Walking along the street this morning, I saw this: a bearded old man, bundled up in woolen hat and puffy jacket, covered in blankets, surrounded by shapeless lumps of textile – possibly tarps, or sacks – sitting in a wheelchair and parked at the edge of a convenience store parking lot. He had, somewhere, a radio tuned to a talk show. The flat quality of the voices led me to think it an AM station, which makes sense, since FM is mostly commercials interspersed with occasional music. The main voice was a woman’s, confidently using logical fallacies to promote divine creation of a flat earth.
I can delete my social media accounts and refuse to read the hyperbolic news items in the press, but that’s actually a privilege. When my dad was in hospice, the residents of the house were parked in the living room with a TV tuned to Fox and that’s what they got. I think there’s money to be made, making the helpless feel even more afraid, and I think that people are already doing it.
It’s pointless to kill your television if you leave your radio alive.
Obviously, I haven’t thought deeply about this. All I know right now is that I feel sorry for that old guy in the wheelchair. I want him to know God loves him and he doesn’t have to accept illogical nonsense about cosmology for that to still be true. And I feel sorry for all the other scared and angry people who need to be comforted by a voice telling them that the world is flat and there’s a vast scientific conspiracy trying to pull one over on them. Because the conspiracy is that voice, and if they’re listening, then they really need to be hearing something else. I wish I knew what it was.