What struck me most in the videos of the “protests” at the Governor’s mansion two and three Saturdays ago (wasn’t one this Saturday that I noticed) was that people were in a carnival mood, that they seemed new at demonstrations. I was also shocked at their disregard for distancing and so few masks, like they were inviting COVID. And I’ve been thinking a lot about just who would behave this way, why people would act so against their self-interest and against the community interest. Then today, I saw this piece on facebook, yeah, I know, the internet, but like Anger Games, a study of common factors in tRump supporters, this little ditty today made so much intuitive sense explaining those who are pushing so hard for “Open Up!”

Oh, Karen

Here it is:

This morning, I awoke to find that I was out of coffee; so I took myself down to the coffee shop to buy myself a pound of beans.

Our local Peet’s has set up its cash registers in the doorway, so you stand on the sidewalk to place your order and wait, rather than going inside.

I found myself standing in a line with a bunch of other middle-aged white people in masks.

The guy in front of me got to the front of the line and said, “Hi, I’d like my usual, please.”

Dude’s standing there in a mask, asking for “his usual.”The cashier was like, “Uhhhh…”

And the dude eventually had to actually come out and actually say what he wanted.

And I had a sudden revelation: That guy was standing there, at a chain coffee shop ordering a generic fucking drink, in order to feel like he was participating in civic life. Like, his whole reason for being there was to feel like he belonged to a community where somebody would remember his name and treat him nice.

This is the reason people are so pissed off about not being able to go fucking shopping: It’s because for them, the retail experience is the whole and all of their civic participation. They’ve fully bought into the idea that their role in society is to go to work and earn money, and that with that money they get this transactional sort of membership in the body politic, or the body societas, or whatever.

This is why Karen wants to speak to your manager, and why she’s so entitled about it: She’s exercising all the power she’s got, in order to demonstrate to herself that she’s got an important role in society.

Karen doesn’t go to meetings. She doesn’t do art. She doesn’t participate in collective endeavors of any kind. Even though she espouses religious beliefs, she doesn’t go to church — and if she does, it’s a megachurch where she’s not actually required to do anything except sit in the pews and pony up to the collection palate.

All her participation in the culture is transactional: She gets paid, she buys things, and she votes.

No wonder they’re so upset. They actually bought the idea of a transactional society, and now it’s being denied them.


I’m not so sure that Karen votes, but if she does, we know for who…

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