A-Fisking We Will Go!

Oh, look – it’s another stupid article purporting to be journalism. That means I’m gonna do another fisking (fisking is fun!) This time, we’re going to be looking at the significant difference between the terms anti-vax and anti-mandate. These are two (obviously) completely different terms, yet these propagandists masquerading as objective journalists would have us believe that they mean the same thing. This time the less-than-gifted “reporter” is Kelly Weill at the Daily Beast (yeah, yeah, I know, but let’s give it a go anyway).

As usual, the article quotes are bolded and my response is in italics.

Let’s begin by taking a peek at the headline and subheader. Could we get any more arrogant and condescending? First off, the “A**holes” graphic. Okay, yeah. That says serious journalist right there. Then the subhead: The latest anti-vaccine stupidity coming soon to a mall – or wig shop serving cancer patients – near you.

Because everybody KNOWS that not taking the vaccine for personal, religious, medical reasons is stupid. Yep. No way could the average person do any of their own research on this thing. Secondly, note the inclusion of “wig shop serving cancer patients”…you murderer you! How could you DARE go to a mall that might have a cancer patient walking around it?? Of course this leaves out any responsibility on the part of said cancer patient. All the individuals I know and have known who are fighting cancer tend to avoid any place where they could pick up a cold or the flu. They understand that going into crowded venues like malls, or into stores, is THEIR CHOICE and that they take on an element of risk by doing so. But, Ms. Weill blames the “anti-vaxxer” crowd for any illness the cancer patient may pick up. Right here, you’re being set up to view any and all actions she’s about to talk about as stupid, selfish, and life-endangering.

With that in mind, let’s go on to the actual “article.”

On Sunday, as New York City set its single-day record for new COVID-19 cases, a small crowd traveled across the city’s boroughs in search of Panera Bread franchises.

“When they ask me for my passport,” one man said, in reference to the proof of vaccination required for indoor New York City dining, “this is what I’m gonna give to them.” He held up a pamphlet with the texts of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

She starts out by reminding everyone that the number of cases is at an all time high, neglecting to mention that cases are not the same thing as sick people. And it was on THAT day that these murderous anti-vaxxers set out on their heinous mission. As we all know from the beginning of this farce, the tests are not completely accurate (understatement I know), and are prone to false positives. In addition, people can test positive but be asymptomatic, which means, they aren’t sick.

Her second paragraph already belies the headline and subheader. The gentleman speaking says that when asked for his vaccine passport he’s going to hand over copies of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Notice he doesn’t say anything at all about the vaccine itself, just that when asked for the passport he won’t comply. Ms. Weill is already misrepresenting and misreporting the situation.

COVID-19 cases are up, fueled by the virus’s highly contagious Omicron variant. Also swarming the nation’s malls and chain restaurants are anti-vaccine activists who spend weekends and evenings feuding with retail workers over COVID measures. In Oregon, it’s a Proud Boy-linked group heckling REI employees on a livestream. And in New York, it’s a band of vaccine opponents repeatedly getting arrested in fast-casual restaurants.

Once again, contagious DOES NOT EQUAL deadly. The common cold is highly contagious, but as an illness rates around annoying at best. Unless of course you have any number of underlying conditions where a strain on your immune system could mean poor outcomes. Also note “heckling” and again “anti-vaccine activists” to imply that these are knuckle-dragging idjits harassing retail workers. I do think that harassing retail workers is less than useful since those folks are just trying to comply with company and/or city mandates and keep their jobs. They are not the ones creating the regulations, so don’t harass them. Be polite and ask that they pass on information to managers, etc. but don’t yell at them.

You just have to laugh at the gratuitous reference to Proud Boys. A Proud Boy-linked group. Agh! Run! Eeeebil is in the house! My dear Ms. Weill – being anti-MANDATE is not the same thing as being racist as you are trying to imply with the reference (for the record, I don’t think the Proud Boys are racist, but I recognize what she’s trying to do here). And then, the “band of vaccine opponents.” Ah, yes, that merry little band of outlaws. The arrogance and condescension are on display for all to see and marvel at, and Ms. Weill invites you to join in with her as she bravely takes on the knuckle-draggers from the comfort of her keyboard.

Since September, restaurants in the city have required diners to show proof of vaccination before eating indoors. More than 80 percent of the city’s adults are fully vaccinated. But a coterie of vaccine opponents have spent the past days raising holiday hell for staff at restaurants like the Cheesecake Factory, Applebee’s, Shake Shack, and Panera Bread.

It’s not the restaurants requiring proof of vaccination you clueless wonder. It’s a CITY requirement. Your beloved moron of a mayor, DeBlasio, created that requirement and told restaurants he’d shut them down if they didn’t comply. Why are you trying to blame the restaurants and not placing blame where it rightfully lies, with your stupid, willfully destructive, evil, power-hungry mayor?

Over 80% of NYC is fully vaccinated…so why are you worried about the other 20%? Surely they don’t represent a threat to fully vaccinated residents? Unless of course, the vaccine is not effective…hmmm. If it’s not effective, we should probably blame the unvaccinated for that. Yeah, let’s roll with that. Surely, it’s not the fault of the vaccine-makers…

And again, these guys are not anti-vaccine, they are anti-mandate. Do I need to give you a dictionary so you can look up what those words mean, Ms. Weill? Because it’s clear you have no idea that they are different words with entirely different meanings. It’s rather embarrassing, actually.

Their week-long blitz began last Tuesday, with what they described as a “sit-in” at a Cheesecake Factory in the city’s Queens Center Mall. There, anti-vaxxers skipped a check-in line to seat themselves at tables, apparently with the intent to attract a police presence.

“About 30 people getting ready to get arrested let’s see what happens,” one captioned a video of the scene.

Eventually, the restaurant did call police, who attempted to mediate with the group’s leaders.

Agh! Run! It’s a blitz! And it’s a week long! Given that we were all forced to endure “mostly peaceful” and “fiery but peaceful” riots that weren’t riots last summer, I find your characterization somewhat over-wrought, even though, horror of horrors, the anti-MANDATE group skipped the check-in line! How terribly gauche! I mean, my God, to what depths have we as a society sunk when people skip the check-in line?? And, yes, protestors and activists do try to get arrested, because that gets them headlines. Just ask the peaceful antifa types. Getting arrested is their raison d’etre. Or have you forgotten that? Oh, wait. I know, you don’t think the other side should be using the same tactics as your side? Whatever, chick.

“We’re here to just tell you—we’re not doing anything right now,” an NYPD officer said in footage of the standoff. “We’re telling you, the manager has now asked you to leave. That’s why we asked to speak to someone in charge, so you can go talk amongst yourselves. So they’re asking you to leave”—

—“They actually said they weren’t going to serve [us],” a demonstrator interjected.

“Well, that’s their decision. If you guys refuse to leave, we’re going to give you every opportunity to leave, but if you refuse to leave when we tell you to leave, we will be arresting you for criminal trespassing.”

Four demonstrators were eventually arrested, one group member claimed in a Tuesday night video. Footage from the Cheesecake Factory shows one man comparing the incident to racist segregation while being escorted from the premises, while another told police not to handcuff him because he was on their side.

“I’m not gonna fight with you,” he said. “I’m with you. You don’t have to put the handcuffs on me because I’m going to go down with you. It doesn’t matter.”

The Cheesecake Factory issued a statement condemning the incident.

“The events that took place at our Queens, NY restaurant on 12/14 were unfortunate,” the cake conglomerate announced last week. “The health and safety of our staff members and guests is our top priority and we are complying with the local ordinance concerning Covid-19 vaccine requirements.”

This is the only actual reporting Ms. Weill has done so far. Yet she fails to comment on Cheesecake Factory’s statement that they are complying with a local ordinance. Ms. Weill, even the restaurants know that the passport requirement is the fault of the city and the mayor and is not the decision of restaurants.

Also, the segregation comment is not that far off. Requiring passports IS segregation. It is a requirement that separates those willing to give up personal information to the state and those who are unwilling to do so. In case you haven’t noticed, Ms. Weill, many of those refusing to hand over vaccine information on themselves ARE IN FACT VACCINATED. They simply don’t believe that the city and restaurant employees need to know that. Would you hand over all your medical records to random young men and women at hostess stands across the city? Will you tell us about that herpes diagnosis? Any history of chlamydia? What about the heartbreak of psoriasis? Have you dealt with that? Do you see how making assumptions about people’s health status based on their refusal to cooperate with unconstitutional mandates makes you look like a petty tyrant and a fool all at the same time?

Undeterred, vaccine opponents announced a renewed attempt on the Cheesecake Factory the following day, although the restaurant appears to have closed preemptively.

“the restaurant was closed for dine in service this evening and being guarded by dozens of police,” one vaccine opponent tweeted that night. “We hit shake Shack and apple bees instead.”

Those dinners also led to conflict, with anti-vaxxers announcing a sit-in at Shake Shack before ultimately being arrested again for an encore act in Applebee’s. (One arrestee soon scored an interview on Fox News’s Ingraham Angle, where host Laura Ingraham thanked her for dispensing “important information.”)

Those damned activists! They’re undeterred! Will nothing stop them? I’m not going to repeat myself on the difference between anti-vaccine and anti-mandate. Clearly Ms. Weill has no interest in accuracy (she has a long history of inflammatory writing posing as journalism), and her continued conflation of the two terms gives us a good idea as to how strongly she adheres to the idea of objective, informed journalism. As in, not at all. The restaurant closed by choice. The restaurant could ignore DeBlasio et al. It’s a big national chain. If they ignored the passport rule, and got the other big chains to join them, think of the possibilities. I also note that you are ignoring the damage this passport requirement is doing to the smaller restaurants who don’t have the clout and money of the big chains backing them. I suspect that’s why your blitzing anti-MANDATE activists are hitting the chains and not the smaller places. But, I suspect that your blindered and less-than-gifted brain chose to ignore that as not being in line with the narrative for which you are a propaganda machine.

The condescension that is evident in the statement about the interview with Ingraham…will you share with us what Ingraham called “important information”? Or do you just want us to assume along with you that the scare quotes are enough to go on? Oh, and btw, scare quotes are not a sign of high intellect, contrary to your belief.

Anti-vaccine or anti-mask demonstrations in shopping centers like the Queens Center Mall have popped up cyclically during the pandemic. A now-defunct Facebook page invited Los Angeles residents to join coordinated swarms of shopping centers earlier this year, while an Arizona-based livestreaming group has gone further, charging unmasked into a wig shop that requires facial coverings because it serves cancer patients.

Did the wig shop require masks on all of its clients BEFORE this silliness? As I noted above, cancer patients are by definition more vulnerable, and they know that. And are masks designed to protect the wearer or those around them? As I recall, in infectious disease cases, nurses and others wear masks TO PROTECT THEMSELVES. So, cancer patients have not given up their personal responsibility for their own health…or are you assuming a cancer patient is incapable to make their own determination of what they need to do to avoid infections? Please don’t take their autonomy away, it doesn’t make you look good, Ms. Weill.

But this latest blitz, on both coasts, signals a renewed effort, just in time for a crushing new COVID wave. Days after the Applebee’s arrests, retail workers in Oregon experienced their own headache, as a Proud Boys organizer promoted a call for a maskless shopping spree in the Clackamas Town Center. This time, the event came with a detailed schedule, directing demonstrators through a Dick’s Sporting Goods, a Macy’s, a Sephora, a Barnes and Noble, a food court, and an REI.

A “renewed effort” for what? The omicron wave is far weaker than previous strains (even the dreaded delta which was weaker than the original). Oooh, the protestors scheduled things! How rude of them! And Proud Boys! Raaaaacist maskless shoppers! Run! This is also the first time we see any admission that the anti-mandate and other protests are not a one-off action.

Participants livestreamed the march, noting when retail employees seemed annoyed with their presence.

“It’s sad how we’re not acting like we’re together,” one livestreamer bemoaned as the group circled around a cash register. “We’ve got some REI employees who are just sort of pacing, pretty upset, pretty upset.”

One of her peers plopped himself on the floor at the checkout aisle’s exit.

“Just sitting on the floor,” he said, grinning. The group has since announced plans to hold another maskless shopping spree.

Well, the point of protesting is to annoy people. So, they made their point. I was once stuck in the B of A building in San Francisco because a large group of people in town for the Democratic convention decided to protest the B of A. We all had to go out of one single back door. Yes, it was annoying, but that’s what protests do. No, it didn’t make me any more sympathetic to their goals, but I did know what those goals were (and to be clear, those goals were vague, uninformed, and generally the same as they’d been for a couple of decades of protest against the evil big corporations). In this case, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were actually employees at Dick’s and other places who supported the protestors. And I note, there are no interviews with employees…why is that? What were you afraid of learning? Or are you simply pulling things out of stories written by others? Either way, lazy, lazy Ms. Weill. Very lazy.

In New York, vaccine opponents have also continued the unwelcome outings, visiting Panera Bread franchises in Manhattan and the Bronx on Sunday. One filmed herself pretending to pick up a takeout order, then sitting at a table with other demonstrators to eat.

One of her fellow diners expressed thanks for the shared meal, claiming that he had lost his job for his anti-vaccine stance. “Times have been tough ever since I lost my job because I wouldn’t take the shot,” he said.

When the group refused to leave, Panera staff announced that they were closing six hours early.

Footage from the restaurant shows it vacant except for the anti-vaccine crowd, which stuck around to film the pastry display case and argue with workers.

“After you guys leave, there’s damage control we have to go through,” a Panera employee told the crowd as it stood in a now-empty order line. “That’s selfish, to us. That’s why I said that’s no way to do it.”

“You wouldn’t have to do it if you just served us,” a demonstrator shouted back.

By definition protests are unwelcome. Just ask anybody in Minneapolis, Portland, Detroit, Philadelphia, NYC, San Francisco, Kenosha, anywhere antifa went on their unwelcome, unchecked rampages. Last I checked, business owners find that burning down their place of business is an unwelcome event.

I don’t agree with harassing the workers themselves. They’re just trying to keep a job and follow management directives. It would likely be more productive, or more visible if the anti-MANDATE groups were to go to City Hall and protest there. However, there is a method here…annoy the big retail/food chains enough and perhaps they will start complaining to City Hall themselves. Ms. Weill seems rather annoyed that the tactics employed by the anti-MANDATE protestors are the same tactics that protestors have used for ages. Sit-ins and other demonstrations are a time-honored way to protest policies.

The big chains should have already refused to comply with the passport mandates. They really are ridiculous and have no bearing on public health.

The way she trails off at the end is another indicator that she simply read through other stories and pulled this hit piece together without actually doing her own research. Sloppy, lazy, and vindictive seem to best describe Ms. Weill’s writing style.

My general thoughts:

While the protests in Oregon and Los Angeles are anti-mask, not anti-passport or mandate, they amount to the same thing – protests against random, contrived “rules” created by politicians and bureaucrats who do not follow those rules and have no intention of following those rules.

The vaccine passports do create a two-tiered structure of “clean” and “unclean”. This country has experienced the evils of segregating citizens previously in our history. You would hope that the latest efforts at de jure segregation will fall flat. But, it is up to us, the citizens, to protest these efforts. It is up to us to point them out.

We cannot wait for others to save us. We are all we’ve got.

Get out there and start telling everybody you know that you disagree with the mandates, rules, and ridiculous, ineffective regulations.

Point out, loudly, when every single politician, bureaucrat, and celebrity who deigns to lecture us peons on proper social etiquette, deliberately ignores such regulations and etiquette for their own purposes. They and their activities are not more important than yours. In fact, your activities are more important than theirs because your activities keep the economy running.

Stand up. Speak up. You are not alone, but you may have to bring yourself to be the first one to say anything. You got this. Trust yourself.

Go for it! Take back your life and your freedom.

Image by bernswaelz from Pixabay

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