Anne Against Machines

Anne Against Machines May 7, 2021

Oh, is it Friday? And It’s already nine o’clock. I don’t think I can get all the way up to seven takes this morning, but maybe we can get to one or two.


The fact is, I used up all my blogging time reading this long piece. Not being the least bit sciency, I have no idea if any, or some of it, is true. But it is a bracing read, and terrifying. I commend it to you, at least for the good writing, if not for the science:

Virologists like Dr. Daszak had much at stake in the assigning of blame for the pandemic. For 20 years, mostly beneath the public’s attention, they had been playing a dangerous game. In their laboratories they routinely created viruses more dangerous than those that exist in nature. They argued they could do so safely, and that by getting ahead of nature they could predict and prevent natural “spillovers,” the cross-over of viruses from an animal host to people. If SARS2 had indeed escaped from such a laboratory experiment, a savage blowback could be expected, and the storm of public indignation would affect virologists everywhere, not just in China. “It would shatter the scientific edifice top to bottom,” an MIT Technology Review editor, Antonio Regalado, said in March 2020.


Also, Simcha pointed out to me yesterday that that tweet attributed to Chelsea Clinton, about which I blogged, is probably a fake. My apologies, though, if it were true, that is what I would say. I’m updating the post to say it might not be true.


It is curiously worrisome to be able to manufacture so many things, both online and in labs and that sort of thing. I feel sort of self-righteously gratified that I am not intelligent nor creative enough even to make a meme. I can’t even figure out how to shoot of video on my ancient iPhone in such a way that there is no buzzing noise, which is why I have basically given up on the video option, at least for now. The more I go on into life, the more of a Luddite I desire to become.


That said, after a year of doing dishes entirely by hand, we finally have a dishwasher. I fought the advent of this machine with all my might, and lost both to the common sense of others, and because our kitchen counter is collapsing. Like all modern contraptions of this sort, it uses very little water but takes forever to perform its function. But it is quiet, so I guess it is fine if it just runs all the time as I won’t be able to hear it–much. Moreover, after a year of having my children wash the dishes the old-fashioned way, I can confirm with absolute certainty that they are both incompetent and lazy. They had no desire to do the job well, nor to do it at all, and it was me dragging them to the sink over and over again and threatening them if they didn’t take their turns. In the 25 minutes it takes me to wash every single glass and mug in this house (because no one ever wants to do it), I bunged them all into the new, sleek, gray interior in five minutes, pushed ‘Go’ and wandered out into my garden. So that must be something.


The problem with any of us having technology, I think, is that we are so desperately wicked–every single one of us, as the Psalm declared this morning:

But they have all gone astray; they have altogether become abominable; there is none that does good, no, not one.

Which is rather a dismal thought. When one introduces technology to such a population, though life basically becomes more convenient, yet there is a greater and more astonishing capacity for wickedness. The word “abominable” is rather upsetting. Surely someone out there does some good at some time? God shouldn’t be so quick to generalize like that. It’s just not very nice.


Still, I maintain that the two great wickednesses invented by humanity are the electric light and the automobile. If we had always been constrained to make and light our own candles, and gather bits of wood to cook our primeval mastodon, and had had to walk or be pulled along in a rough-hewn cart, we wouldn’t have been able to devise so many new kinds of terrors. All of our illnesses would have taken whole days to spread as we walked from one town to another, instead of fifteen minutes on an airplane, and we wouldn’t have had any time to deep fake anything. The lying would have been the usual bad kind where you just hid your grain in a wall from all your neighbors during a famine. Without an automobile, I would have just loathed my neighbors in the usual way, by actually talking to them, instead of only furtively watching people on the neighborhood app. I could have gotten up on the middle of the dark night with my candle and written this out by hand and walked it over to you across town and shoved it under your door and then walked home again. You could have read it while you stuffed new hay into your grimy bed tick or whatever it was called.


And on that note, I’m going to stagger forth from my bed and try to figure out what I am supposed to do today. May God have mercy on all our souls and go check out more takes if you can spare a moment!

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