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Monday, January 18, 2021

Reader's Diary #2162 - Ben Fountain: Rules of Special Measures

 Ben Fountain's short story "Rules of Special Measures" opens with a quote from the New York Times from an article warning of governments seizing power in the guise of emergency Covid measures. The newspaper article was published in March while the story it inspired in April 2020. Well, a lot has happened since then.

In the story it seems that an some undefined catastrophe has led to the government sending in men to remove items from peoples' homes. It's a provocative premise. What if it was "stuff" and not "freedom"? Maybe we'd care more then?

Of course, we've seen a lot of anti-masking movements since that time in which people are using that very same argument. "Wah, wah, our freedoms!" they cry because somehow that's easier than a piece of cloth in front of their nose while buying Pringles at Target. 

In any case, Fountain's story isn't poorly written, nor am I suggesting that we should never question government overreach. I'm merely suggesting that the time since this story was written has shown to me that it's not a simple right or wrong scenario.


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