"You waited eight months?"
August 23, 2021 3:55 PM   Subscribe

Explaining the Pandemic to my Past Self Part 5 Julie Nolke goes from August 2021 to (presumably) December 2020 to give the news on how vaccination is going and how the Olympics went and Jeff Bezos's penis rocket.

Most recent post about Julie Nolke here.
posted by jenfullmoon (37 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Is the joke here that our past selves would be surprised at known problem group the anti vaxxers doing their known thing? Or is the joke like this SHOULD be a funny joke because it SHOULD be completely unthinkable and not a well known issue since before the pandemic?
posted by bleep at 4:21 PM on August 23, 2021

The size and scale of the group of people skipping the vaccine makes the pre-Covid anti-vaxxers look like the ridiculously small group they are.

You may not have been surprised by the amount of people who refused and still refuse to take the vaccine, but most people were and are.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:49 PM on August 23, 2021 [26 favorites]

Man it was xmas. She should have told her about Jan 6. Let's not ever, ever forget about the Jan. 6 Republican Insurrection.
posted by nushustu at 5:15 PM on August 23, 2021 [47 favorites]

She should have told her about Jan 6. Let's not ever, ever forget about the Jan. 6 Republican Insurrection.

Pretty sure she did that in one of her other videos. Not sure what the christmas-theme thing was this time around. Made no sense to me.
posted by dobbs at 5:52 PM on August 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Don't know about the the entire part about the lab leak. It's not a lab "dedicated to coronaviruses", and among the various scenarios under the umbrella of the "lab leak hypothesis", I think the general consensus was that it was more likely an accidentally escaped "natural" virus rather than one that was tampered with by gain-of-function research.
posted by FJT at 5:54 PM on August 23, 2021 [21 favorites]

She should have told her about Jan 6.
Note that Nolke is Canadian, so while US news does loom pretty large, it's still a foreign country. Like, globally speaking, Haiti is arguably the bigger news item from the past eight months.
Not sure what the christmas-theme thing was this time around.
See the previous video for the introduction of December Julie.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:55 PM on August 23, 2021 [28 favorites]

Note that Nolke is Canadian, so while US news does loom pretty large, it's still a foreign country.

I think you underestimate how largely an attempted fascist coup in a nuclear superpower looms when you share the world's longest undefended border with said superpower.
posted by heatherlogan at 7:33 PM on August 23, 2021 [31 favorites]

Oh, I’ve lived on both sides of the border, so I have some idea.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:43 PM on August 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

December Julie complaining that it wasn't over for her is exactly how I've felt this year.

Japan's been slow on vaccinations - medical workers started getting theirs in mid-February, over 65s in March. Vaccination vouchers for age groups under 65 didn't start going out until the end of June. There have been shortages and delays and a lack of available appointments. We've been under increasingly ineffective States of Emergency for most of the year.

And the internet was full of people excited to get their vaccines, talking about the things they planned to do in the summer. How nice it would be to travel again! To go to concerts, and sports, and events! To have hope again that life would go back to something like what it was.

I just got my second shot on Friday. But I still don't get to join in on that feeling of optimism that was everywhere online earlier in the year. Now it's all worries about variants and breakthrough cases and booster shots. I'm tired. I'm so tired. And it feels like that little window of hope other people got was closed before I even got in the room.

So yeah, I just need a moment.
posted by emmling at 8:17 PM on August 23, 2021 [20 favorites]

From what I understand Japanese antivaxxers are a relatively small group and mask discipline is (once again relatively) good. The vaccine rollout has been appalling but it seems like Japan will be okay in the long run.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:15 PM on August 23, 2021

Not sure what the christmas-theme thing was this time around. Made no sense to me.

This is a perpetual issue with time travel narratives, even in the form of a series of short, whimsical YouTube videos. Our brains are pretty well accustomed to living m linear time and we are... not so good at skipping around.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:59 PM on August 23, 2021

The lab thing was annoying.
posted by frumiousb at 10:00 PM on August 23, 2021 [16 favorites]

The lab thing was annoying.

Yeah, what, was this video recorded two months ago?!
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 10:09 PM on August 23, 2021

metafilter's having a rough one today
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:22 PM on August 23, 2021 [16 favorites]

From what I understand Japanese antivaxxers are a relatively small group and mask discipline is (once again relatively) good

Vaccine hesitancy is a thing here, going back to an incident with tainted vaccines in, I think, the 70s. Even past that, the roll out is unbelievably slow, and, like emmling, getting my second shot was a relief, but it also felt like finally getting to the big house part everyone was talking about, and the party ended, and there's just a couple people cleaning the mess up.

Mask discipline... well, yeah, but on the other hand, it's stupidly hot this year (and every Japanese summer, but), and a lot of people here are starting to just give up. There has been something like less than a full month of days where Tokyo (and the surrounding prefectures) haven't been either at the highest level of emergency or one step below, but nothing has changed. The only difference between emergency and non emergency has literally been bars have been ordered to close, and restaurants to stop selling alcohol, and even that isn't actually enforced. That gives you a state where bar owners who follow the request to close get an absolute pittance (half of the original payments in 2020), while seeing other bar owners defying the order and making plenty of money with no actual crackdown.

Then, in the middle of an State of Emergency, where Japanese people were asked to avoid crossing prefectural lines or returning to their hometowns for a relatively important and tradition holiday period, they held the fucking olympics, like that was somehow okay. More than anything, the Olympics being held might have been the final bullet for the general populace's will to keep following the government's suggestion. So... no. And we're also in a peak of another wave right now, with people being asked to just tough it out in their homes (which means almost surely infecting their family members) because hospitals are full (or unwilling to take patients, which is also a thing here).

Sorry for the derail, but yeah, the image vs. reality gap is quite wide.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:55 PM on August 23, 2021 [22 favorites]

Missing from this video:

August: The Western powers are removing their forces from Afghanistan.
December: Oh! So the Afghan government is in a position to stand against the Taliban without foreign military support? That's great!
August: Umm.
posted by avapoet at 11:13 PM on August 23, 2021 [9 favorites]

Damn Ghidorah, that all sounds pretty frustrating even without the Olympics.
posted by Braeburn at 12:29 AM on August 24, 2021

"The States? The States are doing... the States..." right on the money.

Was well worth the effort but the weariness is strong.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:57 AM on August 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

lab leak? Really? So what lab in India engineered Delta? What lab engineered swine flu?
posted by eustatic at 3:59 AM on August 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

Zeynep Tufecki has done some good writing on the plausibility of a "lab leak" origin. Her main points as I recall are that lab escapes have cause virus outbreaks in the past, we don't really know enough either way to know whether that happened here (e.g. a virus could have been collected from the wild, studied in a lab, and then escaped). And whatever the origin doesn't change the big picture that we were due for a global coronavirus outbreak and utterly failed to prepare.

But yeah Nolke's framing and use of "Wuhan lab" is gross.
posted by little onion at 7:11 AM on August 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

The problem I have with the "Lab Leak" garbage is that is clearly very effective racist agitprop exploiting scientists tendency to "not rule things out". An equally supported by evidence hypothesis is that covid-19 was an alien invasion bioweapon dropped as advanced artillery in the coming interplanetary war. There is no evidence it was but also no evidence that it wasn't! Can't rule it out!

There are people in the West who are pushing the lab leak hard so they can blame China for the pandemic despite China's relative success at containing it domestically since the initial outbreak, particularly compared to the West, as if somehow declaring much of world uniquely ill-equipped to defend against what may have been bio-weapon is a great look for the macho racist militaristic jingoists but logic isn't what is being used here. Brainwashing via repetition is what is being deployed. So this incredibly hollow and vapid talking, point despite not a single iota of evidence, keeps insidiously creeping and seeping into popular media through the various cracks previously reserved for things like anti-black racism, anti-Semitism and science denial. There is no grain of truth here at all. All there is are spores of evil being sprayed around looking somewhere fertile to germinate and here it shows up like mold on fruit in what should be a largely innocuous sweet comedy routine about our never-ending pandemic shitshow.
posted by srboisvert at 8:14 AM on August 24, 2021 [12 favorites]

> effective racist agitprop exploiting scientists tendency to "not rule things out".

To be faaaair, this is the default anti-science argument these days, from petro-funded climate change denialism to the anti-vax crowd to what ever other nonsense you want to try to sell snakeoil for.

It's a feature of the way science works that's incredibly easy to exploit in bad faith. Or worse, by ignorance and misunderstanding, prompted by bad faith actors.
posted by bonehead at 8:30 AM on August 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

little onion: "But yeah Nolke's framing and use of "Wuhan lab" is gross."

I think she probably felt that if Jon Stewart could get away with saying it then she could too.
posted by chavenet at 8:47 AM on August 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

There are people in the West who are pushing the lab leak hard so they can blame China for the pandemic

Many of them are motivated to deflect blame for the Republicans' --especially but not exclusively Trump's -- spectacularly bad handling of the pandemic. They take for granted that "proving" the virus came from a lab absolves Trump of blame -- no, it doesn't make sense, but it'll push the so-called "liberal media" to yet again adopt conservative framing -- and anyway, if we're talking about the "lab leak" theory at all, we aren't talking about our leaders' culpability.
posted by Gelatin at 8:53 AM on August 24, 2021

Having watched this up to the lab shit, I do indeed hope, to paraphrase, "the shtick is over."

It was shameful when Stewart did it. It's shameful here.
posted by glonous keming at 9:11 AM on August 24, 2021 [6 favorites]

When my students bring up the lab theory, I say I don't know anything about that but scientists have been warning that we're due for a global pandemic for my entire life, there was SARS, MERS, swine flue, bird flu, ebola...

It seems to work, even the high school students who don't watch the news remember ebola. And then it puts this virus in the frame of all the other ones, and we can talk about how this one is different and how it's not different. Which is a more productive conversation.
posted by subdee at 9:12 AM on August 24, 2021 [16 favorites]

"I just kind of thought this schtick was over" truer words

it's a decent schtick, but I'm with those who felt the inclusion of Wuhan lab origin to be fatally misplaced. I'm not following Nolke's stuff other than when it gets shared on MeFi, I can see how it appeals to a lot of people.

In speaking with a friend in Taiwan who expects to receive his second jab in October, it's good to be reminded that global vaccination is a long ways off. Also a reminder: if you wish to donate to help purchase vaccinations for overseas recipients, the Gov't of Canada is matching some organizations up to early September.
posted by elkevelvet at 9:18 AM on August 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

To be fair to Nolke, bringing up the "Wuhan lab" does fit the character of the self absorbed white woman travelling back in time to spook her past self with how much worse/strange the pandemic will get, but who doesn't actually want to change anything.

As a character, it makes sense.

The problem is that the series wasn't really set up to be that fictional, but more as a way to laugh at her naive past self and therefore it sticks in the craw.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:57 AM on August 24, 2021 [8 favorites]

As a character, it makes sense.

That's more benefit of the doubt than I can muster up. I closed the tab when she started on that and that's the last video of hers I'll watch.
posted by octothorpe at 10:21 AM on August 24, 2021 [7 favorites]

Out of a morbid curiosity and a momentary idle I went onto her twitter to see if there was any backlash. On her tweet announcing the posting of this video, all the comments visible by default to a non-logged-in reader are positive, and all the comments hidden behind the "Show more replies" button were negative.

Undoubtedly it's some deep conspiracy.
posted by glonous keming at 10:43 AM on August 24, 2021

I get why the lab leak came up: it was a pretty big deal when it resurfaced in May. I thought TWiV's podcasts back then had the most insight, for example episode 760 talking about the WHO's origins report from the inside. It's a bit outdated now since China blocked the second phase of the WHO investigation.

The most convincing argument against a lab leak for me was Robert Garry in TWiV episode 762 pointing out how the virus was already split into two lineages in different parts of Wuhan. Lineage B, the reference version, had connections to the Huanan market, and later hit Italy, etc. Lineage A (the type detected in the first US case in Washington state) wasn't found at Huanan market, but at one of the other Wuhan area markets. They probably shared a common ancestor in November 2019 or so, but it's a lot easier to explain it coming from farms a ways away with different resellers than from inside the same local lab with different research groups prefering different markets or some such.
posted by netowl at 11:08 AM on August 24, 2021

Yeah, I dunno - previously (Part 3) she did cover some hard topics, BLM>George Floyd, Proud Boys etc - so, ignoring Jan6 is weird - also... Ever Given, clogging up shipping was missed - that could have injected some lighter material. Maybe also omitting Haiti was another "too soon man" moment, perhaps she got flack for "what, a city explodes?".

Sigh - dark, sarcastic humour is going to offend some people - but, she is amazing for doing this.
posted by rozcakj at 11:14 AM on August 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Note that she did cover Ever Given and the capital storming in a 1 year later episode, sort of part 4.5 of the series.
posted by netowl at 11:27 AM on August 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Wow. Comedy video. Tough room.
posted by Capt. Renault at 5:53 PM on August 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

Emmling- I think our thought are in the same neighbourhood. I'm oscillating hard between hope and despair and resignation at the moment. I was fortunate to get a Pfizer from this walk up, pop up clinic that I just learned about from an email. That evening as I danced on my footpath (silent sidewalk disco) I felt so full of hope and elation. And then the next day I really came crashing back down to earth.

My state has opened up pfizer eligibility to 16-39 year-olds just today and it's amazing seeing the news reports of the page under strain as so many people try and book appointments.

And yet I have a toddler who won't be eligible for a vaccine for perhaps several more years, and even though there are calls to "open up" we, personally, will have to weigh up our own personal risk calculus and protect our child as best we can. It doesn't help that family are uninformed, through to anti-vax.

It's just, so, wearying.

Recently our pastor implored people that positions on vaccines shouldn't cause us to lose friends, but being anti-vax in a pandemic isn't like a diet choice, sobriety choice, or even political choice (esp here in Australia.) I don't know how you can be both sides with vaccine hesitancy. How can I be friends with someone who is putting our child at risk?

I feel like we are a weird half step behind the rest of the world, I know that folks elsewhere have had to have these tough conversations that were moot because there wasn't the vaccine available to us.

On Nolke, she looks over it, too. Wuhan lab thing agree, gross.
posted by freethefeet at 9:53 PM on August 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

From the journal, Cell:
Today's COVID-19 pandemic likely began when an infected animal passed the SARS-CoV-2 virus to a human at a live animal market in Wuhan, China. In a critical review published in the peer-reviewed journal Cell, 21 scientific experts from across the world present evidence that this scenario is much more probable than the novel disease originating from a laboratory accident, a theory that has received attention in the media.
posted by octothorpe at 5:00 AM on August 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Biden receives inconclusive intelligence report on covid origins [Washington Post; 2 agencies lean toward non-lab origins, one leans toward lab origins.]
posted by chavenet at 5:16 AM on August 25, 2021

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