When the coronavirus announced itself locally in angelic tones through the designated (social) media outlets, hundreds of thousands of households hoarding more than $200,000 per year, almost all white and fragile, just not self-identified, fled their homes to second homes, familial, owned, rented, while essential (the endurance of presence, not whatness) sacrificial lambs — regretful immigrants in delivery and food service, really? until when? how grateful the white folk always are inspired by their gratitude self-help— for whom physical workspaces will never turn plannedly obsolescent, until they do, marched on, armed with novel orders. A new day reigned. Though it should have been rather clear to any attentive observer in February that the Wuhan virus would spread to the various corners of the flattened earth, Wall Street knew but Fauci and the CDC did not, that the Museum of Natural History’s favorite public intellectual, after Fauci, would need to weigh in on Earth’s geometry. Mass hysteria, Trump Derangement Syndrome for example, and perhaps the very eschatology at issue here, constitutes contagion par excellance from a humanistic view. The network-film “Contagion” by Steven Soderbergh (2011) brings to light this view, intensifying the already known, specifically globalization, and so well that even divinely-inspired, carrying-yet-immune children carry the capacity for explanation. Ask one to use a piece of artificial intelligence. Production necessitates reproduction.
The spatio-temporal codification of the contemporary situates all events, the coronavirus most saliently, and vice versa. With the invention of artificial intelligence, biological and digital viruses, long after 1492, technology flattened the earth for the umpteenth time, foreclosing her technological salvation finally with the advent of the novel coronavirus. Because human emancipation remains impossible, the human race, when considered from a “privileged” view emanating from imminence, ought abdicate its throne, rising up into, seizing, its viral destiny.
Contagion: the urban capitalist class fled their metropolitan confinement. Interpellated by scientific forecasting, they determined, in a decidedly self-determined fashion, the time and place of departure (fort) and arrival (da) — always fraught circumstance in childhood though the urban capitalists remain immune to such dictation and to the departure and arrival of that other virus from Wuhan — , of contagion. They highly prize, like the other viruses, like prisoners, their capacity to cross semi-permeable membranes like psychiatric normalizing narcotics. The contagion of normalization is tattooed on the insides of their eyelids, so visible they never notice. Imprisoned prisoner guards with keys, they inhabit correction facilities. And within their supposedly locked down metropolitan abode, those too impoverished, free-thinking, and/or committed remained like prisoners, ordered to cheer each evening for their remaining resolution.
In order to avoid the novel virus, older viruses steer clear of other older viruses, virtual biological viruses, and engage other older viruses, virtual non-biological viruses. In an even more general sense — technologically individuated viruses avoid other technologically individuated viruses unless infection becomes the objective (microscopes do hallucinate, superspreaders like Typhoid Mary still exist, Trump for example, the “asymptomatic” for example, the progressive digital sabotage of the poorly planned race riot, first as tragedy, then as farce, in Tulsa was a tactical mistake if the more reasonable man is to win, this speaks to Democrat weakness) — man is a virus, not certain kinds of men, but rather all human beings, man itself, the race of man, man as species(-being). No eugenic solution, this doctor orders, aside from collective suicide. Such catastrophe could only occur by gunpoint, the discourse of war notwithstanding, executed by some thing greater than man, perhaps by a race of simulations, but much more likely by human-designed artifical intelligences summoned and deployed by reasonable human beings doing their jobs in order to industriously destroy man’s homeostasis with Earth. Zoonoses may some day in a voluntary, biological Matrix achieve our near extinction mercifully, for the coronavirus acts as terrestrial antibody in the last instance. Earlier instances, and statistics, mortality rates for example, unfold along lines determined by identity, geographic, and class politics. Some humans will leave Earth when she becomes uninhabitable. The ability to virally spread — celestially, scientifically, virtually, fictionally, genetically, sexually, religiously — will remain one of man’s most prized possessions.
For the individual practitioner of contemporary hygienic practices, the avoidance of the coronavirus deploys materially through various modalities. Some practicing practitioners, now or previous, clean themselves hysterically, others clean others neurotically. Whatsoever occurs, the bleach often penetrates the dermal layer, the plastic grocery bags for instance, and even if the bleach lacks supposed toxicity, the application of purifying technology within the body itself subjectifies all viral practioners. Three months ago, glowing orange like a chimpanzee, Trump profoundly provided a typically helpful reminder:
“Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful — light, and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it… supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, I think you said you’re going to test that too. It sounds interesting.”
The game unfolds like a Penrose maze implanted virtually. Overdetermined practices generate through variously precarious — so fragile indeed is societal Gordian solidity! — regulations. For the capitalist class bleaching their shoe bottoms outside the front door — they must clean themselves for the sake of others and this philanthropy concentrates most succinctly within this least-philanthropic class, often influencing the less succinct forms percolating elsewhere — meticulous comportment towards sources of infection, social distancing generally understood, alienate yourself further!, stay home!, all of this for them becomes so necessary to their life that they cannot in densely populated areas execute the specified procedures designed to cleanse their organism. So many leave. Specified procedures are insufficient — the CDC cannot hold their trust now, dear leader Fauci trembles — so the wealthy humans clamber around for submission like cloistered nuns, groping through the virtually lightless tunnels of their scientific beliefs. Social control seizes their compressed diaphragms, animating remotely executed ventriloquisms from a safe harbor, a viral panacea, virtuality intensifies, their new commercial home never sleeps. Certainly their rationalizations hold water. They always do. Yes, until the next crisis, they flow within the events codifying their contemporary existence: the most salient for now the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. To the devil with it! For the meanwhile, the sun, streaming in through the window for now, still shines.
“Contagion” is a good movie: Soderbergh reproduces the dominant ideologies in a technically compelling high octane spectacle. In a more thoughtful film, the conspiracy theorist will prove correct about a dangerous cure, not incorrect about a hackneyed one, the Pfizer vaccine will carry the poison, life will continue normally until there are no human survivors, and the camera will keep rolling. Eventually, in any event whatsoever, the Earth will return to the abundant quietude from which all life, viral or not, comes, even if just for a moment.