fear over justice. Japanese in the U.S. were the widely feared virus of their day.

Unlike an invisible bug carried by breeze and breath, a Japanese was recognizable leading to internment.

We’ve handled things much better with the current enemy by interning the general population and letting the bug roam free.

Yellow peril and novel virus inspire fear that seems roughly the same in both cases.

But wait. In this instance if you’re not wearing a virus catcher on your face you can be the one pointed to in fear as a potential danger to human welfare. That’s a change that affects and infects us all.

Aren’t we fortunate having so much unqualified medical expertise to guide us?
The enlightened and informed pop up all over, well, wherever there’s a headline or attention to attract.

I’ve come to apply the snake oil model in contemporary ways. There is snake oil commercialism ready to sell rubes a palliative placebo of proven properties as meaningless as what I’ve just written.

And we have snake oil media ready to pounce on any odd thing as a gold-glitter opportunity to catch the public eye. Snake oil media find portents all about us the same way ancients and witches divined the future in the liver of a sacrificed goat (if you were wealthy) or a dove if you couldn’t afford a goat kill.

Double-double toil and trouble (from the now frowned on Shakespeare pen) fire up a juicy bubble of woe in the image of a dead infant in Cincinnati as direst omen for all of Credulity.

It did happen, the speeding pen of word processing tells us, so beware, beware, oh beware.

I wonder if a study has been done comparing the ills of yellow journalism with those of yellow fever. They might be close runners, you think? For an old school clod like me it’s uneasing to see a reporter as the better part of the report.

Some years back when running for public office (thankfully for me and the public I lost) one of the opponents presented herself as a mother bear set to defend her cubs. There was an image I hadn’t seen a’ coming. It staggered me.

Why in hell would adults who on their own were able to register to vote need or want a mother bear to represent and shelter them?

From one view I saw a strong woman taking a stand while at another angle the situation appears as excessive mothering.

Over time my impression of some politicians eagerly slipping into a motherly role grew stronger and more worrisome because seeing voters as cubs in need of protection and guidance carries elements in conflict with citizens as independent partners. Voters in need of mothering would be dependents. As a significant political skew you could hardly find one more telling than that of a political inclination to look upon voters as a sea of dependent faces or as a body of independent minds.

How you react to such a skew is, I suspect, quite individual.

By the time I was 8, I’d begun to chafe at mothering by the various moms (aunts, uncles, grandmothers, nuns) keen to control a boy’s energies. Relentless, mostly feminine, fussiness drove me to solitude or out of the house to escape. I was sore tired of being told, stand straight, wash your hands, no talking, and where’s your hat?

Reminders serve a useful purpose, but when the reminder insists rain hat, rain jacket, rubber boots and umbrella are needed for a 15-foot dash to a waiting car it’s too much of a thing to any longer be useful.

“Where’s your sunscreen” and “where’s your mask” are well intended but carry problems of their own.

Life is risk; first encountered at birth, risk remains until death.