Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Let's Use Shame To Fight Covid-19

Wear a mask, wash your hands, keep six feet apart, don't gather in groups. 

Pretty darn simple but some

among us just don't want to play by those rules and its been demonstrated over and over they are risking the health of others. 

What can be done? During the 1918 pandemic San Franciscans refusing to wear masks risked being hauled into special pandemic courts and slapped with heavy fines or some days in jail. Even though I rather like that idea, I realize such a move would be rather difficult in today's overly litigious society. Police have better things to do than develop writer's cramp handing out citations (although they should step up in egregious situations such as large parties.)

But there is shame, one of the most powerful tools we have to regulate behavior. Shame, what Sartre called the "immediate shudder which runs through me from head to foot" is fundamental and painful. Even the thought of the shame attached to a certain act is enough to deter someone from dancing down the wrong path.

Delivering shame is easy. Localized web sites and Youtube channels showing people flaunting the rules needed to fight Covid-19. Is your neighbor hosting 15 at a mid-summer dinner party? Grab a snap and post away, including the address. Don't know the names of the young jerks gathering at the beach or park? That's OK, just zoom in on the faces. This could be bigger than the Karen or Instant Karma vids so enjoyable to watch and actually have some impact on a serious issue. 

There's always a downside, right? Pretty minimal in this case. The infraction is evident in the video or photo which was taken in public. Malice can hardly be attached because the poster likely doesn't know the people involved in the group hug or kegger. Crazy people seeking revenge? Don't require registration to post. 

What fun. And for such a good cause. 


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