Matt Walsh Has More Sane And Normal Thoughts About People Who Wear Masks
President Joe Biden announced Thursday that, per new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks for the most part. Republican bogeyman, Dr. Anthony Fauci, agreed it's time to “make that transition" to a maskless society as more people get vaccinated. Conservative pundits, including professional terrible person Laura Ingraham, warned last year that if elected, Biden would make us wear iron masks forever, but shockingly, they were wrong.
From last May:
INGRAHAM: It's all for safety, then everyone should know this is not a temporary thing. They will ... if they get real power ... pass a rule ... mandating that masks from here on out, on public transportation, whether it's a plane or a bus, FOREVER. Not just now. You gotta wear it during flu season. FOREVER MASKED. It's not just during COVID. It's FOREVER.
Don't expect any apologies. TV meteorologists are more humble after screwing up a forecast. Besides, conservatives have already moved on to the next thing they're pissed about, which is that some people might continue wearing masks until this whole pandemic is officially put to bed. Many businesses will probably still require masks inside their property because they don't know where everyone's been. Shoes and shirts were already mandatory, and it felt like no less of a free society.
The perfectly sane and rational Walsh said:
Wearing a mask when it is not medically necessary is grotesque and unhuman, an attack on society itself. It feeds paranoia and fear. You are treating air like it is toxic and other humans like they are nothing but vessels of disease. It is disgraceful, arrogant, and offensive.
Whoa, that's quite the emotionally charged response to what is — at worst — a fashion accessory. There is no medical necessity behind most of what people wear outside the house. The necktie is specifically useless. Walsh himself has a beard, which covers his face like a mask, except it's itchy and stupid looking. At least a mask can help protect you from the common cold or allergies. Gwydion Suilebhan, a writer and arts administrator in Washington, told the New York Times that he plans to keep wearing masks when he has a cold or is flying on an airplane. This isn't because he's a big neurotic coward. He just thinks it's "a responsible part of being a human in a civil society to care for the people around you."
Most people who claim they'll still wear masks for the foreseeable future are doing so because they don't want to make other people sick. They even realize that immunocompromised people exist. Yes, Dr. Fauci has described fully vaccinated people as a “dead end" for transmission of the virus, but Republicans are dragging their feet, as well as their knuckles, over vaccination. Mother Jones reported that while 100 percent of Democrats in the House and Senate are fully vaccinated, just 95 of 212 Republican House members said they were vaccinated. The Senate is a little better with 46 of 50 Republican senators confirming they were vaccinated. Republicans are obviously pandering to their anti-vax supporters, so it's no wonder people aren't ready to go maskless when shopping at Walmart.
Walsh denounced masks even before there was an available vaccine. Last October, he said that “forcing toddlers to wear masks is barbaric lunacy" and makes you a "disgusting, disgraceful coward." This guy is at perpetual high dudgeon.
The rightwing rhetoric shifted quickly from "you have no right to force me to wear a mask" to "you have no right to wear a mask. Masks make me uncomfortable." Last month, during an appearance on Tucker Carlson's white power hour, Walsh compared wearing a mask to carrying a security blanket. Carlson also likened mask wearing to running around with your dick flapping out, because we guess he feels continually obligated to out-weird his own guests.
Walsh's claim that mask-wearing “feeds paranoia and fear" and "treats other humans like they are nothing more than vessels of disease" is especially laughable considering how obsessed he is with guns. He's stated that “gun ownership is a more important right than voting" and “it should be easier to buy a gun than vote." His contempt for democracy is almost as great as his contempt for people who care about others.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."