Monday, May 11, 2020

Social Studies

Dear kindly Doctor Fauci
Ya gotta understand
It's just our ideology
That gets us outta hand
Our Donald's an utter crank
Repubs are in the tank
The Grand Reopening of Texas, we're damned

(And so forth, to the tune of Gee, Officer Krupke, with apologies to Leonard Bernstein. Let's have a few more stanzas...)

Dear kindly Doctor Fauci
You've been around the block
From Reagan down through Dubya
It ain't all about stocks
It's their faulty biology
Misunderstanding risk
The Grand Reopening of Texas, we're screwed

We're screwed. We're screwed
We're really, really screwed

Gee Doctor Fauci,
Ya gotta understand:
Boss man just gave us all pink slips
The landlady's begging for the rent
Stop carrying The Donald's water
Don't be like Doctor Birx
The Grand Reopening of Texas, we're sick

It's sick. We're sick
We're really, really sick

Right! Doctor Fauci,
You're really a square;
"Reopen the economy!
There's not a moment to spare!"
Lieutenant Guvnor calls for sacrifice
A load of ludicrous advice
For essential workers, it's a hard cross to bear
And all this with no child care


Please spare. Despair.
Despair. Despair. Despair.

Gee Doctor Fauci
Ya gotta understand:
This death cult's no nirvana
Don't drink disinfectant
Or be Miss Pollyanna
We need you to break ranks
We'd rather do social distancing
Forget about the banks

The banks. The banks.
Forget about the banks

Doctor Fauci, Pence, Trump coronavirus briefing April 10 2020

Eek! Doctor Fauci,
You've done it again
Been waiting for that stimulus Unemployment's on speed dial
The Donald says "Check's in the mail!"
Can you believe this doofus?
Bankrupt's his preferred style
Hold music's getting out of hand
One measly check is all he's gonna give
It's more than I can stand

Can stand. A stand.
How 'boutchya take a stand?

Gee kindly Doctor Fauci,
Ya really got me miffed:
'Been waiting for that postcard
What about all of us poor stiffs?
Makes you wonder: is it really that hard?
The Grand Reopening of Texas
He won't bailout the Post Office
With all that it entails
So our coronavirus fix
Is we're digging up the backyard
For dinner we'll have snails!

Or snails?
For dinner we'll have snails

Dear kindly social worker
They tell me get a job
Ya millennial slacker
Ya lazy commie slob
They say go earn some dough
Like go be a meat packer
Which means like be a schmo
It's cold in Tyson's freezer
Can hardly feel my toes

Dear kindly Doctor Fauci
I thought ya were my brother
Instead you're tryna dodge me
You're really putting up a show
Wouldn't you really rather
Be alive and on furlough?
It's not I'm anti-social
I'm only anti-disease
Don't want a case of COVID-19!
That's why I'm a jerk!

A jerk. That smirk.
That idiotic smirk.

Doctor Fauci, you've done it again
This boy don't need a job,
He needs some support funds
It ain't just a question of misunderstood;
Deep down inside him, he ain't got no food.

No food. So crude.
Couldn't he have some food?

Dear kindly Doctor Fauci
Ya gotta understand
Amateur epidemiology
Should be a criminal offense
"I don't take responsibility"
He really doesn't care
These grifters ruling the land
A model of competence?
And even if we impeach
We'd still be stuck with Pence

Pence. The Pence
It's a criminal offense

Dear kindly Doctor Fauci
They're pocketing ten grand
For them, it's just a game
And about that herd immunity?
Human life ought to be precious
Full of love and beauty
It's just a crying shame
Good gracious
Admit it, that's a reach
They're lying at a tear

A tear. No fear
They're lying at a tear

Doctor Fauci, you're really a slob;
We never had the love that every child oughta get
We ain't no delinquents
We're just misunderstood
We pay our taxes promptly.
Even in a pandemic,
Couldn't we have some food?

It's for your own good

No food. No food
But the Treasury's an untapped good!
Like inside, the worst of us needs food!

Fauci, we got troubles of our own!

Gee kindly Doctor Fauci
You're really a sight
Standing there behind him
Quiet as he picks these fights
First with that man Jeff Bezos
With his bigger bank account
Good good man, come to Jesus
Surely you could dismount?
Do your job, don't just leave us

Gee, Doctor Fauci
We're down on our knees
'Cause no one wants a fellow
With a social disease
Gee, Doctor Fauci
In lieu of social distancing
Whatcha reckon we should do?
The Grand Reopening of Texas
Fauch you!

See also: Gee Doctor Fauci (Toli Shell Game remix)

social distancing in Pakistani slum

The Grand Reopening of Texas

On this day of The Grand Reopening of Texas, it gives me no joy to note that, of the four countries my life's journey has taken in, Ghana is probably managing this covidious challenge the best even with the greatest constraints (closely followed by France - the less said about the UK and US responses, the better).

I say this, terrified as I am about my parents living at the edge of the covidious hotspot of Nima in Aywawaso East, and writing from a comfortable vantage point in Austin. I know all too well how touch-and-go it all is.

As Doctor Fauci said, "The virus sets the timeline". But the bodies, the bodies...

My greatest current dilemma is #TheBreadSituation: I've just eaten the last slice of Jolly Jolly bread in the house (have been on austerity regime of one slice a day). AfricaCarib market doesn't have an online presence, and delivery is disabled on This covidious life.

Recall if you will #TheBreadSituation. Quoth someone who came out of a quarantine som 2,000 years ago, "Man cannot live on bread alone". True I say, but how can Man face this covidious life without first kelewele and now Jolly Jolly bread?

Cue The Grand Reopening of Texas, but first a digression from a more innocent time, 1 year BC (Before Coronavirus) to be precise.

The Bread Situation (A Digression)

The core competency of Texas cuisine is the taco. The platonic ideal of an Austin restaurant is the tortilla. Fine, an explanation that accounts for the inevitable disappointment of every bakery I've encountered in my time here. Still we need to talk about #TheBreadSituation

One of my household tasks in the years I spent growing up in France was the early morning trek to the boulangerie to source bread for the family. It was never a chore because, well: baguettes, croissants and brioches! #TheBreadSituation

While there has been a Cambrian explosion when it comes to tortilla and taco expertise in Texas life, bread here is essentially fictional. Austin bakeries are Potemkin villages producing simulacrum of baked grain. Why do they bother one wonders? #TheBreadSituation

There's a reason Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake" still reverberates in French life. In Texas, the masses' complaints would be about tortilla and her retort would be "Let them eat bread" #TheBreadSituation

I'm an immigrant and have my coping strategies to deal with #TheBreadSituation.

  1. Lowered expectations all around
  2. Jolly, Jolly Bread from the African shop which aspires to the peaks of Ghanaian sugar bread and
  3. Hawaiian rolls.

During the various civil wars in Lebanon, there were two certainties:

  1. They would always rebuild and
  2. None of the sides ever messed with the flow of pita bread #TheBreadSituation

The closest modern Egypt's ruling class have come to serious challenges to their misrule was whenever there were flour shortages. Forget the Arab Spring, bread subsidies explain the continued tyranny #TheBreadSituation

I had quite forgotten that a croissant could be a delicacy until I devoured a couple at La Boulangerie in San Antonio this past weekend. It appears there might be relief in sight to #TheBreadSituation

The Grand Reopening of Texas (Redux)

Today I made a milquetoast quip teasing The Wife about The Great Reopening of Texas. She studies the history of medicine, her most popular class is The Global History of Disease, and so forth. She cares, my goodness, she cares.

My comments didn't go down well.

I really had to bite my tongue and not follow up with my joke that I was "going to set out to buy you flowers, Dear. It's The Great Reopening of Texas, you see. Support your local business. The Governor says it's perfectly safe. It's not just May Day, it's Liberty Day in Texas"

The problem is that The Wife knows where I sleep (and I like where I sleep).

I guess I'm taking a pass on The Grand Reopening of Texas for now.

Still, The Wife is actually terrified that I'll break our current homebound regimen and go out foraging to address #TheBreadSituation. Wise woman that she is, she preempted #TheKenkeyDeficit last week pointing me toward Gold Coast Supreme who delivered some mighty fine Ga kenkey

I'm holding back from her that, as any Ghana boy knows, so long as you have gari and sardines, everything is a bonus. (you can even forgo shitor). And I have binders full of gari in our house (some very well hidden even). We survived The Rawlings Chain era. Don't tell her.

My family in France seem to be holding fast. They live in Alsace-Lorraine, near the German border, which is a current hotspot. I used the word fast intentionally: I was informed that The Auntie had decreed a 12 hour prayer fast. I commented that I didn't realize that she observed Ramadan.

I am so envious of my French branch of the family, they still have croissants, baguettes and brioches. I will know how bad things get in France if they ever bring up #TheBreadSituation.

Still, this covidious life is bringing out class resentment. Let them eat cake indeed.

For a Loaf of Pita Bread (A Parable)

One night in this past month, The Wife and I were watching PBS Newshour (or was it the BBC or something) as we do, the covidious nights and the programs all blur together. There was a grim report from Yemen about how they weren't looking forward to the pandemic. Some do gooder at the World Food Program or Save the Children was being interviewed about the challenges of the job. There was a stark visual to end the report, something like the following image - I've scoured PBS and the BBC and CNN to no avail for that clip. It showed a nightmarish landscape of bombed out houses, and a mother and daughter walking back from a food distribution point with their meager pickings. The backdrop was appropriately disturbing if not plainly apocalyptic.

social distancing in Pakistani slum

Now I know I should look down with pity at the plight of the Yemeni people, after all one should have sympathy for any enemy of Crown Prince Mohammed Bone Saw Salman. Moreover, the report did have its intended effect, my purse strings were promptly loosened for Unicef. But at the time, I have to admit that all I could think about was the pita bread that was being distributed to that young child and her mother (Note: they got their cut only after the hordes of well armed and relatively well fed Yemeni men had had their fill). You know, I was envious of that bread. In their distress, that refugee camp had dealt comprehensively with The Bread Situation. I could only look on and wonder. Being stuck in Trump's America in a state that was looking forward to it's grand reopening seemed a little grim. In penance for the sin of envy, I made two donations.

The Grand Reopening of Texas (For Real This Time)

The English branch of my family is already in deep mourning, the American branch is in shell shock at what we are witnessing (and most of us are sitting pretty - only one unemployed so far).

Being able to anticipate the blows is no consolation, it's just damage limitation.

Also: This week is The Grand Reopening of Texas.

There was a thread in there somewhere, a commentary perhaps about The Grand Reopening of Texas. Something about how the cost of the utter shambles is being paid in human lives. There's exceptionalism and ideology on the one, and then there are the bodies, the wholy unnecessary, and wilfully inflicted suffering.

A Grand Reopening Playlist

A preliminary soundtrack for The Grand Reopening of Texas (or is it The Great Reopening of Texas? What do the Governor's brand consultants think works better?). I welcome your additions. (spotify version)

See also: Dear Mr Surgeon General Re: Meatpacking Plants

[Update October 15 2020]

I had been wondering why Google's search queries were consistently marking me as authoritative on matters of Fauci and Bernstein. I hadn't realized that Randy Rainbow had gone on to draw on the same inspirational well a few months after this missive. I salute his hatchet job and his execution, we are both singing from the same satirical songbook and, well, we need all the help we can get. Let's add him to the playlist.

Gee Anthony fauci! by Randy Rainbow

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Writing log: May 3, 2020

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