Dingus of the Week: Judge Who Ended Mask Mandates for Public Travel
America is beyond parody
This is the Weekly Dingus, the Friday newsletter, where I round up my internet reads, share a drink recipe, and vent about something really dingusy that happened in the news. This week, it’s that judge who ruined airplanes. But once it was the groundhog. Another time it was milk. Will it be you? Stay on your toes.
On Monday, a 33-year-old judge who was rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association and appointed by Donald Trump, overturned a federal mask mandate for public transportation.
Many legal scholars said the judge's ruling was based on a misunderstanding of the law. But that didn’t stop pilots from announcing the ruling mid-flight, which led to people ripping their masks off in the air.
There is still a pandemic. And also, children under five can’t get vaccinated, a goal post that keeps getting moved. Parents of small kids are exhausted, overworked, and out of options.
The ironies of this decision are so obvious, it’s tedious to point them out. But I’ll do it anyway: During a roll back of bodily autonomy for women and LGBTQ people, people are celebrating the right to bodily autonomy by ripping masks off mid-flight. Also, millions of people are posting the same gotcha – one time a man tried to hide a bomb in his shoes, now everyone for the rest of time will take their shoes off at the airport security screening. But a virus kills 6 million people and it masks off for everyone, only two years later. This is all so obviously ridiculous, so beyond parody, it's just American.
What’s missing from this conversation is how great it is to fly on an airplane with a mask. No one can see your face. Men are less likely to say creepy things. If you fall asleep with your mouth open and drool, no one can see, and you don’t have to worry about how haggard you look on an early morning flight. It’s the best blemish cover up. Also, keeps your face warm. Is this what it’s like to have a beard? Is this beard privilege?
Also, another perk of masks, not getting sick.
The last time I was on a flight, a man wearing a “Let’s Go Brandon” shirt starting gasping and shouting for a flight attendant mid-flight. When she showed up, he told her the mask was making him nauseous. And she, just very exhaustedly said, “It’s Federal law sir” and the man relented, eventually. But kept pulling the mask down as he deplaned. I suppose what I am saying is laws like that matter. And once America is unmasked it won’t go back.
Also, in dingus runner-up territory, Rod Dreher, a man who spent a lot of time criticizing gay marriage, asks people to respect his privacy during his divorce. (I don’t recommend clicking any of those links. I just put them there so you knew I wasn’t lying. So, save yourself. But listen, if your day is already bad and you want to read something so awful that you will want to dissolve yours eyes in lye and bury them only to have them dug up by a dog in five years launching an episode of Law and Order, then read this profile of Dreher’s life. The article, if you don’t read it, positions Dreher as some sort of radical because he and his wife make bread, but they’re conservative. Which always annoys me on behalf of the Evangelical homeschoolers of the 1990s, who were grinding wheat to make their own bread before Dreher knew how to spell “homophobia.”)
What I Am Reading:
Alex Pareene had an incredible analysis of the public response to the very basic tasks of journalists. Anne Helen Petersen wrote a takedown of the concept of junk food. It’s a great essay and it reminds me of the time I was on a panel with two very famous Iowa white male writers,