Outside Reading — Hazy Shade edition

Is It Possible to Enjoy This Winter? by Molly Young

Ostensibly a review of Wintering, a new memoir by Katherine May, this piece by Molly Young expounds on all manner of concerns that relate to the oncoming season of snow and chills. With laudable wisdom and insight, Young offers sympathetic consideration for the way the winter months are likely to be that much more challenging this year, since many of have already been living winter lives for months now. When hunkering down is a yearlong activity, whatever charm might come from cozying up against the elements is sure to be greatly diminished. This article is published by New York. Happy December!

How reporting on people’s intent to get a COVID-19 vaccine can harm public health by Tara Haelle

Writing for the Association of Health Care Journalists, Tara Haelle identified a signifiant problem with the way the news media has covered vaccine skepticism on the verge of the first FDA approval clearing the path for U.S. residents to get inoculated against COVID-19. Unsurprisingly, it’s a flaw that is spread widely across all topics of news, effectively poisoning most of our broader discourse. In the interest of framing all news stories as a form of conflict — one group’s opinion against another group’s entirely contrary opinion — journalists do the tremendous disservice of making the denial of basic scientific and social truths seem like a reasonable line of thinking. In the case of COVID-19 vaccination, that disservice is so profound that is is arguably an assault against public safety. Given that epidemiologists say that between fifty and eighty percent of the population needs to be vaccinated before it is reasonable to again gather in crowds indoors, validating the rejection of a safe, tested vaccine will keep our culture trapped in this cloistered purgatory.

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