I don’t like Tucker Carlson. I watched his bowtie wearing smarmy smug ass on CNN’s Crossfire. He was an asshole. He wears ties now. He’s still an asshole. A richer asshole with a bigger audience.
But he was right about the dangers of the coronavirus. He was warning about it earlier than anyone else I can think of. And there’s a good chance the only reason Trump started taking it seriously is because Carlson got through to him. Count me in the grateful crowd.
I don’t watch his show, and I only check Fox sporadically, but it seems like Carlson is now focusing on the optimal policies for balancing people’s health and the health of the economy. Fair enough. I don’t fault him for that, especially if, as I suspect, he’s the guy who got Trump to stop listening to Limbaugh – it’s a cold folks.
But Carlson’s show tonight (basing this on the Fox overview I read) was dumb. Really dumb.
It wasn’t all bad. Carlson brings up a valid point, paraphrased from here on out unless I use quotes. We can’t go on like this forever. Eventually the big brains are going to have to guide us through a safe reboot. Carlson also points out that we might have a false sense of safety during the shutdown. Is it a shutdown if everyone in your neighborhood has one place to go, one place they have to go – the grocery store? (This is me not Carlson – please local governments, find an emergency designation for grocery store workers and sanitation workers that gives them protective equipment, flexibility, access to best practices, hazard pay, paid sick leave, and no cost health care.)
But then Carlson goes off the rails. He asks why going to one’s office is any riskier than going to the grocery store. Anyone who has ever worked in an office or who has watched The Office just shook their head and said “moron”.
My last office gig was a cubicle farm. Two doors, most people used the main door. Let’s say 5 rows of 4 cubicles, 4 people per cubicle. I think that makes 80 people. 40 of the people had families. Let’s say they were 3 person families. If everyone was perfectly isolated outside the office, that’s 160 people. (My dad’s an aeronautical engineer. He reads this blog. I’m hoping he doesn’t check my math too closely.) 2 printers. 2 refrigerators. A couple of bathrooms out in the hallway that several similarly-sized offices used. One reception desk. An always popular candy jar. Sometimes very generous and also very popular people would bring in a few boxes loaded with donut holes.
Joe in cubicle 2 is sensitive to dust and scents. He sneezes a lot. Everyone’s cooking at home because the restaurants are closed. They’re all opening those two refrigerators to find a spot for their Instagramed meal prepped lunches. Debbie is waxing poetic about her gawddam Himalayan kosher sea salt as she moves everyone’s Tupperware to find a good spot. Dave is a Crossfitter (who can’t shut the fuck up about Crossfit) who preaches incessantly about the need for staying hydrated. He goes to the bathroom every 30 minutes. He’s a germaphobe, so after he does his business, he uses his elbow to flush and pretends not to see the sink or soap. Because those are dirty. Jackie is a gum-chewing close talker old-schooler. She doesn’t believe in email or phone calls and instead wants to have a lengthy discussion about last quarter’s sales 1 foot from your face.
That 8 hour stint in the cubicle farm just exposed you to the lives of a shit ton of people.
My guess is that Tucker Carlson hasn’t gone to the grocery store recently. I have. It’s in and out. You walk through doors that you don’t have to touch. You grab a disinfectant wipe (if you’re lucky) and wipe down a basket. You chuck a bunch of canned goods and pasta into the basket. You stand in line six feet away from the other customers. You go to the self checkout and swipe the goods. You pay with your credit card. You walk home. You wipe down as much as you can.