In the course of an otherwise unmeaningful monologue on Saturday Night Live, Woody Harrelson let go with a remarkable theory of the Covid era. It was supposed to be hilarious but why should it be? In a world in which people were long over this, all the investigations have been done and the condemnations issued, and masses of people are fully cognizant of the underlying reality and all its horrors, his flippant remarks would have been funny.
Instead, the audience sat there in stunned silence. Are they even allowed to laugh? Woody Harrelson, with the intuition of a great comic, quickly moved to the next point and then closed out the opening.
In other words, it’s too soon, as they say. Too soon for laughter. But it’s not too soon for truth.
His words were pretty simple. He tells a fictional story of finding a movie script. In the plot, “the biggest drug cartels in the world get together and buy up all the media and all the politicians and force all the people in the world to stay locked in their homes, and people can only come out if they take the cartel’s drugs and keep taking them over and over.” He finishes by saying that such a movie could not be made because it is too implausible.
What’s strange about his observation is just how close to reality we are discovering that this story truly is. Initially, I was pretty sure that the lockdowns extended from a primitive intellectual error, the belief that respiratory pathogens like cooties could be made non-vexing by simply eliminating human contact. It’s a preposterous supposition and one deeply dangerous to the whole idea of human freedom.
When the masks came along, it struck me as tremendously obvious that their only purpose was to give people a means to believe that they were doing something, plus they provide an effective symbol of a panicked epoch that many people wanted to last as long as possible.
Even in April 2020, when the former head of virology for the Gates Foundation called me and told me very clearly that the whole idea of lockdowns was to wait for the vaccine, I could not process the information. This is because I knew based on my reading that there would be no sterilizing vaccine for a coronavirus. A new technology claiming to stop infection and spread would require many years of testing, maybe ten. We cannot stay locked down that long. Society would be in ruins.
The caller assured me that it was coming much sooner. I found that to be ridiculous, even dangerous. But I still had not made the connection: the purpose of the lockdown was to buy time for the production and distribution of a vaccine. An even darker interpretation of lockdowns would be that influential people need to preserve population-wide immunological naivete in order to demonstrate the value of vaccine technology.
As for media and politicians, the idea that they are bought off by Big Pharma is no longer in dispute. We’ve seen too many running reels of “brought to you by Pfizer” on every form of entertainment, and we’ve seen the receipts.
So Harrelson’s story is not entirely wrong. Indeed, in the guise of comedy, he has come closer to truth than any mainstream venue of entertainment has yet to reveal. And, as it turns out, his views are rather well developed, as we can tell from another interview.
There has been a conspiracy of silence and still is. The trauma was so deep and the politicization of the episode so intense that major voices are still silent about it.
Harrelson’s comment likely will not change that. The usual people will emerge to condemn him as a conspiracy theorist and probably claim that he has been listening too much to QAnon, whatever that is, or that he has been hypnotized by some red-pilled influencer. He has certainly made himself a target.
It is much safer never to speak out, never to point out the elephant in the room, never to disturb people’s illusions or upset powerful industrial interests. But he did it anyway. And yes, of course, there is so much more to say about the role of government and the military-style footing on which the whole of society in most parts of the world landed. And the carnage goes far beyond an annoying year or so or staying home. Education, culture, religion, and civil society itself was smashed.
As a Brownstone reader, you are likely ready to embrace the truth whatever it is. But for most of the rest of society in most countries, we still live in the land of taboo. And it is an intense one. The veil of myth that surrounds the great trauma of our lives needs rending at some point. Perhaps it starts just this way: with truth-telling fables in the guise of comedy that fall flat on shocked audiences who prefer to keep up the illusion that all of this happened in the name of public health.