Could be satirical were it not so pathetic

Published 5:58 pm Thursday, August 26, 2021

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“You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land, the common clay of the new (South). You know…morons…”—Jim character in “Blazing Saddles”

ROLLING FORK—As a columnist, it is so tempting; it would be so easy to write this one comically, satirically…were it not so screamingly pitiful, so downright pathetic.

On Thursday of last week, I told a friend my belief that COVID and its variants have served as an unforgiving societal mirror, forcing us in this state to confront the all too rampant ignorance we have otherwise conditioned ourselves to ignore in our daily lives.

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And I felt a mite self-satisfied having done so, believing as I did and still do that statement to be both accurate and insightful, as well as ever so slightly profound. However, I felt that way but briefly.

That’s because on Friday of last week, a news story broke that my fellow Mississippians, in significant enough numbers to be noticed, were emptying the shelves of feed-and-seed stores around the state of a livestock de-worming medication and using it as an alternative treatment for the COVID-19 delta variant.

The same people in the same state who summarily ignore the pleas of health and medical experts throughout the world to take one of three vaccines researched, developed and manufactured specifically to combat the virus that has killed 600,000 of their fellow countrymen and has, at present filled virtually every single hospital bed from Byhalia to Biloxi, were running out to feed stores in hopes of buying and then taking a substance designed to rid horses and cows of worms.

At first, I didn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it.

At first, I thought it just one more crazy notion dreamed up by some fat of head and body slob living in his momma’s basement with an Internet “following” of kindred scholars that then was spread like a prairie fire on social media. I know that people are absolutely crazy these days and I know that people in Mississippi are crazier than most, but surely, nobody is crazy enough to be ingesting horse and cow de-worming meds.

Surely not.

Surely even the folks at present populating the great and sovereign state of Mississippi have more sense than that.

But then came the press release, the official “warning” from the State Department of Health telling the public in no uncertain terms not to take the animal drug ivermectin, which in large dosages is effective at treating worms and other parasites in livestock, but, because of their high concentrations, can be “highly toxic” in human beings.

“How toxic,” you ask. Well, the Mississippi Poison Control Center has publicly said that at least 70 percent of its recent calls have been from the more than a little confused folks who have already ingested the animal-dosage ivermectin, complaining of symptoms including rash, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, neurologic disorders and what might be the early stages of severe hepatitis.

As these glad tidings of great joy began to spread around the country (How about this for a badly needed image-boost, Mississippi?), a spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration felt it advisable to go to a microphone and say, “Animal drugs are often highly concentrated because they are used for large animals like horses and cows, which can weigh a lot more than we do—a ton or more. Such high doses can be highly toxic in humans.” Duh.

What he did not say, to his credit, was, “Not to mention that this one is for worms, not a virus, you twits.”

So, where did such a half-baked, honestly downright crazy idea originate? Who was selling this latest miracle “cure” bill of goods to folks obviously so eager to buy it up and scarf it down?

Why, if it doesn’t turn out to be our always reliable and sooth-saying “on-air personalities” at good ole Fox News.

That’s right, when some enterprising chap or gal at one of the country’s legitimate news organization heard this latest Mississippi-ain’t-burning-but-it’s-striking-a-match story, he or she did a quick file-film check of some recent Fox News programming and no less celebrity “journalists” than Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson have all been singing the benefits of ivermectin while casting doubt on the vaccines as Covid fighters.

This, of course, amid the unreported hypocrisy that all Fox employees, including them, have mandates to reveal their vaccination status. Translation: Tell the great unwashed the vaccine is trash but don’t bring what it fights up in here.

See, I told you it was pathetic. Too much so for me to be satirical. Had I been, though, this might be about where I would have suggested that maybe taking horse and cow meds was apparently the Mississippi concept of herd immunity.

For the love of God, wise up, people. Start getting vaccinated—and stop ingesting the poisoned pabulum that is Fox News.

Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.