Xenophobia in the 21st Century

One of the most acclaimed and influential superhero comic books of all time, Alan Moore’s Watchmen, ends with the character Adrian Veidt (aka Ozymandias) transporting a massive, Lovecraftian, psychic squid from his secret island to NYC in the precarious two-minutes-to-midnight at the height of the Cold War. Adrian knew that the creature–bred on an island by artists, psychics, and scientists–would not survive the teleportation to NY. He knew that physically the massive thing would kill millions, and that upon materializing in the diverse metropolis it’s mind would pop, sending brainwaves of grotesque celestial horror out beyond it’s physical form. He did this to unify all of humanity against a common foe and put an end to all wars happening on Earth, and it worked.

Adrian was the smartest man in the world, so he knew there had to be some suffering if he were to save it. People will not accept peace, so he turned humanity’s violence against an outside other, these apparent invading alien monsters which all of the nations on Earth have put aside their differences and come together to guard against. Though it is our instinct to prefer ingroups, we can learn to exist with those who are different if something even more different comes along.

In our connected information age, Xenophobia (fear/hatred of strangers or foreigners), which refers to the unknown, has become more rare than it used to be. People today have lots of specific kinds of prejudices and bigotries going every which way, but compared to the days of seafaring exploration on planet Earth, there isn’t much in the way of anyone new or unknown to fear.

In a great reddit post which I’m unable to find now (you should read it, it’s great), a user makes the case for how outgroup hatred in the multicultural West hasn’t actually decreased but has merely turned inward to one’s own. Rather than being drawn around geographical lines, outgroup hatred today is mostly drawn on political lines, so that it apparently has less to do with color or creed, but rather, ideas. On the surface it sounds like real progress–rather than focusing on inherent superficial differences we have come to recognize its more sensible to regard political differences which can actually affect policy–but as this mystery reddit poster notes, it’s still only skin deep. That is why the ‘diversity is our strength’ tribe will generally give Muslim communities a pass on their more egregious conservatism than they do white deplorables.

Pro-life? You monster. Pro-life and willing to fine the offending mother the value of anywhere between five and one hundred camels (capped at 50 if the fetus is a girl)? Crickets. It is inconsistent, and thus still about color and creed, only it’s been inverted. In the lack of any new Xeno to fear, many Western societies have turned this instinct inward to those of the same color/creed but with different ideas. Nonetheless, color and creed are still the basis for this hatred.

The covid endemic has highlighted this clearly with reports that NYC is not cracking down on POCs who violate health policy and places which explicitly exempt POCs from health policy.

But white folk, black folk, Asian folk, we’re all human. We have more commonalities than differences when compared to a giant psychic squid or a microscopic RNA virus. These things are so alien and awful that it is OK to outwardly hate them, even more than white people. But consider Adrian Veidt’s psychic squid, created on an island laboratory and beamed without its consent to the middle of NYC only to have it’s brain explode–has it really done anything wrong to deserve such hatred? It’s only crime is being new and different, an engineered scapegoat.

And likewise the SARS-COV-2 virus, also created in a lab and released upon the world by a madman, is admittedly really weird looking under the microscope, but has it done anything wrong for us to hate it so and to proactively wage an all out war against it with hand sanitizers and simulated spike protien immune responses? It’s been an agent of death, yes, but like Veidt’s squid it is innocent of any culpability. Some African Americans who commit more than their share of murder have likewise been the agents of death, but (and others may disagree with me here) I believe they do have culpability for that. If we can bring ourselves to exempt POCs from the health rules then surely we can be inclusive of the virus as well, who’s only crime is being different, and being an unwitting agent of death, like Veidt’s tragic squid monster.

Our collective Xenophobia acts as a wall, preventing us from true unity and understanding. The known trend of viral attenuation (wherein a virus becomes milder and more manageable) is being sabotaged upon the altar of prejudice and fear. “We’re all in this together” …against that horrid thing. That different being is excluded at all costs. Wear your mask. Stay home. It wants to share in your life. Don’t let it. Keep it out. Build more walls, around your friends and family. Become like Trump. Walls are good. Accepting those who are different is bad. Build the wall.

I say no. Enough hate. Enough division. Whether virus or human, we’re all in this together. The division is killing us both. It’s killing the virus by blocking its path to attenuation. Its killing the people by turning us against one another, people fantasizing about infected patients dying and gasping at the closed hospital door. The virus wants to learn to coexist, and we aren’t letting it. We are dragging this ordeal out needlessly, all because of the blind pride of myside bias and the hatred of the other.

I ask you, dear reader, to put aside your differences, not to unite against something yet more different, but merely for the sake of love and unity and all that is good in the world.

God bless.

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Update. A helpful behind-the-scenes Quilletter has quietly helped me find that “reddit” post I was talking about and it wasn’t a reddit post at all, so I’m impressed they were able to find it for me. Thank you!

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But, you know, there have always been internal enemies to be scapegoated. As I’ve told some of you before, I had an ever-so-great-grandmother who was hanged for witchcraft, in Salem, Massachusetts. Also a many-greats-grandfather there, unrelated to the witchy one except by later marriages, who was arrested and jailed pending trial, but used his powers (more likely his friends) to break him out of jail and spirit him out of town until the whole scandal was over.

On reflection, an interesting thing about the Salem witch trials in 1692 is that it was a few years after the end of King Philip’s War (also known as Metacom’s War or the First Indian War), 1675-76,

the Native-American’s last major effort to drive the English colonists out of New England.
(I lost a different ancestor there).
So, by 1690, the Massachusetts colony had no obvious external enemies. But it found a new cause for alarm.

And writers have understood the need to find victims to target. Shirley Jackson, in The Lottery, (1948) captures it

We have met the enemy, many times,

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F it, it’s a meme thread now.

squidward, Yagaga!

^^^I never needed to reach this point it was obvious from the beginning. Sadly, some of you never will at all. It takes all kinds.

I have a new term for Quilletters (which I also coined, btw): clairheads. Imma make it happen before I bounce

ATTENTION ANY NEWCOMERS TO THREAD
Everything after this post is just me going back and forth with a couple of twerps it’s not really worth it. Skip to here for the good stuff, my apologies for the inconvenience.

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Bon voyage!

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I can see you’re excited. Patience and you’ll have your safe space back. I don’t foresee anyone will fill my shoes and make you feel this dissonance at this level that causes you to nip at my heels like so, but even I couldn’t crack this lost cause of a nut. Gotta know when to fold em.

The slope btw (spoilers, I know I committed to showing you the slope) has to do with biodigital convergence, but since that’s prob over 6 months off then it’s completely ridiculous to entertain any possible negative outcomes of governments demonstrably having spoken about such convergence and its benefits which include quote “monitoring and manipulating human thoughts and behaviour” endquote. And quote “promotion of brain health” endquote.

Idk about you but “brain health” sounds like a perfectly cromulent euphemism for “correct think” to me. But I’m crazy. As is anyone who doesn’t want to converge with the digital realm in order to be monitored and manipulated and have their brain health promoted.

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Not looking for a safe space, just civil conversation.

As I’ve said, we live in different realities. In Johnnyworld, you’re a fearless clown-cum-prophet who sees through the lies of the Establishment and speaks truth to power. I don’t share that view, and regret that your trollish tendencies inevitably overtake your attempts to engage with opposing views in good faith. Better luck next time, I guess.

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Like this?:

You sent me that message after I made this post. This is exactly what I’m talking about in the other thread with that Darth Vader talk. I know what I am. You guys try to hide what you are in private messenger and (@S.Cheung) by just posting half of a sentence without finishing it so you don’t look like Monty Burns (“if you don’t agree to do as I say, then…”). Then what!? Just fucking own it.

Neil Oliver said in that video that you’re going to have to take off the mask at some point. I mean currently it’s just half-dangling off your faces. You look foolish and wishy washy and uncommitted to your cause. Just take it off, we can all see your true faces anyway.

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Yes, and you project that onto other people, assuming that everyone else shares your motivations.

We don’t.

LOL. When have I been afraid to say what I mean? It was meant as an open question to Miya, but I’m happy to complete it for you on the other thread. Sorry, there are some comparisons to laws once again…such is life for most people.

You can also feel free to complete that sentence…or not. Up to you. Either way is fine by me, as always. But the reason I ask some questions repeatedly is because while the answers from people like you are always hilarious, the questions you lot explicitly avoid are also very illustrative for me, even if the absence of an answer produces a more subtle form of amusement.

You’ve got no standing to complain about this. But I’m curious, what questions? Because we’re feeling the same from our side that many questions are going unanswered and concerns unaddressed.

Like why should I submit to a procedure that no one will be held accountable for in the event of any harm to me or my family, especially considering that the people on the other side of the revolving door to the approval board want to hide the data for 55 years?

Is it not reasonable for me to say, “I’ll give you my answer after I may review that data?”

@S.Cheung I don’t shy from answering questions, if I don’t, it’s either because too many were thrown at me and I refuse to get bogged down and let the other guy control the narrative, or in your case because you explicitly declined to explain what you mean several times, so I return the favor in kind.

To people “from your side”? Too many to count. Including some that you’ve ignored. At this point, I consider it par for course, and usually simply move on.

If I ignore specific questions, feel free to point them out. I usually do point-by-point responses like Ray Andrews and Schopenhauer, and sometimes I’ll answer once for several similar questions…but no doubt I miss some inadvertently.

Why should you get vaccinated? Because the risks are very-to-exceedingly small, depending on your age. And your chance of getting COVID are higher than that. Your risks of severe events are specific to you, and of no interest to me or a public forum.

Actually iirc I DID explain what I meant…that you didn’t accept or understand the explanation is not my problem. But as I say, you do you.

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I don’t need them all at once. Just one will do.

You don’t.

Then they should have no problem releasing the data they were able to review in one year that shows this. You’re just ecstatic to bend over and spread em for the big Pfarma huh? There’s absolutely nothing wrong in your estimation about these companies working in tandem with governments to place themselves above legal liability while withholding data for 55 years, is there?

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Don’t try to drag “everyone else,” down with you. I speak about actions that can demonstrably be shown. These actions aren’t applicable to everyone else.

Like I said,

They shouldn’t. I don’t know why they don’t. But I’m not a conspiracy wingnut like you and some of the others.

No, I know. You’re a coincidence theorist. You also have no idea why journalists at these press conferences don’t grill the EU about what they mean by “mandates.” You prob have no clue why Biden never calls upon any journalist that ends up breaking his balls, or why his microphone coincidentally cuts out when he goes off script at a press conference.

Actually no. I simply believe what can be or has been proven. The rest is just idle navel-gazing, or perhaps hypothesis generating if not retrieved from the “absolute wingnut” bin.

People like you seem like great motivation for other people to go around covering up proof of things they don’t want known.

Do you have any working hypothesis on why FDA would want to wait 55 years before releasing data? I do. It’s a hypothesis, not proven. But that’s all I need for my own purposes. I’m not telling other people what to do.

BTW nothing can truly be proven 100% conclusive. Even our physical reality may be a simulation.