S T O R I E S I N T H E T I M E O F A P A N D E M I C
Headline: “Alec Jones Ordered to stop Selling Anti-Virus Toothpaste”
Various nostrums and supposed cures for the virus are popping up on social media, including some sort of silver solution being flacked by the notorious de-frocked evangelical minister, Jim Baaker; and here I thought he’d done us all the service of dying in prison.
In his JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR, 1665, Defoe remarked on the ubiquity of charlatans offering cures for the Bubonic Plague on every London street: On the other hand it is incredible and scarce to be imagined, how the posts of houses and corners of the streets were plastered over with
“…papers of ignorant fellows, quacking and tampering in physic…with such flourishes as these, viz.: ‘Infallible preventive pills against the plague.’ ‘Never failing preservatives against the infection.’… ‘ Incomparable drink against the plague, never found out before,’ … I could give you two or three dozen of the like, and yet have abundance left behind…”
–Re-reading this entry, nearly a month and a half later, I am struck once again, by how predictive Defoe’s account has proven.
Not least of his “ignorant fellows, quacking and tampering in physic,” turns out to be our own great leader, who has peddled nostrums from Chloroquin, to ultra-violet light—on the inside, apparently by swallowing light bulbs—to the instantly notorious suggestion, which horrified even bleach manufacturers, that we might try injecting ourselves with Chlorox.
The poison control center here in New Hampshire has since been overwhelmed with inquiries as to the safety of swallowing bleach, an occasional but very painful method of suicide.
As Defoe goes on “ how I could tell you [of] a set of thieves and pickpockets [who] not only robbed and cheated the poor people of their money but poisoned their bodies with odious and fatal preparations…” Too bad the reporters covering Trump are afraid to be so candid.
Note for another day: It races across all our infinite connections, like money itself; some strange symbiosis of virus and global capital.