OUTSTRIPPED: THE VIR(TU)AL QUADREMIC
The coronavirus and the black lives matter movement share intimate connections that transcend their virtuality, coalescing into a twin outbreak, a so-called twindemic. One virtual process constituting the coronavirus includes mass hysteria: psychological contagion codified by means of social media, other virtual technologies, for example the virus itself, and the gamut of institutional apparatuses and power networks composing contemporary capitalist reproduction. One virtual process codifying the black lives matter movement includes in part the virtual reproduction of a different mass hysteria: intoxicating civil disobedience and its discontents, the latter of whom include highly normalized white Americans, suburban and soon-to-be-suburban white Americans shaking in their boots behind their kneeled knees beneath a garden variety of hucksters — John Kasich, Mitt Romney, John Bolton, James Comey, Democrats, liberal media, the Gray Lady and Axios for example, technocratic scientists, the ghost of John McCain, Mark Zuckerberg. If Donald Trump once again wins — it looks every day more likely, without a substantial shift in dynamics, while Sleepy Joe remains the Democrats’ nominee, urban centers “devolve” into “chaos” , and the orange chimpanzee inpugns the integrity and mental capacities of the media industry and the establishment — then his second term will commence and the possibility of an even more severe paroxysm mistaken for world-historic upheaval — who knows what the future holds? — will follow. Following the Black Death, in 1381, British peasants executed a made-for-television Project Mayhem, decapitating royal agents, permanently torching financial and legal records, remaking society, introducing capitalism and displacing feudalism, all for Human Rights. The road to hell is paved with the best intentions. The peasants, at least, still believed in the gods.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 carries its name, its patient zero, its original reservoir, its transmission networks, its mutation, its antibodies, its plasma, and the data generated in therapeutic and vaccination trials, epidemiological analyses, and antibody surveys. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 also includes the Wuhan Institute of Virology. This need not indicate that an accident untamed by insurance occurred or a consciously subversive actor released the virus back into the wild. So the Institute scientists were trained by American scientists who sought to spread discord by cyberwarfare, by planting the virus, by inserting into the practices of the Wuhan Institute ontological viruses that would unleash the perfect virus? Not necessarily. So the Wuhan Institute was studying similar viruses, was the first to analyze its genetic code, and happens to be, by pure coincidence and/or by perfect rational sense, proximal to the spillover event? Indeed. But unlikely.
Man himself manufactures the virus because he himself is a virus. This is precisely what viruses do: they reproduce themselves by destroying their host. They are, we are, a most impolite guest.
The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market is the contemporary Typhoid Mary, superspreading by paranoid curse, by the devil, by a most perfect technique that maximizes psychological contagion: asymptomatic transmission. Pure virtualization is the only way to avoid infection, received and purveyed. They, the they, say the virus slept in a Hubei bat, likely Rhinolophus sinicus. It spilled over when a human killed and/or ate it, or perhaps through the human destruction and/or consumption of a different nonhuman animal infected by the original bat. Beastiality occurs frequently throughout the Seafood market: nonliving and living bats, and viruses, change hands in commodity exchange advertised as “wild game animal husbandry for the masses.”
The black lives matter movement spreads virtually as the coronavirus spreads virtually. If the black lives matter movement were impervious to normalization, its response to the coronavirus — the chronology remains coincidental of course! and in point of fact Mr. Floyd incidental, the aspirational idealism lacks self-consciousness or rather has it all too nicely like most, they misrecognize themselves in the prismatic phantoms of reality, as whole, as unified, as mattering, as logical, as anything but coincidental — would possess the revolutionary energy that currently sputters, the revolutionary frenzy that prematurely ejaculates in fragmented violations of private property, social media contagion, white guilt, empty gestures, and moments of silence. Chaos sputters when not channeled through the foundations — private property itself — and not deployed violently against inept and stupid police forces of many tonal shades. Compare the body counts : how many of us? and of them? And yet.
There is, in addition to the twindemic of the coronavirus and black lives matter movement, a further twindemic: the coronavirus and humanity. The asymptomatic (scientifically defined, for, according to the scientists, humanity is not a virus just like those who test negative do not carry vir-ality) transmit the sickness that statistically remains physically benign. Birth is a festive occasion and virtually no one, at the level of the statistic, suffers complete respiratory incapacitation due to infection. The Wuhan virus incapacitates just enough (100% of statistics are invented: .05% kill rate in the United States and 3% in confirmed cases) to generate global psychological contagion. The threshold remains quite low for homo sapiens. In the past, during the Black Death for instance, which also originated in the East and spread through commerce, or so they say!, cities actually emptied by means of a human sacrifice that vastly exceeds the one recently performed in New York City. During the Black Death, though, death was more normalized, it swooped down suddenly, another life followed, the globalization of the plague could not unleash mass hysteria. So the rich fled the cities. They partied in the country.
The problem with most wealthy and future-wealthy people now is that they do not sufficiently enjoy their newfound homes even if they do sub- and unconsciously enjoy the newfound possibilities of isolation, control, and hygiene. Possibilities for aestheticization have cratered as the field of statistics has spread. Through virtualization, the well-earning fugitives remain tied to the city that no longer exists for them beyond virtualization. Video-conferencing and other forms of social media (streamed television for instance) keep them connected: they virtually congregate anonymously in a panoptic matrix. Each one sees all other men. The central observer himself remains unseen. He who watches, it that watches, the surveillance technologies of biostatistics, contact tracing for example, probabilistic minimization in avoiding transmission for instance, they all safekeep the outstripping of material reality at the hands of virtual reality and the central point, the middle watcher, remains absent as pure simulation, but also present by sheer chance. In The Matrix, virtuality intercedes upon material reality. In our matrix, the virtual precedes the real. The bodies on the screen may very well not exist in the newly consecrated virtual life.
In order to exploit the crisis to the maximum extent, the bourgeoisie and the superrich should be further manipulated to, by means of a vir(tu)al orthopaedics, solidify their exile from material reality.
The wealthiest neighborhoods of New York City emptied — how pleasant now are the Upper East Side, Times Square, the West Village, SoHo, Wall Street, and Brooklyn Heights! — and virtual industries — those beyond material reality until the servers crash — accelerate their virtual valuating measured virtually. The returned exiles will flee once more. The human masses carry on. Virtual tourism explodes. Virtual labor explodes. Quality of life in material reality explodes alongside Socialism.
The population reached too great a number before the Black Death. The population corrected itself. Contemporary medicine, a highly virtual technology, minimizes the number of corrections, only allowing .01% of the species to perish, dampening temporarily the death drive of the human collective, suspending in abeyance inevitable extinction while simultaneously reducing the feasibility of afterlife.
Ebola on the other hand — and this is why Democrat comparisons fail to pass the smell test — does not spread because sanguine intercourse for now remains highly limited, at least until a new sanguine virus once again emerges zoonotically in sexually promiscuous populations and releases blood from eyes, from wherever, from dulled Zoom-eyes filtering blue light. Respiratory intercourse, on the other hand, spreads like the very wildfires infecting it in and beyond California. The breath breathes while other modes of cyberwarfare necessitate far more compliant host servers. Man speaks more than he bleeds. Divine lightning pours gas on fire. Man sets aflame Mother Earth. Like Nero, he fiddles.
Yersinia pestis by means of rats infected the Oriental rat flea which infected human beings by biting them. As the flea sucked the pathogen-rich blood of the rat, a bacteria-fueled blood clot formed in the flea’s midguts. The flea tries to clear the blockage by regurgitation. Thousands of bacteria spray into the feeding site at which the flea drinks the blood of the rat. Some rats remain asymptomatic and others become mortally vulnerable. When the latter population dies, the fleas seek a new host, sometimes a human, consecrating post-mortem transmission. When the bubonic plague took pneumonic form, humans spread it as they do the novel coronavirus. In this way, like rats, asymptomatic and mortally vulnerable humans transmit the coronavirus, becoming mere carrier, vir(tu)ality outstrips them, the virus reproduces itself and them by means of speech, by means of respiration, by the symbolic, by virtualities themselves.
If the coronavirus were more dangerous upon the immediate biological plane, wide societal swathes would shut down so severely that it could not spread at all whatsoever. Stymied would be the aim of all viruses: reproduction by killing. Through virtualization, the coronavirus outstrips its biological benignity, spreading mass hysteria through specified informational networks, normalizing the cogs, shaping them into well-adjusted pieces, for example the fragile whites fleeing the city in the face of the siamese twindemics. Normalized chaos strikes their souls and those of the cloistered remnants voting for Joe Biden. They all run for the hills, for Usonia, however they will, for pure virtuality, a pure male whiteness devoid of all embodiment whatsoever.
Black lives matter, the other half of the first twindemic, unfolds like a virus because contemporary society has virally manufactured blackness for four hundred years and virally projected it even beyond its historical inauguration. Righteous fighters offer the cure to the anti-vaxxers, to society, to white society, to those fleeing the cities. The black lives matter movement, which includes the homeless temporarily housed in luxury hotels across from gentrifying New York liberals, poses danger like the coronavirus poses danger: virtually, through informational networks, through hysteria. And so we can only pray for the continued exodus, the cure, the twindemic supported by another twindemic, siamese quadruplets, a quadremic, the exodus of white people from urban centers, the intensification of their virtual networks, the expansion of pedestrian plazas and so on. Others may pray for another novel strike, one that targets young white males for instance, and they would have their reasons.
Any tremblers, or should-be tremblers (under a more truthful and radical regime) from afar and/or up close standing and marching in solidarity — “all that is solid melts into air”; give it about six weeks — , need only participate in the rallies, virtual or otherwise, to recognize their hysteria, but at all costs, like with the destruction of private property, the mask remains, the perfect virus spreads by speech, the anal hygiene and virtual sectors erupt virtually. If a mother was not impregnated during lockdown then the couple can virtually participate as a truly nuclear family in the rearing of the children of others who communally rear their children like the good old days but not quite. Now they rear children panoptically through social media.
The intensified specificity of the perennial question — and what now? — takes harbor in the pleasant pandemic, in the twin twindemics, in the siamese twindemics, in the virtual quadremic outstripping man, in the newfound vitality pulsating through a quiet city temporarily and mildly stripped of capitalistic commerce, construction, fragile ninnies with hoarded money, and cops. Even at the level of the statistic the coronavirus has saved lives. Car fatalities have plummeted. The future burns bright. And so we pray for the continued health of the virus and that of its discontents.