We began keeping track of the numbers in our nightly phone conversations, as a way to deal with the ever-increasing uncertainty, fear and frustration that we were experiencing. The more we tried to make sense of what all of the voices in the news were saying, the more helpless and lost we felt. They went from bat soup to bioweapons labs, from masks to no masks, from one thing to another and then back again, from two weeks in lockdown, to a month, to six months, a year, a year and a half to two years and then forever. The old normal became the new normal and everything was completely abnormal. We needed a break. We needed to at least feel like we had a handle on it, so we started the spreadsheet, which became a ritual.
From the outset, we added the breakdown of blue and red states to our MS Excel spreadsheet, along with formulas to calculate the relative percentages of Coronavirus deaths in blue and red states.
Right away, we found a difference of three-to-one---that is, about seventy-five percent of the total numbers of deaths were occurring in states controlled by Democrats. The percentage rose to just over eighty percent, and is currently back around seventy-five.
Then about one week into it I learned that the spreadsheet program could generate a line chart. While the numbers themselves were impressive, the chart was absolutely fascinating. We were already beginning to suspect that there was something wrong with the numbers, but the line chart depiction of them clearly spoke the meaning of the thousands upon thousands of words that we were hearing but could not understand.
The ancient wisdom of the age old adage, a picture speaks a thousand words proved itself once again. This picture screamed, roared, and bellowed---in complete silence. It was an oasis of calm in a storm of words. A bastion of certainty against an onslaught of confusion.
I gazed at it steadily, fixing my mind on the space between the blue and red lines, as Eddie, my friend, read article after article that he found from a search on Coronavirus deaths in blue and red states. They were written from every conceivable angle that could deflect and diffuse attention away from the glaring fact.
The words tried powerfully to rip and tear that fact from my mind, with misconstrued reports and convoluted logic, the same way as the drive-by left has always done, only with the renewed vigor of desperation as the liberty movement ripped and tore at their lies.
It was truly difficult to hold onto the simple truth that the numbers revealed, as the words ricocheted back and forth in the space between those lines, until they fell spent of their energy to the floor of that space, dead, dead, dead.
It was then that I knew the power of that chart as art; the power of art; the ancient wisdom of the age old adage that a picture speaks a thousand words. And then I reached for my palette and brushes.
Struggling to express my intuitive understanding of the line chart's meaning, in the absence of information and thus the ability to apply my intellect, I found on my palette the hacked version of the biohazard symbol that I had made several years prior.
At that time, I found that the biohazard symbol was in fact simply three "frowney faces" arranged in a circular fashion; a perverse twist on the smiley face that had become so popular a few years before the Biohazard symbol was created. See the video rendition of the jpeg, "BioSmiley Progression."
This discovery grew out of an attempt to express my feeling about Mark Zuckerberg's experiments on Facebook users at that time. He was researching what was termed "emotional contagion." The title of the report is "Experimental evidence of massive scale emotional contagion through social networks."
At issue with me was the extremely hazardous and threatening nature of the manipulation of the emotional states of social media users without their knowledge, by people who wanted to know exactly how to do it. It therefor seemed natural to use the biohazard symbol to somehow express my feeling about the issue.
Although I did send mu BioSmiley to a UC Berkley professor who shared it with his students, that was all I did with it. I used it here and there as a logo, but it actually scared me. I was afraid that some future biowarfare unit might adopt it as an armpatch or something. I imagined them in gas masks with those patches on their arms, wading through piles of corpses in some future battlefield, taking biopsies, putting them in bottles, and carrying them in bags around their necks back to labs for analysis.
I never expected to end up hacking the symbol as I did, but it turned out to be providential, because it obviously fits the current situation.
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