Reply To: Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative

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Grace Sword

I bet I, along with several students, upon reading this introduction, thought about the “Household Items Hoarding of 2020” in response to COVID-19. The very threat of a pandemic can bring about the end of the world mindsets often portrayed in movies as “normal” middle-class citizens frantic decision to buy out all the grocery store shelves, or in our COVID-19 case, every toilet paper bundle in existence. While not everyone is buying out all of the supplies and going to crazy levels, like my family and I who only buy 1 per shopping visit, I personally know people who are living the stereotypical “outbreak narrative”. My friend’s father bought a gun and taught her how to use it. Never, not once in her life has her dad brought up the idea of teaching her how to shoot a gun, but then this pandemic comes along, and he’s the next street over leaving a gun with my friend every time he goes out. On top of this she informed me he has also stooped to the level of a hoarder, especially of dill pickles, half and half, and you guessed it, toilet paper.
I agree with Priscilla Wald on how we, as a society, “need to understand the appeal and persistence of the outbreak narrative because the stories we tell about disease emergence have consequences”. We need to have a more realistic and calmer reaction in catastrophic event movies when life itself is threatened, otherwise, we have videos of single mothers crying because she can’t get any diapers for her kids. After all, some idiot, who is probably not even pregnant, decided he wanted to make a profit off of this virus. Thank goodness that is illegal now.