Weekly Roundup: The Sexual Pleasure Of The Mask Edition

Warning: this discussion is not for children, people who are incapable of reading at a (pre-21st century) college level, or people who struggle with abstract thought. Thank you for respecting this disclaimer.

When it comes to “idiots with credentials”, I struggle to think of a more egregious example than noted fool Paul Krugman, who has spent his entire life being publicly incorrect about virtually everything, but in this case I think we might have a stopped clock telling the correct time at least once. It’s not that surprising since the OMG VIOLENCE predicted by Krugman is already happening, and has been for some time. A quick Google will show… many such cases. People are attacking other people for not wearing masks as well. There is something about “masking”, both in its presence and in its absence, that elicits strong emotional and physical reactions in human beings.

The science regarding COVID-19 transmission and masks is fairly simple, and easy to understand: nothing short of hospital-standards mask use will do much to keep a “masker” from contracting the virus. Very few people outside the medical specialties understand what’s required to wear the right kind of mask properly. It’s genuinely unpleasant, by the way. But that doesn’t mean that masks are useless. Far from it. They significantly reduce transmission from infected people — and it pretty much doesn’t matter what you use. It can be an N95 or KN95 mask, it can be a cloth mask, it can be a neck gaiter. All of them reduce the “spray” of airborne droplets that contain the virus. It doesn’t matter that the virus is individually capable of entering almost any kind of mask. It needs a “ride” to get there.

There is also quite a bit of evidence concerning the importance of “viral load”. Those of us who are of a certain age remember all the animations of HIV turning an innocent individual cell into an HIV factory — but in the real world, a single HIV particle probably isn’t capable of giving you HIV, and the same is true for COVID-19. You need a “viral load” with enough active particles to overwhelm your local defenses. This is why handling money, which is terrifyingly dirty, doesn’t automatically kill you. The strength of the “viral load” in any individual exposure case is what more or less determines whether or not you will get sick. Masks of all kinds go a long way towards reducing the amount of “viral load” in your immediate vicinity.

The science suggests that you should wear a mask if you might be sick — and forego one if you are not sick, because mask use is not an unalloyed good. It causes a variety of problems, including impaired cognition. Three out of four people who wear masks properly (to medical-professional standards) report headaches, while one in four report difficulty thinking. That’s not good. Of all the people who shouldn’t be suffering from impaired cognition, doctors are right up at the top with pilots and nuclear powerplant operators. Masks are also bad for kids, to the point that prolonged mouth-breathing from mask use can alter the shape of their faces.

That’s the science. But there’s the science, and then there is THE SCIENCE, of course. THE SCIENCE is a modern religion that is no more rational, and often more harmful to society, than any other religion in history has been. It is largely indistinguishable from whatever cherished ideas lead the vanguard of progressive thought, in much the same way that THE LAW nowadays appears to be far more concerned about who is committing a crime than it is about what crime has been committed. THE SCIENCE is obsessed with masks. Masks are a sacrament to THE SCIENCE. But how did we get to this point? And why are masks such a dangerous subject, both on the printed page and in real life?

Those of you who know me, or who have read me for a long time, know that I consider societal norms, laws, and religions to be a sort of “operating system” for human beings. As with computer operating systems, each human operating system is optimized for a different set of priorities and results. I’ve often heard it said that if you find yourself wandering in the desert with your family, you could do worse things than follow the Old Testament to the letter; much of it amounts to an oddly detailed hygiene manual for people in difficult and dirty conditions. The Egyptians followed an operating system that was optimized for building massive monuments and elevating a small group of people to godlike status. If you ever want to sit around and bake your noodle for a while, ask yourself why it took human beings so long to develop the airplane and/or the hot-air balloon. Strictly speaking, you could have had lighter-than-air flight in Roman times; they had everything required to make it happen.

The answer to this and many other questions is: the Western combination of Christianity and Renaissance thought amounted to a supercharged operating system for technological progress, sort of like how certain Linux variants are optimized for Bitcoin production. The conditions faced by humanity were about the same from 300,000 BC to 1300 AD in most places. After that, things happened thick and fast. People didn’t change. Their operating system changed. All of human progress, from bricks to Mars missions, in about one-tenth of one percent of human history. Think about that.

Our modern operating system was built over maybe 2500 years at most. We have spent the last fifty years trying to destroy it in a headlong rush of deranged degradation that moves too fast for all but the Extremely Online to even perceive, much less understand. There is not a corporation in the Fortune 500 that wouldn’t fire you for repeating certain parts of Bill Clinton’s campaign announcement speech to your co-workers. In 1992, this was the bleeding edge of the American Left. Today, just thirty years later, it’s bigoted hate speech. This societal transformation is more drastic than any envisioned by Lenin or Mao, and we are rushing into it headlong without so much as a single thought about the advisability of tearing down moral and societal “fences” constructed over thousands of years.

The fetish for “masking”, to me, is a prime example of this rash behavior. Only an exceptionally stupid or deliberately disingenuous person would claim to be unaware of the significant effect that seeing a face has on human beings. We communicate via facial expressions. I could walk into any public building in America and get someone to physically assault or even kill me simply by making faces. I’m not just talking about prisons or football stadiums or other hotbeds of “toxic masculinity”. I could do it anywhere. Wearing a mask, just like making a face, sends a deliberate signal, and in this case it is: I will not allow to you see what I am thinking, feeling, or planning.

The super-popular-among-certain-people cartoon About Face explores the idea that “combat beards” and lifted pickup trucks amount to a “rejection of communication, reciprocity and legal accountability”. The smoked windows and elevated ride height of these trucks imply a desire to “disconnect” from society, as does a beard, which hides part of one’s face. If any of that is true — and I’m not saying it is true, I’m saying that the people who run this country believe it is true — then how much more is a literal mask an attempt to reject

* communication (I can’t see what you’re thinking or feeling)
* reciprocity (I cannot mirror your expressions, a human behavior that is older than Homo sapiens)
* accountability (I literally don’t know who you are in that mask)

to an even higher degree? For all of human history, wearing a mask has meant that you are disconnecting from the consequences of your actions. Go watch Yellowjackets. Go watch Eyes Wide Shut. Read Poe, or the ancients. How many famous plays in the canon turn on the loss of identity experienced in a mask?

When we, as a society, make “masking” mandatory, we are playing with forces that we do not understand but which date back to our primate ancestors. It is not a trivial matter, and the conversation we have as a society about masks is always going to be about more than mere transmission of disease, the same way that the conversations we have about male and female clothing goes much deeper than mere matters of utility or style. We are having a smaller, but just as difficult, conversation as a society regarding the recent Florida bill about sex education for children. To hear both the opponents and proponents of the bill discuss it, you would think it was about far more than just the plain text of a proposed law — and they are both right. The proponents talk about preventing the further sexualization of children, while the opponents worry that children of alternative sexualities will be “erased” from view. Neither concern is terribly well-supported by the bill under consideration, but everyone knows that we are setting a direction. In one direction, children will be encouraged to avoid thinking about sex, which plays well for the “default choice” sexuality. In the other, children will be encouraged to explore alternative sexualities, increasing their likelihood of adopting one of those sexualities. There’s nothing trivial about this, particularly if you are a parent.

Alright. So masks are more than just masks. You knew that. If you didn’t, you’re not smart enough to be reading this; close your browser window and turn on your TV. So why do some people like them so danged much? How did they become a political marker? Why do people wear them when they are alone in their own cars? As someone with obvious symptoms of severe autism, I’m not sure I understand my fellow humans well enough to offer a definitive opinion. But I have a theory.

Western society has become obsessed with the ideas of “doms and subs” over the past few decades. In much the same way that a “Zebra Cake” has more sugar than a 300,000-year-old genetic design for eating fruit can possibly understand, our modern sexual perversities have supercharged our pleasure and obsession in ways that nobody could have guessed a mere fifty years ago. We have omnipresent pornography, omnipresent sexuality. It invades everything you see, hear, or experience. And much of it is that unholy combination of sexual pleasure and the power of control. The “Twilight” and “50 Shades” cultural phenomena are serious, they are important, and they have taken over the conversation. Want more proof that we have made a power dynamic a huge part of sex today? Go ask a gay man who is my age or older about the first time he heard the terms “top” or “bottom”. Hint: it wasn’t in 1985.

Now here’s the odd thing. You’d think that most people in a dom/sub, top/bottom world would want to be doms or tops. It ain’t so. My gay friends tell me that there is a “top shortage”. In the hetero world, there are a dozen “subs” for every “dom”, fifty would-be “cucks” for every willing “bull”. Every Greek play and every Victorian novel will tell you that people are desperate for control and power, but in the modern world everyone wants to be… helpless. Cucked. Subbed.

Wearing a mask is sub behavior. It’s meek. T.S. Eliot had Prufrock agonize over the difficulty of being ready “to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet”. Well, in 2022 Prufrock would have been free of that worry. He is masked. He is anonymous. His face is private. It does not need to meet another face.

Look around you, at the people who were most eager to shed their masks, even before such a thing was remotely permissible. They are: young, beautiful, powerful, self-confident. They are the doms in a world peopled by subs. I’ve never been to an SCCA race where anybody wore a mask for any length of time. Of course they don’t. You have to be rich to race SCCA nowadays. You have to be the kind of person who is confident. “Subs” rarely go racing. How could you, when the very essence of racing is to beat the person next to you?

Wearing a mask, even when it is not required, is pleasurable for certain people. The way living an anonymous life in a city where you’ve never met your neighbors is pleasurable for some people. Not everyone wants to engage with the world. Your humble author, for the record, is one of those people who is shy and secretive by nature. As a child, I liked wearing hats, jackets, sunglasses. Anything to hide my face, to put just a tiny buffer between me and the rest of the world. I didn’t grow out of that until I was in my twenties. If, in fact, I did.

I do not write all of the above to “dunk on” the people who find solace, satisfaction, and even sexual pleasure in wearing a mask. I write it because we need to understand those people. It’s ironic, because wearing a mask is a first-rate way to prevent people from understanding you, but it is true nonetheless. I know plenty of people who are still “masking up” on planes, in cars, in public. Most of them won’t be honest with you as to why they are doing it. They may not even be honest with themselves as to why they are doing it. And yet we all need to continue to engage with each other in the most decent and human ways possible. Don’t be the kind of person who gets angry at a “masker” or a “mask denier” or whatever. Understand that we are all playing with powerful forces here, human motivations that are so deeply baked into us as to be incapable of rational examination at times.

If you really think that you’re masking to prevent disease — or, alternately, that your refusal to mask has zero impact on potential transmission — then consider spending some time in personal reflection. Try to know yourself a little better, difficult though it may be. The world already has enough idiots whose convictions are as unshakeable as they are ignorant. One of them would be too many, in fact. And there’s already Paul Krugman, so it doesn’t need to be you, or me.

* * *

For Hagerty, I wrote about racing and imaginary Lutzian supercars.

43 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: The Sexual Pleasure Of The Mask Edition”

  1. Wes

    Hey jack, long time lurker first post. Always appreciate your take on things even if I disagree but this one is spot on. For all his education and experience it’s baffling to see Paul Krugman post such crap. You’d think he would know better but, alas, I find that often coming from the apex of human thought that Progressivism is.

    Reply
  2. LynnG

    Well timed article. Today I was at the 30th Annual Spring Show of the Potomac Region of the CLC at our new sponsor Sport Cadillac in Silver Springs (Montogomery County 85% Biden – 15% Trump) Maryland. Around 40 Cadillacs showed with maybe a 100 people. NOT A SINGLE PERSON was wearing a mask. Now membership tends to lean towards the older demographic but NOT A SINGLE PERSON was wearing a mask…. Now I though about this becasue it was so unusual as the DC area is filled with mask police (people that think they are anyway). However like Jack wrote, people that take the time to bring out their old Cadillacs (our participation consisted of cars from the late 40’s to the 2010’s) just wanted to have a day of enjoyment. NOT be subjected to the dictates of the wonk police. Now I would not compare our little group of participants to race car drivers but there were men and women in attendence that build and own shopping centers, manage government agencys, just retired, and those that work as fry cooks at the Willard Hotel. But everyone had a great day and the VIRUS was not mentioned by anyone that I spoke to. Even in DEEP BLUE Washington some people are tired of if all and it was great to see everyones face not hidden by behind a face diaper…..

    Reply
    • stingray65

      I suspect that very few of the dead Montgomery County residents who voted for Biden would be interested in attending a Cadillac show, as it might bring back bad memories of their last graveyard ride in a Cadillac.

      Reply
  3. NoID

    Jack,

    These Chrysler Corp / SRT “What If?” articles are making me have big feelings, and I don’t know what to do with them.

    Reply
  4. John C.

    I don’t have the intellectual firepower to grasp fully Jack’s interesting discourse on masking. I do it where asked or in crowded tight confines to signal to those around and perhaps God a certain good citizen attempt. I neither want to get it or pass Covid on. I also would prefer the government have a long list of those more annoying than me

    I was also interested in chosing “Harmeet K Dhillon” to denounce Mr. Krugman. I have seen her tweet about right wing political issues of the day. Given how poorly served Trump and Rittenhouse were served by con inc legal, I wonder about denying the job to a real conservative American legal mind and instead outsourcing such an important job to “Harmeet K. Dhillon”. We can enjoy out intelectual flights, but we need to get back to basics.

    Reply
    • Daniel J

      Could you be more specific about your last sentence in regards to “outsourcing” to Harmeet Dhillon? Was she a lawyer for Trump? I do know she has been successful defending others on the right and even some libertarian types.

      I actually don’t agree with her take since I live in the south, and we’ve had mask mandates dropped for over a year, and I have seen those wearing masks heckled. I’ve also seen several “karen’s” go nuts on others not wearing masks as well. Whether we like it or not, masks have become political statements.

      Reply
      • John C.

        Paul Krugman is one of the best his side has. My side thinks mistakingly that by having our mouthpeices outsourced, they will be more credible. Instead our best are left out and marginalized. We are not even invited on Indian TV to fill Ms Dhillon’s empty seat. When was the last time you got to hear Pat Buchanon, John Derbyshire or William S. Lind’s take on the issue of the day?

        Last summer when Biden announced that you could take off your mask and smile at people, but to be kind to those who still chose to wear it, was the best I ever heard out of him. Too bad he couldn’t stick to it.

        Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I’m disappointed they didn’t continue with it, honestly. It’s nice to know people are thinking about you.

      Reply
      • Panzer

        I think I discovered Porter’s blog about the same time as I started diving seriously into your work Jack, and I remember thinking to myself ‘haha nice, Porter’s outdone himself with this latest caricature’ 😅

        Reply
  5. CitationMan

    This mess has introduced us to a number of terms we have not heard of before, and here’s another: Long Social Distancing.
    Apparently 10% of the working population plans on social distancing forever, with another 45% planning on limited social distancing.
    https://wfhresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/LongSocialDistance_v11_forwebsite.pdf
    Here in western North Carolina we’ve had 90 year olds in scooters at the grocery store not wearing masks for a long time. You will still see teens wearing masks, but Jack’s post might explain that. However, as you get closer to Deep Blue Asheville, the masks appear, mostly on young thin twenty somethings. In Deep Red South Carolina, masks are very rare, except if you go into a Whole Foods, then they appear. Strangely, not in Trader Joe’s.

    Reply
  6. MrFixit1599

    Granted, I am newly moved to Tulsa. Last Tuesday, when I got to the airport to fly out for work, NO ONE was wearing a mask. I saw maybe 2 people with a mask on through the trip to Houston. Ended up flying out of Dallas back to Tulsa, still very hard to find anyone wearing a mask. No idea what the coasts are like, but the south seems to be very anti mask. Headed to the midwest tomorrow, shall be interesting to see if there’s a difference.

    Reply
  7. JDW

    From one Zebra Cake enthusiast to another:

    Your arguments brought to mind the visionary musical stylings of Marece Benjamin Richards, better known as Rich Boy; naturally, I mean “ridin’ with no tints so the mothafucka know it’s me.”

    Reply
  8. Ice Age

    This is why I read your work, Jack. It’s too bad it takes time for you to write it and to quote Tom Petty, the waiting is the hardest part.

    The masks were always about control. They offend me. I actually got into an argument with the front desk know-nothings at the medical clinic at work over them. Told them I don’t wear them. Told them I wanted SAG scale for wearing one. They hid behind the Eichmann Defense. Ain’t goin’ back till they dump the requirement.

    Reply
    • Volando Bajo

      The sociologist Popenoe cited extensive research that supports about a 5% natural doms & 95% subs. Many of the latter are totally unaware.

      You probably have figured out who I am. And I suspect you know where this dichotomy can be quite useful when traveling through life unaccompanied. I started early. Learned all the variations from Websters Unabridged. Had my own fantasy harem late preteens. Old habits are who we are.

      Reply
  9. stingray65

    Masks have become security blankets for the mentally ill, with the security being much more about easy identification of fellow mentally ill Leftists than virus protection. I’ve seen many videos and news accounts of various Karen’s going full Nazi in their enforcement of real and imagined mask mandates on fellow shoppers and flyers who violate such sanctions, but I have yet to see any examples of “anti-maskers” getting violent in action or speech against the mentally ill who continue to wear masks. Thus Krugman’s mask warning is like the Democrat warnings about white supremacy and climate change that is supposedly running amok, a figment of their delusional imaginations. When the day comes that some mask wearing Karen is beaten to a pulp by a deranged “Right-wing extremist” I will predict right here and now that the perpetrator will turn out to be black, a Democrat, an FBI undercover agent, or imaginary (e.g. another Jussie Smollett fake hate crime), and the story will be black holed just like the Hunter Biden laptop.

    Reply
  10. Gary

    Did some dickhead I’ve never heard of, posting on twitter, really inspire this writing?

    Masks went away back in February. Why hang onto caring about this shit.

    Reply
    • stingray65

      Masks only went away from airports and flights less than 2 weeks ago in the US, and are still in place in selected blue areas of the US where the Karen’s are in charge.

      Reply
    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Paul Krugman is a Nobel prize winner whose blatherings in the Times are taken as gospel by the people who run this country. I don’t like it, but that’s the case.

      As far as masks, there are still places in this country where you cannot be admitted or served unless you are masked. This battle is far from over.

      Reply
  11. hank chinaski

    I’m unaware if the SCIENCE IS SETTLED on whether Kung Flu uses aerosol or airborne transmission, or a combination of both. If exclusively the latter, then good luck with masks.
    They are stars on Sneetch bellies to some, especially in the big blue bug hives, and bandit masks for others, oddly enough in the same hives.

    Things are happening ‘thick and fast’ right now, but in the opposite direction.

    Reply
  12. Trucky McTruckface

    So many great insights to unpack, as usual.

    “Our modern sexual perversities have supercharged our pleasure and obsession in ways that nobody could have guessed a mere fifty years ago. We have omnipresent pornography, omnipresent sexuality. It invades everything you see, hear, or experience.”

    This isn’t discussed nearly enough, at least not in the right ways by the right people. One has to be insane to think that pushing so much sex on the fragile human psyche won’t have unnatural consequences. I don’t feel like smacking the LGBTQ hornet’s nest right now, so I’ll just point out that we’re at a point where young men are so warped by PornHub that they increasingly can’t perform with a real live woman. And our infallible medical community has no answer for this besides marketing dick pills to twentysomethings to temporarily mask the problem.

    Not that Christianity’s tendancy to demonize every non-procreative sexual impulse helps, either. Growing up in the Catholic Church, which taught that I must confess my sinful thoughts to a known pedophile priest, certainly did me no favors. The history of anti-sex attitudes borders on comical fetish – recall that graham crackers and corn flakes were developed by Adventist zealots who believed bland food would discourage masturbation. This sort of dogma of course not only has the Streisand effect on curious young minds, but enforces feelings of guilt and shame that can lead to a lifetime of sexual and emotional dysfunction.

    Just another example of the sort of binary thinking that plagues our “operating system.” Moderation and nuance in any realm is rare, which is why I enjoy this site so much.

    As for masks, the sex fetish thing might be a stretch, but I definitely think that submissive behavior is more the norm throughout human history. The majority have always willingly deferred to a king, the church, their employer, a nanny state government, etc. To not have some other entity dictate your thoughts and actions is a cause for crippling fear. As weird and damaging as the last two years have seemed, I’d suggest it’s really rebellion against authority and self-determination that are the aberrations.

    Reply
  13. ScottS

    “And yet we all need to continue to engage with each other in the most decent and human ways possible”

    Certainly. But I will not tolerate being governed by the mask zealots. Two years ago we didn’t have a good understanding of COVID-19 and its lethality. I will never forget driving through Atlanta on Monday, March 16, 2020 at what would normally be the morning rush hour. It was if a neutron bomb had been detonated leaving all structures in tact while killing all the people. We did what was asked and it seemed reasonable at the time. Two years on we know a hell of lot more, and most of us have actually had COVID already, and the shots, and the mask, and all the other measures that seemed to be created on a weekly basis. Yes. COVID killed a lot of people, but it didn’t kill me and millions of others who got it and got over it. I will never go out of my way to have a confrontation with anyone who wishes to wear a mask for any reason, but I won’t back down from a confrontation brought to me either.

    Somebody has to be a man and It’s better if it’s me.

    Reply
    • Dirty Dingus McGee

      ” I will never forget driving through Atlanta on Monday, March 16, 2020″

      On the same date, I had a flight out of Hartsfield to San Diego. My original flight got canceled, got the notification on the way to the airport, next available was 3 hours later. As I was taking a limo, cheaper than an Uber from my area, because I was going to pick up a vehicle and drive it back, I had to finish the journey. At the airport there was literally NO ONE there. I went to the pre-check line and the line was ME. The “plane train” was the same, me and one other person in that car. As I had time to kill, I decided to hit a bar/restaurant. There were 2 bartenders, 3 waitress’s and ME. This was all at 11.00 am. Even on overseas flights that arrive at 0 dark thirty in the morning, I had never seen Hartsfield that deserted.

      Reply
  14. crm114

    I used to think that the anonymity provided by ubiquitous masking played a significant role in the crime wave of the last two years, but the Times taught me that it’s a direct result of the increase in legal gun sales. I also used to think that the increase in gun sales was the result of said crime wave, but I’m the kind of knuckle-dragging moron who has kept several loaded guns around the house ever since my police precinct was burned down, so I’m probably biased.

    Reply
      • CitationMan

        Happening now in downtown Chicago, formerly the safest police district in the city. Staffing problems, you know, just like restaurants. Tourists beware.

        Reply
      • Ronnie Schreiber

        Black traffic fatalities skyrocketed in 2020 and 2021. So did the homicide rate for black men.

        Some of that is due to the George Floyd effect, cops not enforcing laws to avoid getting charged with a crime. Some of it’s due to reduced traffic enforcement during the pandemic. I’ve noticed that the average speed on Detroit area freeways has crept above 80 mph.

        Reply
        • Dirty Dingus McGee

          I rolled in Sunday night from a road trip to the northeast from Atlanta. Even in notoriously strict enforcement areas, New England, New York and particularly Virginia, speed limit enforcement was WAY down. Everyone was driving at least 10 over, most 15-20 over. I think in the 2500 miles I drove over 4 days, I probably saw less than a dozen vehicles pulled over. There were several occasions when I saw a cop in the median and noticed I was running 80-85 and they never even moved, even in Virginia hauling ass on I-81. This let me make a 1200 mile trip home in just over 15 hours (bathroom and gas stops only),

          Reply
  15. Mike

    Excellent article, on-point insights as always, Jack. I just made my first ride in a jet airplane since February 2020 a couple of weeks ago, right before the mandate was lifted. As soon as I got past security, I made a beeline to the pub where I could unmask until it was time to board my flight. Once in the air, I got out my bottle of water and trail mix and proceeded to drink and eat…arduously slowly….for the entire duration of the flight, mask in hand.

    I take some issue with people wearing them, for the very reasons you outline above, but it’s their prerogative to do so, and I afford every one of them the courtesy they wouldn’t afford me when I took mine off in defiance of whatever decree we happened to be operating under.

    Reply
  16. Dirty Dingus McGee

    I have, grudgingly, at times followed the mask requirements when I had no choice. Flights, government buildings (tag office, courtroom, etc) doctors office. Something that got me wondering about them though happened last year. I was admitted to a local hospital due to a blood infection that went septic. I ended up there for 8 days after having my upper thigh filleted open and scraped out the infected area. ALL the doctors, nurses, techs, visitors, etc, wore masks, but NONE of the patients were.

    Being someone who has slung automotive paint for nearly 50 years, I know the value of a proper mask, a lesson learned in the days of straight enamel and lacquer paints. In the 70’s it amounted to a dust mask, until I started slinging Imron. then a full respirator style mask. These days when I do paint, I use a positive pressure (filtered compressed air) mask. All that being said, as Jack pointed out, all most available mask’s do is keep us from spitting on each other. They are as useful for capturing germs as your underwear is at capturing a fart.

    But it should be up to you to make that call for mask-unmask. I have been in the unmask group since it started. Even if it meant I was unwelcome at some events/business’s. No problem, there are others that will happily take my money and let me be barefaced.

    Reply
    • Ronnie Schreiber

      I worked in a DuPont automotive paint lab for two decades and in the early days of the pandemic I dug out my old MSA (Mine Safety Appliances) half-face respirator, even though I knew that with my full beard anything short of a full-face, air supplied respirator wasn’t going to provide virus level protection. People were impressed with it, though.

      Later, for businesses and concert venues that required masks, I ordered a cloth mask custom printed with “This Only Protects Feelings”.

      That’s why preening fools like Roland Martin, bragging about being masked on an airplane, when you can see the finger sized gaps where his mask doesn’t fit tightly, talking about “science”, when he doesn’t have the first clue about filtration and fluid dynamics annoy me so much. He doesn’t even realize that air flows through the path of least resistance. Unless a mask or respirator fits tightly, hardly any air (and particulates like viruses) is going to pass through the filter.

      Reply
      • stingray65

        I’ll bet a lot of kindergarten teachers have been very annoyed at how little effort the 5 year old students in their class put into making sure their masks are N-95 and tight fitting for the entire day finger painting.

        Reply
  17. Disinterested-Observer

    Paul Krugman wears a red nose, makeup, and comically large shoes. Much as I like Economics as a field of study, the Nobel Prize is a joke and the “Memorial Nobel Prize in Economics” or whatever it’s called doubly so.

    Reply
  18. Nick D

    “Very few people outside the medical specialties understand what’s required to wear the right kind of mask properly.”

    I’d point out that a large swath of the actual ‘work’ force (i.e. jobs that don’t involve Slack, Gantt charts, or scrums) must be fit-tested for NIOSH-approved respirators and wear them at work.

    After spending a few days in another country still 100% with COVID theater, I’m so glad masks are off, but I’m also glad that a coworker undergoing chemo knows how to properly wear an N95 so he can reduce his risk of any respiratory disease when out and about.

    Reply
  19. Trollson

    Since we are talking about Science™, my understanding based on a Korean study which the authors were bullied into retracting [1] is that regular masks do jack squat to filter out aerosolized virus particles from infected patients.

    I suppose we could argue all day about viral load and how maybe possibly the filtration of spittle particles helps somewhat, but after two years and countless statistical analyses, there is nothing even remotely conclusive showing any significant difference in infection rate between maskers and non-maskers.

    Further, before 2020, surgical masks were never used to prevent respiratory illness transmission. Anyone who went in to see a doctor about a cough may recall that nobody in the doctors office donned any PPE™, or required anything from the patient before seeing them.

    So I am convinced that the real problem is mass psychosis on a level never before seen.

    Also, since we are getting all sciency, it may be interesting to have a look at transmission rates based on jab status. Those are some interesting numbers indeed.

    [1] https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-1342

    Reply

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