Alex Good: At a time when only just over half of all Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 there has been a sudden interest in use of the drug ivermectin, a horse dewormer, as an antidote. This madness hasn’t stopped at the border, with a run on supplies of the livestock drug in Alberta and Amazon Canada including warnings on search results for the drug on its site (even though Amazon doesn’t sell it).
In the U.S. the Federal Drugs Administration posted the following on their Twitter account: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” Nevertheless, celebrity podcaster Joe Rogan recently admitted that he was taking the drug after having come down with COVID.
This is stupid on the level of the Tide Pod Challenge, where people would eat packages of laundry detergent. The Tide Pod thing was performative jackassery that I assumed was being done just to get clicks and views on social media and it didn’t involve more than a couple of dozen cases, at least as far as I can tell. Is the use of ivermectin any different? Are people just doing this to get attention? Or as a way of publicly declaring their pathological distrust of all authority and expertise? It can’t be just because they’re stupid, because I don’t think they all are. At least I don’t think they’re all this stupid.
Tom Moody: As someone with Red State connections (but not inclinations, at least mostly) I can say, anecdotally, that it started as a kind of folk remedy. People used what was ready to hand and seemed to be working. As far as I know the late Rush Limbaugh wasn’t telling them to do this. Also, these are people deeply distrustful of US elite culture. The “y’all stupid hicks” smackdown from US government/media was so vehement and comprehensive it almost confirms this. A lot of the same people voted Trump because they despise Hillary (not without justification) and wanted to stick their thumbs in the system’s eye, damn the consequences, and the use of Ivermectin has some of the same spirit.
Sometimes folk wisdom is actually wisdom. I’m not ready to say this anti-parasitic can’t be repurposed into an antiviral (Wikipedia says it’s still under study, despite all the denouncements) and I thought it was kind of interesting that “hicks” thought it could.
As for Russiagate, Aaron Maté has been doing great work on this, and has been gradually vindicated by the Mueller nothing and the recent indictments of operatives tied to the Clintons for ginning up evidence (including but not limited to the Steele Dossier). My position has been since 2016 that Trump was a buffoon and amateur and could be soundly critiqued without elevating him into an international man of intrigue. But the Clintons couldn’t face that they lost to a buffoon (and were widely hated in America) so they ginned up this Russian conspiracy and the US media worked it for four years. Clinton immediately blaming her loss on “Russian Wikileaks” makes me cringe to this day. There was also a bit of militaristic Washington culture *wanting* to stir things up with Russia, and (as I said elsewhere) I’ve already lived that Cold War movie once, thanks.
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