Superstition, shame and luck


safetyA recent depressing and exasperating covid-related trend is people announcing that they have copped a dose and then following it up with a bout of non-erotic self-flagellation – ‘it’s all my fault, I deserve it because I wanted to *go out*…’

It’s not your fault. You were unlucky. Most of the bad things that happen to any of us are because we were unlucky. I have done all the ‘bad’ things you did, done them deliberately and repeatedly, because all along I have considered the toxic puritanism that infested pretty much every aspect of the pandemic to be almost as dangerous as the virus itself – and yet I have not, to the best of my knowledge, contracted Covid. (OK, in the unknown unknowns category is the possibiiity that I have had an asymptomatic or barely-noticeable bout at some point prior to the easy availability of home testing). Just as I have frequently, gleefully and intentionally done all those things that women and femmes are supposed to avoid in the name of ‘safety’ – going out alone, drinking lots, wearing revealing, sexy clothes, bringing strange men home… and have never been the victim of a serious attack. Again, I’ve been *lucky*.

It’s not that unusual to go over every decision we made and every step we took when something nasty happens, of Sometimes the choices we made contributed to our distress or difficulty – deciding to give that tricky individual one more chance, believing this thing really was a once-in-a-lifetime investment or whatever – but that doesn’t mean we deserved consequences, let alone disproportionately horrible ones.

An awful lot of bad shit is sold to us on the grounds of safety and nearly all of it is about control. If you’re quiet, obedient and isolated from your peers – and encouraged to fear and mistrust anyone who is unlike you – then you might be a bit safer from *one* threat… but far more vulnerable to others. There have always been threats to public health and wellbeing from inequalilty and bigotry and the covid-related moral panics have just increased the risk.

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