42 Comments
Aug 20, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

"I generally feel like COVID has my relationship with the human world on, at best, life support" whew. amen friend. My sister said she's never felt so "disappointed" in us humans. That word hit me hard. That level of disappointment wiped out a life-time of my most fundamental beliefs, meanings and assumptions--and left precious little outside my own inner resources and a handful of my most inner circle of beloveds. thanks so much for speaking with such clarity about such a fkg muddle!

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Disappointed is a perfect word for it. It is all so very disappointing.

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Aug 20, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I always appreciate the complexities you embrace and explore in your writing. Every time I am grateful for the nuance your bring to issues others present as flat, or close to it. This piece particularly struck home. As someone with a high risk partner, I've lost so many friendships through this, and we never ended up emerging from our cove of isolation this summer, because for him there were still significant risks, and there will always be. We haven't travelled, and in many way's we've stayed in the lockdown stages of pandemic watching others move around us.

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It's a strange phenomenon, isn't it? I never really had a chance to "lock down" in the way other people lamented. Nothing has felt right for a long time and it's hard to maintain any kind of equilibrium. Best of luck to you and your partner.

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Good stuff.

I thought Jamelle Bouie’s Aug. 13 piece about this “rights based argument” on vaccinations in the Times last week was pretty good: “If American society has been reshaped in the image of capital, then Americans themselves have been pushed to relate to one another and our institutions as market creatures in search of utility, as opposed to citizens bound together by rights and obligations.”

Though I’d argue that the US wasn’t “reshaped” in the image of capital…it was forged in that image as it’s defining feature.

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Thank you, Greg. What a great quote. It's so true! I saw an article today about the impact of wolves on elk herds and all the false rhetoric around it, but what struck me was the wildlife guy referring to the wild landscape as "the marketplace." I mean, WTF?!

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Aug 20, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

You did it again. Words like a prayer. An echo.

Thank you.

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Thanks, Susan.

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I feel like I’ve never stopped “doing.” I’ve been on the full-tilt boogie for well over a year now. Except that everything has been focused, done from my apartment, or now, our house. I miss traveling and seeing friends. I try to relax as much as I can, and I am a privileged SOB, so I don’t know how everyone is taking it. I don’t want to go back to “before” either. I want us to care about each other. I want to feel like we’re working together, if we have to “work” forever. I’ve pulled away from social media, I mostly talk to friends in DMs. There’s so much negativity. And I don’t mean pointing out inequalities and injustices. You can barely post “I like pie” without hearing someone ask if you like mud pie, or what kind of jerk likes pie. And these are the people who are supposed to be “friends,” not random internet trolls.

I’ve been retreating into books, my own, and others. I read LaRose by Louise Erdrich, my first read of hers, and it won’t be my last. As for me, I have less taste for writing hardboiled. I need there to be hope. Even if it’s fictional.

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That's how I feel, Thomas. At the bookstore we immediately transitioned to being an online business and busted our asses until things opened up again. It's like we were doing all the stuff that isn't fun without any of the things that MAKE it fun. And that is showing no signs of changing. I thought things were going to be different starting in the spring and really they got worse. I'm just toast.

You're doing good work, man. Hang in there.

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I feel this so much right now, and it's such a hard energy to hold: "I just know that I don't trust anyone." With you in pulling for the quieter and more peaceful world that's out there somewhere.

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It's there, Heidi.

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Aug 20, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

so well said, Heidi.

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Aug 20, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Great work, as usual.

I feel like I want to push back on the 'feel superior' point though. Superiority/inferiority isn't a frame that I use pretty much ever (and have had to do some retraining on that), and, honestly, I am not sure you do either. I don't think name calling means I think I'm better, it means I think they're acting badly. How is calling out an anti-vaxxer any different from calling out racist behavior?

Now, there is the question of efficacy, both with regard to anti-vaxxers and racists, and bystanders.

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I don't know, Charley. In general, I find a pretty solid number of lefty/progressive/liberal whatever-you-want-to-call-them people to be insufferably self-righteous and almost irrational in their disdain for the working class. Look at all the redneck memes, the "it's not an election it's an IQ test" and all that garbage. I could go on and on. Missoula is overrun with NIMBY liberals and they irritate me more than anyone because of the utter lack of self awareness. It's a problem.

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Aug 21, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Yeah, I'm always surprised by people who want to have a popular movement without trying for actual popularity. I'm more annoyed by the people who directly empower republicans. But I'm not a public intellectual like you, just a schmoe with a nicely limited circle of pretty decent people I interact with.

BYW, have you seen that that big rock, river left about halfway from Kona to Harpers, now has a rope ladder permanently attached to the backside? The river was still deep enough there to jump last weekend.

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Charley, I am, at best, a public RUBE, heh. And thanks for the tip. I haven't paddled farther downriver than Kona in a couple years. I need to rectify that!

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Aug 20, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I think calling someone out is a different act than calling them names and passing around jokey memes about "people like them." Conversation can change people, or at least it can create or maintain a relationship, which is where change tends to happen. Name-calling mainly tends to shuts down communication.

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Aug 20, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

That's what I meant by my last sentence. I do not see that 'calling someone out' is in any way more conducive to conversation that can change people, rather than shutting people down, unless you're talking about someone who already shares your underlying values. Call me out for racism and you might get a conversation, Call an out-and-proud racist out for racism and you'll get worse than nothing for it.

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Aug 20, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Hence, why, I am again, although fully vaccinated, again wearing a mask out in public and doing more self isolation.

I shrudder o think that I have relatives that are so anti vax. Strictly divided among political lines, with no basis in caring or reality for others or self.

Sorry to hear that you are no longer at Fact and Fiction.

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I'm wearing a mask in public again too.

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Aug 22, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

If there is one thing that angers me more than anything else right now, it is people not wearing masks. I'm shocked and appalled at the number of people carrying on as though our numbers aren't spiking and Delta isn't serious shit. Blown away. And so, so disappointed. I just went to the MADE Fair at Caras Park, an event I have loved in the past. I wore my mask. And I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I'm just so done with people.

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You did the right thing, Angie. I've already heard of one vendor who contracted COVID while she was there. I'm sure she's not the only one.

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Aug 24, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

That is awful news. Although I'm not surprised. So many people, so close together. Thanks for letting me know.

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I'm really taken aback by the number of people who seem to think being vaccinated make them invincible, or not part of the problem as carriers/spreaders of the virus. I don't think that's being talked about enough.

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Aug 25, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I could not agree more. We can absolutely spread it, carry it, and even die from it, even though we are vaccinated. I have multiple people in my life that I am normally 100% aligned with on all of this now saying they don't care what happens to unvaccinated people and they aren't going to continue to shelter their own lives to keep them safe. But what about children? Immunocompromised? People who can't get the vaccine but want to? We need to protect them. Not to mention going maskless provides more warm bodies for this damn virus to continue to spread and live in and possibly mutate in. Yeah, I'm shocked by how many vaccinated folks are not getting the message that masking and distancing are now a thing again (always should have been, in my opinion). Missoula County Health has asked people to limit their social circles again because they can't keep up with contact tracing... yet any bar or restaurant is packed with maskless folks on any given night. Don't we care about our healthcare workers enough to help them out? What the fuck happened to the Missoula progressives I saw months ago aligned on all of this? It really feels like everyone is just over it and doesn't want to play along anymore. I mean, to some degree, I get it, because I'm equally frustrated with the unvaccinated continuing this nightmare for all of us, but I'm not about to say "fuck it" and put others or myself at risk over my frustration! We need to do better.

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Aug 20, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

it's astonishing how quickly (used to be) reasonable folk start name calling.

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Astonishing and shocking, yes.

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Aug 20, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Thanks for your voice

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Thank you, Diane.

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Aug 25, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Yes. All of this. Yes. Sigh. So appreciate you hanging in there, with all of us.

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Thank you....

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Aug 24, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

We felt the same sense of hopefulness, and to be honest, amazement, when we received our vaccinations in early May. We didn't change much about our lifestyles, though. It seemed too overwhelming to travel or attend large social gatherings, and apart from seeing my immediate family and a couple of close friends, we've played it safe and simple, and kept close to home. We took our masks off for a while, but there are back on in indoor spaces. I know of too many breakthrough cases among my extended circle and I also have a dear friend, a strong athlete, age 42, and her experiences with Long Covid are cautionary (she got it prior to the vax being available). My exasperation and disgust at the people who think their "personal choice" is more important than the wellbeing of the collective is beyond words at this point. If they want to risk their lives, so be it, but the health care workers who have to deal with them, or their children, . . . it just burns me up.

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I was out and about today and everywhere I went mask usage was ... minimal. It is pretty disheartening, especially with cases really blowing up here. Meanwhile, the governor assures us there will be NO mask mandate. So yeah, it burns me up too.

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Aug 24, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

💚

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Aug 24, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Ah Chris, every point you make in this essay mimics what I've encountered and thought. It's almost as if the Idaho/Montana legislatures are joined at the hip. And the level of stubborn, me-first behavior is so disheartening. School is now back in session and we're still arguing about mask mandates. College is in session and the kids seem determined to make up for all the parties they missed last year. (I live blocks from campus so my neighborhood suffers when the kiddies drink.) I so miss the quiet, calm, and peacefulness of May 2020. I know a lot of people struggled with being "locked down," but I loved it and miss it. Although, like most people, I'm also wearing thin about masks, shortages, and especially foolish and belligerent behavior. The one bright star on the horizon is that last spring's legislation that rendered getting an ballot initiative in front of voters all but impossible, has just been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of this land. Now if the county could just remove the charlatan physician who replaced a highly skilled and experienced epidemiologist on our Board of Health.

Hopefully with today's official approval of the vaccine, some businesses, hospitals, and schools will be able to stand strong with vaccine requirements. It shouldn't have to be so hard to save lives. It's not like we're asking people to undergo experimental heart/lung transplants.

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Of the long list of things I just don't understand, I think all of this is at the very top. Good luck to you out there, Linda.

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Same, dude, same. 🖤

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