Long ago in 1993, what now looks like the dawn of the Internet, a website known as Darwin Prize Real people around the world allegedly provided horrifying entertainment by describing the fantastic, surreal and often extremely ridiculous ways they faced their deaths.
explaining the name of the site and PurposeProducer Wendy Northcutt, a University of California molecular biology graduate, declared on her homepage: “In the spirit of Charles Darwin, the Darwin Prize remembers individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. Darwin Prize winners exterminate themselves in exceptionally foolish ways, improving our species’ chances of long-term survival.”
The site’s black comic stories of absurd accidental deaths were turned into a popular series of books by Northcutt from 2000 and are still online today, recording fatal blunders in an entertaining style some readers may now find rather harsh.
But in 2021, a more specific and deeper option exists on Reddit, R/Hermanken Award, dedicated to chronicling the deaths of those who have publicly protested COVID-19 vaccines, mask rules and lockdowns on social media, often in an aggressively belligerent and politically charged fashion, only to later fall ill and pass from the hands. Coronavirus itself, their fate is carrying with it an wind of grave inevitability.
Founded in October 2020 and attracting 339,000 followers at the time of writing, the subreddit is named after the late Herman Cain, an American fast food company executive who in 2012 canceled his campaign as the Republican presidential candidate. He had fled before he was forced to. Denied allegations of sexual misconduct.
He remained active in right-wing American politics thereafter and was considered by Donald Trump for a position on the board of the Federal Reserve, for which he remained a vocal cheerleader throughout his presidency, only for the businessman to meet his end. For when he attended Trump’s disastrous rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20 last year at the peak of the pandemic, he was immaculate and unrepentant.
Cain, 74, duly contracted the virus among a crowd in Tulsa and died on July 30 after spending a month in a coma.
While Herman Cain was the first Covid refugee to die of the disease, he became synonymous with the grand pride of the MAGA movement, when his staff and family continued to use his personal Twitter account to downplay the coronavirus long after his funeral. kept.
It Was Still Pushing Republican Talking Points in His Name as recently as March of this year, often on issues such as the sexual assault scandal surrounding the Joe Biden Presidency or New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, events that the deceased himself had not witnessed for a long time.
But Cain’s most meaningful posthumous online legacy may be r/HermanCainAward, a corner of the Internet in which people congregate to post Facebook screenshots of antivaxxer, anti-mask and anti-lockdown announcements from conspiracy theorists The latter is hospitalized and often killed. From the same deadly virus he tried to dismiss or insist was invented by “globalists” to bring the world’s population under the control of a sinister elite.
too cruel? very sick? Too thug? To many, r/HermanCainAward will be perceived as a gross act of demonstrative schadenfreude, little more than unnecessary provocation, causing further injury and division at a time when a united front is finally put to pandemic for good. is required to see.
asked about subreddit by insider This week, Reddit spokesperson said It is “closely reviewing the COVID-related communities on our platforms for violations of our policies, including r/HermanCainAward”.
But the very existence of the platform raises a challenging question of how we should handle the memory of those who actively spread misinformation and baseless anti-science paranoia about a free vaccine with the aim of protecting the health of their fellow citizens. , which are potentially life threatening. others by their actions.
Antivaxxers, no matter who may disapprove of their political positions, are still people and leave behind bereaved families and friends and a trail of grief despite following guidelines, getting vaccinated and trying to stay safe. No less meaningful than those killed. They may not live to learn the error of their ways, surely punishment enough.
While the majority of skeptics would feel tempted to mock the dead, to be resisted in the name of good taste and sensibility, others might argue that the subreddit actually served as a valuable cautionary tale, telling the stories a blunt one. warnings that all readers are advised to heed.
“I’m not anti-vax,” wrote one commenter on its pages, “I was just scared and confused by all the misinformation out there. Really intimidated and confused. Taking a quick 5-minute look at this sub-reddit brings me back Arrived on Earth. I’ll be getting the first round of the Pfizer vaccine early next week. Thanks for being there.”
Reporting on r/HermanCainAward for slate, journalist Lily Loughborough recently commented on how it was to be followed “look sad” His posts include recordings of antivaxxers getting sick, noting graphic photographs of victims and those uploaded by members of worried families.
“Despite reading loads of statistics and case histories and news articles about the pandemic, r/HermanCainAward became my most in-depth source of what it’s like to die from COVID,” she said.
“I understand the disease more deeply because I’ve read so many cleverly curated ‘stories’ about politics in which ordinary people, with the help of their families – as optimistically as possible can help themselves to describe the fall.”
She also cites an overworked nurse using the platform to air her grievances about conspiracy theorists and her frustration for speaking up without sharing her traumatic frontline experiences as a caregiver. and clarifies the depleted reservoir of compassion.
R/HermanCainAward may be uncomfortable to read, but the idea that it is providing a space for engagement with the harsh realities of the pandemic is not easily dismissed.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /