Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Jeff Zucker, the CEO of the Cable News Network, has a Harvard B.A. in American History and his father is a cardiologist, so he definitely knows better. So too does Steve Burke, the CEO of Comcast / NBC Universal. Suzanne Scott at Fox Fable News probably doesn’t know better, but that is no excuse.
The cable news media continues to broadcast Daffy Donald’s Parlous Snake Oil Show every night unfiltered and to let him say the most damaging things. When CNN pulled back briefly, Trump denied them high visibility guests like Dr. Anthony Fauci until they folded. But Fauci has lots of peers in the US medical community; put them on instead. The cable networks pimp Trump out for ratings, since advertising rates are tied to ratings. Like alien ravagers in a sci-fi B movie, they are willing to leave the country a burned-out post-apocalyptic hulk for the sake of their corporate profits. They’ve even pretty much stopped reporting any actual news at all, since that wouldn’t support the selling of tampons and toilet paper.
First the Daffy One pushed hydrochloroquine, which is implicated in heart problems, for coronavirus in the absence of a big clinical study. Whether he was talking up the stock of Novartis, the manufacturer, and how much of that stock he or his cronies own, is something that perhaps only future historians will know, given how successful Trump has been in covering up his various crimes. But that advocacy was merely dangerous and reckless because premature and unfounded, but it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.
But then on Thursday, Daffy Donald floated off into the vast Empyrean of infinite daffiness:
“So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn’t been checked but you’re going to test it. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside of the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that too. Sounds interesting.”
“Then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside, or almost a cleaning, because you see it [the coronavirus] gets in the lungs and does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that, so that you’re going to have to use medical doctors, right? But it sounds, it sounds interesting to me.”
[I originally embedded this clip from The Guardian but they thought it so toxic they took it down. It was just a clip. We are to the point where responsible journalists have second thoughts about broadcasting the president without contextualizing, as this Bloomberg short does.]
I’ve spent my scholarly life analyzing texts, and I think these weighty passages need parsing. Daffy Donald, it seems, wishes to cure the coronavirus by shining light on the body. He appears to think that simple white light might have a curative effect. But he is willing to entertain the possibility that stronger medicine, in the form of ultraviolet rays, might be necessary.
Shining the light onto the outside of the body, however, he believes, might be inadequate — since that is usually known in layman’s terms as “sunbathing.” No, a measure more effective than Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s West Palm Beach Cure might just be desirable. Especially since DeSantis, a notorious white supremacist, has mixed feelings about turning white people brown, but also because he mainly is spreading the elder-killing coronavirus around a state with old folks’ homes stacked every which way from Sunday.
So Trump admits that it might (we have to look into this) be possible or desirable or both to bring the light inside the body.
As Professor Trump knows, when photons encounter a dense array of atoms with strong electron fields around them (such as a human body) they interact with the electrons, which absorb their energy. In other words they can’t get through ordinary matter, such as a human body. Photons can in some sense get through glass, because they don’t much excite the electrons of those atoms, which have big band gaps. But UV rays can’t get through most window panes, and they also can’t get much past a person’s outer skin.
So clearly the solution is to make the human body more like glass, i.e., endow it with bigger band gaps between electron fields. The body needs to be translucent. Who would know how to do that? Daffy Donald may want to speak on the subject with Kevin Bacon, who starred in the 2000 film “Hollow Man.” Trump may not know Mr. Bacon, but he likely knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows him.
A further challenge is making photons kill viruses once they have penetrated the translucent body, since they have never been known to do so.
As for UV rays, there are three types. Ordinary UVA rays are what reach us from the sun. UVB rays also reach us from the sun but are nastier and give you sunburn and skin cancer. They will much shorten the life of a virus, but if an infected person sneezes on you at the beach you’ll still fall ill. Otherwise there would be no cases in India. Have you been to India in April? UVC has a shorter wavelength, and it will kill viruses on surfaces. However, you really wouldn’t want to irradiate people with it unless you were trying to turn them into a mass of bulbous tumors or simply to fry them to a crisp.
Moreover, even exposure to a lot of ordinary UV rays weakens a person’s immunity, which is, like, undesirable during a pandemic.
As for injecting disinfectants (ethanol, bleach or hydrogen peroxide) into your bloodstream, this will kill you dead. Ordinarily the English teacher in me would object to the redundancy of this last phrase. In this instance, however, it simply describes the actual consequences. You will have been killed, and you will be quite dead. Very much like the Monty Python parrot. You will be deceased, demised, passed on, no more, ceased to be, gone to see your maker, bereft of life, resting in peace, joined the choir invisible, an ex-human.
Since the novel coronavirus only has a 2% or so chance of killing you, the 100% chance of dying by bleach needle needs to be weighed in the balance. Personally, I’ve decided against it. Those who trust Trump implicitly to be in charge of our nation’s nuclear weapons, national security, economic well-being and public health safety may go in a different direction. A nether direction.
The psychology of these two passages points to an interpenetration of some outside force or agent (sun rays, bleach) with the body in order to wipe out another interloper. Trump has clearly lost a sense of body boundaries, which is typical of some mental disorders. I’m not qualified to pronounce Trump technically insane. He may be at some extreme edge on the spectrum of psychiatric normality for all I know. However, I can confidently conclude that that outer edge he occupies is beyond what is acceptable to me in a man with his finger on the nuclear button.
So I’m calling bullshit on the entire US government apparatus and the entire cable news apparatus. They go on pretending we don’t have a public health crisis in this country directly stemming from having a president who is, in layman’s terms, off his freaking rocker. He is giving medical advice that will be sure to kill anyone who takes it.
Comcast, Time Warner and Fox Corp. are each worth billions. They don’t need to eke out a few more pennies by putting Trump on Americans’ screens unfiltered. It is not enough for overpaid telejournalists to raise their eyebrows and plead gently with the public not to pay attention to the deranged narcissist they have just inflicted on that very public. This degree of journalistic malfeasance is now a form of attempted manslaughter.