Saturday, September 11, 2021


Procession of the pope of fools. Édouard de Beaumont, 1844


This is a word that was new to me. It appeared in an article about one of the many new books in the growing genre about the 45th president of the Disunited States, and was used to describe that administration. It means a form of government run by the least competent or least suitable citizens (from the Greek "Kakistos" for "worst" + "cracy).  I have to admit that I had assumed the proper word for this was Idiocracy from the title of Mike Judge's unfortunately prophetic 2006 film. Despite that, I immediately felt the word’s power and comedy. Look at all those “K's”. Words with "k" are the funniest words, so says comedy expert Krusty the Clown (along with Neil Simon and H. L. Mencken) . Pity poor Kazakhstan who will never be taken seriously, only because the country's name has too many k's in its name (Canada is only one k away from being a total laugh-riot).

Over the last sixteen months or so, when scientists and health professionals have been embattled by onslaughts of disinformation, conspiracy and outright lies, it occurred to me that we not only lack trusted figures in authority but that even if we did, who would listen? It should be noted that as countries like the US, Canada and the UK have had 70-75% of its citizens have been partially vaccinated against COVID-19 and one would assume that those same people would want to be fully vaccinated. Considering that some people can’t risk vaccination due to a medical condition or that many others don’t have the means to get to a vaccination centre or book a vaccination because they don’t have Internet access that means less than 20% doesn’t want to be vaccinated. Sure some are “vaccine hesitant” but they make a surprisingly small percentage while the significant rest are really “anti-vaxxers”. Thus they are making it harder to get over the 90% herd immunity marker (though we aren’t counting grade-school-aged kids not able to get the vaccine so that 90% vaccination number may not be accurate).

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