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Day 209: Capitalizing on Crisis

Anna is being very nice to me, even though she wishes I’d slow down on the blogging. How can she say that? It’s how we met. I wonder if she’s tired of trying to take care of me. Am I too needy?

GREED & DUPLICITY (Frank Zirbel) She says I should take a day off to celebrate that we’ve both conquered H5N1. What’s a bunch of well-funded thugs compared to history’s fiercest flu?

I still don’t know why they tortured me, or why they broke up the LES DIY. Naomi Klein says that for decades the U.S. government and the private sector have used great shocks to break popular resistance to radical economic and political measures. Shock Doctrine is a compelling catalogue of disasters that turned out to be very profitable, from foreign military coups to Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 tsunami, and the Pentagon’s ‘Shock & Awe’ assault on Baghdad.

We should all be able to agree that there’s nothing wrong with trying to make money by offering solutions to things that have gone wrong. I did that with my masks. Klein shows how some capitalists cheat by fostering chaos and catastrophe so they can boost profits.

The same companies turn up each time everything goes wrong. They’re like inept yakuza in a Japanese gangster comedy with a happy ending: They make lots of money making things worse.

I’m scared. Has a flu pandemic coughed up so much fear and failure that these clowns can get away with junking American democracy? Voters don’t seem to care. (Disclosure: I’ve never voted.)

The worse things get under this government, the more power Americans surrender to it.

Klein makes a big deal about contractors performing vital government functions. She sees the state as an indispensable utility that is being hollowed out by corporate worms that are accountable only to those who own shares in them. The courts aren’t saying much about any of this.

Unlike Klein, I’ve always been suspicious of the state. I should be heartened that the guy who zapped me with a (very expensive) penis prod works in the private sector and not for the government. But who cuts his checks? I bet I’ve got a penny of personal tax payments buried somewhere in his yard.

I cheered privatization for many years. Now its agents deride me as an immoral profiteer for selling a few masks while they scoop up big bucks replacing government services and busting unions. Some relentless, faceless process has begun to devour the rest of my life. I’ll never understand why my existence even matters to them. Do they hate me because I believed the things they were saying?

The good news: Anna has found a criminal lawyer who says I’ll be okay. He predicted today that the furor would subside by the time the case reaches prosecution. “People will want to forget all about the pandemic and the sh*t that happened. No jury’s gonna want to hear your case, let alone punish you for nothing. Or for something the state has to admit never harmed anyone.”

The word jury sounds so old-fashioned.


But he was confident that the country’s, um, systemic problems will settle down. ”You’re like the Japanese Americans who got robbed and locked up during World War II,"  he told me. “Our country apologized after 50 years of embarrassing debate. You they’ll prefer to forget faster.”

Of course I’ve retained the man. Picture a cynical postwar Jimmy Stewart (with a heart of gold) doing the right thing for the little guy. He bows to the judge, tips his hat to Lady Justice, helps her get the blindfold back on. Then he skewers the assistant district attorney in Mr. Smith Saves Count Blogula….

He cracked up when I said I needed to file a crime report about the masks, gloves, and goggles the cops stole. Once I explained that my insured loss is momentous—it can ruin me—he heartily agreed. He even offered to accompany me to the precinct.

If I could find Sneeky, I’d feel okay. A vision when I was sleeping spurred me to look in at Liz Christy Gardens, but I didn’t see any cats. Not even the regulars. I can’t believe none of my neighbors tried to help Sneeky. They have no eyes when I see them in the hallway or on the sidewalk. They sure do write stuff about me.

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