I made pancake batter yesterday. A BIG batch, enough for two day's breakfast. Or a breakfast and an Elevenses meal. I put fresh cranberries in the mix. (I always buy extra during the holidays and freeze them so we have them throughout the year.) I added a few dashes of cinnamon too. The result. A taste like Christmas. Which was my intention. A trick of the mind, of more pleasant times.
I am not saying the illusion worked, but it totally worked.
Stay calm. Carry on.
3pm(ish). I wrote my Senators. Didn't dance around my thoughts. Went straight to the point.
The United States of America and the world is facing a healthcare crisis with the COVID-19 epidemic. The relief bill is an affront to human life, a grotesque mockery of the workers of America (providing so little in a great time of need), and is another example of corporate welfare the Republican Senators are always too willing to dole out. It is disgusting.
Is there generic social media outrage happening about this so-called relief bill related to the COVID-19 pandemic? How's it going? Conversation productive? As long as the cool kids are getting enough RTs of their hot takes to ensure inflated self-importance regarding their doing good in the world.
4pm(ish). Logged into the podcast's Twitter account. Each day during the pandemic, I am trying to spread the (good)word. I share only a few (no sense in contributing to flooding) quality-sourced bits of information or news to Sunflower State folks who follow us directly or have us listed. Today, I came across the following:
I understand timing is problematic and the intersection of what was planned and what's happening in the world right now couldn't necessarily have been predicted. Still, given the extent of the current situation and the resulting anxieties—the literal little fires—the wording and the choice to continue to promote this hashtag comes across as crass. A bit tone deaf. At least to me. If it were promoting some independent (artist) creation, I could maybe write it off as the gallows humor of an indie creator or troupe. Hell, I'd appreciate that. But this is BIG business production leveraging a BIG tech platform, trying to create virality. Irony.
Not that you asked, but. . .
"Yes, he had A2. Hong Kong flu. Just like you and me and Corey and Kelly and Joan."
Before comparing King's published words to something he recently said, consider the following.
First, note I say his published words. It may be King's editor requested the additional description that resulted in the inclusion of Hong Kong flu. I understand the version of Night Surf published in NIGHT SHIFT is edited compared to the original version of the story that was published in a literary magazine. So, if King's editor requested an 'A2' clarification, what prompted King NOT to argue against this change? Did he not find it racist? Xenophobic? Was he desperate to sell his work? (I realize King has stated he writes because he has to; he's impelled to write and does not do it for the money. However, he has also defined a talented writer as one who cashes a check written by someone else. Curious confliction, that.)
And what if his editor didn't request expanding the definition of the A2 virus? What if the author made the change, assuming it was not in the original?
The reference to Hong Kong Flu does not appear until near the end of the story. The reader was never given any reason to care about the geographic origin of the A2 or A6 flu strains. Arguably, the reader's knowledge of where the A2 flu originated matters little. However, because of how the A2 flu strain is used in the narrative, I understand certain readers may ascribe some beneficial aspect to it. But the A6 strain originates from the same broad geographical area as A2. So, I don't think any argument if one reads the story that way holds any water, at all.
Curiously (at least I find it curious), the descriptor Hong Kong adds nothing at all to the story.
Literally. Not. One. Thing.
Nothing in the story hangs on the geographic origin of the A2 or A6.
It's not needed. Or is it?
Consider when 'Night Surf' was originally released. Would readers have KNOWN the source of A2 from historical (then present day) events? What were they feeling? What was their emotional state regarding this topic? Was a xenophobia extant? heightened? And, were these elements being intentionally leveraged, played with, enflamed by referencing Hong Kong? What effect could be had by specifically calling out the geographic region and placing it front and center in the minds of those reading the story when it was originally published? or even when published again in the collection ten years later?
Quite odd because, as I say, the story does not need the reader to know the origin of A6.
And so I ask myself, and wonder: Why include Hong Kong? Why the geographic specificity? Why would an author specifically use Hong Kong in describing a flu? Is it xenophobia? to play on xenophobia? to use it? to stoke it? in order to elicit fear? to cater to preconceived notions? for effect? for story traction? to profit from any or all of the preceding elements? Or was it thoughtlessness and careless word choice, perhaps because that was the naming convention used in previous generations?
King himself uses the word 'xenophobic asshole' to describe a person who ascribes the geographic origin in naming a flu strain. Curious that, too.
Sidenote: I spent a little time and effort on the above because in my current writing I am using the distillate: the politics and art of fear and hate; famous people saying one thing and doing another; platformed persons driving people toward self harm, including the taking of their own lives.
Mom, if you're reading this: It'll be a happy story. Cross my heart.
by Geoffrey Allison || SIXSTRINGcpa