Sharing my Dear Editor letter that was published today in the Westerly Sun . . .
Thank you Associated Press for reporting this story and for writers, Amand Seltz, Barbara Ortutay, and David Klapper for opening the conversation on a very complex situation in the piece headlined, Conspiracy-theory video shows challenges for big tech, published in the Westerly Sun on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Conflicting information about medicine is nothing new, but in these times, it swirls as rampantly in the air as the new coronavirus. Every day new information about the virus is reported and we adjust our lives in response. It is becoming clear to me how medicine and politics have become one and the same, and we need first to acknowledge it and then act to dismantle it.
Last week a close friend sent me the YouTube link to part one of the documentary movie, Plandemic. What do you think? he asked. I watched it with one eye, as I prepared dinner, not really that interested, because I expected it to end with some product for sale to cure all. When it didn’t end with a sales pitch, as I expected, and actually had made a couple of points that piqued my interest, I decided that I would watch it again later more closely. But the link didn’t work and the message read, “taken down because it violates YouTube Community Guidelines.” So I responded to my friend immediately and that the fact that it was taken down so quickly interested me. Meanwhile my friend messaged me again with a new link to the video that prompted me to download it before it was taken down again and I did, luckily, because before long it was taken down again, with this message, “violates a copyright claim.” I suspected that there could be some dangerous truth in this video, that threatens someone, somewhere, somehow. I went to Amazon and ordered her book to learn more from Dr. Judy Mikovitz.
Since then, I have watched the 25 minute episode several times, thanks to the download, and am about a third of the way through her book.
I have never been a conspiracy-theorist about anything, but my 44-year teaching career taught me an important learning technique. Ask questions. I have many questions about this story, that I think transcend the challenge of big tech being able to prevent the viewing of such a video.
Who decided or ordered these platforms to cut the mic on this video?
What community guidelines does this video violate?
What copyright claim does it violate?
Why have videos selling quack products been allowed to air without this “take down” reaction?
Why have the social media platforms suddenly removed without warning or reason other postings, that have been up for years, that do not conform to prevailing medical protocols? ie. Truth About Cancer.
Who stands to gain by discrediting Dr. Judy Mikovitz?
Who stands to lose by having her research findings revealed?
What does Dr. Mikovitz gain or lose by speaking out now?
I am intentionally stirring the conspiracy pot. It’s time we examined it for what it is or is not. Instead of squelching it, break it wide open somehow. I hope that we can bring the conversation into a public forum, because I think the public health of the world is at stake. The movie Deep Waters might be a blueprint, I don’t know, but I do know that this is about more than a supposedly “questionable, false, and potentially dangerous coronavirus theories” video going viral on social media.
Time Slips Away
It’s funny how time slips away. Isn’t there a song of that title? Just checked; there is. https://youtu.be/rOHlbchW-qs, if you are interested. It’s a love song by Willie, but seems pertinent to these times. Someone said to me the other day, when I suggested that we would do something in April, “Etta, April is almost over.” It was the 28th, and although I have been busy deleting canceled activities from my calendar, replacing them sometimes with live video events, it dawned on me, that six weeks had just slipped away. An awareness that I had been mostly focusing on surviving each day - eating, sleeping, and shifting to mostly virtual interactions - crept in.
While I consider focusing on the moment a good thing, awareness always spurs reflection, and that too is a good thing, in moderation of course. Once something is known, it is hard to reverse and not know it. So, the question came: Am I doing everything I can to help this situation or at least record it in some way, or am I just existing, letting time slip away? A seed, looking for the right spot was floating around in my head, wondering, what else can I do? Staying home, washing my hands, wearing a mask in public, continuing my volunteer activities virtually, video calling my family and friends, and occasionally cleaning something made the time fly by, but left me feeling like “Is this all there is?” And the Universe answered, as it always does.
That seed landed on fertile ground on May 3, during a virtual interview I gave for Artclectic New England, a podcast and blog which aims to celebrate the fantastic arts & culture in New England. The artful interviewer, Dennise Kowalczyk, started by asking me what I meant by the line on my website, “I am a realistic romantic who is passionate about living, loving, and learning.” Immediately, my neglected website and blog popped into my mind. Following the interview, I pulled up my website and read my old blogs, realizing how helpful that process had been for me and romanticizing that my words might have spoken to others as well. I also realized that this time in quarantine cannot been wasted, and that maybe Random Reflections by Etta could be cultivated again. The seed was germinating.
Luckily my hiatus from television since 2014 when I retired, especially cable news has served me well in this survival mode. Not watching the news, delivered by talking heads displaying facial expressions and gestures that reveal their network biases, but reading it, either online or in the newspaper (I am one of the last subscribers) gives me the facts without the emotion. I check the emotional pulse of the day with a little radio talk, mostly NPR, where politics is tempered with arts, culture, and human interest stories. The deeper we get into this Pandemic response of isolation, the more time I have to reflect and the more the questions come, driven by the inconsistencies of news reports, medical advice, and personal responses. I am left seeking the definitive truth to these burning questions.