This short posting consists of a few excerpts of an essay written by a person who prefers to remain anonymous for reasons related to future employment security. I offered to post it here in order to send a bit of traffic to the substack account where the full article resides. I told the author, “You can have access to the dozens—literally dozens—of readers from all over the world who come to this blog every day.” The excerpts below are just a few hundred words of the complete 4,000-word essay. I recommend reading the entire essay after you read this sampling.

Vax Passports: The Medium is the Message

by ANONYMOUS

McLuhan describes the content of a medium as a juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind. This means that people tend to focus on the obvious, which is the content, to provide valuable information, but in the process, we largely miss the structural changes in our affairs that are introduced subtly. (Wikipedia)

To this end, we are focused on the content of the Covid certificates without being aware of the “structural changes in our affairs” that follow with them. We turn vaccines into a socio-political signifier, along with insults and condescension, holding a match under the tinder of a segment of society that is growing increasingly angry.

Back to normal. It’s what we all want. But look around. Is anything about our Covid-infested world looking anything close to approaching normal? The city as a landscape of checkpoints, like an urban airport where we must flash a “passport” to clear door after door, is not the normal environment we once knew. But it’s one we are prepared to accept. Nations of people divided and pitted into conflict based on the medical treatments they have been willing — or pressured, or refused — to accept…

The medium is the message… Marshal McLuhan’s 1964 book Understanding Media. McLuhan was a professor of media studies, though he was more of a philosopher and treated as a pop icon in the counterculture movement. He discussed how the content of a medium is often overwhelmed by the medium itself…

Rachel Maddow, who hosts one of the world’s most popular TV news programs, spoke for many when she said she found it hard to imagine seeing an unmasked person and not think of them as a “threat” or a “Covid denier.” … To her and millions of others, masks carried personal or political messages: “I am safe” or “I am not a right-wing Covid denier.” …

The vaccine certificate has content. It says, “I am vaccinated against Covid.” As you read this essay, try to consider the messages of this medium. I will lay out my own interpretations toward the end…

The card is reshaping our attitudes toward society, and controlling our own behaviors and attitudes as much as it does for the unvaccinated…

But more to my point, we are participating in a program that is meant to control other people by coercing them to receive medical treatment. Even if you think this is justified, it’s essential that we not deny the shift in societal norms…

The vaccine certificate program allows us a technicality to argue that no legal rights are being violated (the unvaccinated can remain so if they wish), while doling out social punishments to people who are not breaking any law. It also allows us to do this without any debate in a civil forum — no town hall, no national congress, no legislature, no parliament…

Some say that vaccine certificates are authoritarian… Actually, when society is the one left enforcing the rules, it makes us the authoritarians… you might just turn a blind eye, but by carrying and using the card, you and I legitimize its use and give power to those who rat on their neighbors, customers, co-workers, and others in their community…

Because state-mandated vaccinations are unsupportable, we have instead created this unprecedented system that punishes a disliked segment of the population via community rejection, under the pretense of doing our bit to eradicate a virus that we know will never go away…

The real reason for these cards is actually to punish the unvaccinated and limit their freedoms until they “do the right thing.” This is now being spoken out loud by politicians, pundits, and the public alike. There’s no more pretending that this program is about protecting our health in public spaces.

So what’s it about then? The real joy in these vaccination cards lies precisely in the knowledge that they won’t move the needle for the firmly entrenched “anti-vaxers.” The unvaccinated need to exist in some number for the public authoritarians who need someone to feel superior to… This entrenches psychological aversion within the unvaccinated because nobody likes being bullied into doing something…

Don’t believe everything you read online, including condescending messages made by people who presume you are too stupid to think for yourself.