When Plato described man as a featherless biped, Diogenes the Cynic came to his Academy with a plucked chicken proclaiming “this is Plato’s man!”. The Plucked Chicken Award will be awarded every year to the human being that best represents the folly of our idealization of our species.
Plucked Chicken Award 2020: Covidiots
It is the fourth installment of the Plucha (remember, every award needs its shorthand) and what a way to start a decade. We often romanticize humanity by believing that our species finds a way to put its differences aside in times of turmoil and strife, and work together for the betterment of all. And what better opportunity for that than during the worst pandemic that has swept through the planet in over a century. Shakespeare once wrote that “some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them” and 2020 had greatness served to us all on a silver platter. After all, in what other crisis could a president or prime minister simply sit back and let their scientists and medical experts take the reign? In what other crisis could ordinary folks be heroes simply staying home and learning to bake sourdough? Alas, nothing could have been further from what actually happened in 2020.
One would think that in an age where illiteracy among the adult populations of the Western world is almost unheard of and when people have nearly the entire repository of human knowledge accessible for free on a smartphone, they would have the common sense to take all necessary precautions to avoid the disease from spreading. This includes staying at home and avoiding all but essential activities, wearing a mask when outside your home, and generally behaving in ways that shows solidarity with your fellow human beings, knowing that these sacrifices aren’t done merely to save your own life but to save others. These aren’t new concepts that are impossible to comprehend for Westerners in liberal democracies. We’re not explaining viruses and bacteria to a Polynesian cargo cult. Continue reading