“Culture is a perversion. It fetishizes objects, creates consumer mania, preaches endless forms of false happiness, false understanding in the form of squirrelly religions and silly cults. It invites people to dehumanize themselves by behaving like machines.”Terence McKenna
A group of Orthodox Jewish men gathered Tuesday evening in Brooklyn, burning masks to protest the newest iteration of New York’s pandemic lockdown. Their anger is reasonable, because the newest lockdown—which disproportionately affects the city’s Jewish community and explicitly targets religious gatherings—is not. It is deeply stupid and unfair, exactly the sort of easily avoidable government overreach that makes even well-intended people doing their best to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 understandably skeptical of public health directives.
At issue is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Cluster Action Initiative,” implemented at the request of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and announced several hours before the fire. The program identifies infection clusters—areas with positive test rates above 3 percent for seven consecutive days—and imposes a graduated system of restrictions until the rate drops.
In the strictest rule set, the “red zone,” schools along with businesses deemed nonessential are closed. In-person dining is banned. Houses of worship are limited to gatherings of 25 percent capacity or 10 people, whichever is smaller, with $15,000 fines for violations. In fact, as Cuomo said Tuesday in a line sure to appear in forthcoming First Amendment litigation, religious gatherings are the main target: “The new rules are most impactful on houses of worship,” he declared. “This virus is not coming from nonessential business.” (Then why, one wonders, are those businesses required to close?)
“You aren’t naked when you take off your clothes. You still wear your religious assumptions, your prejudices, your fears, your illusions, your delusions. When you shed the cultural operating system, you stand naked before the inspection of your own psyche.”Terence McKenna
A McDonald’s restaurant in Arizona found itself the target of an agitated conspiracy theorist who took issue with them having a massive dinosaur statue in front of the building because, he contends, such creatures never existed! The bizarre dispute reportedly began last month when a man named Josh Brown took to the Facebook group Christians Against Dinosaurs to express his concern about the huge Tyrannosaurus Rex which sits outside the establishment in Tuscon. “Please help! This McDonald’s has this dinosaur and refuses to remove it,” he declared, urging group members to “call the manager and demand the removal of this blasphemy!”
Brown, it would appear, is a believer in the fairly obscure, but still very real conspiracy theory that dinosaurs did not exist and that the creatures are actually a creation of nefarious forces intent on misleading the public about the ‘true’ history of the planet. While some suspected that the Facebook post was some kind of clever satirical message, it turns out that was not the case as a local media outlet tracked down the man behind the post and he confirmed that it was genuine.
“It seems to me that every dinosaur story and display or dinosaur-themed event is furthering the myth that the Earth is much older than the Bible says it is,” he explained, “the dinosaur should go unless they’re willing to compromise with a plaque of some kind stating that it’s a fictional character.” For their part, the McDonald’s at the center of the ‘controversy’ say that, despite Brown’s best efforts, they have yet to receive any complaints about the dinosaur statue other than his Facebook post and have no plans to remove it.