This one really pissed me off. Three pretty ordinary people (a prop artist, a molecular biology professor and a physician) had their names, images and likenesses swiped in the service of COVID-19 conspiracy claims. Three ordinary people just using the internet to conduct and publish their research, to entertain, or to connect with others.

After my wife and I had a miscarriage earlier this year, Dr. Rockwell’s story in particular makes me pretty furious. People post publicly about their vaccination statuses in an effort to encourage others to get the jab. People post publicly about their pregnancy loss in an effort to de-stigmatize something that a lot of people go through, but not a lot of people feel comfortable talking about. Dr. Rockwell could very easily be any number of women we know.

I get disgusted knowing that some anonymous people are making money by deceiving others. They are also leading people to an early, preventable death or infecting others during a global pandemic. Furthermore, this behavior gets rewarded by social media companies in the form of likes, shares and other engagement metrics.

With the sheer connectivity and externalization of interior emotion in the 21st century, there’s probably a sharper awareness of the grand totality of angers flowing around at any given moment, and what it’s like to feel, get indicted by, or caught up in them. The social platforms give us this neon cat’s-in-the-cradle paradigm where you can see how X leads to Y, and pulling here tightens this over there. Whatever problems existed before the pandemic, they just seem to have been frozen in time and deepened, along with all the new iterations.

Katherine Miller, We Found Rage In A Hopeless Place