Richly deserved self-criticism as a means to preservation?

Pandemic

The headline attached to a New York article by Sarah Jones is woefully inadequate—look at the URL and you’ll see a better (probably earlier, maybe even chosen by Jones herself) one. It isn’t just that rich people are hoarding things, but that they’re hoarding badly needed medical equipment and supplies and expect to jump to the head of the queue for a vaccine when and if one is ever developed. And it isn’t just that they’re hoarding, but that their mistreatment of workers extends to failure to provide protective equipment and to being chintzy about sick leave. And it isn’t just all that but that they’re fleeing to places that lack the medical infrastructure to deal with the virus they’re bringing with them and that the rich folks in Congress are doing such an inadequate job of responding to the economic pain of the shutdown.[1]

I have to say this article[2] is causing me pause—and not on the merits of the article itself. Though I didn’t actually use any New York articles for discourse historical analysis in my dissertation, I classified New York as a functionalist conservative publication in my dissertation work. Functionalist conservatism is all about preserving the privileges of the rich and powerful against everyone else.[3] So no, I’m not expecting a screed against the rich and powerful such as Jones’[4] to appear there unless some richly deserved self-criticism is a means to preservation.

I hadn’t thought things had reached that point, but then I’m not in New York City.[5]

Then there’s the, oh, so special case of Liberty University. Some Christians handle snakes as a demonstration of their faith; when they get bitten it isn’t because they were playing with snakes but because they didn’t have enough faith! Jerry Falwell, Jr., on the other hand, decided to invite students back to Liberty University in defiance of the governor’s “stay at home” order. Eleven students now exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, one has it.[6] Which of course means a bunch of them likely do. But we’ll just say they lacked faith!

Katherine Mangan, “As Liberty University Reports First Covid-19 Case, Students and Parents Grapple With Conflicting Information,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 30, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-Liberty-University-Reports/248382/

Sarah Jones, “Dear Rich People: Please Stop Hoarding Things,” New York, March 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/things-are-bad-and-rich-people-arent-helping.html


  1. [1]Sarah Jones, “Dear Rich People: Please Stop Hoarding Things,” New York, March 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/things-are-bad-and-rich-people-arent-helping.html
  2. [2]Sarah Jones, “Dear Rich People: Please Stop Hoarding Things,” New York, March 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/things-are-bad-and-rich-people-arent-helping.html
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  4. [4]Sarah Jones, “Dear Rich People: Please Stop Hoarding Things,” New York, March 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/things-are-bad-and-rich-people-arent-helping.html
  5. [5]David Benfell, “‘Bodies piling up. Refrigerator trucks for corpses,’” Irregular Bullshit, March 28, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/03/28/bodies-piling-up-refrigerator-trucks-for-corpses/
  6. [6]Katherine Mangan, “As Liberty University Reports First Covid-19 Case, Students and Parents Grapple With Conflicting Information,” Chronicle of Higher Education, March 30, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-Liberty-University-Reports/248382/

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