Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The inexpert ebola experts take over

Were you surprised to learn that  there were so many ebola experts living in our midst?
 Hardly a moment passed that one or more of them weren't hustled to a TV camera to tell us that everybody was badly out of step in responding to the plague; everybody, that is, except the one doing the scolding.   Even George Will, the forever ponderous pundit, scolded the medical professionals who assured us that the virus was not transmitted by air.  With his usual sober profundity of a cleric performing last rites,  Will asserted they were all wrong, that you can indeed breathe ebola killers. So there!

 There were long discussions by the same newly minted experts of whether a travel ban would relieve the perils.  That's how I was again reminded that I'm not an expert - on travel bans, breathing or a lot of other things that go bump morning and night  these days.   But we  live at a time when expertise is cheap,  when TV beams it into your living room because that's what  it does to stay current, amid the heavy traffic of auto commercials.  A  New York Times article described the free-for-all as, "wild misinformation, political opportunism and  garden variety panic".

I would also add that it represented flock strife among the peacocks.  For all of the give- and-take, some of it not amounting to much more than loose talk,  nobody really knew for sure what the hell was going on - and you don't  have to be an expert to suggest that they still don't.


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