by Deanna K. Kreisel (doctorwaffle.substack.com)
This week I had planned to present the 3 Quarks Daily readership with a fluffy little piece about my memories of a grade school foreign language teacher. It was poignant, it was heartfelt, it was funny (if I do say so myself). Above all, it was intended as a brief respite from the nonstop parade of horrors scrolling past our screens every day—a parade in which my own recent writings have occupied a lavishly decorated float. We all deserve a break, I thought. It would be nice to look at some baton twirlers for a minute, listen to an oompa band.
And then. Something happened in my newly adopted home state that has filled me with such rage that I feel I have to write it out in order to be able to move on with my life. Everyone around me—my colleagues and friends—are filled with the same rage, to the point where I think we could use some kind of collective catharsis. It occurred to me yesterday that maybe my monthly essay for 3QD could form a tiny part of such a catharsis. Maybe I could scrap what I’d already written, and quickly write a piece about what happened here on Friday. At the very least, it would feel good to scream a little into the void, even if ultimately no one in the rest of the country really cares. That happens a lot with stuff that goes down in Mississippi.
Before I go any further, let me hasten to say the following. I am about to complain about Covid protocols at a university. I fully recognize that many, many other faculty, staff, students, and teachers across the country are dealing with horrifying working and learning conditions right now—not to mention, of course, what health care workers are going through. I do not mean to imply that we are somehow special. And yet—who are we kidding? It’s Mississippi. Of course we’re special! If you’ve been checking the New York Times Covid coverage for the past couple of weeks you might have noticed that things here are … challenging. For weeks our state has occupied pride of place as the top, labelled line in all the new-case graphs published above the fold. Indeed, we are now number one in the world for Covid transmission. So please bear with me as I attempt to complain about my own patch while simultaneously recognizing that it’s pretty bad all over the place. Read more »