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Every dog has his day: On the 'Golden Pup,' and unsung pandemic heroes
In celebration of the anything-but-ordinary citizen data analysts and righteous parents who helped better inform the public and turn the tide against the worst of social contagion.
“For such is the nature of an excited crowd (and every crowd is automatically self-excited) that, where two or three thousand are gathered together, there is an absence not merely of deity, but even of common humanity.” -Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudon
How curious a feeling to be saddened by the recent inactivity of a Twitter account belonging to an anonymous canine with a penchant for cutting through the worst of public health comms with vim and vigor, while laying bare the data for all to see in a manner far more user-friendly — and, if we’re being honest about the last two years, far more trustworthy — than the most bloated of bureaucrats were ever capable of.
Then again, if we cast our minds back to those dreadful early days of both viral and social contagion, we were being asked to live in a profoundly incurious time. If nature abhors a vacuum, there were those among us who were always meant to step up.
For the reader relatively unfamiliar with the world’s unfortunate de-facto town square, Twitter dot com, the players involved in this story performed as such:
A particular subset of academics, special interests, and activist doctors, who already displayed a penchant for predominantly far-left campaigning and sloganeering, were the loudest voices in the room from the offset. As natural histrionics, they too were uniquely situated to vault to pandemic prominence by capturing legacy media’s attention, and thus, that of the general public. Even fatalistic, moralizing sports writers were suddenly placed on a pedestal ill-suited for the contents of their character.
Wherever that messaging took hold in the media, the die was cast. Depending on where you lived, these activists — some well-meaning but misguided, others just unwell — would coordinate their messaging to whichever premier, prime minister, governor, or president they needed to leverage, and deep down the demand was always the same, even when it was dressed up in separate masks depending on the occasion: forget the greater ramifications, and emerging data out of places like Scandinavia, be more like Communist China.
Forget that undeniable age stratification of risk, or the safety of the open air, this is a time for concern and panic alone. Feel any different, and you’re a “grandma killer.” Express doubts about the piece of t-shirt affixed to your face with holes large enough to fit a veritable moveable feast of airborne pathogens, and you’re an “anti-masker.” The only way out of this was a vaccine, and eventually, as we now know, that wouldn’t be enough for them either.
All of these warning signs were there from the beginning for those willing to look, the gulf between data and reality, political science and science impossibly wide.
Thankfully, nature abhorred that aforementioned vacuum.
For Americans, the first to poke holes in the data went by pseudonyms belonging to ‘bad cats,’ and ‘ethical skeptics.’ In Canada, ours was a beloved Simpsons character.
An instant enemy of Ontario’s sheltered Zoom class, ‘Milhouse’ (who shall respectfully remain anonymous, as well as all subjects herein) was the first to publicize a litany of dashboard data designed to quell the nerves of a public brutalized by behavioral psychology only reserved for times of war.
His work wasn’t just shared by millions, it was read aloud in the offices of Queen’s Park, floated in the DMs of Members of Parliament, and helped talk poll-obsessed and risk-averse politicians and strategists into occasionally opting for the carrot instead of the stick. In Ontario, Members of Provincial Parliament were even kicked out of Progressive Conservative caucus for voicing support for his work.
By the time his heart was no longer in it, Milhouse had amassed tens-of-thousands of followers, influenced an honest-to-goodness improvement to public policy, and helped light a spark of intellectual curiosity for those awakening from the trance-like state induced by the relentless chorus of Stay Home, Stay Safe.
In his stead, countless thousands turned to the ‘Golden Pup,’ a renowned citizen data analyst in his own right. A self-admitted retail manager from parts unknown southwestern Ontario, Pup’s presentation of the daily PCR debacle, and Canada’s coerced vaccination uptake rates proved invaluable to those who were trying to make sense of the seemingly senseless decision to continue to follow the most hysteric among us in a strategy of suppression at all costs, human connection and greater ramifications be damned.
As he too takes a breather from Twitter, for reasons that are entirely justified, for what is the entirety of human opinion and suffering but a power that we were never meant to hold in the palm of our hands, it feels like the appropriate time to single out his efforts, and the efforts of those who came before him.
You may never see the likes of Golden Pup featured in the National Post, or spoken about on the nightly news, but if there were any justice to who we platformed, and why, there would be a thousand righteous and remarkable citizens at the front of the line before the latest interview with a professor who refuses to leave the house, while the world is delivered to their doorstep.
I’m telling no secret out of turn when I say that these efforts, and many of the efforts belonging to you, dear reader, have been digested by those in power, and by those who have sought to improve a pandemic response that so often chose to ignore the human toll of what was being asked.
Where the institutions failed to inform the public, citizen data analysts did not.
Where ethicists and the legal system took a knee, concerned parents stepped up.
Where doctors were silenced, many of their colleagues risked it all.
I can think of no greater refute of a society that runs lazily on credentialism, that so many succeeded where state-proclaimed ‘experts’ faltered. Even now, as many of our greatest fear-mongers and firebrands lay waste to the alphabet with Twitter threads denoting their latest positive tests, and how those darling yet disgusting children are likely responsible, these ostensibly-ordinary citizens, who we know to be anything but, continue to rise to the occasion, making the case for a reset in how we should regard the perceived intelligence of those above from those below.
How important it is to commemorate these unsung heroes who may have been powerless to fight viral contagion, but who were so well-equipped to deal with the social contagion that followed.
When you tell the most human among us they can no longer form a community, just look how quickly they come back together, and how easy it is to leave behind some of the trivial matters that so divided us in the past.
I choose to celebrate those who look around at a world that even now is telling them to stay afraid and stay apart, who, after working long hours out in the world — the real world — manage to keep their humanity while around them others are still losing theirs; those who, once the kids are tucked into bed, spend their final waking hours by only the light of a laptop, working to illuminate the way back home, so that others may follow.
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