Theater of the Absurd, Dr.Strangelove edition

As the Covid World turns, eh? Are you becoming enervated by certain aspects of this once-in-a-lifetime, potentially apocalyptic reality?  It’s hard–I’d say, personally, virtually impossible– to watch any “news” anymore as the shapeless, sameness drift of daze go by and bye. Specifically, the most approach-avoidance encounter with our need for vital Covid-19 information is the grotesque daily doses of televised Theater of the Absurd–otherwise known as the White House coronavirus briefings. It quickly became obvious that the briefings never invited one to actually learn anything meaningful about the global pandemic that is not going anywhere anytime soon. The televised coverage of the briefings, centered on the Buffoon From Grifter Lagoon, also include two–TWO–actual medical scientists, one of whom is a bonafide expert on infectious diseases. However, even without watching yesterday’s briefing, today finds a tsunami of dissent in electronic and print media regarding the latest non-medical science endorsed bit of “possible remedy” by our POTUS/a,k,a, Dr.Strangelove. concerning ways to immunize one’s self, or cure the sick from, Covid-19: inject or otherwise ingest disinfectant chemicals.

That’s an astoundingly reckless thing for even the most harebrained supporters of Dr.Strangelove to consider doing. Those moronic, misguided acolytes aside, the fact that there are those two medical experts on the White House briefing team begs the question: how can they possibly stand this farcical pretense of providing the public with information that might actually boost confidence in our country’s particular battle with a global, lethal, invisible, enemy? That is, the part of our public that isn’t also part of the problem with this pandemic. The most recent incarnation of such public foolishness are those demanding they be allowed to resume business as usual, to again rub shoulders anywhere and everywhere, in direct defiance of the medical expertise that assures doing so will possibly kill such “freedom fighters” and infect other regions of the country working hard to flatten that curve. There may be Doctors Without Borders, but now we have the virus without cure, without borders as well. 

It’s as plain as daylight that the medical experts that are present in these briefings are under pressure to hold their tongues as far as refuting the asinine psycho-babble that inevitably sweeps through the press room in gales of hot air.  Are they under threat of being beaten with rubber hoses if they dare speak their medically trained minds? If they do, or if they resign, will their families be made to pay the price, like the coerced characters in gangster movies being told if they don’t play ball with Mr. Big the wife or children–being held captive in some remote location–will never been seen alive again? They do try to massage the absurd messaging from Dr.Strangelove, seemingly not willing to become targets themselves. Sad but true. Even the maker of Lysol, one of major manufacturers of disinfecting products refuted the idea of ingesting such product’s chemicals in a clear and sternly worded rebuttal.

Thus, we get these daily doses of misinformation, prevarication and provocation from Strangelove, and a pusillanimous performance from the two doctors.  This type of media coverage amounts to an unintended homage to Absurdist authors such as Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Jean Genet and Luigi Pirandello among others. These Absurdist writers spoke to a perception of humanity trapped in an incomprehensible world, subject to any occurrence, no matter how unsettling and illogical. Little did Beckett and his like-minded bros know…

As I stated at the beginning of this piece, I’m finished with watching or listening to any and all blathering from the briefing farce. The only good that I can take from it is that it makes for such an easy target of justifiable ridicule and dismissal for this blogger. I’m admitting to being a bit lazy in finding distracting, upbeat things to write about. I’m sure there’s something good that is happening somewhere. Sure, some of the frontline workers are finally getting enough PPE. Right. Great upbeat story. Uh, yeah but that’s still Covid World. Or how so many people are using social media video platforms to talk to one another. Zoom. Skype. Facetime. But that’s also a product of Covid World. How about the large number of dogs and cats and other pets are being adopted during…ah goddamit! During Covid World. Uh. Uh. What else? How so many people are finding ways to help others during…no, that’s Covid World. Hey, let’s face it, there’s only one thing that is driving every bit of good or bad right now, whether we see it in real time or in news reporting, and that’s Covid World.

Perhaps, when we get out of Covid World, with real medical science finding the light at the end of the current never-ending tunnel, we’ll have a lot to smile about again. A lot to shed a tear or two over as well, but maybe there’s a big upside to the current downside. That’s up to not just medical science, but to every individual, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation. Huh? Whaddayathink? One for all, all for one. No one can make you feel hopeless without your consent. The darkest cloud has a silver lining. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself…

Whoa! I’m feeling a bit woozy with that kind of pep talk. Not my nature. I mean, my eyes are wide open. I know what I’m seeing and hearing. But I’m really trying to imagine that light at the end of that tunnel. It’s coming. It has to, in spite of Dr.Strangelove and his virtual Death Cult followers. We outnumber them. It may be Theater of the Absurd at the moment, but the curtain on that act has got to come down, even if there’s a grain of truth to the existential dread that informs it. Seriously, once this is history, what existential dread could possibly replace it? We’ll all be on easy street. Life will be a breeze, a lark, a walk in the park, a time to embrace being free to walk about, stopping to smell those roses and count our blessings. Nature will still be there for us to remind us of how special a world it can be. Sure, we’ll all embrace the bounty and beauty of Nature.  Yeah. Right. Uh. Wait.

Hmm. Nature. Sure. Uh. Before Covid World wasn’t there some dire warnings about our planet’s health? That term existential threat comes to mind again. Oh, to hell with that. One existential threat at a time. So, like I said, we can do it. We can’t give up. This too shall pass…

Goddamit! Excuse me. Time to wash my hands again. And move away a safe distance from the conflicting voices in my head… 

Where are my meds?!


About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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4 Responses to Theater of the Absurd, Dr.Strangelove edition

  1. It seems that the Orange Dr. Strangelove is full of absurd freaky cures and doesn’t take kindly to any doctor questioning his ‘medical prescriptions’ that could injure or kill people. How about we all inject bleach into our lungs as a precautionary measure to not get COVID-19?
    “Top Government Vaccine Expert Fired for Questioning Trump’s Fake Science” by Jonathan Chait.
    Yesterday, Dr. Rick Bright was suddenly deposed from his position as head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, an agency at the center of government efforts to produce treatment and a vaccine for the coronavirus. The firing “couldn’t come at a more inopportune time for the office, which invests in drugs, devices, and other technologies that help address infectious disease outbreaks and which has been at the center of the government’s coronavirus pandemic response,” reported the health publication STAT.

    Today, Bright gave an explanation for his untimely departure: He believes he was pushed out for insisting on limits to the use of hydroxychloroquine, an unproven treatment that Trump has touted as a miracle cure for the virus. “Specifically, and contrary to misguided directives, I limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit,” Bright tells Maggie Haberman…


    • Dang. Now we won’t be able to watch his grotesque daily doses of televised Theater of the Absurd.
      “President Trump plans to pare back his coronavirus press conferences, according to four sources familiar with the internal deliberations.”


  2. A silver lining. By the time the COVID 19 crisis has passed, it seems likely that science denialism will no longer be in fashion, and real expertise will be valued again. Meanwhile, how many US citizens are contemplating gulping down bleach?


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