Humor: World’s Pessimists feud over whether coronavirus pandemic is good or bad

Humor: World’s Pessimists feud over whether coronavirus pandemic is good or bad

Photo Credits: KIYOMI WATSON / AGGIE

The worst is yet to come!

Hi, I’m The Aggie’s new correspondent Corey Spondendt, and I’m temporarily filling in for our top reporter R.E. Porter, who claims to have a bad case of “Zoom neck.” But I — and you didn’t hear this from me — have a suspicion that he’s hit the bottle after having to report too much on the Trump administration and especially after his recent interview with President Tr — ah jeez, what’s that? I’m sorry, I’m hearing in my ear from my producer that I shouldn’t be saying that on the air. Whoops, my bad. Apologies for that, R.E., if you’re watching. Big mouth here. Judge not lest ye be judged, am I right? Hey Alex, can we edit all this out? We can edit this out, right? Ah shit, we’re live? Why didn’t you tell me that? You did? Goddamnit. Whatever. Alright, moving on.

Anyway, I just had the chance to “attend” the bi-monthly meeting of the Assembly of Pessimists for the Coastal Region (CRAP). I say “attend” in quotation marks because, unfortunately, the meeting had to be held via Zoom. After opening with readings from Schopenhauer and Camus, the Pessimists moved on to the primary agenda item, which was determining whether the coronavirus pandemic is good or bad. Across the globe, this question of whether any good can come from the pandemic has exacerbated internal divisions and factionalization between the two main coalitions of Pessimists: the more traditional, zealous, militant, fanatical, hardline ideological Pessimists, and the reformers — the Optimistic Pessimists. 

  The Optimistic Pessimists made a passionate case for how so much cause for pessimism in the short-term could end up making the world a better place in the long-term.

“This pandemic could be the impetus that finally forces America to improve its profit-hungry healthcare industry,” said reformer Tisind Sobaad. “And the abrupt halting of heavy industry has improved air quality worldwide. Perhaps this is the wakeup call we needed to stop destroying the environment and to live more in balance with nature.”

Sobaad continued by citing filmmaker and American treasure David Lynch, who recently predicted “a more spiritual, much kinder world” after quarantine ends. The ideological Pessimists protested this lack of doom and gloom from the Optimistic Pessimists by staring at their feet for the entirety of the Zoom meeting, leaving only the tops of their heads visible.

“Rather than catastrophizing, as we all should be, Lynch has been spending his time in quarantine meditating and in his woodshop making lamps,” said Wurstan Itszeemz. “Clearly, this type of Zen attitude is not appropriate right now and makes Lynch a poor role model, despite the dark tone of many of his films. We maintain that there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that you should be happy about right now. Not happy, not optimistic, not positive, not sanguine, not hopeful, not bullish, not buoyant, not bright, not cheerful, not cheery and especially not jolly.”

Proceedings became especially feisty when the chairperson opened debate over whether the pandemic is good or bad for Pessimists as a demographic. As we see in this clip, courtesy of Zoom, this point is quite contentious and controversial.

Reformer 1: No matter how bad it gets, this pandemic could reflect quite well on Pessimists as a people. Such a massive human tragedy could actually earn us many new converts! More people might come to appreciate our worldview and realize that we’re actually onto something by always expecting the worst.

Hardliner 1 [in the Zoom chat]: ha! not always! only when it’s convenient 4 u i guess lol

Reformer 2: Okay can someone disable the chat function, please? Thanks. Anyway, I am reminded of our organization’s official movie, “Melancholia.” In the film’s first half, Kirstin Dunst’s character Justine suffers from chronic, debilitating depression and her friends and family treat her as a burden. But in the second half, once it becomes clear that the rogue planet will collide with Earth and end the world, everyone else loses their shit while Justine, feeling she has nothing to lose, becomes calm and collected — an unexpected but welcome rock for everyone else to lean on. Fellow Pessimists, I believe that the coronavirus pandemic is our “Justine moment!”

Reformer 3: I agree. This could do wonders for enhancing our reputation and lending us prestige. And it could also improve how society treats mental health issues and go a long way toward destigmatizing depression and Pessimism in genera—

Hardliner 2: Destigmatize? We want the stigma! That’s our identity! Our history, our heritage as Pessimists! I just can’t believe that you can talk like this while COVID-19 is disproportionately killing our fellow Pessimists out there! 

Reformer 4: Well maybe that wouldn’t be the case if we had a more positive attitude….

Hardliner 2: Hey f**k you, Gene! That’s not the point. We need unity, not all th— wait a minute, wait a minute— Hey Doug, what the hell is that on your desk there?

Reformer 5: This? Oh, I uh — It’s just a glass of beer. I poured myself a glass of beer before the meeting started. I’ve been pretty stressed out and thought this would relax me.

Hardliner 2: I can see that, but your glass is half full. Why the f**k would you bring a glass that’s half full to this meeting? Are you outta your goddamn mind? What the hell’s wrong with you?

Chairperson [gavelling through Zoom]: Order! Order! Please, Stan! Let’s just settle down. Let’s all take a deep breath. I think it’s best if we just let Doug do Doug and allow him to enjoy his beer. Look at it this way: On the bright side, he’s drinking because he’s stressed and depressed over the pandemic, and all of that is consistent with our Pessimistic values, even if his glass is half fu—

Hardliner 2: You did NOT just say “on the bright side” did you? “Impartial chairperson” my ass….

Chairperson: Hey f**k you, Stan!

Vice-chairperson: Everyone, please! Please calm down. Remember, it’s okay to not be okay, but please, not right now! We’re in the middle of a goddamn meeting!

Written by: Benjamin Porter— bbporter@ucdavis.edu 

(This article is humor and/or satire, and its content is purely fictional. The story and the names of “sources” are fictionalized.)